Film Festival Success for Jordan’s Jackhammer!

As the writer of Jordan’s Jackhammer, I’m very proud to announce the film has been accepted into three film festivals!

  1. Flager Film Festival in Flager, FL  http://flaglerfilmfestival.com/
  2. Borrego Springs Film Festival in the CA desert http://www.borregospringsfilmfestival.org/
  3. Oregon Underground Film Festival https://filmfreeway.com/festival/OregonUndergroundFilmFestival

The competition to get into film festivals is steep, so it’s great that our short has gotten in the door at these three. The film has been entered into several other festivals, so I’m hopeful the producers will have more good news to share soon.

Both the Flager and the Borrego Springs Film Festivals are planned for January 2015, so if you are in the neighborhood, please check them out. 🙂

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Jersey City This Weekend – Art Studio Tour and Film Fest

If you are a Jersey City resident, or live nearby, and if you are interested in Art and Film, you’ll want to hang around town this weekend!

The 24th Annual Jersey City Artist Studio Tour is taking place. This is a highly anticipated event, where hundreds of artists show their work by opening their studios to the public, or through group exhibitions at selected locations. The art event runs from 12N to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Simultaneously, there will also be the first inaugural Jersey City Film Festival going on at several locations in downtown JC. For just $25 you can get an all access pass to see any of the film selections, and there is a full slate of offerings available.

So stick around downtown Jersey City and enjoy!

Jordan’s Jackhammer Website Now Up!

rhyslogan.jpeg

Earlier this year I wrote a screenplay for Jordan’s Jackhammer, a short film that was shot on location in New York City.

The producers have been hard at work in post-production, and now the film is entering its marketing phase … and the short is being entered for consideration to several film festivals around the world. (Fingers crossed that it gets accepted to a few!)

I’m very happy to share the Jordan’s Jackhammer website:

jordansjackhammer.com

And the Jordan’s Jackhammer Facebook page:

facebook.com/jordansjackhammer

Please check them out!

Movie review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a charming marvel. It’s a masterful combination of great acting, great dialogue with an absurd and humorous plot, and unbelievable attention to detail.

Production designer Adam Stockhausen is a miracle worker. Every moment in the film is so carefully designed, it’s beautiful to watch for that reason alone. Even with the sound off, I think the movie would be so visually arresting the viewing would create its own pleasure. (My favorite “sound” moment in the film is when there are two cable cars that stop on a wire, and the squeaking of the cars on the wire is in time to the soundtrack music in the background. It’s pure genius.)

Every moment we spend in the Grand Budapest, both in the “past” and in the “present” are delights, right down to the cracked plaster, orange curtains, pink-boxed pastries, and purple and red uniforms for the Grand Budapest staff.

In typical Wes Anderson style, there are tons of cameos from his regular buddies, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and a few small parts played by well known actors that are new to the Anderson pantheon: Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton as an ideosyncratic 80-something dowager, and F. Murray Abraham as the narrator who steals every scene he’s in with Jude Law.

Jeff Goldblum is also amusing as the lawyer overseeing the dowager’s last will. Other star turns are put in by Edward Norton as a police chief, Willem Dafoe as a psychopathic killer, and Adrian Brody as the evil son of the deceased dowager.

The star of the movie, though, is Ralph Fiennes as the divine Monsieur Gustave. He plays this role with just the right touch.

Without giving the film away (this will be a spoiler-free review) I can highly recommend this movie for the sheer pleasure of watching the amazing performances of such a huge and distinguished cast, as they romp all over these incredible gorgeous sets.

I saw the movie in New York City, and much to my dismay, the film is only playing in two theaters in the city right now. I don’t know why this movie is in such limited release. That baffles me.

But if you are a Wes Anderson fan (and who doesn’t love movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Fantastic Mr. Fox?) you should rush out to see this movie before it’s gone.

My short film adventure, so far

A few weeks ago I got a call from a guy I used to work with to catch up and say hi. He’d just returned from a year rotation overseas so it was good to hear from him.

To my surprise, instead of discussing “work and career stuff” he asked me if I’d like to work on a creative project. Since he knew about my short story publications, he asked if I’d be interested in writing a script for a New York City based short film project he’s putting together.

Yes! I said. Count me in.

I got together with him and the lead actor and discussed the idea for the film with them. I got excited and began brainstorming where the story could go. We decided I’d write a draft within three weeks, and reconnect once the first draft was ready.

Well, I was SO excited about the project, I wrote a 3000 word script (about 12 pages) within less than a week of our first meeting!

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve never written 3000 words of anything in a week. I have no idea what happened. Maybe it was pent up writing lurking inside me, but the script spilled out.

I iterated through several versions and then we set a follow up meeting to read through the draft. The follow up meeting went as I expected. I needed to shorten the script, eliminate one of the characters and drop the songs I’d selected (it’s expensive to have music in movies). I got good feedback on the dialogue too, and we agreed the main bones of the script were solid.

And so it is that – as of last night – the revised draft is in their hands, and will be used to “sell” the idea to the actors they want to be involved, the director and others needed to make the film.

In all the years I’ve been writing, I’ve never seen any of my characters come to life and speak their lines. The idea of seeing a script I wrote become an actual film with real actors is unbelievably exciting to me.

More to come on this short film project as it develops!

Tribeca Film Festival 2011

Every year, for the last 10 years, the Tribeca Film Festival is held in New York City. And for many years now, I’ve been going to the festival.

Past year’s highlights included going to the 2007 world premier of the documentary The Gates, which chronicled Christo and Jean-Claude’s epic battle with the city of New York to get the permission of the parks department to stage The Gates in Central Park. Jean-Claude was there in person, only a few months before she died in fact, and it was lovely to see her.

And who could forget the crazy antics of John Malkovich’s real-life character in 2006’s Colour Me Kubrick, about a guy in London who romps around town pretending to be Stanley Kubrick. Somebody snapped a shot of Malkovitch at TFF the following night, he was pretty under-stated at the premier but he did take questions from the audience.

Last year, 2010, I saw Get Low, with Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and others. The film was so phenomenal that I commented to anyone who would listen to me that Duvall was going to get an Oscar for his performance. Much to my surprise, Get Low did not get a widespread film distribution and it remained little known or celebrated the year it was released. Later, Duvall was nominated for a SAG award for the performance, but it was Colin Firth’s year and Firth swept all the awards with his role in the King’s Speech.

So far this year I’ve seen Treatment, a small budget indie film that had a cameo appearance by John Hodgeman (of The Daily Show fame). Hodgeman and his fellow actors showed up to the premier and answered questions, as is typical at the Festival. 

I watched another film called The Trip which was very funny but also had a lot of heart.  It’s about 2 British comedians (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) who go on a restaurant tour of the northern Lake Country districts in England. Unfortunately despite the packed audience, no one was there to take questions about the film.

One of the things that I find so appealing about the Tribeca Film Festival is that you can see actors, directors, indie films, great documentaries, collections of shorts and various other entertainments – and you can do it without a lot of Hollywood drama and hoopla. 

I love the fact that TFF is very low key – if you see John Malkovitch, Duvall, DeNiro, Ed Burns or anybody else you may know, you don’t have to worry about crazed fans and screaming and all the stuff you see on T.V. for Hollywood premiers.  I adore New York and New Yorkers for knowing how to be cool and just do our thing, regardless of who else is standing nearby.