Friday, April 30, 2010

360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival opens Wed., May 5th

360 | 365 interactively engages filmmakers and our audiences in education, discovery, and celebration through the medium of film in all aspects and directions, 365 days a year.

Live. Breathe. Film.

360 | 365 grew out of the very successful Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival. Honoring the past, the 360 | 365 Film Festival focuses a portion of its programming on the achievements of women in all roles of filmmaking. However, the new Festival expands its programming with a wide range of films appealing to both sexes, all age ranges, and all personal tastes. Beyond the Festival, 360 | 365 is a year round conversation that includes short and feature length emerging filmmakers.

Coverage in City Newspaper

Coverage in the Democrat & Chronicle

Schedule & Tickets

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Opening Friday-City Island

About the Film:

Andy Garcia’s Career High Turn as a Family Man with Secrets Makes City Island the Year’s Best Acted Film

By Lee Shoquist

City Island, the new family comedy starring Andy Garcia as the patriarch of a Bronx family wrestling with long-buried secrets, is the best family movie in ages and a labor of love for the star, who also produced the low-budget, independent feature.

As Vinnie Rizzo, a prison guard who secretly dreams of being an actor and undergoes a chance encounter with a son he abandoned, the actor deftly balances comedy and pathos as he comes to terms with the responsibilities of an adult man—to others and to himself.

Vinnie Rizzo is as complex a character as Garcia has played, which is really saying something considering my favorites on his resume—Oscar-nominated, hair-trigger Vincent Corleone in The Godfather III, husband to alcoholic Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman, cop crusading for justice in Internal Affairs and wet behind the ears journalist chasing a serial killer in The Mean Season. Expert, each of them. Yet in City Island, which may just be his best, the actor is perfectly pitched in a performance that is symphonic in its notes and dimensions of fatherhood and manhood. To say the character resonates deeply by the film’s climactic street corner blow-out between all parties is an understatement.

Read the full article here.

An Interview with Andy Garcia
How did you get involved with the movie in the first place?

Ray [De Felitta, the director] had it before me, trying to get it made, and he was having difficulties. It came to me through our mutual PR agency... someone suggested, 'Hey, what about Andy?' and he said, 'Why not?' At least I hope that's what he said. You'd have to ask Ray about whether he really wanted me or not. Regardless, I fell in love with the script, and I told him that I'd help him produce it, too.

What was it like playing prison guard Vince?

I loved Vince Rizzo. I love the fact that this character was put in these farcical situations, but they were all based in a very real, human emotional reality. You'll note that there are no jokes in the movie, it's all behaviour and situational. He has this private, deep-rooted painful dream of being an actor, and he's so embarrassed by it. His obsession with [Marlon] Brando too, which is something I brought to the script, is very charming. It's easy to fall in love with him.

Read the full interview here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Walk the Dream with local filmmaker Blake Wink

Blake Wink and his team of local filmmakers are about to embark on a really fun project—let's let him describe it in his own words!

1. Blake, tell us about the Walk the Dream project?
Walk the Dream is a feature length documentary about pursuing your dreams. Three film makers including myself, Dan Petracca and Josh VanBuskirk along with still photographer Sara Klem will walk from New York City to Los Angeles in search of our dreams. While walking we will interview people we meet about their dreams. I firmly believe that everyone we encounter has a passion, whether they pursue it or not. We're hoping to learn why people follow their dreams and how they become successful. There is also a lesson to learn from those who have tried to achieve their dreams and failed. Hopefully we'll be able to find insight into how we can succeed on our own path. Once we reach L.A. we will pitch scripts we have written while on the road and a picture book to attempt to secure future jobs in our respective fields. Ultimately, we hope to make a finished product that inspires those who watch it to follow their dream in life no matter what stands in their way.

2. How did it start? How will you pull it off?
Last August I was working a day job assembling medical equipment and daydreaming about what films I could make and where I should start. I used to listen to the radio for 8 hours a day to make the day pass by faster. I heard an interview with this guy who had walked across the country. He had an amazing story but he didn't document it. I thought, 'I can walk across the country!' But I needed a storyline which is where dreams came in.

Most people find walking across the entire country daunting. I have to admit making a good feature documentary seems far more difficult to me. I needed three things to pull it all off. First I needed a very dedicated team who where willing to commit over a year of their lives to this project. I recruited three producers and four walkers (including myself) from friends I've known over twenty years as well as people I had met very recently at Rochester Movie Makers meetings.

We now needed a great plan about how to execute this project. We've spent the past seven months in pre-production—planning everything from our walking path to contacting thousands of news outlets to create publicity. Of course, we've also been in the gym for 8+ hours a day. The last thing we need to pull this off is money. It's something we're still struggling with—like all film makers. We are partnered with Rochester Movie Makers which allows us to take tax-deductible donations through our websites. It seems trivial, but we're asking everyone we meet for five dollars. We may have to beg for food or do odd jobs to get all the way across the country. But sacrifice is something you need to be willing to do to make your dreams come true—and our dream is to make this film.

If you would like to donate to Walk the Dream you can visit:

3. What is your personal take on film making in Rochester?
Film has such a rich history in Rochester, from George Eastman to Kodak. Yet, we're lucky to have a handful of feature films made in Rochester each year. I've only been working on films for five years now but I've seen a positive change in the atmosphere. Organizations such as Rochester Movie Makers encourage people who are interested in learning about film to get out there and make something.

They're really the grassroots Rochester needs to show people you don't have to own a million dollars of film equipment to tell a great story. On a larger scale, we're starting to see more financed feature length films being made here to support jobs in the film industry. There is also a film studio being built in the old Rochester Tech Park which offers the opportunity for larger motion pictures to be filmed here. Overall, I believe Rochester has the potential to cultivate an innovative film scene. If one of my bigger dreams comes true I'll be able to make feature films in Rochester for the rest of my life.

4. What's your dream film project?
It's cheesy but I think every film project is a dream to its creator. I don't know if most people think of movies as art, but the creators who spend years of their life to create two hours certainly do. There is one script I've been thinking of for years now that I'm very excited about trying to make. I'm interested in doing an ensemble piece with interweaving stories.

P.T. Anderson is one of my favorite directors and I admire the way he moves you fluidly through sequences in films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Many people say these types of scripts are cheap writing because you're only putting together a few shorts. However, I think there is an elegance in how they're related that can lend a lot of meaning to a film. I'm interested in using this to show how some of the characters within my script influence the lives of others in serious ways without intending too. The idea that I can show someone making a good-intentioned, well-rounded moral decision with an objectionable outcome they may not even be aware of fascinates me. One of life's mysteries to me is our complete lack of knowledge about how our actions affect others; and how our misunderstanding of events can shape our opinions and viewpoints. These will certainly be themes I play with a lot within my dream project.

5. What have your previous film experiences been like?
I've worked on mostly feature films shot in Rochester. There is really nothing like working on films. During production you frequently spend your entire waking life on a film set. The first film I worked on had a typical workweek of at least 84 hours. It can be difficult because you have to sacrifice your personal life for the duration of a film—so surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family and significant others is extremely important. The truth is, no matter how stressful or nerve-wracking a film can be, I might take time off; but in the end I wouldn't want to do anything else with my life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Artist Bernie Lehmann is showing in the cafe

Bernie Lehmann is a professional guitar builder who has been painting since he was inspired by a trip to Europe in 1994.

Color itself is often the subject of his recent paintings and the theme is often landscape.

He received a Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in 1972 and has been a member of the Rochester Art Club and the Penfield Art Association.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens Friday, April 16

About the film
LA Times Critic’s pick!

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger’s are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is based on the trilogy of books by Stieg Larsson and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.

Interview: Actress Noomi Rapace

Lisbeth Salandar, she’s such a prominent, well fleshed out character in the book, so I was curious about your and [director] Niels Andres Oplev’s collaborative process when you were trying to figure out how to play Lisbeth on screen?
Noomi Rapace: I always try to use myself and dig for myself as much as I can. I don’t like to pretend things. I don’t like to fake things. I have to fully understand the person that I’m going to be in a way and then translate experiences and feelings and emotions and things I’ve gone through into her. I read the book a couple of years before so when I met Niels I had a pretty clear picture of who I thought Elisabeth was, and I said to him that if you want me to play her, I think I know who she is and I want to transform into her and do a lot of things to become her. I wanted to change my body. I wanted to be a little bit more masculine and get rid of my female body. I wanted to be more like a boy. I wanted to be able to do all the fighting scenes, so I wanted to go into martial arts training. I trained a lot in Thai boxing and kickboxing with this crazy Serbian guy five days a week. I did a lot of preparation, and I also took motorcycle driving lessons, and I cut my hair and pierced myself.

Read the full article here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Date Night, opening Friday, April 9th

About the film:

This action comedy tells the tale of mild-mannered married couple Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire (Tina Fey) who fear their relationship may be falling into a stale rut. During their weekly date night, they impetuously steal a dinner reservation, which leads to a case of mistaken identity. Turns out the reservation was for a pair of thieves, and now a number of unsavory characters want Phil and Claire killed. If they can survive a wacky life-threatening night, they may just rediscover the passion missing from their marriage. Directed by Shawn Levy. Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, and Rochester's own Kristen Wiig co-star.

Interview with Tina Fey, Steve Carell and director Shawn Levy:

Q: Tina, once they took your bag away, you didn’t have any props, but you did a great job ad-libbing. How hard was that?

Tina Fey: Thanks. Yeah once I lose my purse and coat, it was just me and my arms and the night. Just my bare arms.

Shawn Levy: I feel like we thought about…it was always what are the arms and hands doing in every scene?

Tina Fey: And I was trying to hide my arms behind like a doorjamb. The only thing they didn’t take was my heels. They didn’t take my high heels.

Shawn Levy: That’s right, because of course you would keep your high heels on as you are running for your life. Always.

Q: Did you wear the heels all the time?

Tina Fey: I mean, I took them off when we were in the car sometimes. You know I would cheat a little bit. And I think we had several sets. We had this sort of grandma set and a higher set and then the higher set.

Shawn Levy: Anytime Tina ran it was an inch and a half but with an athletic strap that went across the top of the foot.

Tina Fey: There was a steel reinforcement in the heel…but really Steve built all those shoes for me. He is also a cobbler.

Steve Carell: I am.

Read the full interview here.

The Runaways, opens Friday, April 9

About the Film
Of all the bands to come out of the 1970s Los Angeles music scene, The Runaways are by far the most uniquely fascinating. This is partially due to their music but more so to the fact that they were teenage girls whose wild and reckless lifestyle was the stuff of legend.

Focusing on the duo of guitarist/vocalist Joan Jett and lead vocalist Cherie Currie as they navigate a rocky road of touring and record-label woes, the film chronicles the band's formation as well as their meteoric rise under the malevolent eye of an abusive manager.

Acclaimed video artist Floria Sigismondi directs from her own script, and her luscious camerawork captures every sweaty detail—from the filthy trailer where the women practice to the mosh pits of Tokyo. What really makes the film cook are the sizzling performances by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. Not to be missed, The Runaways is an ode to an era and a groundbreaking band.—from the Sundance Film Festival Notes

Interview with Cherie Currie:
So, is it strange having Dakota Fanning play you in a film?

Cherie Currie: Literally, it's like I am in a dream and I am not waking up. It is that surreal and that out of this world. I am literally living a dream. I feel like I'm dreaming right now. I keep waiting to wake up and I am not waking up. It's truly that unbelievable. I just can't comprehend it.

Read the whole interview here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Art of the Steal Opens Friday, April 9

About the film:

The Art of the Steal plays like a thrilling whodunit as it seeks to solve what happened to the world-renowned Barnes art collection, valued in the “billions and billions.” The collection's unrivalled holdings of post-impressionist and early modernist art are staggering in quantity: 181 paintings by Renoir, 69 by C├ęzanne, 59 by Matisse and 46 by Picasso, including many masterpieces.

Dr. Albert Barnes was a self-made man with a well-trained eye who assembled the art in the twenties. He snubbed the provincial elites in his hometown of Philadelphia by housing the collection in the suburb of Merion, Pennsylvania. Rather than grouping canvases by artist or era as in a typical gallery, he displayed work in an idiosyncratic way to express his own aesthetic vision. Barnes was more concerned with educating serious students in his vision than reaching casual tourists, so he restricted attendance and refused to loan paintings to other institutions. His individualism earned him antagonists (notably Walter Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer) but also many loyal supporters.

Upon Barnes's death in 1951, his will gave control of the collection to the trustees of Lincoln University, the first black university in the United States. Eventually, lawyers and business people swarmed to exploit its resources. In the nineties, a sampling of the collection travelled the world on a multi-city tour (including Toronto). Then a scheme was hatched to permanently remove the collection from Merion that some would later call the heist of the century.

Director Don Argott previously made the endearing documentary Rock School about another iconoclastic educator from Philadelphia. In The Art of the Steal, the filmmaker deftly adopts an investigative approach to unravel the complicated politics and personalities that determined the fate of the Barnes collection. Drawing upon research from John Anderson's book Art Held Hostage, the film tantalizes us with the sumptuous imagery of the paintings, and features interviews full of intense conflicting opinions.

The story is full of twists, turns and double-crosses. Along the way, multiple questions are raised: How is art best served? Should it be reserved for true connoisseurs or made available to the most eyeballs possible? And who decides?—From the film notes of the Toronto International Film Festival

Interview with the director:

So how did you go from documentaries about rock music and the NFL Draft to one that details the intricacies of the museum world? This film came to us from Lenny Feinberg, the executive producer. He’s a gentleman who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs. Being from this area you don’t have to go very far to get peoples’ take on the Barnes. The story stuck with him, and he was itching to tell it. He found us through [Genevieve Jolliffe’s] The Documentary Filmmakers’ Handbook, which [producer] Sheena [Joyce] and I were interviewed for. He just called us up. I knew a little about the [Barnes Foundation] and the more we delved into it, the more I thought it was an incredible story. We would be the first to tell this story from the ground up. There is a ton of misinformation out there.

Read the whole interview here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fish Tank Opens Friday, April 2nd

Fish Tank is a British drama film directed by Andrea Arnold. The film won the Jury Prize at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. It also won the 2010 BAFTA for Best British Film.

About the Film
A mother and daughter find themselves locked in an ugly battle over the same man in this drama. Mia Williams (Katie Jarvis) is 15 years old and lives in a shabby apartment block with her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), and younger sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). Mia is a reckless and rebellious teenager who frequently argues with her mother and sister and has run afoul of the authorities at school, leading to her being suspended.

With plenty of time on her hands, Mia spends her days drinking when she can find alcohol and partying in a empty flat near her apartment. Joanne is a single mother, and she's begun dating a new man, Connor (Michael Fassbender); when Joanne brings him home to meet the girls, Mia is immediately attracted to him, and it's soon clear Connor feels the same way about her. Mia attempts to seduce Connor to take him away from her mother, and when she succeeds, Joanne's greatest anger is not with the man who has slept with her underaged daughter, but the girl who is now a rival for the affections of her lover.

An Interview with the Director:
LW: First off, one of the things that most impresses me is how concise and precise the images are in your films. You say everything you need to say within the least amount of frames. Obviously a lot of people are going to think of the kitchen sink realism of Loach and Leigh but there’s also a poetic, nearly Neorealist quality to your work. Can you talk a bit about your filmmaking influences?

AA: Ooh, I have quite a lot. Everyone from Terence Malick to the Dardenne brothers to David Lynch, Michael Haneke –

LW: “The White Ribbon.” Everyone hated it but me. (laughs)AA: Yeah, I saw it at Telluride. I don’t know if I was just in a funny mood that day, but it was the first time during a Haneke film that I wanted to leave the cinema.

LW: That’s good!
AA: Yeah, I know. He wants me to feel that way.

LW: Well, you direct in a similar way. I mean, you don’t have a comfortable filmmaking style at all. That seduction scene between older man Connor played by Michael Fassbender and Katie Jarvis’s teenage Mia, which is the centerpiece of “Fish Tank” – that’s damn hard to watch.AA: Yeah, one of my friends described it as “everything I didn’t want and everything I wanted.”

Read the full interview here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Music & Art in the Cafe for April

April Music Schedule

Monday: Brad Batz Group

Wednesday: The Margaret Explosion

Thursday: Miche Fambro

Friday: Watkins and the Rapiers

Saturday: Nancy Perry

Bernie Lehman

A Prophet Opens Friday, April 2

About "A Prophet" (from The Boston Globe review):
In most prison movies, anticipation is a survival skill. How long until I’m paroled? How long until I’m jumped? How long until I’m dead? In Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet,’’ waiting runs a distant second to watchfulness. Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) puts his little brown eyes everywhere he can. He studies the fraught dynamics between his Corsican protectors and the Africans and Arabs in the prison yard. He observes how the Corsicans interact and learns their endangered species of a language. Malik is a young recidivist thug, serving his first adult stint in a French penitentiary for assaulting the police. This time he elects to give himself a Sorbonne-level education in cunning. Read the full review here.

A Prophet – Lead Actor Tahar Rahim interview

Did you do any other kind of research for the role?
I saw a lot of documentaries, and I saw movies and photos and I talked with ex-prisoners. But this only helped me for the second part of the movie. For the first part I had to forget all this to find another way of working with Jacques and talking and trying to think about the situation, the character and the way he acts at this moment. Malik was a virgin to the prison, so I am too. That’s why I discovered the set the first day of shooting. I knew that this could help me.

Which films inspired you most?
Mainly foreign jail movies. One I remember in particular was a film by Brazilian director Hector Babenco called Pixote. I watched those movies because I thought it could help me, but it wasn’t exactly like that.

Read the full interview here.