I don't want to read your boring blog, just tell me where I can rent or buy EvenHand

Monday  August 2, 2004


(Formerly known as LEDERHOSEN & LAGER)

A handy German way of saying "Electrical Box?"

...check the Sundance Channel website for current screening dates and times

The Munich Film Festival was a blast.  I was nervous about attending a festival in a country with a language of which I don't speak a word.  I quickly discovered, however, that English is widely spoken in Munich, especially among the staff and participants of the festival.  Local restaurants didn't always translate the menus (and why should they?), but we never failed to communicate our needs ("pilsner, bitte") and were invariably met with a friendly response no matter how ridiculous our mangling of the dialect. The staff and participants were as friendly as one could hope to find at a festival and this was a group of people that were clearly involved because they love film.

The first festival event was a trip down the river Isar on a log raft for the participating filmmakers. This was a brilliant idea and, as a completely frivolous location-based outing, one that every festival should incorporate into their agenda. The reasons are two-fold: the filmmakers get to meet the staff in a no-pressure environment, free from the logistical and practical constraints of a panel discussion or other industry event, and the filmmakers get to meet one another before the festival's official start.  The latter is hugely important for building a sense of community amongst the filmmakers.  I attended more films and met more people than I otherwise might have as a direct result of the raft trip.

The river was slow and it was bloody hot, but that did not diminish the pleasure of sipping beer from the complementary earthenware beer steins and munching on liverkase ( neither liver nor cheese).  A curious feature of the trip was the frequent sightings of naked old men sunning themselves on the shore.  The kids were good natured about it, chalking it up to some kind of curious Bavarian custom.  Oh, and the guys piloting the raft really were wearing lederhosen, okay?  It's not just some goofy cliché.

I had to leave the raft before the final leg of the journey because my first screening was scheduled for 5:45 PM that evening, which unfortunately meant that we missed Willi Michl, the blues guitarist, who performed on the raft. We did get to meet him, though. A highly unusual fellow; while a native German, he was dressed in full American Indian garb, from leather moccasins to a feather in his long braid. He is known locally as the "Bavarian Indian."

No idea who these guys are (found picture)

In spite of being programmed opposite a German language favorite, the EvenHand screening was well attended.  I did my customary routine of watching the first 15 minutes and popping back in for the last.  Overall good response, although not as many gasps during the emotional and violent climax of the film as I would have liked.  Is it a cultural thing?  I don't know, but American audiences have always reacted with greater (audible) emotion to the end of the film.

On Wednesday evening (30.06) I participated in one panel discussion, along with a few other filmmakers, the theme of which seemed to be the promotion of festival films.  It was apparently worthwhile; there was an increase in attendance for the second EvenHand screening of about 30 people.

Festival programming highlights included Xan Cassavetes' excellent documentary, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession and Mark Milgard's Dandelion, which featured stunning cinematography by our very own Tim Orr. The festival also programmed a whole series of surfing films, most of which were screened in an outdoor venue.  Pretty cool (when it wasn't raining torrents, which it often was).  I saw Step into Liquid, a surf documentary directed by Dana Brown, the son of Bruce Brown, the legendary director of The Endless Summer.  A beautiful film, but honestly, how many interviews of surfers can one bear to watch?  To summarize: "The wave was awesome."

Emil and the Detectives (Emil und die Detektive), an early German language Billy Wilder film, was a great treat.  The kids loved it in spite of not speaking any German at all.  I highly recommend the film for movie buffs of all ages.

And did I mention the spontaneous filmmaker party? The real fun at a festival happens after hours, in this case in a doc producer's hotel room. Staff and festival participants mingled -- and ordered room service (how cool is that!!!). 

Some ham, perhaps?

Munich is a beautiful city with many tourist attractions.  While we hardly saw them all, the highlights for us were the Duetschen Museum, a museum of technology and transportation, the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum and Nymphenburg, an insanely huge palace.  Getting around was a snap with busses, trams and a subway that were all pretty easy to figure out.  We ate in one of the requisite beer gardens one night, the Augustinerbrau.  I can't say I'm a huge fan of the Bavarian cuisine (or the surly waitstaff), but it was good stuff for an evening's repast and they do know how to brew a killer beer in Munich, often served in glasses the size of fish bowls.

Munich is also a city that has a creative undercurrent not found in many urban centers, probably due to the fact that it is a university town.  As we marched around the city, I began to obsessively catalogue the innumerable and fabulous little stickers and spray-painted stencils that I found on lampposts and electrical boxes.  This, I discovered, is an excellent use for the crappy little camera built into my cell phone.




If you are responsible for any of these stickers and want me to make a link to your website, send me an email.

All festivals are staffed by volunteers and most of them are doing it because the love it, but the people at the Munich Film Festival were more attentive and more enthusiastic than most.  I would not hesitate to attend a future edition of the Munich Film Festival with another film if I am lucky enough to be invited again.

Pretty swell architecture, too

In other news, EvenHand will be screening at Time & Space Limited in Hudson, New York on September 17th at 7:30 PM.  TSL is a terrific arts, theater & film venue run by Linda Mussman in a city that is experiencing an artistic renaissance that is long overdue.  Hudson is where we filmed the Winston scene as a test of DV technology, lo those many years ago.

In the meantime, off I go to the northern wilds of Canada to continue tinkering with Annie Nocenti's script, Escalate, which I hope to begin shopping around soon. Click on the title to read the synopsis.

In other news, I recently finished reading Blue Blood, a great new memoir by a New York Police Department Detective, Edward Conlon. As a service to readers of the book, follow this link for a glossary of NYPD terms of art, slang and jargon:


I guess I am in archive mode; another recent feature of the Cypress Films website is the


This is a collection of contracts and agreements that we have used for our film productions over the years. They range from book option agreements to music license agreements, all free for you to cut and paste.  I hope to be adding more contracts soon.

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As always, I am more than happy to do for other police departments what we did for San Antonio's Bexar County widows and orphan's fund, the 100 Club. We made a print available for two benefit screenings that raised more than $6000. If you want to discuss doing something similar for your department, shoot me an e-mail.

The EvenHand links page has many new and interesting links, so please give it a visit. We also have a spiffy new link graphic (below). If you put it on your site, we will put your graphic and link on ours.

And don't forget to visit the EvenHand Store. We offer EvenHand posters, T-shirts and SLPD shoulder patches, as well as the insanely popular "FAT COP" tank top. There is some lively trading going on in the SLPD shoulder patch department, so if you have a police patch you're interested in trading, please also visit the EvenHand store.

The EvenHand listing on the Internet Movie Database has accumulated some votes, but more are always welcome. If you have seen the film, please take a minute and register your vote there. Thanks to all who have left great reviews on the IMDb site! Here's a link:

- Joseph Pierson

I levitate, somewhere in Austria

Here's some information on where you can find EvenHand

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