Downtown Film Festival judges say hand me the envelope please…And the winner is…

14 07 2012
Downtown Film Festival L.A.Announces 2012 Award Winners

Betty I Am” and “We Are Legion” Given Best Picture NodsAnthony Meindl for “Birds Of A Feather” and Caskey Ebeling for “Getting Up”

Honored as Best Directors

Melissa Leo and Joey Capone Take TOP Acting Awards

Heathen and  Thieves” Captures Audience Favorite Award

The downtown Film Festival grows in the number of films entered and people attending each year. This is the first fest since it was in hiatus for two years and was held at the Independent theater with a dynamite afterparty at Towne (9th & Flower).

The winners of the 2012 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles were announced today (Friday, July 13th) in an awards presentation at The Hayworth Theater in Los Angeles.

Taking top honors were “Betty I Am” and We Are Legion” for Best Picture feature narrative and  feature documentary, respectively. “Betty I Am” by director Jose Renteria Jr.is a stylish black-and-white film shot on 16 mm that follows the story of two siblings brought together by the untimely death of their father. “We Are Legion,” directed by Brian Knappenberger, is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the secret hacktivist movement Anonymous.

Best Director honors went to Anthony Meindl for his narrative feature “Birds Of  A Feather”and to Caskey Ebeling for her documentary feature “Getting Up: The Tempt One Story.” Meindl’s film is a new twist on the time-honored comedic movie genre where the action revolves around the mounting of a musical play. Ebeling’s film is  a poignant account of the comeback of well-known graffiti artist Tempt One who became ill with ALS, the debilitating neurological affliction also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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All four films – “Betty I Am,” “We Are Legion,” “Birds Of A Feather” and “Getting Up” made their  Los Angeles premieres during the festival.

“These independently produced feature films reflect the extraordinary quality and diversity of content in today’s independent cinema. We’re very proud to have played a role in providing a showcase for them in the Film Capital of the World,” said Greg Ptacek, Festival Co-Director.

Sharing the Best Picture Short Film award were “Been Good To Know Yuh” by director Corey Brandenstein, an imaginative depiction of a chapter in the life of poet-songwriter and folk singer Woody Guthrie,  and “This Is A Story About Ted and Alice” by director Teressa Tunney, a battle of the opposite sexes with a decidedly different ending.

The Audience Favorite award was captured by “Heathens and Thieves,” a genre-bending action thriller with a  film noir plotline of intrigue and betrayal but set in the Old West.

Oscar winner Melissa Leo took the Best Actress award for her dark comic role as a woman on the dating circuit in “This Is A Story About Ted And Alice.” Joey Capone was named “Best Actor” for his role in “Carlos Spills The Beans,” playing a character who inherits the family restaurant with disastrously funny consequences.

A complete list of the film awards, as they were presented at tonight’s Closing Night ceremony, follows. Downtown Film Festoval L.A. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spotlighting emerging film talent in the culturally diverse and historic downtown district of Los Angeles.

Downtown Film Festival L.A. 2012 Film Awards

Note: Titles in ALL CAPS indicate feature-length films. Titles in “quotes” indicate short films.

1. Best Director – Short Film

Lauren Lillie – “Paying for It”

2. Best Editing – Short Film

Nayeli Garci-Crespo & Santi Minasi – “Dissent”

3. Best Screenwriting – Short Film

Paul Grellong – “Tracer Gun”

4. Best Cinematography – Short Film

Joe Kocsis – “Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace”

5. Best Musical Score – Short Film

Paul Festa – “The Glitter Emergency”

6. Best Short Films – Honorable Mention

  •  “The Glitter Emergency” directed by Paul Festa
  • “Past Due” directed by Denise C. Plumb
  • “Paying for It” directed by Lauren Lillie
  • “Scenen (Act 1, Scene 1)” directed by Hans Montelius
  • “Substance Ovüse”directed by Burke Roberts

7. Best Short Films (tie)

  •     “Been Good To Know Yuh” directed by Corey Brandenstein
  •     “This Is A Story About Ted and Alice” directed by Teressa Tunney

8. Best Los Angeles Films (All Films)

“Botes al Amanecer” directed by Nikki V. Roberts

9. Best Editing – Feature

Nils Arrington & Thom Newell – JUST LIKE BEING THERE

10.  Best Screenwriting – Feature

Iris Almaraz & Gustavo Ramos – DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

11. Best Cinematography – Feature

Robert Murphy – CARLOS SPILLS THE BEANS

12.  Best Music/Score – Feature

Adam Blau – FUZZ TRACK CITY

13.  Best Performance by an Actor – Honorable Mention

  •     Michael Buffo – “Slapstick Porno”
  •     Robert Loggia – THE DIARY OF PRESTON PLUMMER
  •     Jimmy Simpson – “Tracer Gun”
  •     Rob Tepper – “Been Good to Know Yuh”

14. Best Performance by an Actor (All Roles/All Films)

Joey Capone – CARLOS SPILLS THE BEANS

15 . Best Performance by an Actress – Honorable Mention

  •     Anishika Fontae – “Gasp”
  •     Kelsey Ford – “Paying for It”
  •     Celeste Pechous – “Past Due”
  •     Matthew Simmons (playing Peg-Leg Ballerina) – “The Glitter Emergency”

16. Best Performance by an Actress (All Roles/All Films)

Melissa Leo – “This Is a Story About Ted and Alice”

17. Best Director – Feature Narrative

Anthony Meindl – BIRDS OF A FEATHER

18. Best Director – Feature Documentary

Caskey Ebeling – GETTING UP:  THE TEMPT ONE STORY

19. Audience Favorite Award (All Films)

HEATHENS AND THIEVES

Directed by Megan Peterson & John Douglas Sinclair

20. Best Picture – Documentary

WE ARE LEGION

Produced and Directed by Brian Knappenberger

21. Best Picture – Narrative

BETTY I AM

Produced by Joe Engelke, Israel Gomez

Directed by Jose Renteria Jr





“Fathoms Deep” is deep with drama, action and comedy – premieres this week in Los Angeles

11 10 2011
Hollywood, CA – Buzz is starting to mount around a new movie coming out called Fathom’s Deep. Director: Zachary Ryan Block
Writers: Russell Whaley and Zachary Ryan Block (more) »

Stars:Zachary Ryan Block, Gregory Andrejko (One Man’s Goal, Missing Persons, 2010)  and Linda Bella (Monsters in the Woods (post-productionAshley; 2011 Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust, Caitlin, 2011 and EcstasySusan 2011.  

headshot of LInda Bella

Linda Bella Stars in "Fathoms Deep"


It is a comical, yet thrilling look inside the life of two partners in crime, Hicks and Cash. They now have to wait out the storm while opposing crime boss Lou Garris has them hunted down. Will they make it out just in time?

In the aftermath of a deal gone bad, two partners in crime, Hicks (Zachary Block) and Cash (Robert Dill) are mere puppets in a twisted lineup of crime lords and “not quite so right in the head” villains. Amongst the haunting backdrop of the Mojave Desert, they now have to wait out the storm with a less than appealing safety man, Pox (Austin Galante of Bad Fathers) while an opposing crime boss Lou Garris (Duane Daniels) has them hunted down.

FATHOMS DEEP coming soon

Will they make it out just in time, or is there even a way out? Fathom’s Deep is a thrilling and often comical look into the life of un-organized crime and one things for sure… “There’s no such thing as Good Guys.” I give this movie two thumbs up and a must see of independent films. Let me know in the comments below if you do see it. Thx.




An emotional film to “CHOOSE” from coming soon

21 07 2011

Los Angeles, CA –  “Choose,” the emotional true story about a young husband’s agonizing choice to save his wife or unborn child, is at the heart of the short film by Robbie Bryan which will have its local premiere at the Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival on Monday, July 25, 5:30PM at the Laemmle Sunset 5 theater in West Hollywood.

Director Bryan based his screenplay on the real-life experiences of a college friend and the film is dedicated to the young mother who lost her battle with cancer.

A sleeper hit on the festival circuit, the film has just been accepted by Germany’s prestigious Oldenburg festival, widely considered “the Sundance of Europe.”

“What a thrill it is to be in a festival with folks like Terry Gilliam, Jessica Biel, Rachel Weisz and Eva Mendes, as well as the talented group of indie filmmakers I will be in company with. Can’t wait to storm the castle and have an amazing screening and see everyone’s reaction to “Choose”.

The film has been used as a fundraising tool for cancer support groups such as Susan G. Koman and has been endorsed by both the medical and spiritual community for its honest portrayal of the many ethical issues it raises.

A trailer is available to view on YouTube and there is also a Facebook page for “Choose the Movie” with more information.

Following the screening, there will be a short panel and Q&A led by director Bryan. The group will also be joined by renowned Rabbi David Wolpe (author “Why Faith Matters”) and Keisha Whitaker, actress-producer and cancer advocate, who will introduce the panel. She is also married to Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker.

Tickets for the screening are available at the box office, Laemmle Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, California 90048.





TV/ film permits, international trade and tourism helping economy recover says Kyser Center for Economic Research in study released today

16 02 2011

LAEDC Report Says  Southern California,  California, U.S.  Economic Recovery is Underway, Stronger Growth in ’12

In L.A. County, international trade, entertainment and tourism leads regional economy.

A separate report shows striking economic and personal ties with Japan

Dr. Nancy Sidhu

Los Angeles — The economic recovery is  under way led by increased international trade  and growth in the high-tech sector,  entertainment and tourism, according to  the 2011-2012 Economic Forecast and  Industry Outlook report released today by  the Kyser Center for Economic Research at  the Los Angeles County Economic Development  Corporation (LAEDC).

The Los Angeles economy “appears to be past the bottom of the recession and is starting up the recovery path during 2011 and 2012,” said LAEDC Chief Economist Nancy D. Sidhu, Ph.D. “Many industries are back in the black and employment is rising in some areas.”

Imports and exports have rebounded around the world. Increased international trade activity in 2011 will benefit the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which both posted strong years in 2010.

TV/Film production on the rise in the region says study

Hiring is also expected to  grow as well for the region’s  tourism and entertainment  sectors as a result of  increased filming and more    visitors to the region,  helped by the new  convention center hotel at  L.A. LIVE.

However, there is little likelihood the housing sector will escape another difficult year, even though 2011 is expected to bring some improvement. Housing activity will only see incremental improvement even though it has improved from the 2009 lows.

California, which had the second highest unemployment rate in the country in 2010 at 12.5 percent, will see employment growth in 2011. However, much like the national picture, California’s jobless rate will remain relatively high, with the LAEDC forecasting an average unemployment rate of 12.1 percent this year and the rate coming down to 11.5 percent by next year.

“We project that the California and U.S. economies will grow moderately in 2011 and 2012,” said Sidhu. “But the recession was so deep, 2011 won’t feel all that good despite improvements in most industries. However, the state is headed in the right direction, and the economy will seem even better by 2012.”

First-time US Japan Study released by LAEDC today. (LAEDC image)

Growing Together report highlights L.A. County’s personal and economic ties with Japan

 

The LAEDC also released a separate, new report, “Growing Together – Japan and Los Angeles County”. The report describes many of the close ties that have developed between Los Angeles County and Japan, the number one source of foreign direct investment into L.A. County.

U.S. – Japan trade has increased dramatically over the past 50 years jumping from $3.2 billion to $211 billion at its peak in 2000. Japan is the second largest trading partner of the Los Angeles Customs District with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together handling nearly 25 percent of total trade between Japan and the U.S.

The report also documents the growing importance of foreign direct investment in this relationship, reviewing both investments made by Los Angeles area business firms in Japan and Japanese investments in Los Angeles County.

To discuss their investments made in the region, the LAEDC’s Economic Forecast event held at the Los Angeles Marriott on Feb. 16 features a panel of speakers from well-known Japanese companies. Representatives from Honda Motors, Union Bank and Yakult, makers of probiotic beverages, will discuss the significant impact of Japanese companies on the L.A. County economy.

For the full story  of the Forecast & Industry Outlook and  the first-time LAEDC  report Growing Together – Japan and Los Angeles County.

Please visit: http://www.mayocommunications.com/2011-NEWS%20RELEASES/NR-377.htm





A legendary Hollywood publicists to produce his first own movie

5 10 2010
Julian Myers

Hollywood, CA-92 year-old Hollywood publicist Julian Myers will compete in 13 track and field events in Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, October 4th , 5th , and 6th to draw attention to the movie he is producing,”NIGHTHAWKS: 90 Minutes and Nine Lives.”

Wearing his “NIGHTHAWKS, THE movie” T-shirt, Myers is seeking a co-producer to financethis “dramatized” drama (!) of conflict between artist Edward Hopper and his painter wife as Hopper completes Nighthawks, which is regarded as the second most “followed” American painting. It came out just after America entered World War II, the moment of great life-style changes in the US and the world. Nine Lives are forever altered, in 90 minutes real time, in this film.

Myers and screenwriter Arlene Clendenin are making this micro-budgeted feature (in two sets) which they plan to premiere October 27, 2011, for the weekend before Halloween “When it may be the only new valuable movie opening at that time, and will qualify then for Oscar consideration,” Myers, an Academy member, points out.

Legendary Hollywood Publicist Julian Myers showing his Amingo Day cufflinks.

Myers, whose publicity career began with Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Deborah Kerr, Clark Gable, and Natalie Wood graduated from the University of Southern California in Cinema in 1939, which he followed at Columbia Pictures in the story department. “I’ve been working in Hollywood seventy-one years and now I’m ready to make my movie. Guess I’m a slow learner…”

Mrs. Myers and Julian are founders, seven years ago, of the international holidayAmigoDay, which has been mentioned in the media and was presented at length four times on Voice of America. AmigoDay: Just greet anyone anywhere, your way, any month’s first Sunday. Julian’s T-Shirt will feature “Nighthawks,” and his cap will keep reminding about AmigoDay…

Julian hopes to be contacted regarding “NIGHTHAWKS: 90 MINUTES AND NINE LIVES ” and/or AmigoDay at his office, 13900 Panay Way, Suite R 217, Marina del Rey, California, 90292. He has been fastest in his age group “for the last three or four years” in America in the 3,000-meter run. In the World Senior Games he will compete in the 3,000 again plus 1,500, 800, 400, 200, 100, and 50-meters, also running and standing long jump, triple jump, javelin, discus, and shot put.

For more about the movie or Julian contact MAYO Communications for interviews and details on the movie. 818-340-5300 or Publicity@mayocomunications.com.





More than a dozen movie premieres at the Downtown Film Festival in Los Angeles starts Wednesday ends on 9-11

8 09 2010

John Hawkes To Be Honored With The
Indie Trailblazer of the Year Award

Los Angeles, CA – Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles announced today that “Everything Will Happen Before You Die,” a hilarious romp through the underbelly of L.A.’s boho subculture, will be presented as the 2010 festival’s Centerpiece Gala premiere film, Saturday, Sept. 11th, 7:30 pm at the new 400-seat Civic Center F. Deaton Auditorium, at corner of 1st and Main St., across from City Hall in downtown L.A.

John Hawkes
(courtesy JHS Class of 1997)

The presentation marks the world premiere of the film directed by Dan Finkel and written by Finkel and Brian McGuire. The film stars McGuire and Bret Roberts. Bruce Dickson is the director of photography.

That evening during the Centerpiece program, actor John Hawkes will be honored with the festival’s Indie Trailblazer of the Year Award, for his body of work in 2010. In addition to appearing in “Everything Will Happen Before You Die,” Hawkes also appears in “On Holiday,” another feature screening premiering at the festival earlier that afternoon. Earlier this year, Hawkes received critical acclaim for his starring role in “Winter’s Bone,” which debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and went on to nationwide commercial release. Hawkes also has appeared in the feature releases “The Perfect Storm,” “Wristcutters: A Love Story” and “Me and You and Everyone We Know” as well as TV’s “Deadwood& quot; and “Lost.”

In “Everything Will Happen Before You Die,” Edgar (Brian McGuire) finally has got his shit together. After years of riding the party train, he has finally stepped off and is living the nerdy, hipster dream. He has his own on-line fabric company where he designs controversial T-shirts, and has a new beautiful Kenyan girlfriend whom he’s marrying at the end of the day (ok, for her immigration status). He’s right on track with his new life when an unexpected visitor from the past sets him on a new (old) course. Doran (Brett Roberts), a Russian expat who has his own private cabin on life’s party train, insists that he gives his best friend an all-day bachelor adventure. Next stop: chaos! Their friendship is tested as they must square off with a low-re nt Russian mobster and embark on a spiritual quest that brings them in contact with a motley crew of characters from L.A.’s self-professed bohemian underbelly.

“We’re delighted to be the launching platform for this film that so much captures the spirit of L.A.’s ‘alt subculture.’ Brian, Bret, Dan and the rest of their filmmaking team have proven that you don’t need a huge production budget to make a superior – and I’ll add, extremely funny – feature film,” said Greg Ptacek, DFFLA’s Festival Co-Director. “It’s also our honor to award John Hawkes with our Indie Trailblazer Award. John has had an amazing year, and his talent for completely transforming himself in roles, as evidenced in ‘Everything,’ never ceases to amaze me, and audiences everywhere.”

The 2010 Downtown Film Festival L.A. will be held Sept. 8-12 in venues throughout Los Angeles’ historic core. More than 100 feature-length and short films – narrative, documentary and experimental – will be presented along with filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, cocktail parties, live music events and receptions. For more information, please visit us online at www.dffla.com.

PRESS CONTACT

Katie Littlejohn, publicist
Downtown Film Festival L.A.676-898-3587; katie@dffla.com

MAYO PR – “We don’t guarantee media, we just get it!”
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“The Bill Hicks Story” comes alive at Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival

23 08 2010

Los Angeles, CA – Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles announced today that “American: The Bill Hicks Story” will be presented as the 2010 festival’s Opening Night Film, Wed., Sept, 8th, 7:30 pm at the new 400-seat Civic Center F. Deaton Auditorium, at the corner of 1st and Main St., across from City Hall in downtown L.A.
The presentation will mark the Los Angeles premiere for the critically acclaimed film that has been commercially released in Europe and previously screened in North America at HotDocs in Toronto, SXSW in Austin, the Boston Int’l Film Festival and the Seattle Int’l Film Festival. In its review, The Hollywood Reporter said “the groundbreaking comedian gets a step closer to immortality with American…funny, well executed” and achieving a “compelling intimacy.” The Daily Mirror (UK) called it “hysterically funny and deeply moving tribute to a true American outlaw.” Variety called it a “fascinating portrait of a born funnyman who seemed to know early on that his time was limited.”

With exclusive interviews from the people who knew Hicks intimately, filmmakers Paul Thomas and Matt Harlock boldly recreate scenes throughout the comedian’s life using a stunning new form of photo-animation that Esquire called “brilliant and beguiling,” allowing the audience to be immersed in Bill’s world as he moves from Houston to Los Angeles, where he achieved his first level of success at the famed Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. (His name is still featured on the Comedy Store’s Wall of Fame.) Hicks would go onto to make his mark not only in the LA comedy community, but nationally as well, appearing on “Late Night with Letterman” eleven times, as well as two of his own HBO specials.

His life and career, which promised even more to come, was tragically cut short when he was diagnosed at age 32 with pancreatic cancer and died in 1994 within a matter of months. Known as a comedian in the vein of Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory and Mort Sahl who wasn’t afraid to tackle “big ideas” on politics, religion and even the meaning of life in a stand-up comedy routine, Hicks started with a cult following, first through word-of-mouth, bootlegs and VHS, and is now tipping into a much wider mainstream following.

The filmmakers comment: “Although Bill was a superstar outside America, the challenging nature of his material meant he never got the chance to be seen unedited by mainstream US audiences, but since the rise of Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert and Lewis Black, the landscape has changed. Considered by many in the comedy community to be one of the most important stand-ups America ever produced, this firebrand comic’s freethinking message of acceptance and hope is more relevant in today’s world than ever. Above all though, his is the human story of an artist who had to overcome great obstacles, personal and professional, to try and make the world a better place. As such, its for everyone.”

Headlining at festivals around the States, and now the second most successful theatrical documentary release in the UK this year, the film is now primed to firmly secure Bill’s place on America’s cultural map.

In “American,” Hicks’ story is told by the 10 people who knew him best; his family and closest friends who recount the twists and turns of his life with a freshness that hasn’t faded in 15 years. From Los Angeles filmmaker Kevin Booth, Bill’s lifelong friend, to the Outlaw Comics who introduced Bill into their heady world of drugs and alcohol, to photographer David Johndrow who perceptively captures some of the most revelatory moments of Bill’s life, each speaker is a compelling narrator who still carries a piece of Bill with them and, woven together, they bring a palpable sense of Bill’s presence to the screen.

“We’re privileged to present the Los Angeles premiere of this compelling film about a truly original comedian whose humor still resonates today,” said Rod Ramsey, DFFLA Director of Programming. “For those who already know Bill Hicks, the movie reveals all, including how some of his most famous skits were directly connected to events in his early life. For those who aren’t acquainted with Hicks, suffice to say that Letterman taped and then banned his last televised skit from his show. He was a rebel with a cause and a punchline.”

The 2010 Downtown Film Festival L.A. will be held Sept. 8-12 in venues throughout Los Angeles’ historic core. More than 100 feature-length and short films – narrative, documentary and experimental – will be presented along with filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, cocktail parties, live music events and receptions. For more information, please visit us online at www.dffla.com.

MAYO PR – “We don’t guarantee media, we just get it!”