Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 moments of 2010

I was impressed by fellow filmmaker and photographer Steven Shea's list.   I have already made my Best/Worst films list over on but I hadn't thought about the Top Moments of this past year until I read his blog.  So here goes.

10.  Screenings of 'RELISH' - Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA
 I was given an amazing opportunity by producer Jeremy Gordon to work on the short film "RELISH" in Nov. '09.  Around March writer/director Jeffrey Fong held a cast/crew screening in Burbank, CA, then he was able to snag a screening with Film Independent's Cinema Lounge series at the W hotel in Hollywood.  Followed quite quickly by another screening in Sacramento, CA for his family and friends.  I was lucky enough to see three entirely different audience reactions to the film and I'm very happy to know that I was there at the beginning of Jeff's career as a filmmaker.
Watch the short:

 This was a last minute shoot for me.  Filmmaker Jason Liquori called me and asked me to join the project in January 2010.  I happily accepted.  I felt I needed a Sci-Fi film under my belt.  This film is fun and it's meant to be.  If you dare take it seriously then you have an issue.  We has a ton of fun filming this and I'm stoked to be a part of the project.  The cast is talented & the film is a tad-bit gross but what fun would it be if there wasn't a little slime?  You can easily pick up a copy on the website and if you do, I hope you enjoy the fun, b-movie drive-in style of this science fiction film.

8. Texas Frightmare Weekend - Dallas
 Road Trip!  Thanks to the amazing Tara Cardinal & Devanny Pinn for suggesting I join them on their drive from LA to Dallas because it was one of the best weekends I had all year. Hanging with Debbie Rochon, Lisa Wilcox, Brandon Slagle, Scarlet Salem & Joe Knetter.  Having drinks at the hotel bar with John Carpenter & Kane Hodder.  These are things you just don't get when you never leave your living room.   And of course finally meeting up with the team that will be bringing the world "HELLSTORM".  Write/Director Keith A. Smith & Producer Annette VerHoeven.  Truly amazing to have our first sit down discussion about the film at that event.  Expect big things from Epiphany Filmwerks in the near future!
  If you have never been to Texas Frightmare Weekend, get your ass to Dallas this coming April 29th - May 1st!  You will enjoy yourself.  What an terrific layout for a convention.  The people are friendly and the vendors are awesome. 
 I was pleased to be there to see some of the first panel discussions for Filmmaker Mel House's 'Walking Distance' (which will now be distributed by Lionsgate later this month) and 'Imago'.  Check out this year's line up of guests and events.

A side occurance of TEXAS FRIGHTMARE was the awesome, impromptu stop in MORAN, TX. Here is the interview that followed:

7. Weekend of Horrors - Los Angeles
 To my surprise on our way to Dallas for Frightmare, I received an email from Creations Entertainment to join an indie filmmaker panel at Weekend of Horrors.  I accepted immediately and was extremely pleased to attend WOH and hang out with Tara Cardinal, Devanny Pinn & Brandon Slagle, Erik Preston and Lance Lash. 

The Indie Filmmaker panel was a great group of guys who all had their own respective projects to explain and show the audience.  The discussion was terrific and definitely a highlight to my year to introduce the first look at "Candy." to the world in person and as well as Horror Website running the Trailer exclusively during the convention.  What an honor.  The response was welcomed and talking to the fans of horror all weekend about "Candy." was a terrific experience.  

 The first look at what Adam Green's 'Hatchet II' was going to look like along with a full cast panel was pretty amazing as well.  I'm stoked to have an autographed poster from that event!  Yeah, I'm a geek, what of it?

6.  My Return to Theatre - Sarasota, FL
 The title is dramatic but it's true.  I hadn't done a theatre piece in years.  Theatre tests you in such a different way then film and as most actors know, when you try and do both, there is most likely one that will consume your life more then the other.  When my friend, actress/filmmaker Sage Hall suggested I audition for two short plays written by Jenny Beres in Sarasota, I was nervous to say the least.  She convinced me that these would be great pieces for me and that working with Director Louise Stinespring would be a great opportunity.  She was right.  I had a terrific time delving back into the world of theatre.  We performed at Home Resource which is a furniture store near downtown Sarasota, FL.  Performing directly next to the audience (who sat in chairs and couches on the showroom floor) was not something I was used to either.  It was exhilarating and I'm glad to have been a part of the production.  Meeting all the new talented people in Sarasota was a blessing.

5. Filming 'Ripped Memories'
 This was my first parlay into producing a feature and I have to say I learned a ton.  Writer/director Marc Fortin contacted me some years ago about working on this project but it didn't pan out until February 2010.  Casting was relatively a breeze.
I utilized by years of working with great actors to pull in many & then a few came on through casting websites but ultimately we ended up with a pretty solid cast.  Debbie Rochon & myself are the leads in the film with a stellar supporting cast with Tara Cardinal, Jose Rosete, Jim Oberst, Jr., Elina Madison, Kevin Allen, Charlotte Gallagher and more.  You can view a trailer and all cast info on the films Official Website.  Expect a release sometime in 2011.

4. SAC Sci-Fi/Horror Convention - Sacramento, CA
 A huge thank you to Jeff Hughes with Comic Book Divas for connecting me with Legends of Heroes & Villains, Richard Zerga and Kristi Zerga!  What a great Father/Daughter team they are!  They Flew director/producer Sage Hall & myself to Sacramento specifically to premiere our short film "Candy."  writer Jenny Beres and Composer Grady Reinagle aka Abnorml Injustice were able to drive from LA to meet us and all of us could not have been happier with everything at the convention.  The event was wonderful and the guests and vendors, were all amazingly supportive and nice.   They gave us a screening room and we filled it to capacity!  The audience was amazing and and so inquisitive.  We were able to get to know Filmmaker/actor Shannon Lark and the team behind an amazing new Webseries, WESTERN X.  Writer/Director Michael Flores, photographer Aaron Flores & actress Deneen Melody were the perfect neighbors inside the dealer room.  The show is fantastic and original.  It's worth watching!

This was the perfect convention to premiere "Candy." at and we all would gladly go back to SAC Sci-Fi/Horror Convention anytime!  Get there this year if you're in the Sacramento area!

3. Filming "Cut"
 When writer/director Joe Hollow called me about his film 'Cut', I was immediately enticed by the story.  This was an ambitious shoot and collaborating with director Wolfgang Meyer, I believe Joe Hollow has one hell of an indie horror hit on his hands.  With a cast that includes, Kane Hodder (Hatchet), Tony Todd (Candyman), Michael Berryman (Hills have Eyes), Devanny Pinn, Brandon Slagle, Shannon Lark, Katie Parker, Marc Hanson, Deneen Melody and so many more talented actors.  In 2011, be prepared to hear much more about this film as we near closer to the film's release.  Check the Official Website for all information about the film.

2. Filming 'The Couch'
 Joining Sage Hall's Starfruit Productions for the second time this year to bring to life a passion project of hers from many years ago.  This was a story she told me about a little more than 5 years ago and to close out 2010 we were able to make it a reality.  An amazing cast and crew came together to bring this story to life and I can not be any happier to have been a producer and actor on this short film.  Expect this drama to begin it's festival run in 2011 and no doubt gain momentum and praise for the stellar performances and beautiful overall look of the film.  Please stay connected with this short film via the Official Website or the Facebook page.

1. The release and success of "Candy."
 I could not have been more pleased to start and end my year on a high with this short film.  The idea was something I was sure could be pulled off and I always believed people would respond to it.  Until we really began to have screenings around the country did I realize how much people loved it.
 We were reviewed by Fangoria, GeekTyrant, DreadCentral, NerdRemix (on which I earned an honorable mention for my performance), BrutalAsHell and so many other sites and magazines.  It was all positive for our first out the gate short film.  Sage Hall, Wheat, Jenny Beres & I really through ourselves into this story and I'm so happy to see that people ultimately loved meeting Candy and her son Marcus.  They responded to their odd relationship and the darkly sweet story.  "Candy." is close to my heart and for me to see these characters on a screen was something I only could dream of and I can not thank everyone enough who gave a moment of their time or money to this short film. Keep your eyes on posts from the Facebook page and from any of the team involved as we roll into 2011 with sugar in a veins. We hope to bring more "Candy." to your doorstep in the near future.

Please enjoy the short:

I have to mention the amazing Lori Bowen who placed "Candy." into the HALLOWSCREEN FILM FESTIVAL in Sarasota, Florida.  The event is amazing & so terrific for Horror Film Fans!  She is a very talented woman and I am pleased she accepted "Candy." and became a part of "The Couch".

and a Super Special THANK YOU to Linda Lawson & Tracy Weston for the Ticket to see Sir Paul McCartney at the Hollywood Bowl.  Not going to lie, one of the most amazing concerts I have Ever seen in my life.  Not only were the seats in the Box near the stage perfect, but we were right near Sharon Stone.  Yeah, that's pretty awesome.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Black Swan" Review

Here is the Synopsis: BLACK SWAN follows the story of Nina (Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.


This film absolutely kept me in a trace the entire time.   Director Darren Aronofsky has told yet another tale of the price we pay for what we love.   He's done it before with "The Wrestler" and even within "Requiem for a Dream" the price of ones desire to have what one wants is put to the limit.  "Black Swan" showcases Natalie Protman's true talents.  She has exercised her abilities many times before, but here we are able to follow her transformation closely.  

There is absolute perfect casting having Mila Kunis opposite the prima ballerina Portman.  They are such stark contrasts yet they physically resemble each other in such a way you get lost in who is who at times.  Absolutely brilliant. 

Guaranteed to be nominated time and time again over the course of the Awards season, Expect Portman and possibly Aronofsky to walk away with a few trophies in hand. 

Beautifully Acted.  Absolutely insane storyline.  Amazing moments of direction. 

See this film if you want to witness true cinema storytelling.