"Dharma Road"

A Documentary Written, Directed, and Produced by June Inuzuka

Dharma Road Blog

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Posted on February 27, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (6)

I can't believe it??  Best doc??  Wha??  I think those people in LA get it!

I am so absolutely thrilled, I can't tell you!   I feel like I am at the Academy Awards!

THANK YOU ALL :  especially my family who worked for food and late curfews.  Oh and Donna Hansen who worked for baby sitting money!  Most of all,  Tyler Merkel who worked like a dog for almost nothing but belief in a crazy old film student who spent a lot of time crying in her basement.  My talented kids, Andrea, Sam, and Fuji are a blessing beyond belief and my husband, Steve Dreskin, who did not know where all the grocery money was going.  "Tofu has gotten expensive, dear."  Thanks too, to Shannon Umetani , Keiko Ozaki, and Jason McDaniels who gave my film the final polish it needed to get recognized!

Oh this is so trite and crappy-- but so true that there were many times I thought of giving up and thinking NO ONE is going to ever be interested in this but my family.  The amount of guts it takes to finish a film is unbeiievable!

I am already in pre-production for a new feature film. This woman is on fire. Can't believe I am doing this, but get your email lists ready for a hard run at crowd funding for an ass-kickin Asian Cowgirl film staring George Takei and Margaret Cho (They don't know me yet)-- Tarrantino style.  Look for "DIRTY ROTTEN TOFU AND THE GOHAN GIRLS' in the subject matter of future emails-- Here's to the future of a really independent cinema!

Dharma Road Recognized

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (1)

Well, after a series of rejections from the San Francisco Shorts Festival, Seattle Film Festival, New York Asian American Film Festival, San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival, Dallas Asian American Film Festival, Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival, Washington DC Asian American Film Festival, and the Denver International Film Festival, I recently received recognition from the Asians on Film Festival in LA., and the Women Director's International Film Festival.

Dharma Road has gotten some pretty good recognition for a first time filmmaker.  The New York Asian American International Film Festival in New York 2013 was fantastic.  My workshop showing for best new Work-in-Progress was really helpful and exciting.  I hang my "filmmaker" badge on the wall to remind myself I really am a filmmaker  and I still have a few more irons in the fire until I am done with festival submissions.

Finally Done!

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Last edits for the latest version of the documentary, based on comments made at the 2013 New York Asian American Film Festival have been completed and I will be sending it off to festivals this year and next.  Wish me luck!


Posted on July 27, 2013 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, all the latest editing work is done, I've got my press kit packets and posters, and some comfortable walking shoes.  I feel a little light-headed and nervous, like a kid going off to college for the first time.  I can't remember when i've spent a week alone, without Steve or the kids. Probably hasn't happened since I was single.  Boy is that a long time ago!

My sister advised me to get the most comfortable shoes possible so I bought these really expensive Aeoro (sp?) tennnis shoes with their top of the line orthotic inserts for maximum support.  I'm wearing them now and trying to decide if they're worth it.  The Walking Company has figured out women in my age group will pay almost anything for a comfortable shoe that doesn't look like something grandma would wear.  These look like regular cool sneakers with a lime green stripe. But the inserts are a pretty penny and I don't see that the tennis shoes are any better than what you'd buy at a good sports store. 

What am I wearing for my debut as a filmmaker rubbing elbows with New York's Asian American elite?  It's the usual fall back for Asians when they can't figure what else to wear-- black.  Just a black silk shirt and pants and tennis shoes.  I don't want to look like an old lady trying to be hip like those women I sometimes see with too much make-up trying to look younger than they are.  On the other hand, I don't want to look like an old lady.  I'm trying to look appropriate but up-to-date-- kinda casual/arty like I just threw something on that doesn't look like I've been thinking about it for a month.

I'll be writing from New York with my impressions of the New York International Asian American Film Festival by a first time filmmaker at 61.  I won't have much to do during the days than find cool places to write and see movies in the evenings.  How much fun can an old lady have in New York on her own?  I guess I'm about to find out.


Posted on July 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Well, well, well.  I am admittedly in a state of semi-paralyzed amazement!   At the end of June 2013 I received an email that I had been accepted into the New York Asian American Film Festival as a "Work-in-Progress."  See:  http://www.asiancinevision.org/aaiff2013/filmcat13/event13/.  The New York festival is the oldest Asian American Film Festival in the United States and each year they pick one work-in-progress for their special "Workshop" event.  The acceptance letter noted:

"Your work-in-progress is a solid piece and stands out among the submissions."

Wow. How great is that!  Just at the point I was wrung out and stuck, couldn't find a new editor, had so far been rejected from three other festivals, and didn't think I could stand to work on it another minute, this comes.  Through a connection in "Linked-In," which I was very skeptical about joining as another time wasting social networking scheme, I found KEIKO OZAKI and SHANNON UMETANI.  Keiko and Shannon  are sisters who grew up in the Denver Buddhist Temple.  Keiko is now a freelance editor and Shannon works for Warren Miller Productions in Boulder.  Funny thing, I never knew them at the Temple.  I do know their dad but never thought the talent I was so desperate for was right under my nose.

Both of them have jumped right in and we are in the final stages of getting a new edit of the doc ready for the film festival.  Shannon was able to get me a session in her company recording studio to re-record a shorter and tighter narration.  One comment I had received was it was too long.  Shannon hooked me up with a new local sound mixer, JASON MCDANIEL, who will do a final mix after the new edit is done.  (See: jasonmcdanielaudio.com).


Tonight I am meeting with my press team: ANDREA AND SAM DRESKIN.  FUJI  is doing some additional illustration that will be used for the press packet.  Sam now works for a local press and can get me a good deal on printing the press packet, poster, and postcards.  It's so great to have this project to work on with the kids who are doing such a great job,

On the 27th of July I leave for New York.  My workshop takes place on WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013 in Chinatown.  Wish me luck.  I'll post a report after I return in early August.


Posted on November 24, 2012 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, if you haven't already seen the rejection letter from Denver Film Festival, take a look on my Facebook Page:  "dharma road movie."  It sounds like I made it out of the slush pile and someone actually may have considered it at some point. Right now it has been submitted to SF Asian American FF, LA Asian American FF, Sacramento FF, Vancouver Women's FF.

I think it would benefit from more editing but my editor finished his obligation with the project and I don't think he wants to do any more.  So if anyone knows someone who might donate or give me a break on some editing time, send me an email.  I'm looking.  Otherwise, it's just me and editing is a real weak point with me.

After it was done, I really didn't want to look at it anymore, but last week I went down to LA to see my uncle and showed it to him.  He is 83 and not doing too well.  He lives just outside Japan Town where we had dinner.  The Miyakawa mochi shop moved to smaller location but still offers the best mochi I've ever tasted.  I also like the Imagawayaki they make in the window.  I'm glad to see they've made the Far East Cafe into an historic building.  I went to many dinners there with my family as well as wedding dinners. My favorite dish (if we could afford it) was a lobster dish in a sauce I have never had at any other Chinese restaurant.  My dad loved th Almond Duck and Chashu (BBQ Pork).

Anyway, my uncle Toe (There is a picture of him in the documentary) kept saying, "I didn't know grandma had a brother!"  Then he fell asleep in the middle. (sigh).  That about says it all.  It needs more editing but I don't know when I'll be able to get to it.

Thanks to everyone out there who has joined the website and keeps up with the news. 


Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Please note a new downloadable press kit has been added to the site!  Check out the page links above.


Posted on July 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

          The first thing I did after I turned in my short documentary was clean the cat box and put a chicken in the oven for my husband who has been sorely deprived of home cooked meals for the last two months while I've tried to get the documentary ready for submission.  There is a kitchen full of dirty dishes, late bills to pay, tenants to be looked after, and friends to contact as I emerge from the editing hell that has ruled my life. I have been spending almost every day possible going through final edits. 

           Last week when I came upstairs after working all night I was surprised to find it begining to be light outside and was shocked to see it was 6 am! The next day I was a mess and couldn't get anything done.  Don't have the stamina of a young chick anymore.  Pah!  I so understand why youth is  wasted on the young.  Of course it's my fault for taking up this crazy filmmaking work so late in life, but we "mature" women are breaking new ground.  I predict there will be a large influx of mature women stories in the years to come.

          I owe so much to my great kids who helped me put the animation, press packet, and poster together to submit what hope is a professional looking packet.  It seemed every time i thought I was heading into the home stretch, another technical problem or difficulty arose which required enormous amounts of time.  I was a good thing I worked with the June deadline because that helped make the July deadline more reasonable. While I still have some work to do polishing up the rough edges, it's mostly done and that is what counts. 

          The guy at the Denver Starz film center said they usually get about 500 shorts and pick 80.  Whew-- talk about a long shot-- I will hear if I get in or not sometime in October and the festival is November.  I plan on refining the current movie to submit to the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival.  Submissions are due in October.

          I think the posts from here on in will be fewer as I will mainly be making updates about the documentary on the facebook page.  For those of you who have not "liked" my Dharma Road facebook page, please go to www.facebook.com/dharmaroadmovie.  If I get 80 fans I go to the top of the search list.  Andrea, my publicist, says that is a good thing and it supposedly shows I actually have an audience. Also, in the next few days i plan to post my new trailer on the website.

NEWS:  As the documentary work winds down, I will be starting a new blog of my own which will include Science Fiction book and movie reviews.  I will post information about the new blog on the Dharma Road and June Inuzuka/Steve Dreskin Facebook pages.  Look for news on the blog "Cowgirl Sushi."

I am too exhausted to remember the long list of friends and relatives who have helped me get to this point, but to all of you-- Thanks! 


Posted on July 5, 2012 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, Tyler and I are putting in the late late hours to finnish the film by this Friday (6th).  We are both exhausted.  Have I been working like this for three weeks?  Feels like months.  Last night I was up to 4 am, Tyler 3 am,; tonight probably 1 am while I wait for the files to load to "Just Cloud." The music has been hard as we did not get all the releases we wanted so I bought some tracks from Sound dogs.  I am begining to be happy with how the doc is going but at the same time feel like-- oh man, this is so bad-- and I try not to go there but just keep my head done and keep trampin.'  I have learned so much and now know better how to organize myself to get things done more effectively.  I still have a lot of work to do on the releases for the pictures which I am pretty sure of, but you never can tell... please let this be over soon!

06-21-2012 Sam's Poster

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been re-doing some interviews, following up on releases, getting bio and photo material to Andrea for the press kit.  I even worked on the credits today!  But the most inspiring thing that happened today was Sam finished his first draft of a poster for the film and it is beautiful!



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