A Very Bad Time

Infested

These last few weeks have been pretty awful. I am broke and homeless. Time I should be spending working on promoting my film – my only asset, my life’s work – has instead been consumed salvaging what I can from my apartment, bagging things in ziplocs, laundry laundry laundry, carrying stuff up and down and back and forth, throwing things out, calling exterminators, calling the landlord, calling friends, sleeping on a sofa, not sleeping on a sofa, taking showers and immediately changing into more ziploc-ed clothes, more laundry, wiping salvaged computer parts down with alcohol, weeping, talking to other tenants in my now-former building, confronting debt, canceling accounts, checking messages, begging for help, watching red bumps grow on my hands and arms (I have a delayed reaction to bed bug bites; it takes 9 days for the red welts to really blossom, then they linger a long time), reading bedbugger.com, reading craigslist housing ads, weeping some more, et cetera.

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It has happened to me

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are like Syphilis for apartments. They appeared on the other side of my building a few years ago; it was only a matter of time before they came here. My downstairs neighbor detected and began treating an infestation while I was traveling last month. Possibly they were driven upstairs when her place was sprayed, or perhaps they were waiting all along. Whatever the reason, I didn’t leave an infested apartment, but I have returned to one.

Treating bedbugs is a lifestyle. Anything made of fabric must be washed and dried at high heat, then immediately transferred to ziploc bags. You then live out of ziploc bags for months (I’ve already spent the last month living out of suitcases, which I thankfully haven’t brought back to the apartment; those at least are not infested). You vacuum constantly. You change into ziploc-fresh clothes immediately before visiting friends, in order to not transfer hiding bugs to them. Everything you own must be inspected, cleaned, sterilized, heated. Furniture must be emptied and pulled from the walls. Exterminators visit every few weeks to spread poison. You are supposed to continue sleeping in the bed, as bait to attract the bugs from their hiding places over the poison. You keep doing this for weeks or months, until the bugs leave you alone. Of course they just move to a neighbor’s apartment, and play musical beds unless your whole building is treated. Good luck with that.

So I’m moving out. My lease ends September 30 anyway. I can’t move my stuff, of course, as it is possibly harboring renegade bugs and needs to be sprayed at least 3 times over 2 months, with no guarantees. I’d like to salvage my computer, but everything else I own could vaporize for all I care. I wish it would.

Bruno and I are going to stay at a friend’s house for a while (friend will supply a fresh outfit from my off-site suitcase I can change into to prevent infecting his car, and anything else I bring with will be sealed in bags and placed straight in a washing machine; cats aren’t known to carry bugs except in the most severe cases). Much as I hate travel and have longed for home these past weeks, I don’t really have a home right now. Since I can’t afford to rent or buy a new place now (I’m in deepening debt from Sita) I may just go from festival to festival for a while.

By some miracle I haven’t completely lost my mind yet, but I’m getting there.

Whining Advisory Next 600 Words

I got back from Stuttgart, still coughing (albeit less), and slept for about 2 days. Now I’m slogging through my backed-up emails and figuring out what to do next. I looks like I’ll be touring the Eastern Hemisphere most of June and July, and sub-letting my Hell’s Kitchen apartment. Interested parties please get in touch – the apartment comes with my cat Bruno, who needs daily food and love.

You’d think I’d be all overjoyed about this, but actually I’m stressed and confused. Will Sita get a distribution deal? Will it win an award? Awards drive me crazy – I always want one, “for the sake of the film,” I tell myself, but surely it’s for my ego. Press too is like coke, I always want more; google blogsearch is becoming a compulsion. I compare Sita‘s progress with other films, which can’t be good. I’d like to detach from all this, but what about the festivals? This is my big chance to attend film festivals, it’s not like I can postpone them all until next year. But film festivals are orgies of comparison: who’s getting the most press? the best reviews? whose shows are selling out first? who’s getting the award? These are enemies of the Muse, and I’m not sufficiently mature to maintain my equilibrium in their midst.

Also, I am out of money and racking up expenses like you wouldn’t believe. Take “film festival rights”: publishers charge at least $500 a song just to play the film at festivals – and I don’t get money at festivals, I spend money to make the prints and stuff. I’m spending money I don’t have to get the film out there, and although something always works out, I have no idea how I’m going to pay for French subtitles (the “honor” of attending the Annecy Animation Festival is costing me over $5,000), or legal fees, or rent. Someday the film could bring money in, but I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to that day, if it ever comes.

What a whiney post this has turned out to be. On the brighter side, I’ll post next about all the sweeet reviews Sita got at Tribeca, with tasty little quotes selected by Publicity Bitch herself. But I am not Publicity Bitch. I am a servant of the Muse who is losing her way.

Who hates American Airlines?

I do! Do you?

“a tiny slice of the world”

Apparently an American distributor rejected Sita Sings the Blues because, culturally, “it only relates to a tiny slice of the world.”

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Intern Wanted

Do you like filling in forms? Do you like putting things in envelopes? Do you like going to the post office? How about running errands? All for no money!

If this sounds like your dream job, I need someone to come to my unglamorous Manhattan studio once a week and do all of the above. You can probably get college credit for it. And learn something? Apply here.

mess
above: just some of the mess you could help clean up!

Dear Film Industry

Please stop making so many films about breeding.

Love,

Nina

Where’s My Pie?

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I recently met a film producer who, after congratulating me on Sita’s admission to Berlin, patiently explained that I’m a “shiny little fish about to enter a shark tank.” I’ve long avoided thinking about the real business side of my feature film endeavor, but suddenly I’m paying attention.

Which calls to mind this audio clip. Sound Designer Greg Sextro recorded numerous improvised conversations for the ironic “Intermission” scene. Some of these are very clever; some take advantage of Indian accents; and one is even in Hindi. But I’m thinking of this one, where Will Franken channels a Hollywood executive discussing the film’s sales potential, or lack thereof. Enjoy.

‘Tis the Season

to Resist Christmas! “No Shopping, No Presents, NO GUILT.” Also visit the Christmas Resistance Blog.

King Corn

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Go see this movie. If you’re in New York, you can catch it at Cinema Village this week. If you’re not in New York, ask your local rep house to get it.

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Go! I’m not just saying this because I grew up in corn country.

The Trap

Astute reader/luncher Andrew directs our attention to this very interesting BBC series, The Trap:

Above is episode two; see also episodes one and three.

Eats for Endoresement

A new feature in which I recommend the work and websites of people who buy me dinner. Today’s entry: Mike Caprio!

Mike Caprio

Mike Caprio is the Bon Vivant of Brooklyn. But he’s no slouch in Manhattan either, since he suggested our Eats take place at Casellula. There we discussed the importance of combining the flavors of the accouterements plated with the cheese, whether my dislike of booze and grapefruit could be due to supertasting, geeks we know in common, why Denmark is cool, and of course my favorite subject, how the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. Clearly, the man is an expert on food, entertainment, and enjoying life’s pleasures before we’re all plunged into an apocalyptic dystopia. Be sure to check out his blog!

Would YOU like to be featured in Eats for Endorsement? Then buy me dinner. My email address is at the bottom of the middle column, the one with the pictures linking to my movies and cartoons and stuff.