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FIRSTGLANCE Film Festival Interviews with Filmmakers 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Tinsel & Tine's

5 QUESTION INTERVIEWS

with

FIRSTGLANCE FILM FESTIVAL FILMMAKERS


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

The 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia gets underway October 12-14, 2018. To further shine a spotlight on the talented filmmakers screening this year, I asked several of the directors and/or writers to answer the same 5 Questions, which resulted in varying and personal responses.  I did the same thing for Philly's BlackStar Film Festival. Hoping it can become a Tinsel & Tine signature.  Please see filmmakers answers below:

SON TO SON
Director: Taron Lexton
Screening Date: Sun. Oct 14 5:15pm
TRAILER
Instagram: @txlfilms

This story demonstrates the ease with which an average American citizen can become an opioid addict. It also discusses the rationale an addict has towards transitioning to heroin or another drug as these are sometimes cheaper and easier for them to obtain. We have to make our voices heard and get the doctors and pharmaceutical companies that are marketing these dangerous drugs to better educate their patients and help wean them off these potentially dangerous substances.

Although the US only accounts for approximately 5% of the world’s population, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that 81% of the world’s supply of oxycodone is now consumed in the US.

Festivals: 9 Wins, 12 Nominations, and 20 Official Selections, including LA Shorts Int FF, USA FF, and Long Island (LIIFE) Upcoming: 5 including Breckenridge Film Festival, FirstGlance Film Fest and Catalina Film Festival
1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Taron Lexton:Writer Jim Meskimen was inspired to commit this story to paper in the summer of 2016 after reading an article on the spike in Heroin usage among Americans who had been prescribed Oxycontin and other opioids. Since that time the opioid crisis has been increasingly front and center in the national news, and has even become a subject of presidential activity, which it certainly deserves.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Taron: I like to find ways to let artists create. My goal on set is to create an atmosphere where talented people can feel free to express their talent, and helping to guide that toward a cohesive final product. It’s a balancing act but I love it.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Taron: First and foremost, my producing partners Nathan Lorch and Milena Ferriera. We’ve worked together for 10 years now and they’re not only phenomenal producers but incredible human beings. Nicole Pase was a key part of the production team as well - she’s amazing. Nick Lane somehow managed to star in the film and help produce it off screen as well. Kevin Garrison our fearless DP, Todd Jeffrey our ingenious Production Designer, and of course Jim Meskimen who conceived the whole idea and brought the fierce performance we see in the film.

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Taron: For an indie film, good food is like solid gold. On every one of my sets, big or small, we make sure to have excellent food and plenty of it. In this case the restaurant itself helped provide food on and off camera — and fortunately, they have a great menu!

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Taron: I’m incredibly honored and thrilled. To be recognized by a festival of this stature and longevity is amazing. And it looks like we are in very good company, as the other selected films look incredible! That’s always the greatest compliment, to be able to share a screen with great films and be part of something that makes a difference.


THE SPEED OF ANTONE 
Filmmaker: Jason O'Connell
Screening Date: Sat. Oct 13 3:30pm
Antone is a strong, determined young man who has overcome many odds. He amazes and surprises his supporters everyday. Antone has brought many wonderful people into his family's life. Join us on our journey! The Adventures of Antone Facebook
1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Jason O'Connell:The main inspiration for the film came from Antone himself. Antone is such an amazing young boy who lives life to it's fullest everyday. Watching Antone though his Facebook page, "The Adventures of Antone" which his parents operate had simply just inspired me to tell his story. He overcomes so many obstacles in his day to day life and goes on so many adventures that you wouldn't think someone with his disabilities could do but Antone does it and he does it well. This inspired me to get his story out there; I felt it was important to tell, for other people like Antone, who also deal with these odds, to see that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Jason: I think I really shine as a filmmaker when it comes to crafting the story. I think that most student film makers get caught up in the type of gear they have available to work with and look at that as an instant deterrent to why their work can't be something special. It's something I hear a lot. But I feel like if you have a story that can grip an audience and is just screaming to be told, then you have a film - it doesn't matter if you have an iPhone or Arri Alexa. If you have the story, the passion and the will to get the story told then you can come out on the other end with something quite special. This is where I feel comfortable as a filmmaker, with the story. The story is everything, if you don't have a good story you won't have a good film, but that's not to say a good story can't be a bad film. It's all about how you direct where you want the story to go both onset and in the editing lab. My professor likes to say, "You write your story three times, once on paper, then again while shooting, and finally a third time while editing." I've taken this to heart and keep it, in mind during my film making process because, she's not wrong. You can write one story on paper and then get to set and realize there's a completely different story here that needs to be told. Then, when you're editing the final product, suddenly it all weaves together to create something you can be proud of.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Jason: I'd like to make a quick shout out to Linda O'Connell, who is not only an amazing mother but my number one fan and biggest supporter. When everyone else told me my dreams were to ambitious or that "I'd never get a job" and I should just give up, she stood by me and pushed me along from day one. I also have to thank two of the most important people in my life, Joshua Moulding and Dr. Christina Hodel, without the two of them the film wouldn't be what it is and this amazing opportunity to take part in FistGlance would not be possible. I would not be the filmmaker I am today without these two amazing people who have taking time out of their busy schedules to help teach me everything they know, time and time again, while also guiding me through the tricky waters that is the film industry. Thank you both so much, know everything you do means the world to me and many other students.

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Jason: I wish! When both shooting and editing the film most of the time I either didn't have time to break to eat or completely forgot to eat all together. Probably not the healthiest thing but we are starving artist after all right? 😀

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Jason:I t means everything to me to screen my film at the FirstGlance. I've been striving all my life to be apart of the world of film and working even harder to make it this far. Having my work recognized and screened here is by far the most rewarding experience of my life. I can not wait to get down to Philly and check-out other films from other Directors and Artists taking part in the festival and just be apart of the culture surrounded by great talent all around.

INTERESTED IN (Web Series)
Creator: Michael Witkes
Screening Date: Sun. Oct 14 3:30pm
TRAILER | Website
Instagram | Facebook
The series is set in Philadelphia and “we are so excited to come back home.” Interested In is a coming of age story about recently out college student, Parker (Michael Witkes). We follow his journey through gay sexcapades in Philadelphia, as he begins to find himself after "the closet." During his first openly gay hook up, Parker realizes he has much to learn. Through help from his best friend, Danny—and various hook up encounters—Parker learns to reinvent himself.
1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Michael Witkes: I wrote Interested In because I felt lost after I came out. There were no examples on TV or film about what to do after the closet. Coming out was always presented as the end of the story, but it’s actually such a confusing time. After years of suppression, you have to reinvent yourself. And on top of that, you’re plunged into a completely new dating culture. Interested In explores what it means to be a gay man, as Parker freely expresses his sexuality for the first time.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Michael: I wrote, produced, and starred in Interested In. This was the first film I produced, so I was really learning every step of the way. I am grateful to be surrounded by talented people that helped create a product I know I'm so proud of. This has been a passion project for me for a long time. I wrote the first draft of the script in 2013! I'm so glad that the group of people behind Interested In elevated the project, and made it something better than I ever dreamed.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Michael: Shout out to our amazing team: Director Blayze Teicher, Director of Photography Brendan Swift, fellow producer Phillip Nguyen, Editor David Sicilliano! And so many more. Also thanks to everyone who helped support our fundraiser to help this get made!

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Michael: In episode two, Parker and his best friend, Danny, discuss boys over froyo. That was definitely hard to shoot because the froyo kept melting! We actually shot the scene over two days. So the first day we used actual froyo, that we had to work hard to keep cold. The second day, we used Greek yogurt. This worked much better, but my stomach didn't love eating Greek yogurt with froyo toppings on it!

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Michael: "Interested In" is SET in Philadelphia, so it means the world to screen at FirstGlance. I was born and raised outside of Philly. Philly is where I came out and came of age. Woody's was the first gay bar I went to when I turned 21. I'm so happy to return home and share the series where it all began!


New Filmmakers Gay and Lesbian themes
GUN
Filmmaker: Edward William Wasser
Screening Date: Sun. Oct 14 5:15pm
TRAILER
Gun is a short film that deals with LGBTQ issues that are alive and well today. One interesting aspect to the movie is that it has been accepted into many gay and lesbian film festivals, it's won many awards from Best Actor and Best Screenplay to Best Picture yet the movie was made by two straight men.


1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Edward William Wasser: The main inspiration was a friend I knew when I lived in the New York City area and also the current ugly political climate. My friend was raised a gay man in Texas and it was extremely difficult. The only thing that kept him sane was knowing that someday he could move to New York City which he viewed as an oasis. A city where he could be his real self. The film is really two stories that are brought together in a unique way, but I don't want to give to much away.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Edward: My only real talent as a filmmaker is being able to locate people with amazing technical abilities. I guess I'm an OK writer and actor but once I got the crew of Chris Newhard, Chris Mercury, Joe Graves, and Joe DiFeo together the quality of everything I did expanded exponentially. So where I shine is locating people that are going places and hitching my wagon to them.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Edward: I had Ben Wong and Joe DiFeo on sound. Sound is vital to a movie. I don't care if you made Citizen Kane, if the sound is bad nobody will pay attention to it. Trevor Leonard did an amazing original score. Joe Graves is a fearless gaffer that will do anything for a great shot. If you ask him to hang a light while hanging off the torch the Statue of Liberty holds, he'll do it. Chris Mercury is one of those guys that doesn't say much but when he offers an idea everyone stops and thinks "damn, that's a great idea!" And Chris Newhard is just the best director of photography in the city of Philadelphia. At this point, I trust his judgement on shots and lighting 100%, I don't even question it.

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Edward: Food does not play a part in the story but you need to feed your cast and crew. A "hangry" crew is a miserable crew.

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Edward: We screened in Los Angeles and Chicago, and the people were very nice and gracious, but we're Philly guys. This is our chance to share our work with our family, friends, and the city and we're really looking forward to it.

New Filmmaker theme dealing with mental illness
READY
Filmmaker: Debbie Yen
Screening Date: Sat. Oct. 13th 5:00pm
Instagram | Facebook
A little bit about myself. I’m a 31-year-old Asian American female and my short film “Ready” is the first film I’ve ever written and directed. 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and through the years I have battled manic and depressive episodes, going in and out of hospitals. It was only when I decided to write and direct “Ready” was I able to find peace and forgiveness with myself. “Ready” is about my personal experience living with a mental illness and a short film I wished my younger, newly diagnosed, self could’ve watched so I would’ve felt less alone and be comforted by the fact that there was someone out there who was going through the same feelings and experience as I was at the time.

“Ready” is a short film about a mentally-ill woman having trouble living in the present after running into her past, sending her on a mental journey of self-love and self-forgiveness.

1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Debbie Yen: The main inspiration for my film was simply my personal experience living with a mental illness, specifically, Bipolar.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Debbie: I feel like my strong point is working well with others. The thing about filmmaking, it’s a collaborative effort, so working well with everybody is so crucial in making sure your film comes out the way you want.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Debbie: A big shout out to all of my crew, cast, and contributors for making my short film “Ready” exist. And a huge shout out to my producer Jared Lundy who believed in my story from day 1 and my director of photography Kenneth Keeler who made my vision come to life. Last, but not least, I’d like to give a shout out to my father Lyoni Yen who never gave up on me, even when I gave up on myself.

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Debbie: Without food, my crew and I wouldn’t have been able to function. Luckily we had great crafty and one of our crew meals was sponsored and provided by Wurstküche, an amazing downtown Los Angeles restaurant that serves delicious and exotic hot dogs.

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Debbie: It means that my short film “Ready” will reach more people; and hopefully give those living with a mental illness, or those who know someone who is mentally-ill, hope and optimism for the present and future.

New filmmakers theme dealing with sobriety and alcholism
HOW DO YOU TYPE A BROKEN HEART
Director: Jeremiah Kipp
Writer: Susannah Nolan
Screening Date: Sat. Oct. 13th 5:00pm
Twitter: @HowDoYouTypeAB1 | Facebook
TRAILER | Film Review 
New mother Becky is awakened at close to midnight by Justine, an alcoholic on the brink of self-destruction. In order to reach Justine, Becky, her former sponsor, must open her own padlocked past and finds herself drawn close to the abyss than she ever expected.

1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Susannah Nolan: I always wanted to work with Jeremiah Kipp. He told me if I wrote a monologue, he would make a small film of it for me on the cheap. So I wrote a monologue of a desperate woman on the phone struggling to get her first full day of sobriety, When I brought the script into our writer's group, everyone said that the real story was the person on the other end of the line. So I then wrote that whole experience---but from her perspective. Which led to me having to bring in her husband and baby and well----Before I knew it, I had a 13 minute short. Making it turned out to be no longer "on the cheap," but a heck of a lot more interesting.

Jeremiah Kipp: I knew first and foremost I wanted to work with Sooz, whose combination of wit, tenacity, blunt honesty, feminist integrity and repressed vulnerability informs everything she writes. The character of Becky has many of Sooz's qualities, and is thrown into a midnight of the soul situation that she can't untether herself from. She's incredibly courageous in a non-superhero way. We don't often see damaged female protagonists as our heroes; so this project felt immediate and necessary in our current times.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Jeremiah: Working collaboratively with the actors is my favorite part of the process. Once we cast Emily Donahoe and Holly Curran as our two leads, we knew we had two grounded, honest performers who could easily make adjustments based on the requirements of the scene.

That truly comes in handy when working with an infant, who can only play their own reality of feeling safe or sleepy or angry. When a baby is on set, you're making a documentary about their whims. But we created an on-set environment where the actors could improvise within those limitations. We didn't change a word of Sooz's script. But could keep the cameras rolling and play off of whatever surprises (and gifts) our remarkable baby actor Emilia Rodriguez threw at us.

Susannah: All of the actors just blew me away with the way they were able to create heartbreaking reality in such a short period of time. From the second Jeremiah came on set, everyone knew who to look to for leadership. He was the quiet center of the chaos. Jeremiah created an intimate grounded space where everyone was truly safe to create their magic. His sets are models of very tight discipline, humor and permission to "go there." Take it to the edge. It is a special skill of his that I think is unique.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at FirstGlance.

Jeremiah: We owe a hell of a lot to producer Natasha Straley. Producers are the unsung champions of independent filmmaking. From crew to locations to morale and discipline, she was our backbone from production through post. I also cannot say enough about my sharp, incisive and endlessly creative frequent editor Katie Dillon Wedge. She describes herself as a "method actor" in the cutting room...and indeed she put together this film with one hand while rocking her infant's crib in the other.

Susannah: Jeremiah and Natasha had worked with each other before and brought with them a whole community of creatives from our Director of Photography Taylor Camarot to our film editor Katie Dillon. I was astonished at the quality of their choices at each level. I must also give a shout out to our writer's group, Present Tense Dramatic Writing Workshop where the script was developed. It is where I met Jeremiah so many years ago. The group is run by Mick Casale. The script would never have evolved the way it did without having the readings and critiques it did in those gatherings.

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Jeremiah: While a director can potentially survive on caffeine and adrenaline, the old saying is true: "Soldiers go to war on their bellies!" A happy film crew is a well fed crew, especially if attention is equally paid to vegetarians, vegans and those with unique allergies.

Susannah: Well, I know a screenwriter is next to useless on set, so I had a lot of nervous energy to expend before our two days of filming. I am a baker, so I baked dozens of muffins every morning for the crew's breakfast and cookies for their breaks. Brownies one day, chocolate chip the next, I think it was. As Jeremiah said, an army travels on its stomach, yes? It was a way to show them how much I appreciated their efforts. I baked a lot of hope and dreams and wishes into those darned muffins. Erm...and I won't go into the sad things that happened to a few bottles of wine in the making of the movie. When you see the film you will understand.

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 21st Annual FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia?

Jeremiah: Philadelphia is one of our great American cities, with a sense of history and camaraderie that inspires us all. Our movie is grounded in values of people helping each other against all odds, which sounds like the right fit for this esteemed film festival in the City of Brotherly Love. Its an absolute honor to share our project with the FirstGlance audience. We can't wait to attend.

Susannah: I was born in Philadelphia (U of P Hospital, in fact!) and raised in Valley Forge and Chester County. My whole family lives in Paoli, King of Prussia and Haverford. It gives me tremendous pride that they will only need to drive down the Schuylkill Expressway to come see my film at this wonderful Festival. In a very real way I am indeed "bringing it home."


STAY TUNED MORE FILMMAKERS INTERVIEWS TO COME!

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PhillySpotlight: An Ingmar Bergman Centennial Retrospective at Lightbox Film Center

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Tinsel & Tine highlights

INGMAR BERGMAN

CENTENNIAL RETROSPECTIVE


2018 marks the centennial of one of the most influential artists in film history. Lightbox Film Center will join in a global celebration (#Bergman100) September 6 through 21, with Autumn Sonata: An Ingmar Bergman Centennial Retrospective, a three-week program exploring 10 titles from the legendary filmmaker’s extraordinary body of work.

“Bergman has long been an important figure within our film program,” says Jesse Pires, Lightbox chief curator. “For many of our longtime members his films, like those of Fellini and Godard, were a gateway to European arthouse cinema. The stories are timeless and the films are meticulously crafted. It’s exciting to devote almost an entire month to this work with screenings and special guests.”


Ingmar Bergman emerged from Sweden in the late 1940s as a singular artist, infusing his films with a mix of existential questioning and complex interpersonal relationships. He would later redefine cinema as he became one of the first “arthouse” filmmakers, thanks in large part due to the success of films like Summer with Monika and Smiles of a Summer Night with their frank depictions of sexual themes.

In his 59 years as a filmmaker (1944-2003), he wrote and/or directed more than 60 films and also found time to direct more than 170 plays. His films are not exactly happy-go-lucky, dealing with themes of mortality, loneliness, infidelity, harsh parenting and religious faith or lack-thereof. Bergman was raised by a father who was a very strict conservative parish minister, so he was known to say he used cinema as an exploration (or exorcism) of his personal demons.

I'm looking forward to attending the retrospective, as Ingmar Bergman's work is always talked about with such reverence among real film buffs, who speak on the artistry of lights and shadows and framing which adds a noir-ish atmosphere to his films. I think most people who have never heard of him, would be familiar with the image of the knight who plays a game of chess with Death on a beach, that’s from The Seventh Seal. Bergman worked very closely with cinematographer Sven Nykvist who is considered by many to be the greatest cinematographers of all time. Nykvist won 2 Oscars for Bergman films Cries and Whispers (1973) and Fanny and Alexander (1983) The Virgin Spring, Through A Glass Darkly and Fanny & Alexander also won a best foreign film Oscars, However, Bergman himself never won a directing Oscar. His worked was halted for a time in 1976 when he was arrested for tax evasion, but eventually was found innocent of any wrong doing. Yet, the whole incident put him into a deep depression, he left Sweden for Munich Germany. When he died in 2007 at the age of 89, he had been married 5 times and fathered 9 children including one with often featured actresses Liv Ullmann, whom he never married. Bergman considered Persona to be his best work. I'm most looking forward to seeing the closing film Autumn Sonata (Höstsonaten, 1978) starring Ingrid Bergman, who was no relation, but it's always funny how people tend to confuse the names.

BERGMAN RETROSPECTIVE FULL SCHEDULE

Unless otherwise noted, INDIVIDUAL TICKETS range from $8 for students and seniors, $10 general admission, and are free to Lightbox members.


In addition to the screenings, the Centennial will include special events. The program kicks off on September 4 at 6pm. with Deep Dive, a new program by Lightbox. An ongoing series of public conversations focusing on a wide range of topics and themes related to films screened at Lightbox, Deep Dive will present informal discussions with artists, scholars and film enthusiasts, bringing the film going experience into a discursive setting and extending what’s on screen to what’s on your mind. This session will be led by Dr. Jan Holmberg, CEO of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation in Stockholm, and will offer participants a thorough crash course on Bergman’s life, work and legacy. A reception will follow at 7pm in the East Alcove Gallery, where guests can also view the opening of the newest art exhibit in collaboration with the Da Vinci Art Alliance titled Truth & Image.

Thursday, September 6, 7pm. WILD STRAWBERRIES (1957, 92 min. b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg—masterfully played by veteran director Victor Sjöström—is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries dramatizes one man’s poignant voyage of self-discovery. This richly humane masterpiece, full of iconic imagery, is a treasure from the golden age of art-house cinema and one of the films that catapulted Ingmar Bergman to international acclaim.

Friday, September 7, 7pm. THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957, 96 min. b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning, The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet), was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing. Followed by an opening party with food and drink.

Saturday, September 8, 2pm. THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY (1961, 91 min. b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). While vacationing on a remote island retreat, a family’s already fragile ties are tested when daughter Karin (Harriet Andersson) discovers her father has been using her schizophrenia for his own literary means. As she drifts in and out of lucidity, the father (Gunnar Björnstrand), Karin’s husband (Max von Sydow) and her younger brother (Lars Passgård) are unable to prevent Karin’s harrowing descent into the abyss of mental illness. Winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and featuring an astonishing lead performance by Andersson, Through a Glass Darkly presents an unflinching vision of a family’s near disintegration and a tortured psyche further taunted by God’s intangible presence.

Saturday, September 8, 5pm WINTER LIGHT 1(962, 80 min., b/w. Swedish with English subtitles). With Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman deftly explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. In this stark depiction of spiritual crisis, small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Björnstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation. When he is asked to assist with a troubled parishioner’s (Max von Sydow) debilitating fear of nuclear annihilation, Tomas is terrified to find that he can provide nothing but his own uncertainty. Beautifully photographed by Sven Nykvist, Winter Light is an unsettling look at the human craving for personal validation in a world seemingly abandoned by God.

Saturday, September 8, 8pm THE SILENCE (1963, 95 min., b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). Two sisters—the sickly, intellectual Ester (Ingrid Thulin) and the sensual, pragmatic Anna (Gunnel Lindblom)—travel by train with Anna’s young son Johan (Jorgen Lindstrom) to a foreign country seemingly on the brink of war. Attempting to cope with their alien surroundings, the sisters resort to their personal vices while vying for Johan’s affection, and in so doing sabotage any hope for a future together. Regarded as one of the most sexually provocative films of its day, Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence offers a brilliant, disturbing vision of emotional isolation in a suffocating spiritual void.

Thursday, September 13, 7pm  THE MAGICIAN (1958, 101 min. b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). Ingmar Bergman's The Magician (Ansiktet) is an engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema’s premier illusionists. This tale of deceit stars Max von Sydow as Dr. Vogler, a nineteenth-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions whose magic is put to the test in Stockholm by the cruel, eminently rational royal medical adviser Dr. Vergérus. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot in rich, gorgeously gothic black and white.

Friday, September 14, 7pm.  PERSONA (1966, 83 min. b/w, Swedish with English subtitles). By the mid-sixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical Persona, this supreme artist attained new levels of visual poetry. In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actor who has inexplicably gone mute; an equally mesmerizing Bibi Andersson is the garrulous young nurse caring for her in a remote island cottage. While isolated together there, the women perform a mysterious spiritual and emotional transference that would prove to be one of cinema’s most influential creations. Acted with astonishing nuance and shot in stark contrast and soft light by the great Sven Nykvist, Persona is a penetrating, dreamlike work of profound psychological depth.

Saturday, September 15, 5pm  CRIES AND WHISPERS (1972, 91 min. Swedish with English subtitles). This existential wail of a drama from Ingmar Bergman concerns two sisters, Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and Maria (Liv Ullmann), keep vigil for a third, Agnes (Harriet Andersson), who is dying of cancer and can find solace only in the arms of a beatific servant (Kari Sylwan). An intensely felt film that is one of Bergman’s most striking formal experiments, Cries and Whispers (which won an Oscar for the extraordinary color photography of Sven Nykvist) is a powerful depiction of human behavior in the face of death, positioned on the borders between reality and nightmare, tranquility and terror.

Saturday, September 15, 8pm SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE 1(973, 169 min. Swedish with English subtitles). Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson) through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partners. Shot in intense, intimate close-ups by master cinematographer Sven Nykvist and featuring flawless performances, Ingmar Bergman’s emotional X-ray reveals the intense joys and pains of a complex relationship.

Friday, September 21, 7pm AUTUMN SONATA (1978, 93 min. Swedish with English subtitles). Autumn Sonata was the only collaboration between cinema’s two great Bergmans: Ingmar, the iconic director of The Seventh Seal, and Ingrid, the monumental star of Casablanca.The grand dame, playing an icy concert pianist, is matched beat for beat in ferocity by the filmmaker’s recurring lead Liv Ullmann, as her eldest daughter. Over the course of a day and a long, painful night that the two spend together after an extended separation, they finally confront the bitter discord of their relationship. This cathartic pas de deux, evocatively shot in burnished harvest colors by the great Sven Nykvist, ranks among Ingmar Bergman’s major dramatic works.

ABOUT LIGHTBOX FILM CENTER Lightbox Film Center is Philadelphia’s premier exhibitor of film and moving image art. As the signature arts program of International House Philadelphia, an independent nonprofit organization, Lightbox curates and presents an unparalleled slate of repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international cinema. Beyond the traditional movie theater experience, Lightbox delivers enriching film programs with artist talks, live music and other multidisciplinary programs.
Memberships are available by visiting lightboxfilmcenter.org/become-a-member. Images and screeners are available on reques

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Broadway Review: PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL vs. PRETTY WOMAN THE MOVIE

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How does Pretty Woman the Musical Translate on Stage
Tinsel & Tine's Quick Look at

PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL

By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

In March 2014, it was announced that a musical adaption of the 1990 movie which made Julia Roberts a household name, was being developed for the stage, with original screenwriter J.F. Lawton and director Garry Marshall attached to write the book. Marshall worked on the musical adaptation up until his death, July of 2016. Pretty Woman The Musical had its off Broadway premiere at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago in March 2018 and opened on Broadway August 16, 2018 - I got to see a Broadway matinee on Saturday August 18th - thanks to my sister Alyssa, who made sure we bought Hagey Bus tickets to see the show very early on.  We've both seen Pretty Woman the movie about 20x or more since the infectious rom/com first soared into theaters over 25 years ago (Click HERE for Tinsel & Tine Celebrates 25 Years of Pretty Woman post) so we really enjoyed the novelty of seeing it on stage as a musical, dissecting each scene to see what they kept, changed or expanded. And I can happily say, they keep almost everything, everything important anyway, and practically word for word... except, she doesn’t fling the escargot across the restaurant.


Unfortunately, if you don't have a deep connection to the movie, and you're coming to the show because you like Broadway musicals, then I feel you'll be disappointed because Pretty Woman The Musical can't stand on its own as a great show. The story doesn't translate as well without Julia Roberts & Richard Gere, under Garry Marshall's direction. The love story seems a little flat on stage, not nearly as magical and engaging as the film.  Plus, although they left it set in the early 90's, which actually in the movie feels more 80's, you don't get the same sense of nostalgia for this time period from the sets and props as you do when watching the movie.

But the main issue with Pretty Woman the Musical is the lyrics & score, written by 80’s soft rocker Bryan Adams and his writing partner Jim Vallance. I found almost all the songs to be annoying, completely uninspired and identical to one another - a driving rock beat underneath, with a tuneless musical theater sound on top. The exception being 2 songs - “On a Night Like Tonight” which worked as a good dance number, and “This is my Life” which uses dialogue from the movie as lyrics. I really wish they could have worked in songs from the original soundtrack, which I love.

Le Anne Lindsay Movie Blogger, Film Critic

Samantha Barks (Vivian Ward) in the title role is lively and expressive, but she doesn’t bring the same attitude as Roberts, still, she’s very likable. Andy Karl (Edward Lewis) is supposed to be a top get for the musical, as he’s done a number of movies turned Broadway shows like Legally Blonde, The Wedding Singer, Groundhogs Day, Rocky and more. But for me, he just looked the part, but didn’t bring much to the role of corporate raider Edward Lewis. They expanded the role of Vivian’s hooker roommate, Kit, which is a mistake. The actress Orfeh, (just goes by one name) is impressive, with a huge, belting voice, but there’s a reason why in the movie this character only shows up in 3 specific scenes, because that’s all that’s needed.

Pretty Woman The Musical Review Philadelphia Theater Critic

What I was most pleased with, was the costume design by Gregg Barnes, because he really stayed very close to the movie, the hooker outfit was recreated to a T, as well as her polka-dot dress worn during the Polo scene, except instead of dark brown, they change it to blue, which pops better on stage.
On our way to New York City in a Hagey Tour BusALYSSA'S REVIEW: I’m glad you didn’t write what other critics wrote about it not be gritty enough for the subject matter and that the character of Vivian came across too fresh and bubbly even though she was a hooker. I think either you can accept the idea of prostitution as a comedy or not. (It’s like the show Hogan’s Heroes, either you can find Nazi war camp funny or not but you can’t make it a drama.) I swear this whole #Metoo movement is spoiling a lot of fun for movies and tv and other comedy shows.

That’s why those Pretty Woman musical t-shirts had to have all those sayings about her being proud and fierce and all that because the show was afraid of the backlash. But we’re women and the t-shirts didn’t work on us because it’s not from the movie.

And anyway, in the Pretty Woman movie the script already implies all that in the fact that Viv and Kit are not like most prostitutes because they have no pimp …. “I say who. I say when.” One critic complained the show opening with tourists taking pictures of Skinny Marie dead behind the dumpster is treated too lightly. But it’s the same joke from the movie--it was funny then, but apparently not now that it’s on Broadway. Why does every show has to being saying something meaningful? Can’t anything just be for fun? That’s what I always loved about Gary Marshall (and Aaron Spelling), he never took anything too seriously.

I’ve been thinking about it and I think where the musical went wrong in the casting of Edward is that he’s supposed to be much older than Vivian (like the age gap between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts) to give the character more of a contrast and a world-wearyness, just like in the musical Gigi, Gaston is much older than Gigi. I think it helps a lot to explain why successful, rich men like Edward and Gaston find poor, lower class women like Vivian and Gigi so appealing and refreshing. But at least Andy Karl was handsome and they didn’t cast a Seth Rogen type, which according to romantic comedies for the past decade is to supposed to be the ideal new leading man. (No thanks.)

I also don’t think they had to insist on an 80’s themed musical score just because the movie was written back then. It was like the show was trying so hard to make you know the story was taking place at a different time. I’m not sure why, are there no longer prostitutes on Hollywood Boulevard? Actually, whenever I still watch the movie I think it still holds up well after all these years. Maybe today you’d have to change the model of the car and a few locations, but that’s about it. All in all, I’m glad the musical mostly kept to the movie’s tone because I think it’s meant for the fans of the movie who accepted and loved the fairytale premise from the first time they saw it and never needed any convincing.



 All in all, we both feel very grateful that we got a chance to see it on Broadway, especially this early,  and see it together; but we can't really recommend it to non-pretty woman fanatics.


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26th Annual PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL Coverage (Oct 19-29, 2017)

Tinsel & Tine's Look at : The 26th Annual PHILADELPHIA Film Festival By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor POST UPDATE #PFF26 DAY 1...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Eater Philly - All

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST

CITY OF GOLD

CITY OF GOLD
The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold


By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE

Food n Film: THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST

Philadelphia Magazine » Blog » Foobooz

Food n Film: TODAY'S SPECIAL

Food n Film: TODAY'S SPECIAL
With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST

Food n Film: BABETTE'S FEAST

Food n Film: BABETTE'S FEAST
Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST

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15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on Paper.li

Tinsel & Tine on Paper.li
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

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Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.

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About This Blog

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.
-tinseltine@gmail.com


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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