Wednesday, December 3, 2008

will sex sell? - Alan Abel @ the Bloor Cinema in Toronto 12/7/08

Our Canadian distributor, films we like, has set up a special day of screenings at the Bloor Cinema on 12/7/08 to kick off our Canadian DVD release next week. ABEL RAISES CAIN will be shown along with my parents' classic mockumentary, IS THERE SEX AFTER DEATH? (1971).

View the trailer of IS THERE SEX AFTER DEATH?
Driving through New York City in his Sexmobile, Dr. Harrison Rogers (Alan Abel) of the Bureau of Sexological Investigation, searches out luminary figures in the world of sex. The legendary fake sex documentary by Alan and Jeanne Abel, "the first really funny R-rated movie ever made...outrageous and brilliant...the sexual revolution raked over the coals!" stars Buck Henry, Robert Downey Sr., Holly Woodlawn, and one-time MAD magazine writer, Earle Doud.
This is a rare exhibition on the big screen not be missed! Alan Abel will be doing Q&As after each screening. Come one, come all!

SUNDAY DEC 7th, 2008 - 2 FILMS for the PRICE of 1!

Bloor Cinema
506 Bloor St West
Toronto, ON M5S 1Y3

1:00 (PG)
3:00 (R)
5:15 (PG)
7:15 (R)

Buck Henry wearing a wig behind the scenes with Iris Brooks...
Alan Abel and Buck Henry, both masters of the art of deadpan...
The SEX OLYMPICS contestants during an intermission...
A therapy session at the Bureau of Sexological Investigation...

Monday, November 10, 2008

abel raises cain on LINK TV

I've used several analogies to describe the life of our film, ABEL RAISES CAIN. The arduous journey making it (7 years+) and our subsequent premiere and unexpected win at Slamdance, I refer to as the 'Tortoise and the Hare' period. What followed was a seemingly unstoppable but slow-paced 'Wounded Race Horse that Kept on Running.' Now I've decided our movie has taken on the form of a Giant Mutant Earthworm - It's lived beyond normal life expectancy, it keeps growing, it travels at a determined albeit wiggly pace, and it has the remarkable ability to continually regenerate itself.

Maybe this analogy doesn't work very well, but the point is...I'm happy to report that interest in my dad's story and his work continues. Last month, he spoke at MIT [Check out the Boston Phoenix article by Ian Sands]. He then traveled to the UK to lecture at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. This past weekend, he was in Concord, New Hampshire at the S.N.O.B. film festival for the screening of his 1974 film, THE FAKING OF THE PRESIDENT. This week (11/13/08), he goes to Troy, NY [The Sanctuary for Independent Media] to host a Q&A following a screening of ABEL RAISES CAIN. Next month, he travels to Toronto for our opening and DVD release party at the Bloor Cinema.

Every time I think that things are winding down to a slow trickle, it starts pouring again. I know how lucky we are to have my dad as a film subject. I mean, you really can't ask for a more interesting person to follow around with a camera. But back to the worm analogy, it's as if the film has regenerated itself on BOTH ends. ABEL RAISES CAIN feeds interest in my father and his work - and people who read or hear about my dad want to see the movie. I am really overjoyed that it's worked out this way.

Incidentally, I think the 'b' in blog stands for babble. So without further ado, if you have not seen the documentary yet and you're interested in finding out more about Alan Abel, please tune your satellite dial to LINK TV [CHANNEL DETAILS ARE HERE] on November 16th, 2008. There are additional broadcasts on November 26th, 29th, and 30th. [ABEL RAISES CAIN AIR TIMES ON LINK TV]

ABEL RAISES CAIN is airing as part of DOC-DEBUT, a series on Link TV highlighting unique and groundbreaking international documentary films. Each week features the U.S. television premiere of a new doc, offering American audiences unprecedented perspectives on world events and culture, as seen through the eyes of individuals across the globe. The series also provides a unique outlet for films by independent directors and producers to reach a much wider international audience.

DOC-DEBUT airs every Sunday at 8:00 pm Pacific and every Saturday at 8:00 Eastern. [Click here] to SEE THE 'ABEL RAISES CAIN' program listing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

alan abel vs. AT&T

I've come to the realization that my dad's performance never ends and he's "in" character more often than he's not. The following should be prefaced with the fact that we all face indignities in life, especially in the age of automation and monopolized corporate control. But my father seems to vent his frustrations in interesting ways...he emailed this to me recently:


If line is busy, please hang up and try again. If line is still busy, hang up and try again. Should line continue to be busy, hang up and press REDIAL. If you hear a busy signal, hang up and wait for five minutes. Then dial again. When you hear the rapid buzz of a busy signal, you’ll know that the line is still busy. Wait another five minutes, hold your breath and quickly dial again. You might get lucky and reach a recorded message. Or perhaps a request: Please don’t hang up. We value your call and want to service you (remember, some of our trained specialists like to give our premium services to you up the ass). You are now number 197 on the waiting list. If you hang up you will lose your place. Please be patient because we truly love our customers. Even if you defect to Verizon or one of those other carpetbagger companies, we will try to seduce you into coming back to us. There are gifts waiting for you, disgruntled customer. For example, we have 100,000 toasters from recently failed banking institutions FREE to you. Also, one-million plastic coffee cups from Bear Sterns (only two to a customer) and 50,000 electric blankets we bought from Good Will that they refused to handle (their insurance doesn’t cover lawsuits; so for God’s sake don’t have a nocturnal emission under one of them). Are you still on the line, dear customer? If so, call again and keep trying, keep trying, keep trying, keep trying (that’s a subliminal message dummy). On second thought, why don’t you try us during our lowest level of incoming calls between the hours of l:00 am and 6:00 am. But keep in mind that our office hours are 8:00 am to 6:00 pm EST. Don’t despair. If you don’t mind waiting for two or three hours, we’ll play music to soothe the savage beast on hold. Yes, spendthrift customer, you may use profanity. We understand your frustrations but we really cherish your business more. Our rates might be sneaking upward by a few pennies per account monthly, but you won’t know it for awhile. And this does ease the pain when you’re being screwed. Voila! You have reached a recorded representative in our customer service lounge. Yes, our employees may work for peanuts but they are treated like real people, not recordings. So there! If you’re still with us, please press 1 if you speak English; press 2 if you prefer Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew, Portuguese, Creole, Romanian, Farsi or Latin. Our international operators are standing by and will handle your crisis in the order that customers are waiting on line. You would be number 937 and we estimate 13 hours for you to be heard. If you wish to nap, eat, do laundry, wash dishes, take a walk or even have sex, we’ll be happy to call you back for an additional charge of $17.50 added to your bill. Press 3 if you would like to hear some music while you wait impatiently. Otherwise, press 4 to learn of our new deals that can cost you more money but make you feel powerful because you have it all! We’re talking about call waiting, call forwarding, call interruption, call answering, call recording and call “up yours” for responding to telemarketers. Also video-phone that will allow you to be seen and to see your caller. Imagine the excitement if you catch your Aunt in the nude. Or Uncle Fred masturbating! Wow, where are the cops when you want them. Hahaha, that was a joke, customers. We like to have a little fun once in awhile. Oh yes, almost forgot. Press 5 if you would like to give up your place on line to the person behind you, also waiting impatiently. It’s a small gesture, customer, but if you do this, call again when you’re in the mood to be played with and be sure to have a nice day. Watch your road rage!

A.T.&T has what it takes, to take what you’ve got. That’s why we love our customers.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

virtually fund-raising

Now that From Here to Awesome (see post below) is in full swing, our movie can be streamed or downloaded at IndieFlix, Caachi, Heretic and B-side. More outlets will be added over the coming months. Please stay tuned to our FHTA page.

The cool thing about the fest is that we've worked out a favorable profit split with all of the partner outlets. So not only are we reaching a wider audience via this virtual festival, we're also sharing the returns. A filmmaker actually earning revenue directly in a festival situation is a rarity!

While we continue to market and promote ABEL RAISES CAIN, I'm asking everyone to please help us fund-raise for our next project. All you have to do is click on the image below and sign up for an OurStage account. We receive $4.00 for every person who joins! It sounds crazy, yes. But it's not a hoax, I promise. There are no obligations, you can un-tick the 'receive newsletter' box in the sign-up area if you'd like. And you don't have to do anything other than register!

Thanks to everyone in advance for your help. Our goal is $2,000.00 and so far we're at $4.00. So we definitely need all of the help we can get!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the abels are not finished yet...

While all of Hollywood is scurrying around like a bunch of headless chickens, worrying about the sky falling and the gloomy fate of independent film, especially documentaries, Jeff and I have been calmly jogging along with our movie at a slow yet steady pace, ignoring the chaos around us. And it's finally paying off!

We just found out that ABEL RAISES CAIN made it into the FROM HERE TO AWESOME showcase! We were one of the top 12 features and 10 shorts programmed based on audience demand. Variety announced the news this week: (Thompson on Hollywood). So THANKS to everyone out there who voted for us! We are really excited about this unique opportunity. It is exactly the push we need to get the film out to as wide an audience as possible AND we're really looking forward to seeing where this unprecedented experiment leads us. Please stay tuned...

Also, if there are any LA folks out there who are interested in funding, creating, distributing and sustaining yourselves as filmmakers in these shifting times, please come to DIY days next week. JOIN THE REVOLUTION!

DIY DAYS | fund :: create :: distribute :: sustain
July 26th 9:30am to 7:30pm
Under Spring, 1745 North Spring #4, Los Angeles, CA 90012
For further info, please visit:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

from prankster to daughter

If there was ever living proof of a weird dad, this is it. Here is a response from my father after receiving our friend request on Facebook...

"I really don't need any new friends. Nor do I want them. A day doesn't go by that someone, somehow, found me and wants to be my friend. One nerd from college days suggested we have dinner. He still has snot dripping from his hairy nose!!! Why would I want to have dinner with this shit-head, except maybe to throw up on him. But that's not my style either. So I'm going to ignore him. I'll try to behave with Jenny and Jeff as friends. But don't expect any special favors. And don't visit me if you value your lives. I have two pit bulls at the ready, an electrified fence and sink holes all over the property. Other than that you're welcome to drop by any day during August. I'll be in Europe that month. Help yourselves to the stale bagels and sour swordfish. The key is under the mat. No hot water or electricity (forgot to pay the bills) but you'll find a way to cope. If not, please take me off your list. Thanks. AA"

I received this letter from him in the mail...

"Dear Jenny, here I am writing you by snail mail, and on Father's Day. Oh well, I might NOT be your father - so your mom informed me the other day. Now it's a guessing game. Could it be that handsome man at the city dump who always helps with our garbage? He does have a bedroom glint in his eyes. Or maybe Buck Henry, who mom has had a crush on for 46 years? You do have his sense of humor. Oh well, let it pass. I'll continue to pretend to be your real father. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Love and kisses, Dad."

I definitely have my dad's eyes, so the garbage man is out of the question. But I did start thinking about Buck and my mom. I dug through my archive of old snapshots and found this photo. They do seem to be frolicking...and up to something. But it couldn't have been too serious since, presumably, it was my dad taking the photo.

My father and his aliases have mailed off some crazy stuff to me over the years. I have saved every single note, drawing, card, letter, court document, editorial and article he has ever sent. It's not a pack-rat thing, although my family has been known to hoard. It's not mere sentimentality. I just happen to think my dad is pretty fucking funny. The microphone and spotlight are always on, even when he's writing a letter. Or appearing in public. My dad claims he just happened to be wearing this T-shirt to a recent screening of Tim Jackson's Radical Jesters (Photo taken by Maureen and Dennis Jackson).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

the reviews are coming, the reviews are coming

When I tell people that we're self-distributing, their response is similar to that of expressing condolences or acting as if we were just diagnosed with leprosy. The idea of filmmakers taking control of their creative work is not unprecedented. However, straying from the norm and exploring alternative paths to distribute a film is still pretty strange to some folks. Well, in the spirit of my dad, we're going against the grain. We didn't play by the rules when we were making the documentary, so why should we start playing by the rules at this stage of the game?

The DVD is still getting additional mentions and positive reviews that we're pretty excited can click on the logos to skim, peruse or read in depth some of the coverage:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

a little push from the press

In the past month or so, we've been fortunate to receive some pretty good media coverage! Considering that we're self-distributing and we don't have our own press agent, exposure like this is really precious to us... posted our first official DVD review by Joe Keohane (click the pic to read the article):

Also, this past weekend (before April Fool's Day), Brooke Gladstone of NPR interviewed my dad and I on On the Media:

Here is the audio clip from that segment, called "Prank Calling":

Finally, David Nanasi wrote this nice review ("Biting Back at the Media") on the PBS | POV blog (click the graphic to read to the post):

So, please stay tuned as this crazy journey continues...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

taking the world by storm?

My dad and I finally returned from an adventure-filled journey to Spain and I'm not sure where our travels will take us next. I guess it depends on the next invitation that we receive in our inbox from a far-away place. In the beginning (or I should say, at the end, when the film was in the can and we started doing festivals), I was hesitant to screen our documentary anywhere that we couldn't physically be. So, whatever travel expenses the festival couldn't pay for, we picked up the difference. I don't regret those expenditures. Although, in retrospect, it seems silly or maybe downright crazy. But, at the time, I was so attached to the project. I couldn't bear the thought of NOT being there during those early screenings. I have finally recovered from this addiction, although my dad has the bug still, even after three years!

He is always up for attending screenings and he, of course, loves adventures. His suitcase is already packed, ready to go. Unfortunately, we did not make it to Belgrade, Republic of Serbia or Guangzhou, People's Republic of China or Athens, Greece. But at least our movie made it there, which means, by default, that we were there in spirit!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Influencers

My dad and I are taking off for Barcelona in a few hours. He's gargling in the bathroom right now...somebody sneezed on him last week and he's recovering from a bad cold.

We've been invited to attend a festival in Spain called The Influencers. It's a three-day event "devoted to surreal, controversial and visionary examples of mutation in media and entertainment, modified digital technologies, and radical experiments with the public of global communication." Where does my dad fit into this crazy description? Somewhere between infiltration and manipulation of the media with a healthy dose of satire (and sometimes toilet humor) mixed with performance art.

Past years have included guests such as the Yes Men, Joey Skaggs, DJ Spooky, and the Reverend Billy. It should be cool, interesting, weird and fun. ABEL RAISES CAIN is screening with Spanish subtitles!

I never imagined that we would one day travel to Spain together, let alone as a result of a movie that I would spend close to a decade toiling away on about his life. This documentary is somewhere between a wounded horse that keeps running the race and a wandering prostitute. We can't stop it, it just keeps going and going, and it gets around. I just told my friends in New York recently that we should enjoy the ride while it lasts. I know that my dad is having the time of his life. I can't help but to think this is all leading somewhere positive. And along the way, my dad's story is spreading to corners of the world I never thought possible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

where do we go from here?

Throughout this whole crazy trip we've been on with the film, somewhere deep down inside I knew that we would be okay...that it wouldn't matter whether or not we landed a distribution deal the first year of our festival circuit run. We had heard about shady deals and unhappy filmmakers. And in the back of my mind lurked all the negative stories that my parents had told me about how they got screwed over by their past distributors (for their film, Is There Sex After Death?). Also, I felt pretty strongly that my dad's story was timeless and that somebody would eventually come along and see the potential in our documentary.

It's pretty ironic that the digital age enabled Jeff and I to make our film, but also threw a monkey wrench into the works of all the major motion picture companies. Studios began floundering and scrambling to catch up with the new technology while their stronghold in the industry began to crumble. In turn, their slow demise is what's allowing independent filmmakers to self-distribute their work.

I just read in MovieMaker magazine that 20,000 new independent films are produced every year. We're lumped in there somewhere along with all of the other filmmakers like us who edit movies in their living rooms on Macs equipped with Final Cut Pro. Also in this mix are the major's subsidiaries like Sony Pictures Classics and Warner Independent. Although I have never understood how a multi-million dollar budget film can be considered independent. Okay, I'm starting to sound like Andy Rooney from 60 minutes...

We've remained truly independent, licensing to a few foreign TV channels on our own and holding onto the remainder of the rights to our film - and we ultimately control the path that ABEL RAISES CAIN takes.

So now what? We have to be clever and take advantage of the networking opportunities that the internet age has to offer. There are several independents making waves right now and we have been keeping our eyes on them. Lance Weiler (Head Trauma), Arin Crumley and Susan Buice (Four Eyed Monsters), and M Dot Strange (We Are the Strange) are four filmmakers who have pioneered unbelievably innovative paths in terms of distributing their work.

These guys, collectively, have started up a new online discovery and distribution fest called From Here to Awesome. Their mission is "to create a direct connection between filmmaker and audience...FHTA attempts to create multiple revenue opportunities for the festival filmmakers by providing a platform that enables distribution across multiple outlets - mobile, online, living rooms and theaters. Filmmakers retain all their rights and choose how to price their work."

Filmmakers are encouraged to submit a 3-minute video explaining why their film is "awesome" and deserves to be seen by a wider audience. So, Jeff and I have spent the last week preparing our submission video. Here is the fruit of our labor:

If you are reading this now, please follow the above link and click on the big button that says, THIS FILM SEEMS AWESOME! You'll be led to a screen that allows you a chance to vote. Please help us even further and spread the link of our video as widely as humanly possibly (MySpace, Facebook, Blogs, etc).
Filmmakers who make it to the top ten are showcased during the month of April at participating venues throughout the world. This could be really instrumental in terms of us finally reaching our audience! Thank you, everybody!