Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Festival of '07 and Five Years in Review

This year, was our fifth year of creating a space for the visionary and a home for the overlooked and the unseen; it is far from over, and we are only beginning. Seattle is new to us, as we are to this city. We are established, and we are growing. Among the achievements this year, we had a featured artist that didn't flake out on us! Among the disappointments were the small turnouts and a few incidents of negativity. We met some fascinating people, people who will remain with us, and that is why we continue every year.

My many splendored compliments and eternal gratitude go to the following:

Lisa and Hayden and the staff at the Green Bean Coffee House - the kindness and open arms are beyond my capacity for words, yet I will always try!

Sabine and Essence Dance Company - Sabine and Gwen and all the other girls were spectacular, as were the drummers. This brought a little magic to the Festival of '07, and everyone was beautiful! My special thanx to the drummers for humoring me and my poetic misadventures.

John Morse - a humble talent is always welcome at the Festival, and I appreciated his patience and his song. Thank you, John.

Erin Dodge and Static on Trial - I honestly believe Erin promoted the Fest more than I, and the band's dedication and presence remain with me.

Randy and Jennifer - meeting fellow filmmakers is always a gem, but finding kindred spirits is immeasurable.

Ghostship - despite the fact that their set was only one night, they attended both nights. Despite the demands of the venue, they came. Despite the fact that their friends flaked and they played to a minimal crowd, they still played! Rawk on, Ghostship!

And to Fae...her music, her art and her belief in the dreams of a shaggy-haired dreamer born in a different time, she has become as much a part of this Festival as I am.

Thanx to everyone who came, if even for a little while. I appreciate what we accomplished, and who came together to accomplish it. We had negativity in the form of disrespect toward Lindokhule Mnyandu's film; all I can say, is...thank you, as well! I do not apologize for a film not being to one's liking, or to the impatient man who asked, "how much longer?" I thank these people for reminding me of how valuable a gift a film can be, or art or music. It is also reminds me of how easily human beings can fail at being good and kind souls.

Five years is a great accomplishment. I am proud of everything that we have done, and I know that we have only scratched the surface. In five years, we launched a film and arts festival, created colleagues and found new friends, and we have offered encouragement and support; we took the negative of what others lacked and bested their alleged achievements and pretense with a new form of success. Keep in mind we have never taken any kind of money for entry fees or admission. We gave back the film festival, to the dreamers and the storytellers.

WFTM: Bothell Construction/Guerilla Filmmaking

I have held on to the last foot and a half of b/w film in my camera for the past few months, waiting for the best possible time in which to lay down that final shot. The last few shots are in color, and since my Sankyo is the only camera I have [currently] without any doubts or questionable afflictions, I had to wait until I used this last scrap of black and white before the switch to the new Ektachrome 64T color reversal from Kodak. I am anxious to see how it works for me.

We kept the light levels to about the same as my last shoot, which was static footage of the cancerous construction in and around Bothell. Although we tried to return to the same location, parking was an issue and so we returned, back into Bothell and north on Bothell-Everett to another site, where we pulled off the road and set up the shot hand-held, claiming three takes before the roll of film expired.

The cold has become an issue. Two more outdoor takes are needed to complete this film. At present, I am sure that we are going to shoot at St. Edwards Park in Kenmore, and the beaches of Shilshole Bay. Aside from that, we may actually be finished!

The Kurosawa Short Film Competition will begin again soon. If the theme remains the same or similar, I will be able to have the film completed in time.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Trailer Trash: A Film Journal

Powerful award-winning documentary to be shown at Anthology Film Archives as part of The New Filmmakers screening series.

For immediate release:
New York, New York - The alleged murder of one family member by another, poverty and substance abuse are the central themes of a award winning new documentary entitled Trailer Trash: a Film Journal, which will be shown at the monthly screening series New Filmmakers at the Anthology Film Archives on January 30, 2008; the screening beginning at 6:00 P.M. Anthology Film Archives is located at 32 Second Avenue in New York City.

New Filmmakers is the longest running independent film screening series in New York City, and considered one of the most prestigious and important film show cases in America. Admission is $4.00. For further information and directions, check out Anthology Film Archives is a cinema devoted to the exhibition of Independent Filmmakers, a film archive founded in 1970 by legendary filmmakers Jonas Mekas, Stan Brakhage, P. Adams Sitney and Peter Kubelka. Anthology Film Archives is the leader in film restoration and preservation, and it houses the largest archive of independent cinema and experimental films in the world.

Trailer Trash: a Film Journal, review summary available through The New York Times web page. Filmmaker Don Diego Ramirez directs and narrates this deeply intimate documentary detailing an intensely turbulent three year period in which his family was forced to contend with a terminal illness, a brutal murder, and the unexpectedly difficult birth of the director's firstborn child. In early May of 2004, Ramirez's elderly grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As the grandmother's health rapidly deteriorates at the same time that the director's wife prepares to give birth, the never-ending cycle of life is vividly detailed through the family's emotional reaction to the events on each side of the spectrum. Shortly after the death of Ramirez's grandmother, the family is devastated to learn that the grieving husband of the recently deceased has become the victim of a vicious homicide. When the filmmaker's youngest sister and her boyfriend are singled out as the prime suspects in the crime, emotions quickly come to a head. Through it all, unguarded interviews with the family members and home movie footage from happier times highlight the means by which prejudice, poverty, and drug-addiction can tear a typical rural American family apart at the seams. Produced and Directed by Don Diego Ramirez, Editing by David Wanger with Original Music by Ben Townsend, made with super 8 mm home movies, digital media and news footage: running time 53 minutes. By Jason Buchanan, ALL MOVIE GUIDE.

This fall, Trailer Trash: a Film Journal was an official selection of the film screening series of Creative Alliance at The Patterson, a prestigious Community Arts Center in historic Baltimore, Maryland. Most recently Trailer Trash: a Film Journal was an official selection of the Three Rivers Film Festival; Trailer Trash: a Film Journal was the featured film of the 100th Film Kitchen

Currently the film is featured on the official Kodak web page as a Super 8 success story, the film has been featured in the Baltimore City Paper (VOL. 31 NO 37. Sept12) in both a feature story and film review by Violet Glaze, It was recently featured in a story in the Pittsburgh City Paper (issued on November, 7th) by Bill O’Driscol,

Past film festivals, awards and independent screenings include:
2007 United States Super 8 Film & Digital Video Festival (part of the New Jersey film Festival) - winner, best documentary; 2007 Rosebud Film and Video Festival, Washington, DC - one of five Rosebud award winners; March 2007 Shepherd University where the film screened to its largest audience of over 400 attendees; 2007 West Virginia Filmmakers Festival, Sutton WV; and Seattle, Washington's 2007 Blue November MicroFilmFest. Don Diego Ramirez’s e- mail: or phone: 304 724 6566 or


A Retrospective program of Washington DC Filmmakers: Eric Cheevers and Julia Nicoll will be presented by the Art Faculty of Shepherd University in the main Theatre of The Frank Center for the Creative Arts on Monday evening November 26; doors open at 7:30 P.M program begins at 8:00 P.M. This event is free and open to the public.

This two part retrospective program will feature the films of Director Eric Cheevers and Producer Scott Mueller, whose films will highlight and conclude the evening’s program.

The first part of the evening's program will feature the film works of Avant Garde Filmmaker Julia Nicoll. All three film artists will be in attendance to present and speak about their films, education and experiences. For directions:

Eric Cheevers and Scott Mueller of Washington DC’s Parasite Films will be presenting several collaborative film projects including their critically acclaimed two part film series: "Las Historias Mas Sexy Del Mundo!" Part 1 and 2 A.K.A Sexy Stories #1 with Scene Creamers and Sexy Stories #2 with the Raveonettes and Matthew Lesko. These two off beat original comedic films have screened in prestigious film festivals all across the country including recent screenings in The Santa Monica Film Festival and Maryland Film Festival. In addition to these films Eric and Scott will be presenting their recently completed music videos for the bands Georgie James and Dead Meadows which will begin airing on MTV early next year.

Eric Cheevers is an award-winning film maker who has been making films for the past 15 years. Eric’s films have screened at Cannes Film Festival, Moxie, Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, New York Underground Film Festival among many other festivals.

Julia Nicoll has worked for over fifteen years in film . Her filmmaking practice includes using an optical printer to create small experimental works using adapted motion picture cameras and pinhole films. Professionally, she works in film preservation and uses optical printers to salvage old films through photo-mechanical, photo-chemical means for institutions such as George Eastman House, Duke University, and the Library of Congress. Films to be screened include "Twark" (16mm, color, sound, 1994), "To A" (16mm, color, sound, 1999), "A Rejoinder's Caption" (16mm, BW, silent, 2000) and other experiments.

This event has been arranged by award winning filmmaker’s Don Diego Ramirez and David Wanger: For further information regarding this art’s program contact Don Ramirez at 304 724 6566 or

NOVEMBER 8, 2007
Trailer Trash: A Film Journal covers three harrowing years in the life of West Virginia artist Don Diego Ramirez.


On May 11, 2004, Don Diego Ramirez and his wife, Karla, were driving his grandmother home from the doctor's office where she'd just learned she had cancer, and only months to live. The ride was silent, but the artist in Ramirez sought a voice.

"All I had to document that moment," he says, "was a roll of Kodak 40 in my refrigerator." That and a borrowed Super 8 mm home-movie camera.

Ramirez, a veteran art photographer from West Virginia, says he was "floored" by the coincidence that his grandmother was dying even as Karla was pregnant with their first child. He shot that lone roll and then a few more, but trouble only metastisized. His grandmother, who'd raised him, died, the baby was born with health problems, and then his grandfather was found murdered, the suspected killers being Ramirez's own sister and her boyfriend, over drug money.

Over the course of three years, with Super 8 film and a digital video camera -- and amidst as big a media frenzy as you'll see in the eastern West Virginia panhandle -- Ramirez kept documenting it all. His unflinchingly intimate Trailer Trash: A Film Journal premieres locally, Tuesday, November 13, at the Film Kitchen. Ramirez will present the 53-minute video along with editor David Wanger and Ben Townsend, who supplied the film's music. The screening, a City Paper-sponsored event and part of the Three Rivers Film Festival, also includes two short videos by Fred Wilder.

"Trailer trash," says Ramirez on the documentary's voiceover narration. "How I hate that term." Ramirez, 41, grew up in a trailer park, the son of an alcoholic, drug-addicted mother and a father he never met. The movie's wrenching sequences document his bouts with insomnia during the ordeals, an interview with a jailed niece, and his grandmother's death. The travails of his subjects -- Ramirez himself, his family members and their friends -- might play into stereotypes of impoverished residents of Appalachia. But "Trailer Trash," as an inside narrative, ultimately humanizes them.

"It was one of the worst times of my life," says Ramirez, who now also works for the state of Virginia as a residential-facility counselor for developmentally disabled people. He adds, "I felt very much that the film was a way of processing and coping with the experiences that were going on."

"Trailer Trash" has played festivals including the 2007 United States Super 8 Film & Digital Video Festival, in New Jersey, where it won Best Documentary. It has also earned an award at Washington, D.C.'s Rosebud Film and Video Festival, and has garnered positive press. A Sept. 12 review in Baltimore City Paper said the documentary "is made with great compassion and honesty."

"We have honestly been shocked at the level of response we have gotten to the film," says Ramirez. "I don't think a lot of people in the city realize what poverty is like in rural America."

Fred Wilder created Fast KARL as an art project -- a little robot ("Kinetic, Artist, Robotic, Lifeform") that could paint without human intervention. But KARL has had his greatest success as a movie star, appearing in a Hollywood, Calif., screening series in Wilder's two super-short videos, "Scream KARL" and "KARL Bites."

Wilder, 45, lives in Fullerton, Calif., where his lungs are recovering from the recent wildfires. Film Kitchen will screen the two videos on Nov. 13. "Scream Karl" finds the artist's robot alter-ego stealing Edvard Munch's famed painting "The Scream." "KARL Bites" casts him as an unsuccessful vampire.

Film Kitchen 8 p.m. Tue., Nov. 13 (7 p.m. reception). Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., N. Oakland. $4. 412-316-3342, x178, or

"Strictly Background" Wins Again!

We are proud to announce that "Strictly Background" has just won the Best Documentary
Award at the prestigious WT Os International Film Festival in Norway! One of the jurors called to notify us prior to making the announcement at the Gala Awards Ceremony and his excitement for the film was overwhelming.

We only wish we could have been there in person to accept but will be equally excited to receive the festivals highly coveted solid bronze Apollo-statuette which is on it's way to LA!

November & December screening info:

Santa Fe Film Festival
November 30th (Friday), 1:30pm (Venue TBA)
December 2nd (Sunday), 8:30pm (Venue TBA)
Sante Fe, NM 87500

Delray Beach Film Festival
December 6th - 13th, 2007 (Screening & Venue TBA)
Delray Beach, FL 33444

New York United Film Festival
December 16th, 2007 (Sunday), 4:00pm
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Thanks and more info coming soon!

Jason Connell
Producer / Director
Connell Creations, Inc.

"Strictly Background" Update [from Jason Connell]

We are proud to share the great story that The Hollywood Reporter TV did on our film
and aired Worldwide last week on the Starz network. Just click here to view it now.
Also we just had an amazing review come out in Entertainment Insiders and be sure
to check it out as well by clicking here.

In other news we were invited to the Santa Fe Film Festival as well as the prestigious WT Os International Film Festival in Norway where we are an Award Nominee for their coveted solid bronze Apollo-statuette. So our fingers are crossed and if you want to watch the awards show live on web-TV (Saturday, November 10th) just click here for details.

November screening info:

WT Os International Film Festival (Norway)
November 7th, 2007 (Wednesday), 6:00pm (Venue TBA)
Postboks 244, 5200 Os, Norway

Santa Fe Film Festival
Nov. 28th - Dec. 2nd, 2007 (Screening & Venue TBA)
Sante Fe, NM 87500

Thanks and more info coming soon!

Jason Connell
Producer / Director
Connell Creations, Inc.