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October 27, 2005

Comments

Joe Swanberg

I totally agree that a filmmaker support network that allows a film like mine to play alternative venues around the US is going to have to be created grass roots style. I think tools like MySpace will help that happen. I'm excited about the potential. This is a good time to be an indie filmmaker.

Giovanni Sanseviero

Hello there,
I'm offering the following to anyone whom enjoys film work. Your're clearly in there. Thank you. Giovanni Sanseviero, Dir.
---------
“I do enjoy sharing my work with others.”

Please check out
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402991/combined
(and/or)
www.theemptybuilding.org

for information regarding "The Empty Building," a 40 Min. Drama,
now on its 36th Film Festival acceptance and the recipient of 18 awards.

If interested, e-mail
info@theemptybuilding.org

with a mailing address. A DVD and press kit will be mailed to you all free of charge including shipping. ALL FREE OF CHARGE, NO STRINGS.

Likewise, if there's any Indie Shorts you'd like me to see, direct me to a website or just mail it on over to:

Empty Building Production Corp.
3108 Northern Blvd., 2nd Fl.
Long Island City, NY 11101

I enjoy keeping informed of what’s going on out there on the festival circuit and abroad,
who's doing what, and who knows what could come of it. At best, it’ll be entertaining.

Check out a film clip:

http://www.theemptybuilding.org/default.asp?id=57

Thanks,
Giovanni Sanseviero, Dir.
www.theemptybuilding.org

lauren

Hey bloggy –

If you “can't claim to know the entire truth” about the union situation, why not ask before attacking a site in support of unionizing customer service workers? Isn’t attacking something without knowing the entire truth the definition of knee-jerk reaction? And isn’t attacking the efforts of 19 employees who serve you popcorn for $7.25 an hour just kinda mean?

Either you didn’t read much of kendallunion.org, or you intentionally wanted to discredit it. Here are a few errors in your post which I feel need to be corrected.

1) The quote from Lauren Ryder, which is me by the way, is from an article in Boston’s weekly Dig, as stated on the site. There are also links to an IndyMedia article about the union and one from The Patriot Ledger.

The way you introduced this quote insinuates that the comments were just from the site, rather than quoted from the local media. I feel this misrepresents us just a little bit.

2) The site also contains several articles about the Union drive of three Landmark Theaters last year in Minneapolis. These labor issues are not unique to Boston.

3) I rarely post things about Mark Cuban directly, although after his incoherent response, I’m tempted to. All the work issues the Kendall has would have happened under any other business dude. It’s just really hard not to mention Cuban occasionally since he continually makes a spectacle out of himself. Did you see The Benefactor? Seriously.

I posted the Truly Indie thing because I think it’s a funny concept, and yes, I think that comparing his new program to a hooker is also funny. Sorry, that’s how I roll.

Generally, I just update the films playing at the Kendall and occasionally some news (as we are currently in negotiations, there isn’t a whole lot of news to broadcast at the moment). I do make fun of a union busting firm called Labor Relations Solutions, which Landmark hired to try to get us to vote against the union. Which, for the record, I believe is more obnoxious than “shrill”.

If you, or anyone, wants more information feel free to ask. There are forums and contact info on the site.

Oh, and for those who didn’t get the reference “Tuly, Truly, Truly Outrageous” is a pop culture reference to the Gem theme song. Personally, I only find “Truly Indie” to be slightly, slightly, slightly, outrageous.

AJ Schnack

Lauren,

Thanks for coming by,

I'm not sure how you could have felt "attacked" by my post. I checked out your site, just as I checked out another site that has posted on the Kendall Union situation - http://www.markcubanhasnoclothes.com/index2.html
- and my impression after looking around it for a bit was that a.) the tone didn't help your cause and b.) it was difficult to tell exactly what your grievances are.

And I posted exactly that - "I'm happy to hear what the true grievances are of these Landmark employees - there are mentions of a wage freeze since 2002 and the fact that few employees are full-time."

The quote of yours that I used was not in any way a slight to you (I don't know how mentioning it was in the local press changes its meaning), it was an effort to understand the issues involved:

"Lauren Ryder, part of the floor staff, said morale had been decreasing since 2929 Entertainment purchased Landmark in 2003, and began showing advertising before films and pushing for digital projectors instead of 35mm film equipment, while maintaining a prolonged employee wage freeze."

Thus my questions, which no one has yet answered:

Is your fight solely a wage freeze/part time v full time problem?

Or are "quality of life" issues like commercials, merchandising, digital, etc. the things that really piss you off (or are you just trying to use those issues to demonstrate to your customers that something is off the tracks at the Kendall?)

Frankly, I care a lot about the theater situation in Boston, particularly about the fate of the Brattle. I'd be glad to revisit the Kendall situation if I knew what the specific issues the union was asking for. What are your specific demands?

AJ

lauren

AJ,

Thanks for having me.

I think my basic issue with your post is that if you cared enough to mention the union, why didn’t you care enough to actually post your questions on the kendallunion site, rather than just here, and then complain that you have unanswered questions?

"I'm not sure how you could have felt "attacked" by my post."

Perhaps I’m reacting to the fact that your questions turn towards the staff as to way they would want a union, which I think is obvious, rather than wondering why Cuban would spend so much to keep one out. Why did you use his vague quote about “issues” rather than his statement “I cant claim to be pro union at all.” which appeared in that same post? Why are anti-Cuban comments shrill and his not?

"I don't know how mentioning it was in the local press changes its meaning"

First, it’s incorrectly referenced, which just bugs me. If I see a quote on your blog taken from an article, I wouldn’t attribute your site as the origin of the quote. Second, if someone says they just read something on some blog, or they just read it in the paper…which gets more weight in your mind?

"What are your specific demands?"

I’m going to pull a Mark Cuban and not give you specifics just yet. As I mentioned, we are in negotiations now, so I don’t know if mentioning specifics is cool or not.

I’m sure I can safely say that unions provide regular wage increases, a grievance process for employees and a voice in the workplace. All of which are very nice things.

"Or are "quality of life" issues like commercials, merchandising, digital, etc. the things that really piss you off"

Commercials before films upset me personally. I think selling Landmark merch is super-funny (have you ever wanted to buy a Landmark t-shirt?). Digital will be great if used properly. These things are different issues, but some of them reflect the short-sighted mentality that results in cutting hours/freezing wages/etc.

"(or are you just trying to use those issues to demonstrate to your customers that something is off the tracks at the Kendall?)"

We have never really had to use anything to show the customers that something was off track. They point it out the off-trackiness all the time. They complain about commercials, they dislike the new ticketing system, they would like it if there was enough staff to get them through line faster and stop theater hoppers. Our customers have been, and continue to be, very supportive of the union and the staff. Since the election in July, I’ve regularly had patrons congratulate us and some even offer their help if we need it. I have yet to have a single customer suggest the staff should not be union, or to challenge the premise that floor staff deserve to be treated fairly. I (heart) Cambridge.

AJ Schnack

Lauren,

OK, fair enough that I didn't post on your site. However, as you yourself say, you're not going to give me specifics right now. So, my main question - what is/are the grievance(s) - remains unanswered.

I went to your site both because you had linked to the discussion here and because there had been discussion on the Chlotrudis site about labor issues at the Kendall and troubles at the Brattle - both of which seemed to point towards Mark Cuban. I was struck, as noted above, with the virulent tone against Cuban, perhaps you view it as satirical, but not sure it comes off that way to the uninitiated.

Ultimately, I think websites are sources of information. Your site - www.kendallunion.org - means to be a public voice for your union and your cause. Someone checking out your site shouldn't, I don't think, have to post a question to get basic information about who you are, what you do and your issues.

But clearly, you guys are still coming up with a public face to put on your demands - which is certainly your right, but not entirely effective, in my opinion.

Finally, I'm not sure where you get the notion that I am questioning why labor would want to unionize. I don't think that's a fair reading of my initial post at all.

Look, I've got an open mind; I've tried to present accurately what I could find "out there" about your cause and Cuban's response on your site. When the union is ready to go public with your specific issues, I'll be happy to revisit the issue.

And I'm glad that community support has been strong for you. I'd expect nothing less from Bostonians.

AJ

lauren

Quick FYI
Just wanted to let you know that The Kendall opened Ice Harvest last week.

I think this is the first time we opened a film at the same time it opened at our local AMC and Loews chains.

Movie Buff

A great film that is going around the country is 'The Genius Club' about 7 geniuses who are forced to solve the world's problems in 1 night.

http://www.TheGeniusclubmovie.com

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