December 12, 1999 |
A month before a pair of former Penn State film-school students wrapped up filming a feature called The Hall Monitor, two teenagers at a high school in Littleton, Colo., shot and killed 13 people at the school. After the initial horror of the incident sank in, the filmmakers - Kevin Hartman of Audubon and Shawn Gioiosa of Altoona - felt another kind of dread: Who would distribute their movie now? Their fear turned out to be justified. Despite extensive efforts to market their satire on cinematic violence, Hartman, the film's director, and Gioiosa, the screenwriter, still don't have a deal - though they haven't given up on getting one. They know it's a tough sell: The Hall Monitor features a gun-toting pseudo-hero who keeps the high school corridors clear with a .44 Magnum.
May 11, 2012 |
PHILADELPHIA NATIVE Rel Dowdell had a fairy-tale baptism in the world of independent film. While at film school at Boston University, Dowdell pitched his idea for a student short film to Esther Rolle, expanded that to a feature called "Train Ride," released it on DVD and saw it heralded as one of the top 10 titles of the year for 2000. That's the good news. The bad news: Dowdell had exhausted his lifetime supply of good news. He was about to discover firsthand just how hard it is to make and distribute a truly independent movie.
February 8, 2000 |
As the son of a doctor, M. Night Shyamalan briefly considered a medical career. But by age 11, he was making movies with the family camera in the back yard of their home in Penn Valley. And in his graduation yearbook at Episcopal Academy in 1988, he listed film as his life goal. Yesterday, Shyamalan, now widely known as the writer and director of The Sixth Sense, returned to his alma mater to talk about his success, taking questions from 600 sixth through 12th graders. "As a kid, I loved Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wanted to make those kinds of movies," Shyamalan said.
September 22, 2000 |
These are tough times for Hollywood - revenue is down, movies are bad, and D.C. politicians are hammering studios for pitching sleaze to kids. To politicians, the industry has responded with outraged denunciations of creeping censorship and indignant expressions of their First Amendment freedoms. It would be far easier to sympathize with their position if we didn't routinely have to sit through crap gobs like "Urban Legends: Final Cut. " Here's a movie that represents precisely what Washington says is wrong with Hollywood - a trashy production whose only purpose is to offer up grotesque R-rated violence to a teen audience.
November 3, 1995 |
Bill Haley made his first film when he was 10. He pilfered his father's old spring-wound Sears movie camera from the bedroom closet and cast his brother as a spaceman. When he was a teenager, Haley bought a Super 8 model and began imposing on family and friends. At age 32, his passion never having abated, Haley is still making movies. His latest, an hour-long feature called Love of My Life, will have its Philadelphia debut at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at the International House, 37th and Chestnut Streets.
August 18, 1995 |
A young man from a tony neighborhood and the best schools is working as an advertising executive in Philadelphia when, one evening, he picks up a hitchhiker, a mysterious woman who makes perfume for a living. The woman invites him to her house in the suburbs, and before he knows it, he is traveling through dream worlds via her hypnotic fragrances. This is not the concept for a Calvin Klein commercial. It is the plot for an independent feature film by 22-year-old Bill Tomlinson of Gladwyne.
September 21, 1986 |
Brian De Palma has pulled off the casting coup of the year, and the role involved isn't even a starring part. De Palma has persuaded Robert De Niro to play Al Capone in The Untouchables. Initially, Bob Hoskins, whose rap sheet in gangster movies includes The Long Good Friday, The Cotton Club and Mona Lisa, was reportedly in the running. But now De Palma has prevailed on De Niro, who is currently in a Broadway play, Cuba and His Teddy Bear. De Niro will show up to film his part in Chicago in mid-October and, with his usual dedication to his craft, is planning to put on weight.
August 1, 2007 |
Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian filmmaker celebrated for his enigmatic 1966 masterpiece, Blow-Up, died at his home in Rome on Monday only hours after the passing of his Swedish counterpart, Ingmar Bergman. Mr. Antonioni was 94. During his heyday in the '60s the Ferrara-born director, whose major theme was the spiritual poverty of the wealthy, was known for his ravishingly beautiful studies of alienation that often had the effect of alienating audiences. Mr. Antonioni's stark trilogy of ennui - L'Avventura (1960)
July 14, 1993 |
Growing up on East 98th Street, screenwriter Kate Lanier enjoyed hanging out with Latinos in front of her neighborhood bodega and joking around with the homeboys her brother ran with, but she always felt a bit out of the mix. "As a white girl, I was always an outsider, but it was something I wanted to be a part of," Lanier recalled. "My characters have always been black or Hispanic 'cause that's who I relate to more. " Now 29 and living on the West Coast, Lanier is building a successful screenwriting career by working on movies about people of color.
March 6, 1993 |
Ruby Oliver has spent most of her adult life running day-care centers. A few years back, she sold off her business and went to film school. The result is "Love Your Mama," about which the best thing that can be said is, it looks like a film made by someone who used to run day-care centers. "Love Your Mama" trumpets itself as the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to get a national release (ignoring Julie Dash's fine "Daughters of the Dust," released last year, and the imminent release of Leslie Harris' funky and provocative "Just Another Girl on the IRT," which has played the festival circuit since late last year)