It’s time! Sundance 2013 is just around the corner. The festival kicks off Thursday, the 17th, and runs until Sunday, the 27th. The Sundance Film Festival creates an opportunity for independent film to make its mark on the entertainment industry at large. Last year, I saw Beasts of the Southern Wild, and I remember the electric energy and excitement that surged through the crowd after the screening. It was the type of energy that made me think, this movie is something special.
Which films will stand out this year? Only time will tell . . .
No matter what kind of creator an aspiring artist wants to become, honing natural talent and creative skills is essential in order to find artistic maturity and success. Rules need to be learned, if only then to be broken. Confidence must be built. Experience must be earned. The list goes on.
Paul Kampf, an accomplished actor and acting trainer, formed the Performing Arts Institute (P.A.I.) in order to help aspiring thespians work on their craft. His approach is unique, as he and the institute place a lot of emphasis in hands-on learning, especially through a program called Film Lab.
I had the chance to interview Paul and learn more about his background as an actor, his perspective on acting, and his acclaimed acting programs through P.A.I.
This interview was conducted on December 13, 2012.
10.) The Santa Clause / Batman and Robin
Child actor Eric Lloyd played the lovable Charlie Calvin in The Santa Clause and then went on to play young Bruce Wayne in the colorful and perhaps, awesomely bad, Batman and Robin. Think of it this way: Spending time at the North Pole followed by an evening with Mr. Freeze should put anyone in the spirit for snow and holiday décor. Or, you could always pop in Serenity after The Santa Clause and watch Bernard the Elf (David Krumholtz) as Mr. Universe.
Hitchcock stars Anthony Hopkins as the man behind the curtain, the legend behind the modern thriller and horror genre, the man, the myth: Mr. Alfred Hitchcock. Clad in major tummy padding and a face prosthetic, Hopkins performs through the disguise and sells the character of Hitchcock well. The movie, however, is not an all-encompassing look at the life of Alfred Hitchcock. On the contrary, it is a slice-of-life movie, focused specifically on the time Hitchcock spent making Psycho.
Silver Linings Playbook is a heartfelt drama based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick. The screenplay was adapted by David O. Russell (Three Kings, The Fighter), who also directed the film. Bradley Cooper stars as Pat Solitano, a man recently released from a mental health institution. As he assimilates into a regular routine on the outside, he moves back in with his parents, Pat Solitano, Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores Solitano (Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom, The Five Year Engagement).
I had the pleasure of seeing writer and director Ava DuVernay speak at the Film Independent Directors Series this past year. When asked how and why she got into filmmaking, her answers were, perhaps, a bit unconventional. DuVernay spent many years working in niche film distribution. She realized that not enough of the kinds of films she wanted to see were actually being made. So, she decided to do something about it. Now, a few years later, DuVernay has successfully written and directed her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere, a character-driven drama centered on an all-black cast. The film won the “Best Director” award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
The story of this movie begins in reality. Years ago, a man placed an ad in a real newspaper looking for “someone to go back in time with” him. He went on to write, “This is not a joke . . . Must bring your own weapons. Safety Not Guaranteed. I’ve only done this once before.” Screenwriter Derek Connelly obtained the rights to this infamous ad, and it is now the basis of the surprisingly touching and completely entertaining film, Safety Not Guaranteed.
One of a handful of romantic dramedies that premiered at Sundance 2012 is Save the Date. IFC acquired distribution rights for a possible release in LA and NYC this year. Despite a low IMDb rating, this romantic film has received positive, as well as negative, reviews. Deciphering why that is has led me to conclude that Save the Date is one of those middle-of-the-road movies, almost quite funny and charming, but something holds it back from really making an impression.
On August 3rd, Sony Pictures Classics released Celeste and Jesse Forever to limited audiences in LA and NYC. The film, directed by Lee Toland Krieger (The Vicious Kind), follows the lives of two amicable exes, and soon-to-be divorcees, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg). After six years of marriage, Celeste, a marketing executive who studies trends, separated from sweet but career-stunted Jesse, a struggling artist. Although they have ended the marriage, they still get along as best friends do, and they spend an inordinate amount of time together. It seems the couple is unwilling to let go of their bond.
Lay the Favorite, based on a memoir written by Beth Raymer, begins with Raymer (played by Rebecca Hall, The Town, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) moving on from her career as a stripper in a small Florida town. She packs up her belongings, including her dog, and heads to Las Vegas where she dreams of a bigger, brighter life as a cocktail waitress. Once in Las Vegas, she mixes company with Dink (Bruce Willis) a seasoned bookie with a hard-nosed, yet charming, personality. He would place a bet on anything, and he has a hunch that Raymer has more to offer than just her good looks. He offers her a job in his bookie business, and Dink quickly realizes that Raymer is a whiz with numbers and has a gifted memory.