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Writer/Director Maris Curran in Philly: FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tinsel & Tine's Look at Five Nights in Maine

By Editor Le Anne Lindsay

Me w/ Filmmaker Maris Curran
If you live in the Philadelphia area and you're looking to see some interesting Indie Films for FREE, I encourage you to sign up to receive notices from International House (3701 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104) because at least once a month they offer a free screening, and this one came with the writer/director, Maris Curran in attendance for a Q&A.

Five Nights in Maine premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and stars David Oyelowo (Selma, Middle of Nowhere - click for T&T posts) as Sherwin, a husband who suddenly loses his wife, Fiona (Hani Furstenberg) in a fatal car accident and feels completely out of sorts the days and weeks following her passing.  His mother-in-law, Lucinda (Dianne Wiest) who has been estranged from the couple, invites Sherwin to come up to Maine to visit after the tragedy. Shortly before her death, Fiona had been to see Lucinda and wanted to return with her husband for a visit, before losing her mother to cancer.  It's never spoken, but you assume a large part of the estrangement has to do with the fact that Sherwin and Fiona are an interracial couple and the mother didn't approve.

Maris Curran: This is an adult film. It is a film about real people struggling and coming together. I know that as a filmgoer, I ache to see more films that reflect the challenges and joys of everyday life. It is a film for people who want that experience. And it is a film to see with someone — to sit in the dark and leave talking and ideally, sharing. It is something that has happened spontaneously throughout the process of making the film, so I hope it will continue... READ MORE  Tina Poppy Interview with Curran for

Sherwin arrives at Lucinda's large farmhouse and is met by her nurse, Ann (Rosie Perez). He's told Lucinda isn't feeling well and will see him at dinner, which is a palpably uncomfortable meal. There's no anger or blatant hostility, but here's two people with only one thing in common, they loved the same person, a person who they're both still in the throes of grief over, yet grieving very differently. Perhaps under another set of circumstances this could bring two strangers closer together, but not during 5 Nights in Maine.

What advice do you have for other female directors?

Curran: The best advice I can give to a filmmaker is to be true to your voice and make your work. Push forward, be kind, help other filmmakers and honor what makes you special. READ MORE TIFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Maris Curran - 'Five Nights in Maine' 

Lucinda (Wiest) Illustration by Diane Roka

At one point in the movie you overhear Lucinda saying to Ann she didn't think he'd actually come - which gives you the feeling she extended the invitation in a moment of weakness, needing some connection to Fiona, but in the light of day regretted the impulse.  It certainly wasn't extended out of compassion for Sherwin, or even etiquette, because Lucinda is a far cry from the sympathetic characters Dianne Wiest normally plays. This woman is brittle, set in her ways, a bit haughty and uncompromising - not to mention, angry at her own impending death and that of her daughter's, there's no room for niceties.

Sherwin (Oyelowo) Illustration by Diane Roka

Maris Curran is a Philly native, who now resides in LA. Five Nights in Maine is her debut feature film.  What incredible luck to have gotten David Oyelowo attached even before he was tapped to play Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma.  Curran was actually introduced to Oyelowo, through Ava DuVernay. Oyelowo like the script enough to sign on not only as principal actor, but also producer.  I can see why, as it's a very different kind of role for a black male.  A lot of tight shots, subtle humor, understated pathos, it's understandable why he stayed with the project through the 5 years it took to get the film made.

Below is a short 6min excerpt of the Post Screening Q&A 
held at I House Philadelphia 3/2/16 
There's a moment or two when Maris is not in frame. I apologize, but I was trying to get a couple shots with my cellphone at the same time as filming with my camera, which is a bit of a juggling act.  
Note: those receiving T&T via RSS feed will need to click HERE to view video

Five Nights participated in IFP’s No Borders International Coproduction Market, Film Independent’s Fast Track, received a Cinereach Grant, a San Francisco Film society KRF grant, a Panavision New Filmmaker camera grant and was selected as one of ten international projects to develop at the Cine Qua Non Writers Lab in Mexico. 
T &T's LAMB Score: 2.5 outta 5

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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