Opening this week in Pasadena, the Method Fest Independent Film Festival is not your average festival. Taking its name from the "Method" school of acting, the festival salutes the actor rather than the director by screening films whose stories are fashioned around character and driven by performance.
"It is possible to put strips of film together and create a performance that was never actually given," wrote Method teacher Lee Strasberg. "The performance is created by the director rather than the actor. There have been performers in motion pictures who were thus completely products of the camera. Others, however, were authentic actors, who developed a style perfectly suited to the medium."
It is these "authentic actors" whose work the festival will feature, including such notables as Timothy Bottoms, Gary Busey, Veronica Cartwright, Rae Dawn Chong, Natasha Lyonne, Christa Miller, William Devane, Faye Dunaway, Marla Gibbs, Kim Hunter, Charles Nelson Reilly, Rachel True, Steven Tobolowsky, and Billy Dee Williams. All Method actors? Of course they are.
Running June 16-23, the festival will include screenings of 18 features and 15 shorts, workshops, symposiums, a companion music festival, and networking events at the Laemmle's Playhouse 7 theatre complex, the Balcony Playhouse, and other nearby venues in Pasadena.
FRI., JUNE 16
One Clean Move (USA/English) 16 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR.: D.W. Brown; PRD.: Elise Pritcher, Richard Kerner; CAST: Harry Hamlin, Gary Busey. IN BRIEF: A notorious assassin goes after a gangster in a Latin American hotel.
Poor White Trash (USA/English) 89 minutes, comedy; DIR./WR: Michael Addis; PRD.: Mark Roberts, Lorena David; CAST: Sean Young, Tony Denman, Jacob Tierney, William Devane, Jason London. IN BRIEF: Two trailer park buddies' dreams of the future are threatened when they shoplift some near-beer-and their families' "help" only gets them into more trouble.
Miss Supreme Queen (USA/English) 24 minutes, drama/comedy; DIR./SCR.: Emily Weissman; PRD.: Holly Dorff; SCR.: Hugh Wright; CAST: Emily Ann Lloyd, Katie Lansdale, Lydia Cornell, Courtney Peldon, Becky Israel, Frankie Ingrassia, Brittany Paige Bouck, Nicolas Coster, Leilani Briones. IN BRIEF: A love triangle transpires, with a cutthroat beauty pageant as its backdrop.
Rollercoaster (CANADA) 90 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR.: Scott Smith; CAST: Brenden Fletcher, Kett Turton, Crystal Buble, Brent Glenen, Sean Amsing, David Lovgren. IN BRIEF: Five teens from a group home cut loose in an abandoned theme park.
SAT., JUNE 17
Pendemonium (USA/English) 10 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Trevor Hoff; PRD.: Martin Friedman; CAST: Ross Bogart, Caron George. IN BREIF: A pen left in a coffeeshop touches the lives of six ordinary people.
The First of May(USA/English) 111 minutes, drama; DIR.: Paul Sirmons; SCR.: Gary Rogers; CAST: Julie Harris, Dan Byrd, Charles Nelson Reilly, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Rooney. IN BRIEF: A foster child and an aging gypsy run off to join the circus.
Boundaries (USA/English) 19:21 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR./PRD.: Greg Durbin; PRD.: Susan Bailey; CAST: Maria Elena Jorda-Langfeldt, Navid Negahban. IN BRIEF: A woman is pursued by a mute trombonist.
The Wedding Cow (Germany/Switzerland/German) subtitled 87:25 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Tomi Streiff; PRD.: Susan Schulte; SCR.: Ela Their; CAST: Isabella Parkinson, Oliver Reinhard, Julia Stoll-Palmer. IN BRIEF: A young librarian and a teenage runaway hitch a ride a plumber and his cow, and an eventful journey ensues.
The Buddha Hood (USA/English) 17 minutes, drama; DIR./PRD.: John Sullivan; CAST: John Sullivan, Paul Wann. IN BRIEF: Musings on art and business, race and class, by title guru.
Post Mortem (CANADA/French) 92 minutes, crime drama; DIR./SCR.: Louis B langer; PRD: Lorraine Dufour; CAST: Gabriel Arcaud, Sylvie Moreau, H l'ne Loiselle, Sarah Lecomte-Beregeron. IN BRIEF: A mother who supports her child with a credit card scam and an accused rapist meet and form a unique bond.
I Still Miss Someone (USA/English) 18 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR.: John Lloyd Miller; PRD.: Selby Miller, William Dance; SCR.: Mark Collie; CAST: Mark Collie, Joe Gatton. IN BRIEF: A look into a darker period in the life of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.
The Young Unknowns (USA/English) 86 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR./PRD.: Catherine Jelski; PRD.: Eric Klein, Kimberly O'Hara; CAST: Devon Gummersall, Eion Bailey, Leslie Bibb, Arly Jover. IN BRIEF: A rich, dissipated twentysomething hangs out with his friends, and everything's fine until it's not.
Sweet Thing (USA/English) 113 minutes, drama; DIR./PRD./SCR.: Mark David; PRD.:Tony Hewett; SCR.: Mark Spacek; CAST: Jeremy Fox, Amalia Stifter, Ev Lunning. IN BRIEF: A young artist's success with controversial paintings clashes with his father's political hopes.
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Joanne Baron Seminar
Acting instructor Joanne Baron will conduct a seminar on the philosophy and rules behind the Meisner technique. Baron is both an actress and instructor; she teaches at the D.W. Brown Acting Studio. Her students include Halle Berry and Robin Wright Penn.
Independent Filmmaking Workshop
Roundtable discussions exclusively for Method Fest filmmakers covering finance, distribution, exhibition, legal, and marketing issues for independent filmmakers.
Getting the Part:
This seminar focuses on audition tips for giving your best performance. It also covers what casting directors are looking for, how important the audition is versus personal contacts and what to prepare.
Lorrie Hull Seminar
Lorrie Hull, former master teacher at the International Stanislavski Conference in Paris, and author of the best-selling book Strasberg's Method, will conduct a seminar on the method school of acting. Lorrie, along with her husband actor William Smithers, will discuss how to create a life for a character by breaking down a script, developing a character's inner actions, and more.
FAMILY FILM DAY AND ACTING WORKSHOPS FOR KIDS AND TEENS
Special feature film selection for children and family audiences (The First of May-see listing above), followed by Next Generation Acting Workshops for elementary and high school students from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Children's Art Center, 325 S. Oak Knoll in Pasadena. Each workshop will accommodate 25 students and provide hands-on instruction.
SUN., JUNE 18
Brothers (USA/English) 11 minutes, drama; World Premiere; DIR./PRD.: Vernon Mortenson; PRD.: John Harrington, Jason Liggett; SCR.: John Harrington; CAST: Jason Liggett, John Harrington. IN BRIEF: A boy bonds with his mentally challenged younger brother.
Mutual Love Life (USA/English) 11 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Robert Peters; PRD.: Seila A. Hernandez, Sue B. Montgomery; CAST: Matt McCoy, Robert Peters, Kathy Christopherson. IN BRIEF: Car insurance, life insurance-love insurance?
Last Chance CAST: Tim Thomerson, Jay Thomas, Robin Dierden, and Amy Hathaway.
Jimmy Zip (USA/English) 112 minutes, drama; DIR./PRD./SCR.: Robert McGinley; CAST: Brendan Fletcher, Robert Gossett, Chris Mulkey, Adrienne Frantz, James Russo. IN BRIEF: An urban coming-of-age story about an abused runaway with a touch of pyromania who learns to channel his energies into art.
The Stonecutter (USA/English) 96 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR.: Stephen Erickson; PRD.: Mary Ann Tanedo, Kimberly Prescott, John O'Rourke; CAST: Michael Cavalieri, Trisha Melynkov, Harold Cannon, Karin Argoud-Morrisey, Maya McLaughlin. IN BRIEF: A disillusioned young stonecutter goes off to war and returns a bitter man with some healing to do.
The Visit (USA/English) 128 minutes, drama; World Premiere; DIR./SCR.: Jordan Walker-Pearlman; CAST: Hill Harper, Rae Dawn Chong, Obba Babatunde, Billy Dee Williams, Marla Gibbs. IN BRIEF: A young man dying in prison brings his family together for a fateful visit, and proceeds to put his life back together. (As the Method Fest's "Centerpiece" selection, The Visit will offer a $2 Father's Day discount to any fathers and sons who attend together).
Escucha! (USA/Spanish) 17 minutes, drama; DIR./PRD./SCR./ Esau Melendez; CAST: Marcela Munoz, Rigoberto Ortega, Adriana Soto, Isabel Adriana Soto, Celina Anderson, Jessi Martin Soto.
Ol ! (USA/Brazil/English) 94 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Roberto Santucci Filho; PRD.: Michael Carp; SCR.: Bart Mallard; CAST: Mario Heilborn, Jesus Nebot, Anisabel Agnelli. IN BRIEF: A man comes to L.A. from Brazil to look for his sister and finds a new life on the mean streets.
Method Acting Workshop
Two members of the Actor's Studio and instructors from the Strasberg Institute will be on hand to conduct a hands-on workshop that explores the "method acting" philosophy and technique. Attendees will be introduced to breathing techniques, sensory techniques and improvisation.
Digital Production & Distribution
What are the costs and equipment involved in making a quality feature? Can digital projects compete with film projects? What is the perceived value to distributors of digital projects and what are the current distribution options? And, how will broadband affect the trend toward digital filmmaking?
From Stage to Screen
The mysteries of acting are sometimes as elusive and subtle as a sorcerer's brew. How does the magic happen, and what are some of the differences between acting for the stage and for the screen? How are some tricks employed in one medium useful in another? Actors who have been doing film and television for an extended time often talk about the need to "get back to basics" and work before a live audience. What are the challenges of switching gears especially if one is asked to repeat on film what he has done for the stage? A panel of actors and directors share their experiences of both practical skills and personal anecdotes.
Closing the Deal
This seminar focuses on making the transition from starving filmmaker to highly sought after film director. How do you manager your project to get the best deal for yourself and your work? Specific topics: using the film festival circuit to get attention from distributors, waiting for a theatrical deal vs. going to video, domestic and foreign sales, how to work with reps, agents and brokers and distributing the short film.
MON., JUNE 19
Miss Supreme Queen (listed above)
Rollercoaster (listed above)
Matt in Love (USA/English) 21 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Adam Kleid; PRD.: Kimberly Berman; CAST: Adam Stein, Keira Naughton. IN BRIEF: Everything looks different through the eyes of love.
What I Like About You (USA/English) 90 minutes, comedy; DIR.: Jeff Stolhand; PRD.: Tony Hewett; SCR.: Marie Blac, Scott Von Doviak; CAST: Marie Black, Ryan Wickerham, Cameron Johnson. IN BRIEF: The owner of a small alternative bookstore fends off real estate developers and her scheming fianc .
William Psychspeare's Taming of the Shrink (USA/English) 10 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Ken Boynton; PRD.: Aimee LaMarch; CAST: Bob Morrisey, Scott MacDonald, Ted D'Arms, Ken Boynton, Kit Harris. IN BRIEF: Elizabethan pyschobabble, in iambic pentameter.
Stanley's Gig (USA/English) 93 minutes, drama/comedy; DIR./SCR.: Marc Lazard; PRD.: Justin Hogan, Todd Traina; SCR.: Gadi Dechter; CAST: William Sanderson, Marla Gibbs, Faye Dunaway, Steven Tobolowsky. IN BRIEF: A down-at-heels musician pursues his dream to play ukulele on a Hawaiin cruise line.
Jimmy Zip (listed above)
TUES., JUNE 20
Sweet Thing (listed above)
Escucha! (listed above)
Ol ! (listed above)
Brothers (listed above)
Last Chance (listed above)
Men Named Milo, Women Named Greta (USA/English) 16 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR.: Larry Greenberg; PRD.: Ari Bass, Richard Gabai; CAST: Jeremy Sisto, Devon Odessa, Michael Des Barres, Allen Garfield, Devon Gummersall, Sally Kirkland. IN BRIEF: A young man dies amid a cast of odd characters and a song by Cyndi Lauper.
Trash (USA/English) 95 minutes, drama; DIR./SCR./ Mark Anthony Galluzzo; PRD.: Todd Feldman; CAST: Jeremy Sisto, Jaime Pressly, Eric Michael Cole, Jonathan Banks, Grace Zabriskie, Veronica Cartwright. IN BRIEF: The death of a friend forces two high school buddies to confront their differences.
WED., JUNE 21
I Still Miss Someone (listed above)
The Young Unknowns (listed above)
William Psychspeare's Taming of the Shrink (listed above)
Stanley's Gig (listed above)
Matt in Love (listed above)
What I Like About You (listed above)
A Visit from the Sergeant Major with Unintended Consequences (USA/English) 23:40 minutes, thriller; DIR.: Don Hannah; PRD.: Mark N. Cohen; SCR.: David Dodson; CAST: Penny Rose, Leon Rossum, Gordon MacDonald, Herman Poppe, Alex Kubik. IN BRIEF: A mysterious talisman throws a poor backwoods family into turmoil.
Dog Story (USA/English) 81 minutes, crime thriller; DIR.: Jian Hong Kuo; PRD./SCR.: Adam Golomb; CAST: Adam Golomb, Maria Cina, Lyle Schwartz, Kevin Cahill, Alice Lentz, Dick Rois, Randy Craddock, Paul Wadleigh. IN BRIEF: An ex-cop and his wife set out to take care of a gambling debt before the Mob takes care of them.
THURS., JUNE 22
Men Named Milo, Women Named Greta (listed above)
Trash (listed above)
The Buddha Hood (listed above)
Post Mortem (listed above)
Mulligans! (USA/English) 22:45 minutes, comedy; DIR./SCR.: Miles Hood Swarthout; PRD.: Peter J. Barnett, Lisa Greene; CAST: Marcia Rodd, Tippi Hedren, Ted Richards, Duke Miglin, Roger Hampton. IN BRIEF: A martini-fueled golf widow sets out to scatter her husband's ashes on the 16th green.
The Hiding Place (USA/English) 95 minutes, drama; DIR.: Douglas Green; PRD.: Tom Koranda; SCR.: Mitch Giannunzio; CAST: Kim Hunter, Timothy Bottoms, Kim Greist. IN BRIEF: A son visits his aging mother and sees tragic, intermittent signs of senility, but she pleads with him not to send her to a sanitorium.
FRI., JUNE 23
Awards Ceremony, 8-10 p.m., Pacific Asia Museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave, and wrap party, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., El Portal Restaurant, 895 E. Green St.
Tickets for the Method Fest are now on sale. To purchase tickets by phone call (888) 386-8497. To purchase online, go to www.etm.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Laemmle's Playhouse 7 Box Office, 673 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. (626) 844-6500. Box office hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Will-call orders will be held at the Laemmle's Theatre Box Office. Schedules may be subject to change; refunds offered only in cases of cancellation. For the latest schedule information call the festival information line at: (310) 726-3435.
TICKET OPTIONS & PRICES
Festival Pass (valid June 16-23), includes all screenings and seminars: $125
Weekend Pass (valid June 16-18), includes all screenings and seminars: $80
Opening Night, June 16, 7 p.m. (includes gala reception) $35
Closing Night, June 22, 7 p.m. (includes reception) $35
Centerpiece Film (The Visit), June 18, 7 p.m.: $20
Individual Screenings: $7 adults, $5 seniors, children 11 & under
Special Discounts: $2 Charter Communications Cable Subscribers with coupon
Laemmle's Playhouse 7 Theatres, 673 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena Playhouse Balcony Theatre, 39 S. El Molino
El Portal Restaurant, 695 E. Green St.
Pacific Asia Museum, 46 North Los Robles Avenue
Indie Music Night:
The Muse, 54 E. Colorado Blvd.