#SLOFF Film Capsule – Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Director Leslie Iwerks newest documentary film, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, recently opened the 23rd San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, now referred to as the SLO Film Fest. To go along with the screening 15 food chefs served up traditional and current New Orleans gastronomical fare in the art-deco styled Fremont Theater and in the adjoining VIP tent in downtown SLO. Cafe Musique provided live music to round out the Mardi Gras themed party with covers from ragtime composer Scott Joplin as well as Cajun and Zydeco tunes. Several Central Coast vintners provided complementing libations.

Iwerks amassed a copious amount of archival photos, footage, newspaper and magazine articles to complement current day interviews as she uncovers one of the most revered chefs and restaurateurs in the world. In addition, a snapshot of New Orleans from the 1940’s and 50’s is shown as the focus moves toward the Brennan family restaurant, Brennan’s, and on into Commander’s Palace.

Ella Brennan was reluctant initially to take on a role in the family business. Her oldest sibling, Owen, cajoled Ella and tasked her with important roles while increasingly adding greater responsibility Eventually, Ella was traveling to the world’s great cities and dining in fine establishments. All the while, Ella scoured cookbooks looking for new and innovative ways to create cuisines for her clientele which not only included a who’s who of New Orleans Society but also world dignitaries and Hollywood entertainers.

Unfortunately, the family was dealt a severe blow as Owen suddenly passed away at 48. Ella and her siblings decided to keep the restaurant going with Ella at the helm. Soon after Owen’s death, however, the bank removed it’s vote of confidence that a woman could manage a restaurant like Brennan’s and called in the loan on the building. The family rallied raising money only to come up just short of the necessary funds. So the restaurant would have to move. The family found a location down the street. On the last day at the original location, the family served lunch and then moved to the new location led by a jazz band and served dinner in their new location without missing a beat.

The new location served the Brennan family well until a legal dispute with Owen’s wife precipitated Ella and her sisters establishing a new restaurant, Commander’s Palace. Under Ella’s leadership Commander’s Palace thrived. Soon Ella began a search for a Top Chef. Paul Prudhomme’s name was mentioned and Ella took Prudhomme in and the two put Commander’s Palace on the list of the world’s finest dining establishments. Prudhomme decided he wanted a smaller restaurant and left to open K-Paul’s. Following Prudhomme was Emeril Lagasse at age 23. Lagasse, too, would move on to start his own restaurant. Both became known as “celebrity chefs” with their own television shows. Next came Eddie Shannon, a tall Irishman with great flare. Eddie introduced farm to table to Commander’s Palace and the restaurant continued its fine dining tradition with bold, new, fresh and innovative dishes.

Then, Hurricane Katrina hit devastating the city of New Orleans. With the city deserted, the Brennan’s were unsure about the future of Commander’s Palace but not Ella. The restaurant re-opened after a year of repairs. During this time Ella and sister Adelaide bought an historic mansion directly behind Commander’s Palace. Today the sisters enjoy the finest take-out food, delivered by world renowned chefs.

After the screening TV actor and New Orleans native, French Stewart, chatted with Commander’s Palace owner Ti Martin (Ella Brennan’s daughter) and filmmaker Leslie Iwerks.

Ti Martin, far right, owner of Commander’s Palace, shares her experience being Ella Brennan’s daughter with Director Leslie Iwerks, center, and French Stewart, left, at the 23rd SLO Film Fest, following the Festival’s Opening Night screening, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, at the San Luis Obispo downtown Fremont Theater. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Ella Brenan: Commanding the Table is a delicious treat. Iwerks gets behind the scenes with historical artifacts, Brennan family archives and present day interviews to reveal a formidable female figure who rose to the challenges presented to her and came out on top. Highly recommended for all audiences.








Posted by Larry Gleeson


The Wedding Plan

Official Selection 2017 Tribeca Film Festival  

Official Selection 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival

Official Selection 2016 Telluride Film Festival

2016 Haifa International Film Festival – Winner Best Actress Noa Kooler 

2016 Venice Film Festival – Nominated for Best Film

Noa Koler in THE WEDDING PLANNER (Photo credit: Courtesy of Roadside Attractions)

At 32, Michal (Noa Koler), an Orthodox Jewish woman, is finally looking forward to the comfort and security of marriage, when she is blindsided by her fiancé’s decision to call off the wedding with only a month’s notice. Unwilling to return to lonely single life, Michal decides to put her trust in fate and continue with her wedding plans, believing Mr. Right will appear by her chosen date. Confident she will find a match made in heaven, she books a venue, sends out invitations and buys a wedding dress, as her skeptical mother and sister look on with trepidation.


During Michal’s month-long search for a spouse, she enlists the help of two different matchmakers, goes on a series of disastrous blind dates and finds an unexpected connection with a charming but utterly unsuitable pop star (Oz Zehavi) — all while dismissing pleas by concerned friends and family members that she reconsider her risky plan. As the day of the ceremony grows closer and no suitor appears, Michal puts everything on the line to find happiness.


The second film from American-Israeli writer and director Rama Burshtein, THE WEDDING PLAN is a poignant and funny romantic comedy about love, marriage and faith within life’s infinite possibilities.


A nominee for Best Film at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, the film stars Noa Kooler, Amos Tamam, Oz Zehavi, Irit Sheleg, Ronny Merhavi, Dafi Alpern, Karin Serrouya, Erez Drigues, Oded Leopold, Udi Persi and Jonathan Rozen.


The Wedding Plan was written and directed by Rama Burshtein and produced by Assaf Amir. Associate producers are Tammy Cohen and Adar Shafran. The cinematographer is Amit Yasur. The film was edited by Yael Hersonski. The art director is Uri Aminov. Costume designs are by Hava Levi Rozelsky. The casting director is Michal Koren. Original music by Roy Edri. A Roadside Attractions release.


*Press Materials courtesy of Marina Bailey

New competition for Virtual Reality (VR) films: Venice Virtual Reality

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The VR Theatre will be set up again for the 74th Venice Film Festival


The VR Theatre will be set up again for the 74th Venice Film Festival

New Venice Virtual Reality competition
La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, announces the first-ever competition for films made in Virtual Reality (VR), during the 74th Venice International Film Festival (30 August – 9 September 2017) directed by Alberto Barbera.
The Competition – named Venice Virtual Reality will present up to a maximum of 18 VR films, and will be held from August 31st to September 5th 2017 at the VR Theatre (Palazzo del Casinò, Lido di Venezia).
A Jury, composed of a maximum of 5 leading exponents of the creative world, will award the following 3 prizes:  Best VR film, Grand VR Jury Prize, Best VR Creativity Award.
The Venice International Film Festival was one of the first festivals in the world to express interest in Virtual Reality. The construction of a VR Theatre in 2016 and the screening of a series of experimental short films, including the world premiere presentation of the first feature-length VR film (Jesus VR), aroused enormous interest among the participants in the Venice Production Bridge and the many spectators of the Festival.
As a contribution to the recognition of Virtual Reality as an emerging art form, La Biennale di Venezia has therefore recognized the importance of supporting the authors who choose to adopt this modern technology and use it as a new means of artistic expression, and has decided that the time is ripe to institute this first competition.
Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality
Last January La Biennale launched the first edition of the Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality, with the intent of selecting 9 teams composed of a director and a producer, who will work on the development of Virtual Reality projects lasting between 10 and 20 minutes, supporting them along the way through every aspect of the creative process, the production and the process of building an audience, identifying target markets and finding funding.
Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality is made possible with the support of grants from the Creative Europe-Support for Training programme and the Netherlands Film Fund, and enjoys the collaboration of the TorinoFilmLab.
The 9 projects selected for this first edition (director/producer) are:
·  Chromatica (Flavio Costa, Italy / Laura Catalano, Italy)
·  Dinner Party (Angel Soto, Puerto Rico / Charlotte Stoudt, USA)
·  Ice Cave (Maja Friis, Denmark / Sara Namer, Denmark)
·  Dilemma (Camille Duvelleroy, France / Laurent Duret, France)
·  Matryoshka Mon Amore (Nir Saar, Israel / Kevin Molloy, UK)
·  Spomenik (Ivan Knezevic, Serbia / Mirko Topalski, Serbia)
·  The Warship  (Erika del Mundo, Philippines / Jack Weinstein, USA)
·  The Little Black Pawn (Quentin de Cagny, France / Francois Bouille, France)
·  The Neighbour (Romero Rudolf Borgar, The Netherlands / Esther Rots, The Netherlands)
Of the 9 projects that will be developed during the workshop, 2 VR projects will receive a contribution towards production of € 30,000 each thanks to the support of Sony Corporation, and will subsequently be presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival 2017.
The remaining 7 projects will be given visibility during the Venice Production Bridge, as an integral part of the activities of the Gap Financing Market. For the second year in a row the Market of the Venice Production Bridge will present a further 8 VR projects in an advanced stage of development. There will therefore be a total of 15 VR projects currently under development presented by the Biennale di Venezia.
VR Theatre
For the coming 74th Venice International Film Festival 2017, the VR Theatre will be set up again with dedicated individual viewing stations for VR films and 3 interactive stations, to screen:
–   18 VR films selected for the Venice Virtual Reality Competition.
–    2 films funded by the Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality;
–    Previous work made by the 8 teams selected for the Venice Production Bridge;
The VR Theatre will be operational from August 31st to September 5th, on the 1st floor of the Palazzo del Casinò, concurrently with the second edition of the Venice Production Bridge.
(Source: La Biennale di Venezia)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

NEW Trailer and Poster Released!


For Freedom. For Family. For the Planet.

In the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise starring Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.
Release: July 14, 2017
Director: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves
Producers: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer & Terry Notary
(Press materials provided by 20th Century Fox)

Berlinale Mourns the Loss of Franz Stadler

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Renowned cinema owner and curator Franz Stadler died on Sunday after a long illness.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 2.36.00 PM

For almost forty years Franz and Rosemarie Stadler ran the filmkunst 66, a multi-prize-winning arthouse cinema in Berlin Charlottenburg. In 1971 Franz Stadler took over the two-screen cinema in the Bleibtreustraße and before long the sophisticated program he put together established it as one of the most important institutions for independent cinema in Berlin. Stadler also initiated a number of film festivals and was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit for his services to cinema. In 2011, the Berlin International Film Festival honored Franz and Rosemarie Stadler with the Berlinale Camera.

*Featured Photo Credit: Jan Windszus @Berlinale 2010

(Source: http://www.berlinale.de)

Club TCM @TCMFilmFest

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Exclusively for passholders*, Club TCM is a private locale in the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where movie fans can gather to relax, meet new friends, and attend special presentations and events with many of our celebrity guests . Recreating the flavor of bygone Hollywood hotspots, Club TCM embodies true Hollywood glamour and is located in the Blossom Room—the site of the very first Academy Awards banquet.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 3.57.47 PM

*Select events limited by pass level.


3:00pm – 4:00pm – SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW MOVIES
Bruce Goldstein, repertory program director of New York’s Film Forum, returns as host of his popular annual quiz, now a TCM Classic Film Festival tradition. Everyone – from casual movie buffs to fanatical film fans – are welcome to take part in this fun, often astounding team challenge, and you can join a team on the spot (minimum 2 team members, maximum 8).

5:00pm – 7:00pm – WELCOME PARTY
Join your fellow passholders as we kick off the 8th annual TCM Classic Film Festival.  Please refer to the back of your pass for entrance eligibility.


Think of the great comedy teams of movie history and the names Abbott & Costello, Burns & Allen, or Martin & Lewis spring to mind. But some of the most enduring two-person comedy teams were never actually billed as such. Historian and author Kliph Nesteroff (The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Soundrels and the History of American Comedy) presents great moments from the mid-century “comedy teams” of Milton Berle & Arnold Stang, Jack Benny & Eddie Anderson, Lucille Ball & Gale Gordon, Kathleen Freeman & Jerry Lewis, Mary Wickes & Arthur Lake, and more. Nesteroff explores the story of these unofficial comedy duos with an in-depth presentation, followed by a Q&A.

Legendary director/author Peter Bogdanovich will discuss his prolific career in this one-hour conversation. Beginning his career in the 1960s under the wing of director Roger Corman, Bogdanovich made his directorial film debut with Targets (1968). After making two more films, he co-wrote and directed The Last Picture Show (1971), making stars out of its newcomers and cementing himself as a forerunner of the American New Wave.  He followed the film with a series of cult classics and Oscar-winning pictures with Hollywood’s finest, and today continues to make films and write books about the history of cinema.

Classic films are often rescued from obscurity by tireless champions of movie history. Although challenges abound in assembling these films for new and existing audiences alike, persistence, patience, and hours of detective work, sometimes with partner archives, result in renewed recognition for many of these movies. Hear from these unsung heroes on the front lines of film restoration, the art and skill of bringing movies back from oblivion.  Panelists:  Amy Heller, co-founder Milestone Films; Jeff Masino, President, Flicker Alley; and Bret Wood, VP and Producer of Special Projects Kino Lorber.  Moderated by Eddie Muller.


12:30pm – 1:30pm – THE ART OF SUBTITLING
An important part of film restoration today is the one most overlooked: the subtitles.  First used in the early 1930s, superimposed titles were first added sparsely to foreign films, with the belief being that people didn’t want to read at the movies. In recent years, new technology has helped make them sharper than ever. The best subtitles, though, are those the audience doesn’t notice. Bruce Goldstein, who has written and edited subtitles for over 30 classics released by his company, Rialto Pictures, presents this entertaining history of the process, and will give an insider’s look at creating subtitles for movies like Panique (1946), Grand Illusion (1937) and Godzilla (1954).

The multi-talented actress and director Lee Grant will discuss her fascinating life and career in this one-hour conversation. Grant made her film debut opposite Kirk Douglas in Detective Story (1951), which earned her an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress, but her promising film career was cut short when she was blacklisted for not testifying against her then husband, Arnold Manoff.  Grant continued acting on television throughout the 1950s and returned to films in the late 1960s, appearing in such works as In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Landlord (1970). During the 1970s, Grant transitioned into directing, creating an impressive body of work, most recently the Kirk and Michael Douglas documentary …A Father…A Son…Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2005).

5:00pm – 6:00pm – HOLLYWOOD HOME MOVIES
The Academy Film Archive shares gems from its collection with specially-selected home movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age including a homemade comedy by the Alfred Hitchcock family; making The Adventures of Robin Hood; a live broadcast of Al Jolson’s radio show; the 1938 Leading Men vs. Comedians baseball game; behind the scenes with Gypsy Rose Lee, Billie Burke, Oliver Hardy, Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Betty Grable, James Stewart and more. Enjoy unique, rarely-screened footage with special guests and musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. Presented by Randy Haberkamp, Managing Director of Preservation and Foundation Programs for AMPAS, and Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator at the Archive.


12:30pm – 1:30pm – ASK LEONARD MALTIN
Don’t miss your chance to get to know one of the most recognized film critics and historians, Leonard Maltin. In this one-hour Q&A, Maltin will answer audience questions about his 50 year career as a writer, television host and interviewer. He’s met everyone from Buster Keaton to Katharine Hepburn, and looks forward to sharing his stories with TCM fans.

Don’t miss this one-hour conversation with iconic interviewer Dick Cavett. Cavett made a name for himself in the 1960s and 70s as the host of his own groundbreaking television show, The Dick Cavett Show.  As a talk show host and personality, Cavett interviewed the likes of Bette Davis, Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Ingmar Bergman, Danny Kaye, Marlon Brando and many more during the various incarnations of his broadcast. Cavett’s likable persona, erudite conversational skills and wit has made him a staple in popular culture for generations, and he has garnered seven Emmy nominations and two wins throughout his career. Cavett has managed to draw intelligent anecdotes and tales from some of the greatest stars he has conversed with, while also bringing his own charm and humor into the homes of many.  Book signing is immediately after the event.

Join Ben, TCM and your fellow passholders as we celebrate new friends, new memories and our shared love of classic movies.  Please refer to the back of your pass for entrance eligibility.


(Source: TCM Classic Film Festival)

TCM Classic Film Festival Passes On Sale!

Well it’s that time of year again TCM is ready to roll with its 8th TCM Classic Film Festival. Held over four days in the heart of Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world can gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be experienced: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. Moreover, the TCM Classic Film Festival strives to be a place where a community of movie fans of all ages can share their love of classic movies with each other, make new friends and see films as they are seldom seen today.


Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 3.57.19 PM



The ideal way to experience the TCM Classic Film Festival is with a Festival pass. There are four levels of passes: The Palace, The Classic, The Essential, and The Spotlight. Whichever pass you choose, you’re sure to have the classic cinema experience of a lifetime at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Need help deciding which pass is right for you? Click here to compare pass levels and benefits.

For some helpful tips on how to more easily purchase your Festival passes click here.

Read the Festival pass Terms & Conditions by clicking here.



The Palace Pass is the perfect pass for those seeking a weekend filled with watching classic movies at three of the most iconic venues in Hollywood. It gives three-day (Friday-Sunday) access to all screenings at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (does not include the Opening Night screening), the Egyptian Theatre and poolside at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Friday, April 7- Sunday, April 9, 2017. Note: This pass does not grant entry to the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres multiplex, Club TCM events or official parties and receptions. LEARN MORE



The Classic Pass opens the door to four days (Thursday-Sunday) of movie heaven – including access to film screenings, panels, Club TCM and official passholder receptions at all of the Festival venues (does not include admittance to the Opening Night screening at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX or the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala Party). LEARN MORE



The Essential Pass is your chance to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood legends down the red carpet and into the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX for the official Opening Night screening plus all the benefits of the Classic Pass and TCM Classic Film Festival collectibles. LEARN MORE



The Spotlight Pass is your entry to the glamorous Opening Night Gala Party following the official Opening Night screening. Plus you’ll enjoy priority entry into screenings throughout the Festival including exclusive “meet and greet” events with special guests in addition to all the benefits of the Essential Pass. LEARN MORE


(Source: TCM Film Festival)

About @TCMFilmFest

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Held over four days in the heart of Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world can gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be experienced: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. Moreover, the TCM Classic Film Festival strives to be a place where a community of movie fans of all ages can share their love of classic movies with each other, make new friends and see films as they are seldom seen today.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 10.15.21 PM


“A day without laughter is a day wasted,” said Charles Chaplin, and the staff at TCM concur. Join us for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, exploring COMEDY IN THE MOVIES. From lowbrow to high, slapstick to sophisticated comedies of manners—as we experience a showcase of the greatest cinematic achievements of lone clowns, comedic duos and madcap ensembles. You’ll be glad you did! 

TCM has announced the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival schedule.



(Source: filmfestival.tcm.com)

AFI Conservatory Alumni Receive Nine College Television Award Nominations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A total of 13 AFI Conservatory alumni from the Class of 2016 have been recognized with nine College Television Award nominations — more than any other film school. Now in their 38th year, the 2017 College Television Awards will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, CA.

The nominees and projects from the AFI Class of 2016 are:

Trevor Smith (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Comedy (Nominee)
David Brent (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Comedy (Nominee)

Daisygreen Stenhouse (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

Andrew Pollins (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Jane Hollon (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Caleb Heller (AFI Class of 2016), Cinematographer
Commercial (Nominee)

Michael Kongshaug (AFI Class of 2016), Director/Writer
Eileen Shim (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

Daniel Abatan (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Directing for Drama (Nominee)

Andrew Pollins (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Yoni Klein (AFI Class of 2016), Cinematographer
Commercial (Nominee)

Joshua Valle (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Drama (Nominee)
Mia Niebruegge (AFI Class of 2016), Director/Writer
Christopher Greenslate (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

*Featured photo from The Other Side of Life


(Source: AFI.com)