Thursday, September 30, 2010

Honoring Her Tejano Heritage

Turbulence on a Texas ranch is at the center of the real-life 1875 events that inspired the independent historical drama Atanasia, screening tonight at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Turbulence on a Texas ranch was also the starting point for a long and involved production process guided by writer, director, producer and star Alicia Villarreal, the great-great-granddaughter of the title character, a Mexican landowner in Texas who tries to hold her family together during violent times.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Revving Up Some Vampire Noir

Typically, the word "fang" when used in a vampire movie context means only one thing: chompers that the human protagonists want to keep as far away as possible from their necks. But in the case of FANG, a Michigan indie shot over the summer and scheduled to be through post-production by the end of the year, it also stands for Fast and Nasty Gear.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Kimmel to Kicker

By day, Los Angeles actor-writer Ian Michaels operates Padded Envelopes, a Hollywood marketing firm that helps fellow performers submit their materials to local casting directors and producers. And as he himself can attest, when given the chance to audition for a part, it is sometimes what comes right after the tryout or callback that is as important as the audition itself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zeroing In on a Glendale CREEP!

Although Plan 9 from Outer Space has long been celebrated as the worst movie ever made, the progenitors of the Razzie movement, brothers Michael and Harry Medved, will tell you privately that this is actually not quite right. For reasons too intricate to detail here, the 1959 Ed Wood entry was able to unfairly steal the stink spotlight from 1964's The Creeping Terror, an even worse science-fiction yarn about a man-eating carpet creation from outer space.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Storyboarding the Land of Enchantment

Even though the mountain community of Hillsboro, New Mexico has but a few hundred residents, it is a locale of central importance to Becoming Eduardo, an independent drama screening Thursday, September 16th at the Burbank International Film Festival. Resident writer-director Rod McCall shot the film there in 2008 with the help of students from the New Mexico institute where he teaches and came to the source material years earlier in the unlikeliest of Hillsboro fashions.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fearless Like Him

If Joaquin Phoenix is looking for his next dramatic project, Louisville, Kentucky native Morgan Atkinson has a suggestion. Consider making a biopic about John Howard Griffin, author of the seminal 1961 undercover expose Black Like Me. "I think Griffin's story would make a great feature," says Atkinson during an interview with FilmStew. "There's a lot of rich material I cut from the documentary."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In the Valley of Fashionable Spirituality

Documentary filmmaker Adrienne Grierson was already well-acquainted with the twin topics of Brazil and spirituality when she made The Valley of Dawn, screening tomorrow at the Film Directing 4 Women Film Festival in London and stateside later this month at events in Sun Valley, Idaho and Rutgers University, New Jersey. Her first substantive film, 2006's John of God, showcased the remarkable healing powers of João de Deus, a channeling medium who performs daily miracles at the Casa de Do Inacio in the central part of the country and for whom Grierson remains one of several tourist guides.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Gargantuan Genesis

Beginning Wednesday, September 8th, the Somerville, AL based makers of the independent anthropological thriller A Genesis Found will launch a mightily ambitious 2010-2011 tour at the University of West Alabama. When all is screened and done, they will have touched down at dozens of different campuses across the southeastern United States, offering grassroots marketing support in exchange for a modestly sponsored room, hall or auditorium.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Florida Ghost Story

Long before Burt Reynolds stepped onto the boards of Florida's Lake Worth Playhouse in the 1960s, it was known as the Oakley Theater in honor of founding brothers Clarence and Lucien Oakley. As Pierre Rivard, Company Manager for the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater discovered this summer while on location producing the fact-based contemporary supernatural drama Lumiere Fantome, at least one of the siblings is still very much involved in the theater's day-to-day operations.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Actor's (Independent) Studio

Martin Landau was all set to begin work September 7th in Wisconsin on the latest in a flurry of recent low-budget film projects until the contract came in for signature. Because the terms for The Wedding Bunch appeared to have changed, Landau says he now has his eye instead on a vehicle written for him by a fellow Actor's Studio disciple.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Circling Back to Iowa

Three years after following Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic Party hopefuls into Iowa and beyond, Australian TV journalist Rebecca Glenn was back in the Hawkeye State this past weekend for the inaugural festival screening of her documentary First Stop, Iowa!. While the reception at the Landlocked Film Festival in downtown Iowa City was extremely positive, Glenn found the mood among party rank and file to be somewhat more complex.