night and day sweatshops

Making Things.


A Cautionary Tale a.k.a The nicest rejection letter EVER

I received a very lovely e-mail from a festival programmer this evening. I am printing the e-mail here (minus the names of the fest and the programmer) because it is important to think that for every rejection you receive, some one may be thinking the same thing about your work:

Dear Lila,
I wanted to send you a personal note to let you know the film did not make it into the Festival. Sadly I could not get everyone to agree on the film and it is what makes being a program director for festivals like this so hard at times when I really believe in a picture but I get voted down. I have been programming festivals for over 11 years and will continue to do so and want to make sure you know that I admire your work. I think you did an amazing job as did the actors and I look forward to seeing your career flourish. I'm sorry I'm unable to screen your film but I look forward to hopefully showing your work somewhere in the future.

Festival Programmer.


sharon and michael at ticouz

sharon and michael at ticouz
Originally uploaded by low rent princess.

this is Sharon Eisman and Michael Wiener of the High Life cast, looking very serious while sitting at the crepe shop Ticouz across from The Roxie Theater. SF, Ca.


Poketo Show in LA - Feb 26


Do you live in LA?

If so, do me a favor and go check out this show put on by Poketo. on Feb 26.

Poketo makes limited edition series of cool wallets and t-shirts designed by emerging artists. The art show features works by the artists in the series 4:

Nathalie Roland, Tom Vadakan, Tom Jackson, Jeana Sohn, Derek Kirk Kim, Martin Cendreda, Brandan Monroe, Evah Fan, and Suzanne Husky.
Gallery Nucleus
30 W Main Street
Alhambra, CA


Automatic Vaudeville

Automatic Vaudeville Studios

I was so lucky to make the acquaintance of a few young men who call themselves "Automatic Vaudville Studios" while camping out at SF Indiefest.

What should you know about these young lads? The live in Montreal, they dress very well, they've been working together for 6 years and they make one movie a week.

Yes, one movie a week (thats what they say at least!)

They're mocumentary "The Recommendations" played at SF indiefest. It seems easy for mocumentary to go awry, but the level of detail and creativity in the work reminded me of Christopher Guest's movies "Best in Show" and "Waiting for Guffman."

They've got at least 15 characters in the movie, the most central being this mentally ill writer Gordon Gary Ross, who accuses another writer, Phillip Swan, of plagiarism. When Gordon sends some dancing thugs to beat the crap out of Swan, some pretty intense violence ensues.

At which point this mocumentary becomes very human. An unexpected twist that took me a while to respond to.

Happily, Automatic vaudeville sent me off with a DVD of some of their other work, which is also sharp and funny.


Trying to put things in Perspective.

how many years will you travel
Originally uploaded by low rent princess.

It's a good thing I ended up at the Hayden/ Rose Planetarium (NYC) yesterday since my head was in the clouds!

The universe is 13 billion years old. Human culture is only 30,000 years old.

These are good things to think about when Variety Magazine's Dennis Harvey gives your film the following review:

High Life

A Day and Night Sweatshops production. Produced, directed, edited by Lila Yomtoob. Screenplay by cast, from a story by Yomtoob.

With: Michael Wiener, Priscilla Holbrook, Sam Marks, Max Faugno, Sharon Eisman, James Ford, Doug Paulson, Sunah Biltsted.

By Dennis Harvey

Made on a microbudget, DV feature "High Life" is a slice of twentysomething Brooklynite life that might easily have turned pat or stagey, yet emerges a razor-sharp miniature, capturing the precise moment when prolonged adolescence surrenders to sober adulthood. Solid fest item won't be an easy commercial sell, but certainly bodes well for the future of director Lila Yomtoob and her collaborators.

Helmer and cast worked up the script during an intensive three-month rehearsal period, improvising all dialogue. Often this sort of path leads toward actorish indulgence, but not here. Young artist Sy (Michael Wiener) has recently acquired a live-in girlfriend in slightly older, much more together Melissa (Priscilla Holbrook). She urges him to get serious about his career, a notion he views with ambivalence, and which in any case looks unlikely to happen so long as junior sib Satchel (Sam Marks) and pals use the expansive loft space as their permanent party pad. During the course of a single day, all tensions come to the fore, with some surprising results. Perfs, language, and tech/design aspects are perfectly honed (albeit with a near-excess of jump-cutting) to mine situation's naturalistic seriocomedy.

Camera (color, DV), Brian Newman; music, Douce; production designer, Brit Till. Reviewed at San Francisco Indie Film Festival, Feb. 6, 2005. Running time: 72 MIN.

Web only

Posted: Thurs., Feb. 17, 2005, 5:32pm PT

me and half of the good looking cast

me and my good looking cast
Originally uploaded by low rent princess.

It had been a while since this combination of cast members have seen eachother. And damn are they good looking! Look at the glowing skin! The beautiful eyes! And they are talented too!

From right to left: Sunah Biltsed (Stella) Max Faugno (Bosco), Low Rent Princess (Director) Sharon Eisman (Maya) and Michael Wiener (Sy). Bombay Ice Cream, Mission Street, San Francisco, Feb 13, 2005. SF Indiefest.


The East Van Porn Collective has another secret


Made in Secret: The Story of the East Van Porn Collective.

This is one of the movies I saw at indiefest. I had met a few of the members of the collective on the first day of the festival, when I showed up to get my festival pass. I thought to myself: what normal, friendly pornographers!

I wanted to see the movie even more.

The way the EVPC makes their porn is by consensus. They will not do anything unless all 8 members agree. They are all friends, and have been friends for many years. They want to make porn that is fun and sexy with young cute artsy people with real bodies. It is a response to how bad and unrealistic porn is in general, and how poorly sex is portrayed in the movies. No one but themselves will ever see the vdeos they make, thus, the "in secret" part.

Made in Secret is rich with stories and characters and conflicts. And...

One of the things I really responded to, on the same idealistic tip of the collective, was how each individual pushed the limits of their own sexual identities, for their own sake as well as that of making a vision come true. Professor University (they all have pseudonyms) gets it on with another guy for the first time. JD Superstar gets comfortable with showing off her natural body. Monster admits to being turned on in a girl/girl scene.

While watching the film, I wished for a safe space in which I could explore my sexuality, which is what the EVPC has created for themselves. It's so idealistic that it's almost mythical.

Which brings me to the EVPC's other secret, which they hinted at before the show, and which I learned about in full at dinner.

Before I write about it, I will check with the Van Porns to see if it's okay. I dont want this experience of going public to hurt their chances of people seeing the film!

The point being: if this film comes to a festival near you, GO SEE IT.

BTW: if you go to, it is the website for the east valley pentacostal church. hahaha!

BTW 2: There is a magazine called Sweet Action which is a nudie mag made for girls of cute artsy boys. ;)


My fortune

My fortune
Originally uploaded by low rent princess.

At San Francisco's Musee Mecanique, a museum that houses old penny arcade machines, I recieved the following fortune by putting my hand on a glass case that held a typewriter. From the vibrations of my hand, the magical typewriter generated this fortune..not bad eh?


this is an audio post - click to play


but I am a filmmaker!

So the more I think about it, shit, I am a filmmaker.
In fact, I am a director.
Because of how my cookie crumbled, in order to realize high life, I had to be the producer, director and editor. It wasn't how I would have liked it to happen.
So I can make sure it doesn't happen again.


maybe I'm not a filmmaker??

Last night I had a very interesting conversation with Bruce Fletcher (aka film saint) about "the future."

We got on the topic me continuing my film career, and I told him that my new ideas require some money. I told him briefly that because the way High Life was so low budget, it nearly killed me, and that I wasn't willing to go that road again.

And he said to me, "well, maybe you're not a filmmaker."

I've often wondered this too.

But I also wonder if it's neccessary to go through what I went through. Surely, I am older and wiser, and the technology is better. But since I am a little older, I need to sleep a little more. I need a few more creature comforts. And the idea of having a relationship with a guy instead of my work has crossed my mind more than once.

If I choose to be a filmmaker, is it neccessary for me to be such a martyr? Don't I get to be human? It's a movie for godsakes. I'm not rebuilding cities, or stopping the next wave of neo nazism. ya know what I mean?

If anyone is reading this, please post some advice for me. Please.

I am going to go give myself a better haircut now.

The Taste of Tea


Many of the scenes in The Taste of Tea could be a short film onto itself.

This is a most beautiful film, coming from Japan.

If it wasnt 3:18 am, I would write more about it.

I hope this movie gets released in America.

We're gonna be on tv!

Film Festival Channel

So there is a new tv station called the film festival channel.

They are going to interview me (an possibley the cast) as part of their coverage of SF Indiefest. We are taping on Sunday, a few hours before our screening. I'm sure I will look great, since I'll be freaking out about the screening! Too bad a forgot to loose 20 pounds!

I quickly skimmed their website. Besides festival coverage, the are trying to have a "broadcast film festival." If you get invited to their broadcast film festival, you dont get paid for your movie. Which means a movie is on tv, but the filmmaker isn't seeing a dime. hmmmm.

jeff ross is a kick ass renegade and tod booth was very happily drunk tonight

I'm really behind on writing, so things are not really chronological here.

A few days ago I met jeff ross, who is the festival director.
It didnt take long to get the niceties out of the way before we got to the nitty gritty:
He told me about his vintage car, his dog (who he hadnt seen for days because he's been working so hard), burning man stories (he has worked on the "mad max like geodesic dome") and burning bush (where it's still okay to carry a gun). When I told him that I was afraid of burning man because it sounds like it's a bunch of naked people on acid, he asssured me that most of the naked people are good looking, and that there is a "pants slingshot" that will throw a pair of pants your way if indeed you should be wearing them.


The Made in Secret folks had taken Tod Booth, one of the festival programmers, out drinking so he was happy and warm and toasty by the time I saw him. Tod was very sincere when he talked about Made in Secret, which seems like it's a personal favorite of his. I can't wait to see it myself!

Tod also generously informed me that alot of people are saying good things about High Life, and that he hopes to see it himself on Sunday evening.

shiiiiiiit. As sincere (yes, Tod is sincere enough to use the same adjective twice) as he was about this, I think it is best to try to keep my two feet on the ground and swallow a few grains of salt.


I'm on the radio! Thursday 2/10!

--~}-Pirate Cat Radio 87.9 fm-{~-

I'm gonna be guest dj on pirate cat radio's show "headphone record" with dj oshare neko! You can listen on line at or if you are in SF on 87.9 fm. I'll be on 2pm - 4pm (which is 5pm to 8 pm east coast time).



1st screening @ the roxie: second impression

To be honest,

beofre the first screening of High Life, I did everything I could to remain calm. I took Kava Kava, I took deep breaths. I drank some whiskey.

Until I drank the wiskey, I felt like I didnt have control over my bodily funtions. I was worried I was going to shit myself, vomit of hyperventilate.

It didnt help that at every chance he got, my father reminded me that it was Superbowl Sunday, and that that people might not come. Thanks Abe.

I turned off my cell phone, and gained control.

People came to see the movie! yay! There were a good amount of people there, and only 2 older women walked out.

The audeience really reacted to the film, and many stayed for the Q/A. Bruce Fletcher, the programmer who lead the Q/A, was very sincere in his questions and compliments of the film.

Bruce had noticed that the copyright on the film is 2003, and he wondered what has been going on with the project since then. This was the most difficult question to answer, since in my mind, it addresses my failure as a producer. I told him that I did my best to get it out there, with cold calling, sending out festival submission, and that I just didnt have any luck.

Audience members wanted to know things like: the logistics of the making of the film, how the actors were cast, what Stella's character background is, if I've ever thought of directing theater...stuff like that.

It was great to have Sharon Eisman and Michael Wiener with me, I think we all enjoyed the positive attention we recieved.

I've relaxed since we've had the first screening, and in fact I'm a little sick (it's going around). I'm not as nervous about screening #2, which rivals the closing night film.


screening 1 @ roxie: first impression

this is an audio post - click to play

Bruce Fletcher is Nice, and so is Alicia and Fay

Bruce Fletcher is the programmer for Indiefest. I saw him standing on the street talking to no one, and since I had taken Kava Kava, I wasn't too nervous to approach him and say hi.

He told me wht he programmed High Life in the festival. His story went something like this:

I watch High Life
And I was walking down the street thinking about it.
And then the next day, I was walking down the street, thinking about it.
And then the third day I was still walking around thinking about it.

I couldn't get it out of my head! so I put it in the festival.

Thanks Bruce!

Alicia must be a co-ordinator of some sort. She gave me my all access festival pass. She is really friendly and helpful, even though she has a lot to do.

Fay approached me boldly at the Big Labowski Party: "Are you a filmmaker?!" She is our hospitality contact, and gave us free drink tickets.

Thanks Alicia abd Fay!

That party was pretty cool by the way. But I had to leave early due to "other commitments" (my legs weren't going to hold me up any longer.

So Freakin Tired

I am so tired from running around that I'm not even nervous about today's screening, which my father cant help but remind me every two seconds, is on superbowl sunday. "If people don't show up, you know there is a reason."

I'm sure I'm not nervous yet because it's only 8:45 am. Yesterday morning I had a freak out. I'm trying to be such a tough cookie. But when I went to the tailor, and my pants werent ready, I just couldnt take it anymore.

Nathalie and Damon brought me tissues and water, and I took some Kava Kava, and we went to Boogaloo's for breakfast. Tofu scramble with peanut ginger sauce, spinach and basil.

yummy cure for the freak outs.

On the radio! Part 1

KALX Radio: 90.7fm Berkeley

Our man Chris Wiggum, who is the Associate in Larsen Associates, the PR company for Indiefest, was kind enough to drive Sharon Eisman and I to Berkeley today for a stint on the KALX show "Film Close Ups" with Greg Sharpen.

For a New Yorker l ike myself, being in a car is novel enough. Greg invited us to pick out music selections from to KALX library to play during the show. I literally got dizzy looking at all of the cds. I didnt even know how to look through the LPs, so when I had an idea for a song that I couldnt find on cd, Greg would look through the records for me, with ease and familiarity.

I picked out:

Peggy Lee - Fever
Ricky Lee Jones - Chuck E's in love
Cornelius- Brasil (this is still stuck in my head)
Fourtet- My angel rocks back and forth

Greg didn't ask too many straight forward questions, which kind of threw me off, but he engaged us in a dialogue, and I got used to his style. He was interested in our filmmakking and rehearsal process and how it compared to experimental film and theater.

It was really great to have Sharon along, because she was really good at addressing some of his points. I think we played off each other well. Damon and Nathalie recorded it for me, so one of these days I'll have a listen, or post some of it here or on the High Life Website.

Advice on Perserverance

Last night I went to dinner with my dad. His encouraging words included the following story:

While the Jews were leaving Egypt, and the time came for the people to cross the water, they were scared of not surviving the journey.

Moses said "Hurry up, run! The Egyptians are right behind you! Besides, a little water wont hurt."

The moral of the story: A little water wont hurt.


San Francisco is beautiful

Dear San Francisco,

You are beautiful. Do you think someone in San Francisco would want to give me a job so I can stay here?

Brooklyn is cool and everything, but yesterday me and Nathalie walked from the panhandle to Baker Beach, and wow! Thank you for the t-shirt wearing weather, and for Joe's Ice Cream on Geary Street. And of course for the park and the beautful beach.

Today I am going to go put posters and flyers for High Life around the mission district. Hopefully I won't get to distracted by you, San Francisco. I need to get some work done around here too, ya know!


Tonight is, yes, the opening night of Indiefest. It is a good thing I have a blog now, since I feel like an adolescent girl going to a school dance!

If you click on San Francisco is Beautiful, the link will take you to headphone record, which belongs to a friend of mine named Nathalie Roland, who is a printmaker, and a dj. She is playing with Scrabbel tonight and tomorrow night (vocals and xylaphone), she hosts "headphone record" on (more on that later), and she will be in the upcoming Poketo show in LA (more on that later too).

Sorry I'm not blog savvy enough to link all this stuff individually. yet.

this is f-ing cool

SF IndieBlog

The SF Indiefest people wrote about High Life on their blog. I'm so excited that I am going to cry, and it's only 8 am.

After working on High Life for soooo long, after cold calling executives, sending out package after package, spending my savings on this film that feels like a money grubbling addiction, it is soo nice to get some attention. For the longest time I was operating in a vacuum (my bedroom), and even if I still work out of my bedroom, at least some people will be seeing the movie!




Thanks to early-adopter for continually helping me with the high life website. his site is cool looking. He is also making cool paintings of stuffed animals. I have to go catch a plane now. I am in the airport getting ready to go!