THEY’RE OUT OF THE BUSINESS Looks For Biz On DemandApril 11, 2011


IFC Films

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THEY’RE OUT OF THE BUSINESS (IFC Films).

By Chris Claro


Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, the early 90s, when the indie film sandbox was filled with boys named Quentin, Kevin, Spike, and of course, Eric. “Eric who?” you ask. Why, Eric Schaeffer, of course. The heir apparent to Woody Allen – in his own fevered imagination, anyway – Schaeffer’s niche was the New York-based comedy, in which the lovably neurotic, Upper West Side Jew, almost always portrayed by Schaeffer, contemplated life, love, and his own supposedly rakish charm.

In his maiden directorial effort, MY LIFE’S IN TURNAROUND, Schaeffer co-starred with Donal Lardner Ward as two Manhattan slackers who attempt to make a movie. In their early thirties when they made the film, Schaeffer and Ward tapped into the pre-millennial zeitgeist trying to bring their vision to the screen on a wing and an Amex card.
Flash forward to 2011; Schaeffer has made a career out of oh-so-talky films in which he plays a thinly-veiled version of himself – and he seems to keep writing, directing and starring so that he can make out with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Amanda de Cadenet. Ward has had a patchwork career of writing and directing with and without Schaeffer.
Each seems to have found a hole in his schedule big enough to revisit their TURNAROUND characters of Splick and Jason in THEY’RE OUT OF THE BUSINESS. Nearly twenty years later, the two former wunderkinds have hit hard times, but Splick, at least, feels they have one more movie in them and sets out to convince his buddy help realize the dream.
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Film Festival Spotlight: Ted Hope -  San Francisco Film Society’s New Executive DirectorSeptember 12, 2012

Film Festival Spotlight: Ted Hope -  San Francisco Film Society’s New Executive Director


Ted Hope, one of the film industry’s most respected figures, has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS), effective September 1, 2012. In a surprise move, the veteran film producer will embark upon a new chapter in his professional life, leaving New York City, where he produced independent films through his companies Good Machine, This is that corporation and Double Hope Films, to lead the Film Society into the future. - SFFS.


On Demand Weekly's Editor-In-Chief, Britt Bensen spoke to Ted by phone.


Film Festival Spotlight: Ted Hope - San Francisco Film Society’s New Executive Director
Ted Hope discusses film in the Bay Area, scarcity of control and VOD

On Demand Weekly (ODW): Why did you join the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS)?
Ted Hope (TH):
The San Francisco International Film Festival is much more than just a film festival. It is the San Francisco Film Society. Other than perhaps Cannes, Venice, Berlin, I don’t think if someone had called me to come work at their film festival I would have done that. I had been impressed with what has happened with the (SF) Film Society over the years under Graham Leggat, from the oldest in the Americas to giving out artist grants and participating in many forms of education.


Graham Leggat (SFFS)

After Graham passed away, they then brought in Bingham Ray who I had collaborated with and admired his rabble-rousing for independent cinema. Meanwhile, for the last 3 – 5 years, I had been climbing up on my soap box saying to folks in the indie film realm, it’s got to change. We have to take charge of what we’re doing. We have to experiment more and broaden the definition of what cinema is and how we create, submit and appreciate it. I started some initiatives on that front, but it’s really slow going.


Bingham Ray (SFFS)

I joked with friends that my profession is independent film producer,

but my hobby is trying to build a better mouse trap of independent films.


How can we make sure that good films get seen? Cause we’re now living in a time that there is no guarantee they will.

When I had my first discussion with SFFS about what I envision as a present day modern day film society to be, they appreciated what I had to say and they asked if I wanted to build it in concert with them. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. How often do you get that mission to work with somebody to build better together? To try to save independent film, help it rise.


Ted Hope (SFFS)

It was about 10 years ago I sold my first company, Good Machine, to Universal. I very much like the idea of big challenges. We aren’t always invited to confront those. It was the right time. I was very receptive to the possibility of the move.

ODW: Where do you see the SF Film Society’s presence in the Bay Area beyond the film festival, including the Sundance Kabuki and the New People’s?
I think it is important to bring year-round programming that is distinct and not available elsewhere. But that is not the only way to serve a community of artists and those who appreciate and support them. I think what has been done at the Kabuki and the New People’s is great, but it’s not a model that is fully working. It’s very hard to program a single screen. It’s also a question of cost and benefit.


New People's (SF)

Can we come up with solutions to bring ambitious, diverse and excellent cinema to the Bay Area?


I can’t claim to begin to say what makes most sense at this time. I need to dig down and speak to the various stake holders and give it a careful look. The festival is in great shape, but trying to figure out the year-round programming compliments is something that needs a much deeper look.

ODW: In the current digital era, do you think a film festival (society) can have a beneficial presence that is not a physical event?
It’s everybody’s responsibility who makes, loves, and earns a living in the film world to look at the challenge that we face: the film business in general is designed around concepts that no longer apply to the world we’re living in. There is the Hollywood system, then the American independent system, that is the most dependent system that one can imagine. I base around the concept of scarcity of control. Can we control an impulse? The scarcity of content, the control of where we access it and the impulse of consumption.


The reality of the world we live in now is one of super abundance, a plethora of great titles generated globally on an annual basis. Some say 50,000 titles. The US is only able to handle 500. It would take the US, the top consumption market in the world, an entire century to consume the annual supply. It’s not something that can be controlled. It’s available everywhere. However you want it. Anytime.


The only reasonable way to deal with it is educated and informed choice. I think that’s what a film society’s goal really is. Not just how we curate the content, but curate the community so they can gather and make known what content most appeals to them. There is a tremendous amount of work the film society can do in that regard for the artist, the investors and those who appreciate it.

Our film culture is entirely market driven.

It requires the creators a level of self-censorship because they want their movies to sell. There is a different way we can start to work to serve the audiences. It opens us up to more diverse subject matter, such as BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Folks who are looking at the different values the film would bring to the world other than monetary and profit. As a result they made a film that was incredibly distinct and very ambitious and also succeeded in the marketplace Trying to find how we can continue to make that call to action for ambitious, diverse work is what the film society is all about.


ODW: SFIFF is usually in the spring. Is there anything coming up in the meantime?
When I have something I will make sure you know. I have produced a great deal of movies (ex: AMERICAN SPLENDOR) and started a few businesses. 


American Splendor (Fine Line)


I like to get things done. And yet in calling around to my friends who run other film festivals in America for advice they say. ‘Ted, be willing to go slow. Don’t make too many changes right away’. And I think that is excellent advice. I want to learn the community and organization. We have a great team already in place. I want to take stock of what we have.

ODW: How do you see VOD changing the film landscape, from film festivals using technology to engage film goers to filmmakers taking non-theatrical distribution deals at film markets?

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Top 5 Reasons To Watch THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!October 03, 2013

Top 5 Reasons To Watch THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!


Part social justice film, part stand-up comedy road tour, this  documentary confronts racism and prejudice head on, proving the transformative power of laughter. Comedians Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah gather a dream team of comedians (most of whom happen to be Muslim) and go on the road across the south, attempting to challenge stereotypes with shows and sidewalk stunts.

THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING! is now on demand. 


Top 5 Reasons To Watch THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING! by directors Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad


1. Because you haven’t seen the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart in a movie since Death to Smoochy.

2. Because you can’t get enough of those sexy, sexy Muslims.


Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad

3. Because you want to see Lewis Black do one of his classic rants but with an extra Muslim flavor.

4. Because you want to see David Cross hang out in a laundromat. (See, now you really have to see the movie to understand what this is about!)

5. Because you wanna laugh, like really laugh, like laugh till you pee a little.


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