Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheatin' festival and distribution update

In my previous posts, I talked about how much fun I had at the Slamdance Festival in Park City, and the Portland International Film Festival. 

Slamdance, of course, was huge for me because it was the North American premiere of the film.  I had hoped to have a sales agent attached to the film, and we were trying to get someone from Submarine, but they already had a full slate, so unfortunately we weren't able to find an agent in time for the festival, which is not really the right way to do things.

Upon our arrival at Slamdance, we were greeted by a wonderful review in Variety - which buoyed our spirits.  The film was scheduled for two screenings there - the opening night screening (very prestigious) was packed, standing room only.  Everyone was very excited, and at the end of the film there was sustained applause (I love that!).  I can never be sure how an audience will respond to my new films, so it was a wonderful joy to hear that they loved the film.  The biggest confirmation of their appreciation of the film came afterwards, when people would randomly walk up to me and rave about the movie.  When it's unsolicited love - that's the true test.

Our second screening, 4 days later, had pretty much the same reaction.  Unfortunately, there were no distributors present at the Slamdance screenings, so our next step is to organize a private screening in NYC for all the distributors, so they can see the kind of reaction it gets from an audience.

My last option, I suppose, will be to send DVDs to these distributors and hope they can imagine the fantastic applause and laughter it would receive in a theater.

Stay tuned to Scribble Junkies for more "Cheatin'" updates.


Friday, February 21, 2014

"Fallen Angel"

As you know, I usually comment on animation in my Scribble Junkies blog posts, but today I want to talk about a live-action film - an old live-action film.

I caught the film about three years ago on TCM and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was classic noir sleaze - all of the characters were evil, selfish and immoral.

That is, until about 2/3 of the way into the film, when the tramp waitress, played by a very sexy Linda Darnell, is murdered.  Then the film takes a hard right turn into a righteous religious sermon about goodness.

A year later, I still couldn't get that film out of my mind - what a great film, ruined by a goody-goody ending.

I wanted to see the film again, perhaps I could remake the story and keep that sinister nasty feeling throughout the whole film.  But damn, I forgot what it was called.  I went through all of my diaries of films watched, but I couldn't find it.  Then, luckily, I found it programmed again on TCM - it was called "Fallen Angel", it sounded like the same movie, and after the first few minutes, I knew this was my lost gem of a movie.

It stars Dana Andrews as a drifter who ends up in a dead-end beach town, where he falls in love with a very sultry, sexy gold-digger waitress, played by Linda Darnell.  She won't take a tumble with him unless he's got a lot of money.  So Dana plots to marry and kill the local spinster, played by Alice Faye.

And it's here that the film is ruined by the waitress's murder. 

It was made in 1945 by Otto Preminger, and I suppose it was the Hollywood distributors that forced the sermonizing ending.  But I bet if Billy Wilder had made the film, we would have a live Linda Darnell and a dead Alice Faye - now there's a film I'd love to see!

Check out "Fallen Angel" - it's got some of the sexiest non-sex scenes I've ever seen in a movie.  I give it an A+.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Portland International Film Festival

Being from Portland, I'll use any excuse I can to return home.  I was fortunate enough to get my new feature "Cheatin'" invited to the prestigious Portland International Film Festival.

The festival is sponsored by the Northwest Film Center.  In fact, in a way it was their fault that I got into animation in the first place.  Back in 1983, I was hired to create a short film called "Boomtown" and about halfway through, we ran out of money.  While I was in Portland for the summer, the people at the Film Center suggested that we hold a fund raiser.

"Why not?" I said, not having any clue how to hold one.  But the folks at the Northwest Film Center really came through.  We had a big crowd, showed an early clip of the film, I talked about the interesting aspects of the short and we were able to raise enough money to finish the cartoon.  And because of the success of "Boomtown", I was encouraged to make a small film called "Your Face" - maybe you've heard of it?

In any case, we had another good crowd last week for "Cheatin'" at the famed Cinema 21, and they all loved the film.  Lots of great comments, sustained applause - I loved it!  Also, the reviews of the film were stellar.  So, if you're looking for a great festival in Portlandia, check out the Portland International Film Festival.

I give it a B+.

And if you want to find out whether "Cheatin'" will be playing in a film festival near you, please visit the film's web-site here:

                              signing autographs for fans at Portland International Film Festival