Saturday, October 15, 2011

"J. Edgar" re-screening scheduled for Saturday night after Friday premiere blacked out

"J. Edgar" re-screens tonight at 8PM at the Sunset Center for existing Festival Badge and TicketHolders, and Essential Credential holders.
Friday night's sneak peak, which was attended by director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, was cut short due to a power outage.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Dustin Lance Black on his Monterey County ties @ Carmel Art & Film Festival

Matthew Modine, Dustin Lance Black, Clint & Dina Eastwood @ Carmel Art & Film Festival

My quick chat with Dustin Lance Black Friday night @ CAFF:

What are your ties to the area:
I moved here to go to high school. My family was at Fort Ord when Fort Ord used to be here. So I went to North Salinas High School. 
My only connection to Carmel was I used to lose in the swim meets to Carmel High School.
I graduated from North Salinas High School. I went all four years. I graduated in 1992.

What's it like to preview your film close to home?
This is a special treat. I didn’t know we’d have the opportunity to show the film in my hometown. I didn’t have that opportunity with “Milk” until far later. It will be good to see it with the home team backing me up. And I think this will be a great audience for it.

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Melissa Leo surprise guest @ Carmel Art & Film Festival?

One of the rumored guests for Saturday's "Women In Film" panel is recent Academy Award winner Melissa Leo.

“We were hoping Melissa was going to be able to join us. But unfortuantely, we're not sure whether or not her production schedule is going to allow her to get away in time for lunch on Saturday,” said an anonymous festival organizer. “Theres' a good possibility that she will (be in attendance).”

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Carmel Art & Film Celebrity Spotting and Afterparties

Roaming around town during the Carmel Art & Film Festival can lead to some celebrity watching and hot after party spots.

Festival communications director Shannon Damnavits said the first deal is you can get to the exclusive after parties if you buy the VIP package.

That includes post-screening gala for Clint Eastwood's "J.Edgar" and the Saturday night affair at the Music Cafe.

Damnavits said The Music Cafe could also be a celebrity hangout spot.

“A lot of the actors and film makers have already said that thye're likely to go ther eand check out the music,” she said.

Unofficially, beyond that, Damnavits suggested people might scope out local hotel bars and lounges to catch a glimpse of celebrities unwinding. The lounge at the Cypress Inn was one Damnavits' suggestion.

“Most of the hotels throughout Carmel have some pretty high profile guests staying there,” she said. “So any of the hotel bars are going to be popular locations, if you know what I mean. Truthfully, that's often the case.”

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Parking @ The Carmel Art & Film Festival

Parking is always a challenge for patrons of the Carmel Art & Film Festival, said Shannon Damnavits, communications director.
“There is the Sunset Center parking lot, which is really helpful because we do have several events happening there,” Damnavits said. “That's one of our venues with films happening throughout the day.”
Beyond that, Damnavits suggested patrons park downstairs in Carmel Plaza is a good place to stop and have access.
Both the Sunset Center and Carmel Plaza are paid parking venues.
“The Youth Center is also sort of off the beaten path. It's little bit off the main drag, which means there is going to be some parking in that general area too,” she said.
“The great thing is all the venues, The Music Cafe, the after parties, it's all happening within, essentially about a 10 by 10 block area,” said Damnavits. “So you should be able to get around by foot.”

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Q&A with Steve Skrovam & Fred Stoller of "Fred & Vinnie"

Fred Stoller and Steve Skrovam's film "Fred & Vinnie" is a surprisingly sweet examination of two lonely friends who are perfect for one another, although not necessarily living under the same roof.
Directed by Skrovam, who co-wrote the screenplay with Stoller, it tells the real-life story of Stoller's relationship with Vinnie D'Angelo, an agoraphobic introvert suffering from depression and anxiety issues.
When D'Angelo leaves his native Philadelphia to visit Fred, a planned short-stay turns into a long-term residency akin to Bartleby the Scrivener.
"Fred & Vinnie" has the distinction of opening the 2011 Carmel Art & Film Festival. It screens at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sunset Center auditorium.
Stoller and Skrovam talked with "The Beat" about the film and the real Vinnie D'Angelo. Below is a brief excerpt.

Q: I just finished watching the movie. It's so sweet. It never striks a false chord, and at the very end, it kind of hit me. 
Fred: You're the first one who said they saw it, and actually saw the ending. No, that was a joke. I've talked to friends, and they said, "Oh, I loved it. I saw it." And then they say, "Does Vinnie play himself in it?" Steve: That's nice of you to say Marc. Thank You.
Q: Who was Vinnie D'Angelo? 
F: What do you mean who was?
Q: Was he a friend of yours? I see at the very end, it says "For Vinnie D'Angelo." 
F: I'm curious because a lot of people get confused. Were you confused if it was a true story?
Q: No, that was going to be one of my other questions — was this based on some of your guys experiences? 
F: Yeah, a lot of people get confused.
Steve: Fred, just don't tell him what a lot of people do. Tell him what the answer is.
F: Yeah, do you get form the thing that it's based on a real friendship?
Q: Yeah. 
S: Alright, I'm gonna take this one. Yes, it is a true story. It's pretty much almost a documentary in its faithfulness to the actual relationship between Fred and Vinnie. And I think Fred, maybe, a lot of them are almost verbatim conversations he had and scenes he had with Vinnie. There are very few made up scenes. There are a few, obviously for comic effect and other dramatic purposes.
But yeah, Vinnie was this guy in Philadelphia that actually Fred and I both knew. Obviously, Fred knew him better than I did. But they had this phone relationship, and Vinnie got kicked out of his apartment and came to stay with Fred, only for a few days, and then go off and live with other people, with the ambition of becoming an extra. But what unfolded in the movie is kind of what really happened.
F: The reason I'm wondering if you're confused is because I 'm so close to the story. It's interesting when I hear other people interpret it, like, what they thought or anything. So, you watched it and then you got confused because you saw there was a real Vinnie D'angelo at the end?
Q: Yeah, because I think at the beginning of the movie, it says something to the effect of "Based on a true story, more or less."
Q: So I'm going into the movie like it's typical Hollywood fare. Maybe it's a story that you guys embellished for the screen? 
F: I think we should re-edit and say it's based on a true story. I'm kidding. I'm so close to it, but yeah, pretty much, that's the story.
S: And that's what we wanted to kind of stick to. Fred originally was thinking of something more high concept.
F: At first I was going to tell the story, but he didn't die. And then years later, he died, and I go "Well, real life writes the arch." And the funny thing is, people go "Is this made up?" And if we were making something up, yeah, it would be more whacky. It's such a low concept. It's not like there was an ending where we have a (big) hockey match.
I'm thinking if we're going to make something up, we're going to make something up. But the hockey thing does sound good.
S: Yeah. I think that's the next one we do.
F: That's like "Little Men," where there's the big football game at the end and everyone cheers (laughs).
Q: Talk about the actor who portrays Vinnie, Angelo Tsarouchas. 
F: Steve and I have answered these questions a lot, but the thing is, when he auditioned, first of all, the way his audition piece went had three pieces to it. One of them was the phone call. He's on every syllable of every thing I say. And I really felt like I was telling the story, and Vinnie was eating it up like in real life, with every baited breath, with every syllable, every detail was a gem and he was loving it and he embellished and went off the page.
And the funny thing is, another part of the audition was the thing where he goes "I'm leaving, I don't need this crap" And Angelo, in the audition, was like crying. Not like pretend, like crying. Which we didn't use in the movie.
What I'm trying to say is even though he made the quote-unquote wrong choice, it didn't matter, because he was the guy. You know what I'm saying Steve? It's a lesson for actors auditioning, even though you could say his choice was quote-unquote wrong, it didn't matter, because, yes, that's who Angelo is.
I don't mean he's an agorophobic. He's the opposite. He's traveled the world. But... People ask him "How long have you and Fred been friends?" And I tell them I met him at the audition. People immediately think we've been friends for 20 years.
S: That was the key to the auditions. We saw a lot of very good actors who did a lot of very good performances. But Angelo was the first and only person who Fred said "I could see this guy really being my friend." It was that kind of rapport. Even though Angelo was not as an experienced actor as some of the people we saw, or wasn't as famous — we saw a couple of well known people — the relationship, the rapport that they had was really what carried the day.
F: Yeah, and he had that love of life, which was the contradiction. Vinnie was an agoraphobic, but still he loved life in his own way, even though he didn't do things that people do, like go on vacations and go outside. He still had a passion which Angelo exuded.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Conspiracy Theory? "True Bromance" film on Condoleezza Rice to screen Oct. 15 @ CAFF

Depending on who you ask, the comic farce “True Bromance” either was or wasn't threatened with being pulled from the Carmel Art & Film Festival.
As it stands, the film will screen at 6 p.m. Saturday at the All Saints Theater in Carmel.
Over the weekend, the film's director Sebastian Doggart issued a press release saying the film was being pulled under pressure from Condolleeza Rice.
The former Bush Administration Secretary of State is the film's subject/target.
“This has all the hallmarks of Rice or her cronies scaring the film festival into pulling the screening,” Doggart said in the press release.
Festival communications director Shannon Damnavits said that simply was not the case.
“We have never heard from Condoleezza Rice or any extreme right wing entitiy to pull the film,” said Damnavits. “We are not going to break under any pressure (to pull a film).”
A conversation between Doggart and festival organizers settled the matter.
“We're here to support and endorse the filmmakers,” said Damnavits, “Not to restrict them.”

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

James Franco confirmed for 2011 Carmel Art & Film Festival

Actor James Franco will debut his film "Sal" @ CAFF

Actor-turned movie director James Franco is the latest celebrity to be confirmed for the 2011 Carmel Art & Film Festival, scheduled Oct. 12-16.
Franco will debut his film, “Sal” in at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Sunset Center auditorium. Franco will stick around for a Q&A with the audience following the screening.
Tickets and information are available at
Franco's addition to the festival was an arduous process, according to festival communications director Shanon Damnavits.
“This has been something we've been hoping to pull off,” said Damnavits. “Several of the actors coming to the festival are currently in production and on location working. It's really hard to lock them down until the 11th hour.”
“Sal” is a biopic about Hollywood actor Sal Mineo, who was murdered in 1976.
A teen idol early in his career, Mineo was best known for his appearance opposite James Dean in the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” For his performance, Mineo earned the first of two Academy Award nominations.
 Val Lauren was cast in the title role. Franco, who directed the film, also has a role in the film.
 The Carmel screening represents the film's North American premier. Franco previously screened the film at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Video: Zoe Boekbinder "Make A Mess" x Alternative Cafe show info, album review link

Hand me a late pass on Zoe Boekbinder's "Make A Mess" video, which was released last week.
Her new album, “Darling Specimens,” was released this week. You can order it at 
Read an album review (written by former Monterey County Weakly writer Stuart Thornton) here. 
Below is info on Boekbinder's Saturday show @ The Alternative Cafe.

What: Zoe Boekbinder, The Alexanders, Warbler in concert
Where: The Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside
When: 8-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8
One of the Boekbinder sisters, aka Vermillion Lies, Zoe Boekbinder revels in sultry vaudevillian cabaret and sly humor. She takes her music seriously, herself a little less. Her new album, “Darling Specimins,” will be available for purchase. Two songs, the shuffling “Don't Tell Me” and the quirky “Make A Mess,” are available for streaming at The Alexanders and Warbler open. $12. All ages. 583-0913,

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