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Posts Tagged ‘Joan Rivers A Piece Of Work’

Jim Wordes and Aasif Mandvi

About a month ago, my pal Jim Wordes called to say that one of his pals from USF, Aasif Mandvi, has a new film called Today’s Special. (Aasif’s day job is as a special correspondent for a little basic cable show you may have heard of called “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart“).  Jim also said that Aasif has family in the area and perhaps we could coordinate a visit. Yada, yada, yada… Aasif will be here for a Q&A after the Saturday, November 27, 7:30 screening.  You can also catch him on WMNF 88.5 Art in Your Ear with the lovely hostess, JoEllen Schilke, on Friday, November 26, 1-2pm.  Listen live at 88.5 or online at wmnf.org.  They are both smart and hilarious so should be a fun show!

The interesting thing here is that Jim was our connection to some other pals from USF with family still in the area, Seth Keal and Charles Miller, who came to TT for Q&A’s with their film, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.

The takeaways here are:
1.  Always answer phone calls from Jim Wordes.
2.  USF gets an A+ for educating students who go on to such successful careers.

Aasif returned to USF last week to give a lecture (he’s hilarious!).  Jim and I went and he snapped some photos for Creative Loafing.  I accompanied Jim to say hi to Aasif afterwards — what a nice guy!

Indie Filmmaker Kimberly Wetherell

In another Today’s Special coincidence… got a call earlier this week from a successful indie filmmaker named Kimberly Wetherell (another local done good) who was the associate producer for Today’s Special.  She’s from here, moved to NYC and just happens to be down here working on a new film (which will likely premiere at TT.)  She’s over the moon that Today’s Special will be at TT — her favorite movie palace.  So… yada, yada, yada… Kimberly will be here for a Q&A after the Friday, November 26, 7:30 screening.

Yay!

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Bran Nue Dae - Post film chat with Director Rachel Perkins

I’m back from the Art House Convergence and the Sundance Film Festival.  Finding time to blog was a bust.  I was constantly on the go during the convergence with panels, speakers, chatting with my art house colleagues and playing in the snow.  Got slammed with a snowball and when I picked up a handful to fire back, discovered that it’s really, really cold — who knew!  

The two days at the film festival were filled with reading about films, figuring out how to get tickets to films, riding the shuttles to films, watching films (saw four), hanging with art house and Tampa friends, and being on Extra TV with Mario Lopez.

So thought I’d do recaps by subject.  First up – the films: 

FILMS I SAW   

I was only at Sundance for two days but managed to see four films (which was a herculean feat since I didn’t have tickets in advance). 

Bran Nue Dae  Fun, colorful, quirky, toe tapping and delightful!  Director Rachel Perkins spoke after the film about the joy of working with such a wonderful cast.  (That speck in the photo is her.)   She said Geoffrey Rush was brilliant (I agree!) and spent lots of time picking out just the right glasses for his character (and improvised on ways to comically interact with them.) 

Winter’s Bone   Loved it!  And it was a big winner — Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic plus the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.  This was an absorbing film about an intrepid 17-year-old girl in the Ozarks searching for her drug-dealing father who skipped bail – and who put up the family’s home as collateral.   She was played by Jennifer Lawrence who was absolutely spellbinding.   Going into Sundance, I have wish list, but realistically it’s based on showtimes, ticket availability and mostly luck.  For this one, I happened to run into a friend who had an extra ticket – yay! 

Obselidia  A Grand Jury Prize nominee, Obselidia was a sweet, poetic film about a man who catalogues things that are obsolete (including love) and a woman (and silent film projectionist) who believes that nothing is obsolete as long as someone loves it.    Winner – Excellence in Cinematography and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, a $20,000 cash award presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.

Southern District   A Grand Jury Prize nominee.  Set in La Paz, Bolivia, Southern District quietly follows the final days of an upper-class family at a time when the country is undergoing social changes.  The camera was interesting – it panned around in full circles during each scene, which allowed for more details.  Winner —  Directing  and World Cinema Screeningwriting Awards for writer-director Juan Carlos Valdivia.

FILMS WITH TAMPA CONNECTIONS 

Both of these screened after I left (drats) but one of my art house pals said they were both terrific.  And congrats to both film crews for Grand Jury Prize nominations! 

Joan Rivers:  A Piece of Work   USF grads and former Tampa residents, Seth Keal (producer) and Charles Miller (DP), followed Joan Rivers around the U.S. and U.K. for over a year.  Seth and I chatted through Facebook (thanks to Jim Wordes for the intro).  It was nice to read this message from Seth:  “Hopefully after the smoke clears at Sundance the film will make it to Tampa Theatre, my favorite theater in the world.”  Mine too, Seth!   We’d love to have you and your film — let’s chat!  Winner — Documentary Editing Award. 

Freedom Riders  A documentary produced by PBS’ American Experience and based on the book by St. Pete’s own Ray Arsenault (History prof at USF St. Pete).  “Inspiring… an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize” — Sundance Film Guide.  Thanks, Beth for the scoop about Ray Arsenault.

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