April 30, 2012

Tribeca Run Down: Part 2 Shorts- Status Update (Plus my run in w/ Michael Fassbender)


Shorts: Status Update

Cafe Regular, Cairo
The Status Update short films were hands down my favorite part of the festival. Seriously, watching this line up just reinforced my love for short films. Status Update wasn't as heavy as Fallout, but the films were so broad when it came to content. You had films like the dark comedy, Rung; the story about an ambitious young woman who wants nothing more than to ring church bells. Then you had the adorably cute, Cafe Regular, Cairo which is proof that no matter what our cultural differences are, we are all the same when it comes to love.

Double or Nothing really threw the audience for a loop.  The film is about a young couple (Adam Brody and Louisa Krause) who get involved in a sick game with a homeless man (played by Keith David.) I won't give anything away, but it's definitely an eye opener.

43,000 Feet
Pitch Black Heist was one of my top films of the day. I've been a fan of Michael Fassbender since Hunger and it was refreshing to see him in a short film. Fasbender and Liam Cunningham unite with director John Maclean to create a 13 minute film about 2 men prepping for a complicated bank heist. I really want to see more of John Maclean's work, because this film was great. Pitch Black Heist was so clever (I really want to read that script) and he fully captured the mood of a smooth film noir with the use of black and white. It also helps that you have 2 actors who have amazing chemistry together and can really bounce off each other.

Overall, I can easily say that the short films were the highlight of my Tribeca experience. They are so overlooked by the public and I appreciate events like TFF that really showcase them and the filmmakers who work so hard to make them.

A nice surprise was Michael Fassbender being in attendance at the screening for Pitch Black Heist. It was pretty awesome to see him support his film and I was pretty excited, myself. How many people can say they saw a screening with one of their favorite actors?

I managed to garner enough courage to walk up to him and ask for a photo. I'm usually very cool when it comes to meeting celebrities, but it's a little different when it's someone who you've been a fan of for a long time. I was embarrassingly nervous, and he was just the coolest. Thank you, Mr. Fassbender.

Thanks for stopping your texting for a brief second to take a pic!

Tribeca Run Down: Part 1 Shorts- Fallout

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing 2 screenings of shorts at the AMC Lowes 7 theater. The weather was absolutely terrible as we all waited in the line to get in. I hate NYC rain. Honestly, there is nothing worse. In Pennsylvania (my hometown) when it rained you knew that it was benefiting the beautiful trees, plants, and landscapes. Here, rain seems to fall with a heavy thud on the concrete ground, and the aggressive NY persona increases to total disdain when the one thing on everyone's mind is 'I need to get the hell out of here.'

So my mood was already bad when I arrived and all I wanted to do was get inside. I have to say the staff were really nice about getting us out of the rain. Extremely apologetic for the few minutes of delay and they hustled us in very quickly.

Shorts: Fallout

Originally, I had bought this ticket to  see the short All That Way For Love. I had heard good things about it and I wanted to check it out. The Fallout line up was great overall. My favorite had to be Easter Eggs directed by Slobodan Karajlovic. This is a story of a Communist family whose matriarch secretly celebrates Easter with their children while the father is off at work. The growing tension really drew the audience in and the conclusion was very powerful. The one I'm sure many didn't quite understand fully, was Chupachups directed by Ji-suk Kyung.  I had a tiny grasp on what was going on, but it was definitely one of those films were you have to put 2 and 2 together to understand the dynamics of the characters and their relationship. I have to give a huge shout out to Trotteur, directed by Arnaud Brisebois and Francis Leclerc, for its gorgeous cinematography. The Gothic, steam punk, visuals made the very brief story of a boy racing a locomotive breathtaking. Visually, it was so pleasing to the eye. Another, film that that caught the audiences attention was Foxes directed by Lorcan Finnegan. This is a suspenseful story about a couple who are driven a part by the presence of shrieking foxes (had no clue foxes shrieked) and how it turns their world upside down. Close to the end, you can sort of predict the final outcome, however, it still ends on a note that will leave you thoroughly creeped out. All That Way For Love was a stand out film about a young Irishman (played by Notes on a Scandal's Andrew Simpson) and a nomadic couple (Derek de Lint and Belinda Stewart-Wilson) who cross paths in a complicated love triangle. The most prominent stand out in the film was  the beautiful African scenery. There was such a mesmerizing authenticity about how Africa was showcased in this movie.
Some of the Fallout filmmakers



April 28, 2012

Tribeca Run Down: Mansome

Before the screening of Mansome I had, had a VERY busy morning and afternoon. I participated in the HIGHLY successful NY Creative Interns: Follow Your Passion Conference (check us out HERE) and was going on a teaspoon sized amount of sleep. With the temporary demise of the E trains, and the stressful day in general, to say I was less than enthusiastic to be going to another event was an understatement. I wanted sleep. Sweet baby Jesus I wanted sleep. However, I managed to arrive to the theater a lot earlier than I expected and was able to soak in my first Tribeca premiere.

Struck By Lightning (starring Glee's Chris Colfer) was just finishing up when I arrived and ecstatic moviegoers (mostly hardcore Gleeks) were panting and squealing, their way out of the theater. Making little clumped up discussion groups outside the entry way, fans were sounding like broken record players with "OH MY GAWDZ" "DID YOU SEE HIM!? ""I CANT WITH LIFE! OMG!" filling the warm NYC air. Suddenly, spurts of camera flashes went off as a waify figure bolted towards a giant SUV parked perfectly for easy entry. The blurry figure was Emma Watson. Though intrigued that she had made it to the film, my reaction was underwhelming compared to the screams that came out of the fans waiting (for what I was assuming Colfer.) After, that moment of hysteria, the fans dispersed (I guess, realizing that Chris wasn't coming) and they started to set up for Mansome.

20 minutes and a survey on whether I knew the sponsors of the Festival (I did. Got a $5 Starbucks gift card) later, the special guests started to arrive. The waiting line immediately became a game of 'Guess that Celebrity'. Gentlemen in fine suits swaggered around like it was their premiere and women in high heels and dresses lifted to the point of no return, started hitting the red carpet.

Russell Simmons coming in.
After a few minutes of spotting Russell Simmons and Morgan Spurlock, the ticket holders shuffled their way into the theater. The security was on point, making sure that the peasants did not go near the press line or the celeb royalty. Now, nothing can kill a buzz more (well, my buzz at least) when people start gawking at celebrities. Like blatant, obvious, staring. I was in the front row and almost everyone was pointing and turning and whispering. Now, I can understand the curiosity and fascination, but it got really old after awhile. Be cool people.

A clean shaven Morgan Spurlock introduces the film and I immediately warm up to him. Even after the success of his past documentaries, he still seems like an average Joe whose just really excited about being in the position he's in.

 Mansome is a documentary looking into the world of "man scaping" and metro sexuality. The film starts off with Will Arnett and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development fans, it's a beautiful thing) getting pampered at a local spa. Their few minutes of banter and idle conversations transition to different sections of the film (The Hair, The Mustache, The Beard, etc.) We meet quirky characters like a business entrepreneur who sells a line of cologne for men's testicles,  a man whose soul purpose in life is to take care of his beard and become the beard growing champ, and the list goes on. This is sprinkled with opinions from doctors, everyday people, and celebrities (The favorite being Zach Galifianakis.) The film is humorous however, it could have easily been shaved by 30 minutes. Some of the profiles ran a tad too long, and you could tell people were starting to get a little antsy. Though the film did raise some interesting points about male beauty, I wouldn't say that this was THE film that opens the door for "man scaping". The film only scratches the surface and is only meant to entertain (not particularly inform.) This is not like Spurlock's other documentaries. You only see him for a small chunk of the film (including a sweet/funny moment when he shaves his mustache and his son has a total melt down.) Mansome was a nice addition to the festival, however, it is not the best out of the bunch. 7.0/ 10

The cast of Mansome for Q & A (more came on stage later)

Sidebars: Morgan said Will Arnett would be onstage to do the  Q & A with the rest of the cast (he was in attendance) however, in the end he never showed up. Did something come up or did he not to even bother? The question up in the air.

Met 2 of my favorite vloggers Andy & Brian of campblood.org. True Blood fans will probably know who they are but if you love horror (or just want some good campiness) then check them out! They are fabulous!

My Tribeca: Final Words

Hope everyone has been keeping tabs on Tribeca and all the cool things that have been happening. Sadly, my experience had to be cut short due to a few things (Finals and the disappearance of my phone---I don't go anywhere without my phone) but luckily for me I got to see a lot of great films, meet cool people, and experience the true essence of NY film life. As a first year film student I can't tell you how amazing it was to talk to producers, directors, and connect with so many amazing people on Twitter. Good stuff. Hopefully, next year, I'll be sporting some kind of badge and helping out with the festivities (or if someone wants to pay for one of those swanky black badges.....anyone?...no one?....okay.)

April 19, 2012

So Last Night...: TFF Opening Night- The 5 Year Engagement

Last night NYC was a buzz with the start of Tribeca Film Festival and the premiere of The 5 Year Engagement. 

Emily Blunt in a beautiful Jason Wu dress
Jason Segel rocking a very relaxed look. Not a fan of the one buttoned jacket going on.
It's very hard to make Olivia Wilde look washed out and boring. And yet, the new blonde hair is doing just that.Yikes!

April 18, 2012

New Trailer for Magic Mike

Here is the trailer for the much anticipated Magic Mike. I had the impression that it was an ensemble film, but the trailer makes seem like it's a Channing Tatum driven vehicle (or it could be clever marketing move to get people interested--like the glistening abs and biceps wouldn't do that already.) For a first trailer it's okay. I don't really like the whole "Mike is blah blah" subtitles. And of course Rihanna's "We Found Love" doesn't help either. However, Magic Mike will start to pick up in the following months. Women hold on to something sturdy.....

What I'm Listening To: Sister Sledge

Come on. You can't go wrong with Sister Sledge.

New Viral Prometheus Video: Meet David

The marketing for Ridley Scotts's big blockbuster sci-fi film Prometheus is under way with the release of a new viral video featuring Michael Fassbender in the role of David. The new video gives some insight into what kind of prototype David is and also raises the question on whether he will be good or evil (personally, I think it's 50/50 right now.) The video gives you a chill, and it's mostly due to the brilliant acting of Fassbender who chose to channel Peter O' Toole in his depiction of David.

Complete list of juries for the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

World Competition Categories:

The jurors for the 2012 World Narrative Competition are:
  • Patricia Clarkson: Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Award-nominated actress. Films include: Cairo Time, Easy A, Friends with Benefits, Shutter Island, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Whatever Works, Elegy, Lars and the Real Girl, Goodnight and Good Luck, Station Agent, Pieces of April and the upcoming The East.
  • Dakota Fanning: SAG Award-nominated actress. Films include: I am Sam, War of the Worlds, The Secret Life of Bees, The Twilight Saga, The Runaways and the upcoming films, Now Is Good and Effie.
  • Mike Newell: BAFTA Award-winning director. Films include Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Mona Lisa Smile, Donnie Brasco, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Enchanted April, Dance with a Stranger and the upcoming BBC project Great Expectations.
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum: film critic from Entertainment Weekly, her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue and More, among other publications. She is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and former chair of the New York Film Critics Circle.
  • Jim Sheridan: 6-time Oscar-nominated Irish director. Films include Brothers, Get Rich or Die Tryin', In America, In the Name of the Father, The Field and My Left Foot.
  • Irwin Winker: Oscar & BAFTA award-winning producer/director. Films include Rocky, GoodFellas, The Right Stuff, Raging Bull, De-Lovely, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Guilty by Suspicion and the upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, to be directed by Martin Scorsese. 
The jurors for the 2012 World Documentary Competition are:
  • Julia Bacha: Noted documentary filmmaker and media strategist at the nonprofit Just Vision. Films include: Budrus (TFF 2009 Special Mention), Encounter Point (TFF 2006 Selection), Control Room (Writer/Editor) and the TFF 2012 short documentary selection My Neighbourhood.
  • Kim Cattrall: Golden Globe Award-winning actress and author. TV roles include: Sex and the City and the miniseries Any Human Heart. Films include: Sex and the City, Meet Monica Velour (TFF 2010 selection) and The Ghost Writer.
  • K’naan: Award-winning Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and musician.
  • Michael Moore: Palme d’Or, Cesar & Oscar-winning director, producer, author and activist. Films include Capitalism: A Love Story, Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine and Roger & Me.
  • Lucy Walker: Two-time Oscar-nominated director. Films include: Countdown to Zero, Waste Land, Blindsight, Devil’s Playground and the short The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.
Emerging Competition Categories:

The jurors for the 2012 Best New Narrative Director are:
  • Camilla Belle: Noted young actress. Films include: 10,000 BC, Push, Father of Invention, The Chumscrubber, The Ballad of Jack & Rose and the upcoming Open Road.
  • Whoopi Goldberg: Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy award winner and humanitarian.
  • Susannah Grant: Oscar and BAFTA nominee and WGA-winning screenwriter, director, and producer. Projects include: The Soloist, In Her Shoes, Erin Brockovich, 28 Days and the current TV Series A Gifted Man.
  • Zach Helm: WGA-nominated screenwriter, producer, and director. Films include: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Stranger Than Fiction and the upcoming Freezing People is Easy.
  • Courtney Hunt: Noted screenwriter and director. Her debut film Frozen River gained her an Academy Award nomination and two Independent Spirit nominations, and won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Filmmaking at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Kellan Lutz: Up-and-coming actor. Films include: The Twilight Saga, Nightmare on Elm Street, Immortals and the upcoming Java Heat.
  • Leelee Sobieski: Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress. Films include: Public Enemies, Eyes Wide Shut, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, 88 Minutes, Never Been Kissed, The Glass House and My First Mister. TV Roles include: Joan of Arc, Uprising and the new CBS drama NYC 22.
The jurors for the 2012 Best New Documentary Director are:
  • Stuart Blumberg: Oscar-nominated screenwriter, producer, and director. Films include: The Kids Are All Right, Leaves of Grass, By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, The Girl Next Door, Keeping the Faith and the upcoming Thanks For Sharing.
  • Jared Cohen: Director of Google Ideas, Senior Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and author of One Hundred Days of Silence: America and the Rwanda Genocide and Children of Jihad: A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.
  • Rachel Grady: Oscar-nominated director and producer. Films include: Detropia, Freakonomics, 12th & Delaware, Jesus Camp and The Boys of Barak.
  • Bethann Hardison: Noted former model and Manager, Documentarian and Editor at Large for Vogue Italia.
  • Sal Masekela: Television host and producer. Projects include: The ESPN X Games, Red Bull Signature Series and E!'s Daily 10. Has also produced the documentaries Bra Boys, Disposable Hero: The Brian Deegan Story and the feature Street Dreams. He is a subject of TFF 2012 short film selection Alekesam
  • Ricki Stern: Independent Spirit and Emmy-nominated director and producer. Films include: Burma SoldierJoan Rivers: A Piece of Work (TFF 2010), The Devil Came on Horseback, The Trials of Darryl Hunt and the TFF 2012 selection Knuckleball!
  • Olivia Wilde: Noted actress, activist, and up-and-coming producer. Films include TRON: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, the upcoming Rush from Ron Howard, Warner Bros.' The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and TFF 2012 selections Deadfall and the short documentary, Baseball in the Time of Cholera, which she executive produced.
Short Film Competition Categories:

The jurors for the 2012 Narrative Short Film Competition are:
  • Maureen Chiquet: Global CEO of Chanel. Glamour’s 2008 Woman of the Year and listed 4 times on Fortune Magazine’s International Power 50 List. She sits on the Yale University President’s Council on International Activities, the Supervisory Board & Human Resources Committee of Vivendi, the Board of Directors – Peek, Aren’t You Curious? and the Board of Trustees of the New York Academy of Art.
  • Hugh Dancy: Emmy-nominated actor. Films include: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Our Idiot Brother, the upcoming Dorothy of Oz and the TFF 2012 selection Hysteria. Currently on Broadway in Venus in Fur.
  • Aline Brosh McKenna: BAFTA and WGA-nominated screenwriter. Films include: We Bought a ZooI Don’t Know How She Does ItMorning Glory27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Bridget Moynahan: Actress and star of CBS’s Blue Bloods. Films include:  Battle Los Angeles, Ramona and Beezus, Lord of War, I, Robot and Coyote Ugly.
  • Drew Nieporent: Famed restaurateur, whose two-Michelin star restaurant Corton was featured in the acclaimed HBO documentary A Matter of Taste.
  • Mohammed Saeed Harib: Creator and director of Freej, the Middle East's pioneering 3D animated series from the UAE. Current projects include the recently directed Freej Folklore, the largest Arabic theatrical production, and the upcoming animated feature The Prophet.
  • Shari Springer Berman: Oscar and Emmy nominated Director, screenwriter, and producer. Films include: American Splendor, Cinema Verite, The Nanny Diaries, The Extra Man and the upcoming Imogene.
The jurors for the 2012 Documentary and Student Short Film Competitions are:
  • Scooter Braun: Music entrepreneur who discovered Justin Bieber and orchestrated his rise to global super stardom. He currently manages a growing roster of young stars and heads up two record labels through the Universal Music Group.
  • Robert Hammond: Co-founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line. In addition to being a self-taught artist, Robert has served as a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in 2010.
  • Brett Ratner: Noted director and producer. He directed the Rush Hour trilogy, Red Dragon, X-Men: Last Stand and Tower Heist. He also produced Horrible Bosses, Catfish, PBS' American Masters: Woody Allen - A Documentary and Mirror, Mirror.
  • Susan Sarandon: Oscar-winning actress, activist, mother and New Yorker. Films include: Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Bernard and Doris, Enchanted, Dead Man Walking, Thelma & Louise, Bull Durham and the upcoming films Cloud Atlas and The Wedding.
  • James Spione: Oscar-nominated director, producer, editor and writer. Films include: Incident in New Baghdad, Our Island Home and American Farm.
  • Shailene Woodley: Independent Spirit and National Board of Review Award-winning actress for her role in The Descendants. Currently starring in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
  • Susan Zirinsky: Primetime Emmy and Peabody-winning executive producer. Projects include: 48 Hours, Documentaries, 9/11: Ten Years Later, Three Days in September and Flashpoint.
TAA Creative Promise Awards

The jurors for the 2012 TAA Creative Promise Award—Narrative are:
  • Rosario Dawson: Actress known for roles in Kids, Rent, Seven Pounds, Sin City, Alexander, Grindhouse, Men in Black II, Chelsea Walls, Sidewalks of New York, He Got Game, Eagle Eye and Unstoppable. Upcoming films include Fire With Fire, alongside Bruce Willis and Josh Duhamel, and Danny Boyle’s Trance.
  • Cuba Gooding, Jr.: Oscar-winning actor who has appeared in Jerry Maguire, Men of Honor, As Good As It Gets, Radio, American Gangster, and most recently the George Lucas-helmed Red Tails.
  • Mekhi Phifer: Actor known for films including Clockers, Flypaper, 8 Mile, Othello, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Imposter and the Fox series Lie to Me, as well as the Emmy Award-winning series ER. He recently made his Broadway debut starring in Stickfly.
  • Gabourey Sidibe: Oscar-nominated actress for her leading role in Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Currently appearing in the Showtime series The Big C, and recently appeared in the films Tower Heist and Yelling to the Sky.

The jurors for the 2012 TAA Creative Promise Award—Documentary are:
  • Claire Aguilar: Vice President of Programming at the Independent Television Service (ITVS), which funds, promotes and distributes independently produced programming to public media.
  • Julie Goldman: Founder of Motto Pictures and producer and executive producer of feature documentaries. Projects include the Oscar award-winning The Cove, Valentino The Last Emperor and Buck.
  • Eugene Hernandez: Director of Digital Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a founder of Indiewire.
  • Jean Tsien: Acclaimed documentary film editor. Projects including Something Within Me and Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing have been screened throughout the world, in theaters and on television, and have been honored with numerous awards and accolades.
  • Debra Zimmerman: Executive Director of Women Make Movies, the NY-based non-profit, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary of supporting independent women filmmakers.

TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund

The jurors for the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund, including the Heineken VOCES awards are:
  •  Fernando Rovzar: Co-founder of Mexico-based Lemon Films. Producer of the Broadway hit Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and executive producer of La Casa de Mi Padre, starring Will Ferrell, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal.
  • Cynthia Lopez: Vice President for American Documentary/POV, overseeing the development of the organization, programming/content development and delivery and strategic planning. Founding board member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).
  • Ricardo Darin: Internationally-renowned actor with over 40 films to his credit. Projects include Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas), The Son of the Bride (El Hijo de la Novia), The Aura and The Secret in their Eyes (winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Film).

April 17, 2012

Children, Dreams, and Oscar Things: Interview with Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story director Jonathan Kalafer

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to Jonathan Kalafer, director of the documentary Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story a film about a Staten Island, 5th grade choir who uses their vocal talents (and the help of social media) to make it to the Kodak Theatre for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.  Before the interview I had a chance to watch the film and let me tell you, by the end I was in tears. These kids are incredible and their story is truly inspiring and touching. As a former choir kid, I could relate all too well (the evening choir concerts, the shushing chaperones, and the blinding glare of a stage spotlight.) Once in a Lullaby was not only an intriguing look at the journey of the PS22 chorus, but a trip down memory lane to when life was full of joy and child-like wonder. Teacher and filmmaker, Jonathan Kalafer, talks to me about his experience with making the film.

How did you first hear about the PS22 chorus?
I am a close friend of the principal [Melissa Donath] and she had been telling me about her chorus and what Gregg [Gregg Brienberg, the PS22 choir director]  was doing for a long time. She was very proud of the work they were doing.

And out of all of the different stories you could’ve documented why did you choose to record their journey to the Oscars? I knew about them and I’ve been a fan for a long time. I have always been talking about doing a documentary about the PS22 chorus.

What were the kid’s initial reactions when they were being filmed for an entire month?
We approached it carefully, because we wanted the kids to feel comfortable. And the fact that I am a teacher and  have my own kids made me want them to be comfortable. After the meeting they were 100% okay with being filmed.

As a filmmaker what is the most challenging thing about filming this particular film when it involves children? It was really difficult because I was ill at the time and their music really kept me going. It really helped me get through that time.  The NYC schools are very protective so it helped that I was teacher in NY. They had a lot of logistics that they wanted us to meet and we met them all. Another challenge was getting the Academy on board. The Academy is very protective of their brand, but again, they ended up being wonderfully supportive. They were also very happy they got to see the final footage.

Was there anything that was left out of the film that you really wish could’ve been added? Were there any moments that stuck out to you?
I would’ve really liked to have covered all 64 kids [of the PS22 chorus]. Really, every single kid was so amazing and over the course of filming we got to meet them all.  I wish it was practical to film 64 different perspectives.

There are so many bold personalities in these students.  How did you go about selecting kids like Sarah, Mohamed, Azaria, and Marquis, to do a special profile on?  That was really difficult. There were a couple, that we knew we wanted because they kept popping up in all the footage. But some of the other ones were pretty random. It all worked out in the end.

For you, what was the most meaningful moment in the film?  It has to be the moments when Gregg is really there for his students. The motivational speech he gives before going on stage. That really resonated with me.

You have been quoted as saying that “Teaching is the ultimate creative outlet” and I’m wondering as a teacher yourself, how did you identify with Mr. Brienberg as an educator and even as a person of creativity?
Right off the bat Gregg and I had great chemistry and I think it’s because of the similarity of what we do. He really was a huge part of the film. He inspires me to step up my game as a teacher. When you’re making a documentary film you are doing a close study and I was really seeing his teaching style and it definitely inspired me.

Now in the film there is a small disagreement between Brienberg and Academy producer Bruce Cohen. How tense was the situation between the two and was it as amicable as it was portrayed in the film?
It’s hard for me to say. The whole thing was very stressful. For Gregg, preforming at the Oscars while leading a group of 5th graders. For Bruce, producing the Oscars show. I was so impressed by the way that they handled the situation. It was a wonderful lesson for the kids because Gregg feels very strongly for the performance and Bruce wants the show to run smoothly. The way they resolved the situation was great. He really just had a rapport with the kids. That resolution of conflict was a great learning experience for the kids and to see that was really amazing.

What was it like for you being backstage at the Oscars? As a filmmaker walking the red carpet while making the film was surreal. We saw every aspect of production of the Oscars show and it was an amazing life experience.

How did your role as a teacher and father prepare you to take on a project like this? It made all the difference because I feel comfortable in a school setting and I feel comfortable interacting with kids. And it’s important that you’re comfortable with both of those situations.

Any future projects already in the works?
Definitely thinking about projects facilitating my students thinking skills. I was very inspired by this film and that inspired my teaching career. 

 Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story will be screening at SVA Theatre 1 Silas on April 29th at 3:00. Buy your tickets HERE

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 Without a doubt one of my favorite moments in the film.

I'm Back! Happy Tribeca Eve

Hey Y'all!

Hope you had a lover-ly Easter/Passover break! Life is good so far. Had a nice week with the family and soaked in that Florida sun.

Look at that sun! It's like the start of Lion King! NAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa!

So, now I'm back in NY and ready for the start of the Tribeca Film Festival which is starting tomorrow night! It's so exciting to see something that seemed like a far away event, months ago, start to unfold. I will be keeping tabs of all the cool things happening and also give a blow by blow of my own Tribeca experience.  In honor of the start of TFF I will be posting an exclusive interview with Jonathan Kalafer, director of the amazing documentary Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story. Great guy and a film you will NOT want to miss while you're at the festival. Seriously, it's fantastic.

Happy Tribeca Eve!

April 10, 2012

The Chick Got Tixs! The Tribeca Films I Will Be Seeing...

So this morning I was clad in pajama bottoms, tank top, and sporting a half empty bowl of cinnamon crunch on my side dresser. As 10:50 hit I was already to go, Amex card in hand, ready to buy my tickets for Tribeca. I'm going to be honest, I didn't have a solid plan. Tickets for The Avengers and The Five Year Engagement was a pipe dream, but just like the little engine that could my mind was going "I think I can, I think I can..."  I was having war time flashbacks to last October when buying a ticket to the New York Film Festival was a near struggle (it was a hot mess) and I started to freak over my success this time.

Long story short, tickets for the big screenings was a bust but I can't say I'm disappointed. Luckily, I did not fall victim to the site crash and snagged tickets for some quality films. Here are the films I bought tickets for this morning:
  • Lola Versus
  • All That Way For Love
  • Mansome
Luckily, for me I will be getting vouchers for my volunteer work (and then there is rushing) so I plan on seeing more films including:
  • Sexy Baby
  • Once in a Lullaby
  • 2 Days in New York 
Next week is going to be really fun.

*If anyone has attended or is attending the TFF and have been to events during the festival, hit me up!

April 9, 2012

Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis in Talks to Star in New Line's 'We're the Millers'

From the Hollywood Reporter
Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis are in talks with New Line to reunite for the studio's long-gestating comedy We're the MillersRawson Marshall Thurber is attached to direct.
The dysfunctional family road-trip movie originated with Wedding Crashers writers Steve Faber and Bob Fisher but has since seen a rotating mix of writers, directors and actors attached since it was first picked up in 2002. Millers centers on a drug dealer who creates a fake family to help him pull off one last job that entails bringing 1,400 pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.
Aniston has had an offer in hand for a few weeks, but negotiations have yet to produce a commitment. The greenlight likely is dependent on her deal closing.
Aniston most recently starred in the Universal comedy Wanderlust and the New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, which also featured Sudeikis. The actors, both repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment, also appeared together in The Bounty Hunter for Sony.
Sudeikis also co-starred in the New Line comedies Hall Pass and Going the Distance. He stars opposite Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in The Campaign, which Warner Bros. will release in August.
Honestly, it seems that Aniston is just attaching herself to films that will probably piggyback on the talents of comedic actors (except for Horrible Bosses. She actually did hold her own in that film.)  Meh.

April 8, 2012

Fassbender: "I'll Bribe For My Film"

 From the Association Press
Michael Fassbender has joked he is prepared to turn to bribery to get the stars and director he wants to work on his new film project.
The award-nominated star of Shame and A Dangerous Method has started his own film production company and wants to adapt the famous Irish myths, The Cuchulainn Saga, for the big screen from a script he is working on with Public Enemies writer Ronan Bennett.
Fassbender said: “I’ll try and bribe, convince, whatever it takes to try and get the people we would like to have in it.
“But at the moment it’s really just a matter of getting the story tight so I can send something out there that will entice people to do it, so fingers crossed we’ll see what happens.
“We should have a script by July in the summer and then hopefully something to take to studios around September, October.”
The Irish actor will next appear in Ridley Scott’s space epic Prometheus and admitted working with the Oscar-winning director has been inspiring.
Fassbender said: “I was excited… and nervous… and scared.
“He’s just such an inspiring person to be around. He’s just the master. He’s been around now 30 years at the top of his game and there’s no bullshit with him, he’s just straight down the line.
“He’s a doer, so it’s all about getting it done and learning from that. I can’t say enough about the man, he’s really inspirational.”
Yeah, I don't think you'll have a problem finding people to be involved, sweetie. I hope this project follows through. He sounds very passionate about the film, and as many of you cinephiles know, there are so many films that never get off the ground.  Godspeed, Fassbender!

Clip of the Day: "All men fear death..."

One of my favorite moments from Midnight in Paris. The actor's name is Corey Stoll and he is magnificent in this scene. As I've said before, if Hemingway was anything like what was portrayed in the film then I will forgive him for Old Man and the Sea. Something tells me that Hemingway wasn't this sexy.......

"All men fear death. It's a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven't loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman the world fades away. You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before, you have conquered a great woman's heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage. But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal. "

April 6, 2012

Tribeca Spotlight: Lola Versus

Film: Lola Versus


TFF Synopsis: Indie ingénue Greta Gerwig stars as Lola, a New Yorker on the verge of 30 who finds herself abruptly dumped mere weeks before her long-anticipated wedding. Single for the first time in eight years, Lola attempts to rebuild with the help of her friends, sweet and supportive Henry (Hamish Linklater) and no-nonsense chatterbox Alice (co-screenwriter Zoe Lister-Jones), only to find that suddenly navigating the unfriendly waters of dating and relationships makes letting go and moving on much more easily said than done. 

I found out about this film through a fan of Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman who has made a mini US debut in the AMC original drama The Killing (and he was a past Spotlight of the Day.) The trailer looks cute. In my world "cute" can go  2 ways-- really good or horribly bad. I have found that I tend to enjoy this kind Eat, Pray, Love, woman finding herself with the help of quirky friends and accompanied by an indie soundtrack. I will def. try to catch this.

Savages: Lively's Career, Kitsch's Redemption, and Johnson's Dreads

Fans of the book have been salivating over the new trailer for Oliver Stone's Savages starring Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, and Blake Lively. The trailer looks cray and it does make me want to read the book, however, can we talk about Blake Lively for a minute? People are saying that this will launch her film career. Personally, I'm still on the fence with her acting ( a nice bod didn't get you Daisy in Great Gatsby) but her reactions to the crazy Latina fire that is Salma Hayek does give me some inkling that she will be good. 

I don't know a lot about Kitsch besides the fact that he is in Battleship opening in a few weeks and he starred in the failure of epic proportions, John Carter. My friends who have seen his work reassure me that he is good, so I will choose to believe that he will also fare well in this film (because I wouldn't put my money on Battleship.) Let's call Savages his come back from JC and the underwhelming looking Battleship. Oh! And  seeing Aaron Johnson all rasta'd and violent--pretty cool.

 I have no doubt that the cinematography is going to be excellent, which is what I expect from Stone's films. However, it could be so easy to accuse this film as overtly over compensating the sex, drugs, and violence to hide a bad script (not saying that's the case, but it's an example.) If they market this film strategically and wisely then Savages will do well. Heck, I can't wait to see it myself.

Spotlight of the Day: Meredith Michalojko

Today I chose one of my personal friends as my Spotlight of the Day. Meredith Michalojko is a model/actress currently working in L.A. She took the time to answer a few questions exclusively for The NYC Film Chick:

How long have you been in L.A?   I officially moved out to Los Angeles in August of 2011.  My family and I loaded up the mini-van and drove cross country to move me into my new apartment. Along the way we stopped by some national landmarks and touristy sites such as Graceland and the Grand Canyon as well as visiting family members we don’t often get to see.   

 What school are you currently attending?  I am currently attending Santa Monica Community College (SMC) where I am taking my general ed. courses towards my business degree where I plan to transfer to Cal State LA.  SMC is the number one transfer school to UC and Cal State schools with over 30,000 students.  

 What are you majoring in?   I am majoring in business because most of the schools with an acting program out here would not allow me to audition for TV and film roles outside of the school while I am enrolled. I will be able to incorporate the business aspect into my career goals and if, God forbid, I need something to fall back on.  It will also be useful as a backup plan if God forbid I need one.   

 Are you focusing more on modeling or acting?  I have been acting longer than modeling. Modeling was something that came to me through acting because I was tall and skinny.  It was also another way for me to promote my name within the industry.  I have come to love both of them but for different reasons.
What is unique about living in California as opposed to living in Pittsburgh [where she use to live]?  Living in LA is way different than living in Pittsburgh. First of all, the weather is wonderful! I will go to the beach and send pictures to my family while they shiver in the cold snow. (they don’t like that very much)  The people are a lot different as well.  I have found that Los Angeles is more accepting of differences and unique styles that people portray.  One example my friend gave me was he went home to Chicago to visit after living here and his sense of dress had changed a little from the influence of the west coast. As he went home he was glared at and ridiculed by people in his hometown for being different than the “norm” of the east coast.  I love the people back home but I admire the open minds and unique styles I encounter out here.

What have you learned in your time in L.A? I have learned more about myself and about the world than I could have ever imagined in my time here.  For anyone who has moved away from their family for the first time they can agree that this is probably one of the most eye opening experiences they’ve faced.  For me, it is sometimes doubled due to the fact that not only did I move out, but I moved all the way to the other side of the country.  I also maintain a career along with school work, a job, and an active social life. I’ve learned a lot about how different people’s upbringings shape who they are and how to work with those differences in order to overcome challenges. I’ve also learned the value of trust, responsibilities, and prioritizing.  Trust can be a hard thing to come by when everyone out here is competing for the same thing.  Through my experiences since being here I have had to select my friends carefully and who I can truly trust all based on trial and error.  As far as responsibilities and priorities go, every so often I will sit down and have a good think with myself.  During this time, I may find myself getting off track from my ultimate goal and I will reflect on what I need to get done.  I am constantly given so many social opportunities that most peers my age could never imagine that I sometimes lose sight of the fact that I need to better myself for my career and the rest will always be there for the taking.

What are your goals? My managers and I set aside a list of goals to accomplish by the end of this year and throughout the next few years as far as my career goes.  We set up a reasonable schedule of deadlines for when I should be booking commercials and guest spots etc.  As for school, I just want to maintain a “B” or higher in every class. 

  What jobs have you worked on so far? TV: We The People-Stacy Sweet (costar) Music Video: Patrice Wilson Music Video Teaser-(featured) Youtube: Mtvs Made Doushebag Player-Hot Chick (featured) Modeling: LA Fashion Week Fall and Spring- Project Ethos (MulteePurpose,Furio, BodyTecture, Luica), Amato Haute Couture (designer for Lady Gaga, Nicki Manaj, Katy Perry), Feature Film (In Progress) 

Your favorite celebrity run in? That’s a tough one because I meet a lot of them at parties and events. It's awkward to talk about them as celebrities or when we are out in public and fans ask for pictures. However, recently I was at a party with some friends and Kevin Mchale (Glee) was there and he came up and introduced himself (of course I acted like I didn’t know him yet he’s my favorite on the show!) He was so sweet and seemed super chill.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to move to L.A to model or act? LA is a lot different from the rest of the U.S. as cheesy as that sounds, but it's true. I am grateful to have lived outside of it before moving there because I was able to witness the cultural differences and standards of society to where I wasn't jaded by the Cali lifestyle. My advice would be attend as many classes as possible to prepare and even when you do get out here still attend classes. My biggest pet peeve is having people tell me they want to become an actor but don't want to do the research head of time. It's just like any other career you need the proper knowledge to do the job right. Even every celebrity and working actor I have met still attends classes. There's never a time when you can't develop your craft even more.

Agent: Kendall Parks-JLA (Jack Lippman Agency)
Manager: Nelson Park and Vic Vaswani- ESI Network