If you've heard the voice a the end of 99% Invisible or Welcome to Nightvale that "From PRX" that's Avery Trufelman! Amazing podcast producer, creator of Articles of Interest, and one of the best things going in Oakland, California!
We're stuck inside, and I'm making phone calls! Today, I talk with Tim Davis, screenwriter and liver-of-life! We talk about Doctor Who, The Curse of Fatal Death, Paul McGann, 'Rasslin', the 1980s, and the best episode of AWA television! Plus, added Dog content!
We talk with Cinequest short film favorite and comedy Sports Documantarian Sam Frazier, Jr. about sports, comedy, short films, documentaries, and most importantly, Pro Wrestling.
When a loved one dies, all you want is for things to be normal. I have a co-worker whose mother passed away on the same day as another co-worker had a birthday party in the office. He apologized profusely, he didn't mean to put a damper on things. That's how it feels, desperately wanting things to be normal, but it can't be normal.
And that, in a nutshell, is Casey Wilson's wonderful short film Daddio.
First off, let me say this - Michael McKean is a North American treasure! Here, he plays Paul, the father of Abby (Cassie Wilson), and the husband of a recently-deceased wife. He takes it both hard, and weird. He gets a perm, but also tries to be the normal Paul.
But he can't be the normal Paul.
Abby is now forced to deal with her world, and her Father's world as well, all while hoping for normality in a world that, again, CAN NOT BE NORMAL! Wilson plays her role so damn perfectly. It's a wonderfully intelligent performance, and while Paul is the focus, and amazing, she is the drive, the wall required to send her father's quack back to the viewer. As the sounding board, she has to walk a line between completely understandable and on the edge of complete collapse.
You know, like when you're actually dealing with a death in the family.
Wilson, who wrote and directed the short, based largely on her own personal experience losing her mother, and her father going all wacky and starting a Twitter (which is still around!) I've been a big fan of Wilson's for ages, and she's one of the big reasons why I loved the show Happy Endings. Here, she shows she's got serious chops all over the creative process, and with a tool like McKean, she's able to create a fine short film that is both funny and emotional, beautifully real, and absolutely out-of-the-real. But it's only out of the real for those of us not dealing with a death within the range of our personal Instamatics.
You can see Daddio as a part of our Comedy Favorites program - https://payments.cinequest.org/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=114204~78899376-35a9-4153-8303-e1557be2dc32&epguid=c5191bc9-d5f7-4fab-87e1-de8dcbff688d&#.XjGyFEdKiUk
There are very few names in advertising I've heard of... other than Don Draper. One is Leo Burnett. Another is Carol H. Williams. She was a trailblazing ad exec, and one of the best. Being a black woman working creative in the 1960s was a strange role for the time. She was the first African-American Creative Director. She was the first woman to be Creative Director at Leo Burnett Company. You know, the company that created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, and Tony the Tiger. If you love cereal characters, the odds are good the primary object of your affection in the realm was created in an office at Leo Burnett.
And that's where Carol H. Williams cut her teeth.
The amazingly wonderful animated documentary Carol H. Williams & The Rejected Script is a super-short piece of work that examines how chance encounters can make a huge difference.
Carol's latest script for Hungry Man Biscuits was rejected, and she was dejected by the experience. She entered into the elevator where she runs into, who else, but Leo Burnett. He asks her what's wrong, and tells him, and that's the origin story for so very much.
There's a lot here, from the elements of the campaign she had rejected, one based on her much-loved Uncle, to the way that she carried herself, and her work, into that elevator. There's also Leo Burnett, whose story is legendary and here, he's shown as something different than you see him portrayed as in the rest of his appearances.
This is Carol's story, but it is illustrator So A Ryu's work that is so incredible. Along with animators Brian Steckle and Michael McAfee, this is a short that gives us powerfully imprecise visuals, inspired by the likes of Ralph Steadman, that are so very non-60s advertising. It's that counter-point, I think, that had me so deeply drawn in. You would never have seen an image like the one above coming out of Burnett in 1969, and when it's presented alongside the exceptionally good narration, it brings us to a new place. This elevator meeting, it seems, was the edge of a zipper; one side was the 60s being spoken of, while the other was a new future. This visual contrast played in my head.
As a whole, there's a WHOLE lot of greatness in less than four minutes!
You can see Carol H. Williams and the Rejected Script as a part of Animated Worlds at Cinequest! Do yourself a favor and take this one in; it may well be the best survey of animation I've ever been a part of programming!
I am, in my own way, a conspiracy theorist. JFK was killed by Giancana, Jack the Ripper was a Masonic rite gone wrong, and Sirhan Sirhan was under mind-control, and yeah, Epstein didn't kill himself. No, 911 was not an inside job, there are almost certainly not aliens in Area 51, and David Icke is an idiot. OK? So, I guess you can see that a film with a central pivot around conspiracy is going to end up programmed in a fest I work with, right?
Well, only if it's got the strong sealegs of Brad Abraham's Conspiracy Cruise.
The story is gorgeously simple - Gordon Pike, rock star turned conspiracy theory guru, is headlining a cruise for conspiracy followers. He's not the raving lunatic you would expect. In fact, he's far more like Tom Cruise's character from Magnolia than anything else. He's got polish, and then show he puts on is so smart. The cruise isn't what he expected, but then things get weird.
Pike is played by Henry Zebrowski of Last Podcast on the Left. If you read my issue of Claims Department about podcasts, you'll know why this is a perfect choice. He actually softplays him for most of the way, which he's REALLY good at. I mean, he's stupid good at it. He draws out everything you can get from a character who is supposed to be the US version of David Icke... without the rampant anti-semetism. When he has to go all Out There, he manages it perfectly. If you've heard him on Last Podcast, you'll know how he ramps up. It's a great performance, and it makes the movement of the picture so impressive. The rest of the cast isn't outclassed either! No one has the focus on them as much as Gordon, but the pieces we get are so perfect for the story. In specific, there's the guy who's more Liberatarian than Conspiracy Theorist who I totally recognise as an archetype.
Then again, it's also gorgeous. I mean it's so precisely shot and cut, it looks like a big budget picture. Director Brad Abrahams is so good, and his hand feels like it's all over this in the best possible way. The lighting, the set design, the editing, it all creates a sensation that is at once sinister and silly. This is EXACTLY what a short like this should give off - a sensation of something not right, but not necessarily malevolent. It is a weird world, and weird can take on many forms.
I love this film. It's a great watch, and every second of it feels important. It's the kind of Mindbender that I love to see in Cinequest, and it's just so much fucking fun! You can find more info on the film, and the rest of Brad Abrahams' work at http://www.bradabrahams.net/, and you can get tickets to Shorts Program 5 - Mindbenders, at https://payments.cinequest.org/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=114202~78899376-35a9-4153-8303-e1557be2dc32&epguid=c5191bc9-d5f7-4fab-87e1-de8dcbff688d&#.XinAFUdKiUk
Also, I am now using Coincidence Theorist in my everyday life.
We talk with the team of from the subversive romantic comedy Bite Me, premiering tomorrow, March 9th at the California Theatre!
We talk with co-writers/directors Andre Phillips and Charles Vuolo and Cinematographer T. Acton Fitzgerald about their fantastic drama playing at Cinequest!
A science fiction film that is smart, fun, sassy, and highly enjoyable! We sit down with Writer/Director Rob Schulbaum, and actor Sean Carmichael about this phenomenal flick you can see at Cinequest, premiering on Thursday, March 7!
The Wrong Todd
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.