Category Archives: Feature Film

Wild Indian

Posted by Larry Gleeson

After viewing Smoke Signals, the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy winner at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival, and the first feature film written, directed, and produced by Native Americans, I had an overwhelming desire to see more Indigenous filmmaking. Sundance Film Festival was organized around the guiding principle of giving Native American voices a platform. The 2021 Sundance Film Festival premiered a total of four Indigenous films, three short-form films, and one feature-length film, Wild Indian from Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr., (a member of the Northern Wisconsin Bad River Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa).

Wild Indian opens with a metaphorical scene from possibly the 18th century depicting a Native-American in the woods shooting another Native-American in the distance. In a preceding scene, it is quickly revealed that Makwa, a young Anishinaabe boy, has a rough life. He’s bullied at school and doesn’t get along well at home with his young parents. He often appears with bruises he says he got falling down, but no one believes him.

As he is being questioned in the school’s administrative office a majestic piece of cinematography provides foreshadowing. Makwa has only one friend, Ted-O. Makwa and Ted-O like to escape by playing in the woods, until the day Makwa shockingly murders a schoolmate. After covering up the crime, Makwa runs away and the two boys go on to live very different lives.

Now, as adult men, they must face the truth of what they have done and what they have become. In what feels like going through a time and space continuum, Corbine takes the narrative to California where we are introduced to Michael, a senior-level corporate executive with authority over a Jesse Eisenberg character. In addition, Michael has a stylish home and a beautiful wife. With a strong and compelling visual style that evokes both fascination and dread, it quickly becomes clear Michael, portrayed by Michael Greyeyes,  has done terrible, unforgivable things.

Displaying sadomasochist tendencies, Michael is struggling to hold it all together. Meanwhile, a hard-looking adult Ted-O is being released from prison. Ted-O returns to the reservation, camping in the woods and making amends to the murdered boy’s mother with the truth of what happened to her son the day Makwa murdered him. Despite making his amends, Ted-O still suffers inner conflict and decides he must track down Makwa and complete the cycle of justice.

Unfortunately for Ted-O, Michael gains the upper hand and kills Ted-O to continue his life in California while covering up any links to the past. Michael still has to face the presiding District Attorney with jurisdiction over the reservation and the accusation from the murdered boy’s mother, Mrs. Wolf. In a diabolical manner, Michael manages to clear himself.

Wild Indian is a compelling look into the state of Native American life. And, Michael Greyeyes delivers a gripping, enigmatic performance as a modern Native American with a dark past. In addition, Kate Bosworth portrays Michael’s wife in California, with considerable depth and nuance. Jesse Eisenberg delivers a strong supporting performance and is credited as Executive Producer as well. Wild Indian was writer/director Corbine’s feature debut and is sure to become a touchstone in modern Indigenous cinema. Highly recommended.

Judas and The Black Messiah

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Judas and The Black Messiah, recipient of the recently awarded, American Film Institute’s Movie of the Year, made its World Premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival with fanfare. A late, Warner Brothers production, addition to the Premiere category starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and The Black Messiah was a richly told story of the leadership, revolutionary activism, and eventual assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton, and powerful addition to the social revolution films of the 1960s and early 1970s.

With the film set in 1968, social unrest in the United States was at the highest it had been in close to 50 years. The New Left was emerging. The Anti-War Movement was underway. Fears and threats of Communism were still present. And Chicago was hosting the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy had been recently assassinated and as the Black Community looking for new leadership, the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panthers and its chairman, Fred Hampton, saw an opportunity to fill a void and unite the disenfranchised.

All eyes were on Chicago, as the United States continued to deal with the issues at home and abroad. J. Edgar Hoover, the founder and first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had turned the organization into a menacing, crime-fighting apparatus.  Richard Nixon was elected as the 37th President of the United States under the promise of law and order. Hoover and his FBI saw Hampton as a radical “Black Messiah” threat and managed to compromise a young black male, William O’Neal, portrayed by Stanfield, to infiltrate the Black Panthers and keep tabs on Fred Hampton and the Chicago Chapter. Hampton, portrayed to a tee by Kaluuya, was young, impressionable, and highly charismatic. He rose up in the ranks of the Black Panthers and rallied the New Left, the Anti-War Movement, and the young Communists with his war cry, “I am… a Revolutionary.”

Judas and The Black Messiah, directed by Shaka King, with a cast, led by Kaluuya and Stanfield, and supported by a strong performance from Dominique Fishback portraying Hampton’s life partner, Deborah Johnson, is exceptional as the production design, costuming, makeup and wardrobe move the film into a period piece. And, the writing pulls heavily from historical texts with Black Panther phrases such as “War is politics with blood. Politics is war without blood.” King also manages to pose questions about how to make progress as his characters address the concepts of reform and revolution.  While the film is set in 1968-69, these issues are still prevalent today.

Judas and The Black Messiah, an historical drama on par with Gore Vidal’s Lincoln, is an emotionally moving, and at times, riveting film. Seeing history brought to life in a viscerally real and emphatic manner, made the work very compelling to me. Fred Hampton was killed at the age of 21 on December 4th, 1969. The aggrieved parties would wait well over a decade for justice with a civil suit settlement of $1.85 million in 1982 after an initial coroner’s jury inquest in January of 1970 found Fred Hampton’s death justifiable homicide. Watch at your own peril.

 

 

 

LaKeith Stanfield, left, and Shaka King in Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Brothers 2021)

 

(Warner Brothers 2021)

CODA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) despite being somewhat formulaic pushed all the buttons – strong writing, superb acting, and solid production design. Imagine being the only family member who can hear and speak! Basically, that’s where our film’s lead actress finds herself. Actress Emilia Jones portrays seventeen-year-old, Ruby Rossi, a Peppermint Patty, and semi-typical teen in that she goes to high school, has a teenage crush, and feels awkward socially in her hometown of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

What’s not typical is that she engages in a commercial fishing operation with her family before school, signs to communicate with and for her father (Tony Kotsur), mother (Marlee Matlin), and brother (Daniel Durant), haggles with the local fishmonger and sings with a voice most nightingales would be envious of. Despite, all of this, the Director and Writer of CODA, Sian Heder, manages to thread the needle as most of the time it’s wholly plausible that this person is living this life.

CODA so pleased audiences at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it walked away with more awards than any film in recent Sundance history. Most notably it took home both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best drama. In addition, Apple TV splashed a record-smashing $25 million for the film rights. Until the last few years, no film had reached the $10 million mark. So don’t expect to see CODA out at any local film festivals.

At its most basic essence, CODA is heartwarming, endearing, and full of characters embodied by actors who truly understand the concept of emoting. In my opinion, next to Oscar-winner, Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God), Mexican actor/writer/director/producer, Eugenio Derbez, stands out as he delivers more than one show-stealing moment with his dead-pan presence and energetic delivery. Emilia Jones’s performance is exceptional as her character Rubi’s struggle is self-evident onscreen. Rubi is conflicted with going her own way or continuing to support her family. The issue comes to the forefront when she joins the school’s choir and finds herself attracted to her duet partner and her latent singing ability draws the attention of her tough-love choirmaster, portrayed by Derbez.

As the conflict mounts, Rubi learns to stand in her truth and Director Heder allows the audience to witness and experience the world from the deaf person’s perspective. But wait! There’s more. Heder illuminates the family in a subtle manner with the prime focus on Rubi. Despite their handicap of being deaf, they all engage in what is considered normal activities. There’s sibling rivalry, budding relationship angst, concerns about making a living and supporting a family. And, there’s some hilarious comic relief in the parents’ expressive love for one another.

Normally, I’m not so drawn to a dramedy. Yet, CODA, while predictable at times, pivoted at critical moments creating a most compelling narrative with its expressive, heartfelt acting, its naturalistic, on-location filming, and its strong writing. Not sure when CODA will be available for public viewing. But, I can definitely say. CODA is worth the price of admission. Highly recommended!

While we wait for the film’s release check out the Meet the Artist: Sian Heder on Coda video. You’ll be glad you did!

Baz Poonpiriya’s “One For the Road” Will Leave You Wanting More

Posted by Larry Gleeson

When I viewed One For the Road, recipient of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Creative Vision, and directed by Baz Poonpiriya (the first Thai director to feature in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition), my mind wandered as I became aware of a thought, “This film reminds me of Wong Kar Wai’s work, In the Mood for Love.” The film had a wonderful soundtrack with some Cat Stevens music along with several mainstream hits, a strong production design, and a lovely mise-en-scene with exquisite cinematography and a touch of colorization. One For the Road follows a young Thai man, who is dying from cancer and has decided to make his final amends by delivering a parting gift to those closest to him on the earthly plane. The narrative structure is non-linear as the director uses flashbacks to inform the viewer and add depth of meaning to the present.

Unfortunately for the film’s lead character, Aood, portrayed by Ice Natara, the only Thai runway model in South Korea, he doesn’t drive and doesn’t own a car. So, he calls on his best friend, Boss, portrayed by actor/singer/model Tor Thanapob, to drive him across Thailand beginning in the north and traversing the length of the country down to the south in order to bring closure with the people from Aood’s past. Only, Boss owns a bar in New York where he seems to be living the dream with an endless lineup of beautiful women that he entertains after hours.

Boss and his family had supported Aood over the years and the two were as close as two blood brothers until a falling out left them estranged. But when Aood tells Boss he is sick and needs Boss’s help to complete a final “to do” list, Boss comes to help. As the two rekindle their friendship,  Boss puts up with Aood’s idiosyncrasies and his overt intrusions into people’s lives with his parting gifts. Yet, when Aood tries to give Boss a gift, truths are revealed threatening their friendship while simultaneously offering an opportune moment for redemption.

One for the Road is full of nostalgia as multiple genres come together including romance, buddy film, as well as sex-positive melodrama. It’s very visual, very visceral, and one I was sad to see it end after 136 minutes. But end it did and as the credits began to roll, there it was – a title revealing “Produced by Wong Kar Wai” – “… a filmmaker who specializes in making the evanescent tangible, in capturing fleeting emotions in a style that is always poetic, often ravishing and, despite his films’ surface-level dreaminess, unerringly precise.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/movies/Wong-Kar-wai-romance-films.html) I’m a huge fan of Mr. Wong’s work so all I could do in that moment was sit and smile. What a wonderful gift. (Wong and Baz worked together on One For The Road for three years.)

Director Baz Poonpiriya, a strong storyteller who has come into his own, had previously helmed Bad Genius the 2017 Thai box-office smashing and the record-breaking winner of twelve categories at the 27th Suphannahong National Film Awards (the Thai Oscars), before embarking on One For The Road with Wong. If you’re a fan of Wong, this is a film you don’t want to miss. And, if you’re a fan of Thai film (Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2010 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives turned me on to Thai film), it’s a must-see! Lastly, if you simply enjoy exquisitely told films, I highly recommend you see Baz Poonpiriya’s One For The Road!

 

SHERILYN FENN, ALAN POWELL, NICHOLAS TURTURRO AND CATHY MORIARTY FILM “SHOOTING HEROIN” PIVOTS TO VOD/SVOD/EST RELEASE APRIL 3

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Note: We present this piece of film and entertainment news with deep respect to the media and individual concerns surrounding the country’s COVID-19 Crisis. We have heard media tell us they want to hear how filmmakers are coping with film releases during this time. We hope it is not perceived as impertinent or inappropriate. Thank you.

Opioid Drama, Originally Slated to Open in More Than Two Dozen Cities and at Three Festivals, Goes Day-And Date

Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2020–Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2020—SHOOTING HEROIN, one of the first narrative feature films on the current opioid epidemic in America, will debut on all VOD, SVOD and EST platforms on Friday, April 3. The film was originally set for an initial limited national release in two dozen cities and about 100 screens on Friday, April 3rd but quickly made the move to video-on-demand and pay-per-view platforms following the shutdown of almost all movie theatres nationally during the COVID-19 crisis. The film had also been set to premiere at three film festivals in Northern New Jersey, Dallas, and Los Angeles, all of which were canceled.

EST platforms and services will go live on April 3, including, on cable: InDemand and MSOs; Vubiquity; Verizon Fios; ATT U-Verse; DirecTV; Dish Network-IPVOD/EST; and Sling, and on transactional digital including iTunes; Amazon; GooglePlay; Microsoft X-Box; Vimeo; Sony PSN; Fandango; and Vudu.

Director

Director and producer Spencer Folmar, himself a small theatre chain operator and distributor through his company Veritas Films, says, “Like every other filmmaker, we’ve hit a wall with theatrical distribution in these turbulent times, which puts our little indie film on the same footing as Disney as we work to find our audience. And of course that audience is the home viewing audience, hundreds of millions of people who are searching for education and issues-oriented entertainment. We consider ourselves lucky to have VOD distribution of SHOOTING HEROIN in place to offer the public, and hope the media pivots along with us to let the public know we’re out there.” Folmar hopes for theatrical exhibition of the film in the future, and in the meantime is looking at booking the film at some of America’s several hundred drive-in theatres still operating.

Shooting Heroin

SHOOTING HEROIN tells the story of a small-town community that comes together to fight back against the spread of drugs “by any means necessary”—a story of a group of vigilante townsfolk who take justice into their own hands to fight for the heart of America, and save the next generation from overdosing and dying.

The film features Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Alan Powell (Quantico), Garry Pastore (HBO’s The Deuce), Nicholas Turturro (SVU), Cathy Moriarty (RAGING BULL), and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Cooley High), among others. Before being programmed in three March film festivals in California, Texas and New Jersey, the film most recently claimed the Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Pastore) prizes at the Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival in New York City last October. SHOOTING HEROIN is being distributed digitally on VOD/SVOD by Stone Cutter Media.

 

The film is written and directed by Spencer T. Folmar (GENERATIONAL SINS). Since Folmar’s last film premiered nationally, he has pursued new ventures in distributing independent films, including WARNING SHOT, starring David Spade, Bruce Dern, and James Earl Jones, and creating a partnership with his own Veritas Theatres chain in major cities. Folmar is undeterred by the current crisis, which he views as temporary, and is confident Americans will return to movie theatres when it has passed. His first movie theatre was in the Pittsburgh, PA region called the Guthrie Theatre (a 600 seat, the single-screen historic theatre now featuring live entertainment, community theatre and a steakhouse in connection with the screening venue). He had also acquired two theatres in the Dallas region and still hopes to purchase and build theatres in Orlando, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles later in 2020 into 2021. Folmar is building his own theatre chain to give transparency and integrity for indie filmmakers to enjoy their films on the big screen across the country—when it’s safe to do so. All of his theatres are currently shuttered.

Folmar concludes, “Even though it’s being eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid abuse remains a national public health crisis and claims over 100 American lives per day. With a strong cast and a compelling story ripped from daily headlines, we hope SHOOTING HEROIN will shed light on and give hope to those millions affected by it.”

Heroin

SHOOTING HEROIN (Drama): Release Date: Thursday, April 3, 2020
Starring: Sherilyn Fenn; Alan Powell; Garry Pastore; Nicholas Turturro; Cathy Moriarty; and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs
Producers: Spencer T. Folmar, p.g.a., Mark Joseph
Director: Spencer T. Folmar
Writer: Spencer T. Folmar
Cinematographer: John Honoré
Composer: Mike Newport
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: R

*Note: We present this piece of film and entertainment news with deep respect to the media and individual concerns surrounding the country’s COVID-19 Crisis. We have heard media tell us they want to hear how filmmakers are coping with film releases during this time. We hope it is not perceived as impertinent or inappropriate. Thank you.

(Source: Press release presented by Henry Eshelman and Media Platform Group)

 

BLOODSHOT with Vin Diesel opens Thursday

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Based on the bestselling comic book, Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is an elite soldier recently killed in action, brought back to life as the superhero Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins he’s an unstoppable force – the strongest warrior the corporation has ever created – and able to heal instantly. But in upgrading his body, the company is also manipulating his mind and memories. As he begins to remember his past life, Ray isn’t sure what’s real and what’s not – but he’s determined to take back control.

Bloodshot

Directed By:
David S.F. Wilson
Story by:
Jeff Wadlow
Screenplay by:
Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer
Based on:
The Valiant Comic Book
Produced by:
Neal H. Moritz
Toby Jaffe
Dinesh Shamdasani
Vin Diesel
Executive Producers:
Dan Mintz
Louis G. Friedman
Yu Dong
Jeffrey Chan
Rita LeBlanc
Buddy Patrick
Matthew Vaughn
Cast:
Vin Diesel
Eiza Gonzalez
Sam Heughan
Toby Kebbell
and Guy Pearce
Columbia Pictures’ BLOODSHOT photo call, Los Angeles, USA - 06 March 2020
LOS ANGELES – March 6, 2020: Eiza González, Vin Diesel, Lamorne Morris and Sam Heughan at the Junket Photo Call for Columbia Pictures’ BLOODSHOT at The London West Hollywood. (Photo credit: Eric Charbonneau)

Bloodshot has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for intense sequences of violence, some suggestive material, and language. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on March 13, 2020.

Orion Pictures BAD TRIP In Theaters Everywhere on April 17, 2020

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From a producer of JACKASS and BAD GRANDPA, this hidden camera comedy follows two best friends as they go on a cross-country road trip full of hilarious, inventive pranks, pulling its real-life audience into the mayhem.

Bad Trip stars Eric André, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish and Michaela Conlin. The film is directed by Kitao Sakurai from the minds of Dan Curry, Kitao Sakurai, and André – and produced by André, Jeff Tremaine, David Bernad, and Ruben Fleischer.

Bad Trip

BAD TRIP 

Release: April 17, 2020

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Eric André, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Michaela Conlin

Directed by: Kitao Sakurai

Produced by: Eric André, Jeff Tremaine, David Bernad, Ruben Fleischer

SHERILYN FENN, ALAN POWELL, NICHOLAS, TURTURRO AND CATHY MORIARTY FILM “SHOOTING HEROIN” OPENS IN LIMITED RELEASE APRIL 3

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Opioid Drama to Open in More Than Two Dozen Cities

Los Angeles, CA, February 3, 2020SHOOTING HEROIN, the first narrative feature film on the current opioid epidemic in America, is set to release nationally on Friday, April 3. The film tells the story of a small-town community that comes together to fight back against the spread of drugs “by any means necessary”—a story of a group of vigilante townsfolk who take justice into their own hands to fight for the heart of America, and save the next generation from overdosing and dying.

The film features Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Alan Powell (Quantico), Garry Pastore (HBO’s The Deuce), Nicholas Turturro (SVU), Cathy Moriarty (RAGING BULL), and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Cooley High), among others. The film most recently won the Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Pastore) at the Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival in New York City in October. SHOOTING HEROIN is being distributed theatrically by Veritas Films, and digitally on VOD/SVOD by Stone Cutter Media.

SHOOTING HEROIN release cities beginning April 3 include but are not limited to: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, Washington DC, Eugene, OR, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Colorado Springs, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Minnesota, Newark, Buffalo, Clearfield, State College, Phillipsburg, and more too be announced.

The film is written and directed by Hard Faith founder Spencer T. Folmar (GENERATIONAL SINS). Since Folmar’s last film premiered nationally, he has pursued new ventures in distributing independent films, including WARNING SHOT, starring David Spade, Bruce Dern, and James Earl Jones, and creating a partnership with his own Veritas Theatres chain in major cities.

His first movie theatre was in the Pittsburgh, PA region called the Guthrie Theatre (a 600 seat, the single-screen historic theatre now featuring live entertainment and community theatre with a new Cinema Grille steakhouse in connection with the screening venue). He has also acquired two theatres in the Dallas region and is looking to purchase and build theatres in Orlando, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles by the end of 2020.

Folmar said, “I’m motivated by the lack of reputable and compelling options for independent filmmakers to have a proper theatrical distribution with a distribution partner. It’s akin to that old Remington ad when the chairman said he wanted a good shave so he bought the company.” Folmar is building his own theatre chain to give transparency and integrity for indie filmmakers to enjoy their films on the big screen across the country.

SHOOTING HEROIN is set to premiere theatrically in x cities and y screens starting April 3, followed by a release on all major digital platforms, VOD and SVOD.  Folmar concludes, “With a strong cast and a compelling story ripped from daily headlines, we hope SHOOTING HEROIN will shed light on and give hope to those millions affected by our nation’s exploding opioid crisis.”

Shooting heroin release

SHOOTING HEROIN (Drama): Theatrical Release Date: Thursday, April 3, 2020

Starring: Sherilyn Fenn; Alan Powell; Garry Pastore; Nicholas Turturro; Cathy Moriarty; and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs

Producers: Spencer T. Folmar, p.g.a., Mark Joseph

Director: Spencer T. Folmar

Writer: Spencer T. Folmar

Cinematographer: John Honoré

Composer: Mike Newport

Running Time: 90 minutes

Rating: R

 

 

 

FILM REVIEW: Gutterbee (Ulrich Thomsen, 2019), Denmark

Posted by Larry Gleeson

First film I see for the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) sponsored by UGG, packs an unexpected, invisible wallop to the sensibilities. Making its US Premiere at SBIFF following its World Premiere at the São Paulo International Film GutterbeeFestival, Gutterbee, a character-driven, “social satire about the nexus of identity fear, where religion becomes an intellectual cul-de-sac, and racism, homophobia and intolerance reign supreme,”  provides, at a minimum, a snapshot of what life in small town, rural America looks like from an international perspective. It also reveals a solution on how to forge an elevated pathway into a better, more inclusive existence without forgetting who we are and where we came from.

Writer/director/producer Ulrich Thomsen encases his deeply felt messaging inside two dreamers who set out to open the “ultimate German Sausage restaurant: The Gourmet House of Refuge.” Anthony Starr (The Boys) portrays Mike Dankworth McCoid, a good-hearted bloke who has just been granted a prison release, while Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) portrays Edward Hofler, a German sausage zealot. The two complement and play off one another as well as American film comedy duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Gutterbee opens with a simple black and white title frame coupled with non-diegetic, Western music. With noir-style composition, Thomsen immediately begins exposing the dark aspects of rural life and culture spouting throughout the Americana landscape with a voice-over narrative of the town sheriff, played by Chance Kelly. Deftly, he reveals current topics of discussion including gender conversion therapy, greed disguised in the form of wealth gospel preachers, racism, xenophobia, bestiality, superstitions, and bullying, and how these behaviors continue to thrive.

Gutterbee is, by choice, not a major film studio production. It is a filmmaker’s truth. Thomsen derived the material and created his art from his experience including many years working in the United States, his monitoring of presidential tweets, and historical trivia on the art of sausage-making. Nevertheless, it is a professionally orchestrated production.

Oscar-winner Anthony Dod Mantle’s cinematography [Best Achievement in Cinematography Slumdog Millionaire (2008)] is stellar. The cast is strong with authentic performances from W. Earl Brown (Preacher, Deadwood: The Movie), Pia Mechler, Joshua Harto, Clark Middleton, and Gareth Williams. Scott Christopher Clark’s art direction, via the mise-en-scene, keeps the viewer wary and engaged. The costuming, designed by Suzanne Barnes, is spot on. And, the music from George Kallis, Breakthrough Composer of the Year 2018, International Film Music Critics Award, captivates.

In addition to the very noirish low key lighting and dramatic use of shadows, Gutterbee employs high key lighting, augmenting a plethora of comedic relief juxtaposed against the garishness of the depicted rural culture. Savvy writing allows for a natural and rhythmic flow adroitly addressing social concerns. The editing from Soren B Ebbe is expertly carried out and the use of jump cuts, a verified comedic device, is nicely woven into the film’s fabric.

Thomsen’s artistic snapshot of Americana in Gutterbee left me dumbfounded. In a brilliantly executed film, a message of hope is revealed amidst the human condition of rural Americans. Important to note, the majority of rural dwellers in the United States are of Germanic descent. Having grown up in a German-American community, I appreciated the inclusion of Germanic cultural artifacts including, but not limited to, lederhosen and the St. Pauli Girl-style costuming. Seemingly, the hope for the future of America lies within their rich, cultural hands. Ask, or in the case of Gutterbee, knock, and it shall be opened. Highly recommended film and wildly entertaining!

 

GRAVITAS VENTURES ACQUIRES MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRAVITAS VENTURES ACQUIRES MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM

Making Apes will be available on-demand Q1 2020.

CLEVELAND (November 19, 2019) — Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, has acquired North American rights to the documentary feature MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM. The film, which premiered at the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, will be available on-demand January 2020.

MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM is an epic 50-year story of the make-up artists who created the iconic simians featured in the original science fiction masterpiece Planet of the Apes (1968) and subsequently defined special effects for generations to come.

This fascinating, poignant, funny and heartfelt story is told through the eyes of make-up
legend Thomas R. Burman, who along with Academy Award-winning artist John Chambers helmed the creation of Planet of the Apes’ now-famous make-up design.
Interviews include Guillermo del Toro, Richard Donner, John Landis, Joe Dante, Rick Baker, VeNeill, Greg Nicotero, Leonard Maltin, Bobby Porter and numerous other award-winning filmmakers and make-up artists.

The film details the history of special make-up effects from the earliest days to modern
effects, framed by the creation of the Planet of the Apes simians. A highlight moment is
an original Planet of the Apes actor Lou Wagner being transformed back into his character 50 years later by Thomas R. Burman, Bari Dreiband-Burman and Vincent Van Dyke.

“I am honored to know that this incredible journey is finally being told. John Chambers,
myself and an incredible team of artists came together, many of us for the first time, and
broke ground in Hollywood.” Burman says. “We changed film forever, and it’s fantastic to know that audiences will finally experience our story.”

Brett Rogalsky, Acquisitions Coordinator for Gravitas Ventures is quoted as saying “Making Apes is an exceptional look at the groundbreaking work that went into one of the biggest movies of all time. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or of movies in general, this is a must-watch.”

MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM is Executive Produced by Thomas R. Burman & Bari Dreiband-Burman (Academy Award Nominees – Best Make-Up Effects), Directed by William Conlin, Produced by Harlene Conlin, features Cinematography by Gary L. Conlin, an original score by Shawn Patterson (Academy Award Nominee – Best Original Song), edited by Micah Stuart, Post Production Supervisor Maxx Burman and Sound Mixing/Editing by Ellis Burman III.

About Gravitas Ventures
Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, is a leading all rights distributor of
independent feature films and documentaries. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects
independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the
globe. Working with talented directors and producers, Gravitas Ventures has
distributed thousands of films into over a hundred million homes in North America –
over one billion homes worldwide. Recent releases include Armstrong, directed by
David Fairhead; Above the Shadows starring Olivia Thirlby, Megan Fox and Jim
Gaffigan; The River and the Wall, directed by Ben Masters; Score: A Film Music
Documentary; California Typewriter; Legion of Brothers; Katie Holmes’ feature
directorial debut; All We Had, Colin Hanks’ All Things Must Pass; and Being Evel from
Academy Award-winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville.
For more information, please visit gravitasventures.com, and follow @GravitasVOD on
Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.

About Red Arrow Studios
Red Arrow Studios is one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of
entertainment content. Red Arrow Studios is comprised of 20 production companies in
seven territories, including 10 companies based in the United States; world-leading
multi-platform digital network Studio71, based in six countries; and global film and TV
distributors Red Arrow Studios International and Gravitas Ventures.

The group’s significant output includes scripted, non-scripted and formatted content and IP, from TV and film to short-form and branded content, made for an array of global networks and platforms.

Red Arrow Studios is part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, one of Europe’s leading media
groups. For more information, please visit: https://redarrowstudios.com/

Media Inquiries

MaryKate McHugh / (440) 781-4473 / MaryKate@GravitasVentures.com