SAN DIEGO – Six days brought the film world to San Diego as the 18th installment of the San Diego International Film Festival stole the focus from Los Angeles last week and saw the Southern California premiere of several films that are already generating award season buzz.
That hum intensified into a roar with the red-carpet arrivals of actors Jared Harris, fresh off the Emmy Award-success of the mini-series Chernobyl, and prolific performer Laurence Fishburne.
Things kicked off on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at downtown’s Balboa Theater with a screening of the controversial and much-lauded satiric sendup Jojo Rabbit and the festival closed on Sunday, Oct. 20, with Marriage Story, an emotional domestic drama. In a bit of a plot twist, both films star Scarlett Johansson, but the similarities end there.
These Southern California premieres bracketed a lineup that included a wide range of 107 full-length films, with five in the narrative spotlight competition, 20 in the narrative contest, nine in the documentary competition, and almost 70 short films, combining major regional premieres with a focus on social and environmental issues, Variety reported. The festival is produced by the nonprofit San Diego Film Foundation.
As always, the festival offered an array of social gatherings, including its “Night of the Stars Tribute”, which this year honored actor Fishburne, Harris, and others. The festival returned to the Pendry San Diego hotel and ArcLight La Jolla theater, and the 2019 box office was at the Gaslamp Quarter in the stunning multi-level Theatre Box, in downtown San Diego, which opened in June.
At the “Night of the Stars Tribute,” Fishburne received the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence, Pitbull received the Music Icon Award, Lindsay Wagner received the Humanitarian Award, Harris received the Cinema Vanguard Award, Jillian Bell received the Fairbanks Award, and Camila Morrone receiving the Rising Star Award.
Harris, whose fans have launched a campaign to have him be the next James Bond, was a dynamic presence on Friday night charming both on the red carpet and in the VIP party. Another notable attendee was Bell, star of the wonderful film Brittany Runs a Marathon, who clearly is making a name for herself.
Yes, Laurence and Jared were in the same room and we even sneaked a photograph of them with styleboston/LeftCoast.LA creator Terri Stanley. “It was such a pleasure to meet both Laurence and Jared, but I have to admit I am smitten with the latter,” Stanley said. “Loved him in Mad Men, The Crown and most recently, Chernobyl. I told him the story of my connection to Chernobyl–the explosion happened on the day of my wedding, April 26, 1986. Our honeymoon was in Italy and Greece and the skies over Italy were very grey! When Laurence made his way over to Jared to say hello it was very sweet the way he spoke to him, genuinely thrilled to see him.”
“I’m still overwhelmed that I would be given something called the ‘Gregory Peck’ award. He was singular,” Fishburne told local FOX station. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Fishburne received the award from Peck’s daughter, Cecelia, who was sitting with San Diegan Geri Warnke, a close friend and former board president of the La Jolla Playhouse, which Peck co-founded.
Among the VIP crowd were representatives from the major sponsors including the Pendry, a new Montage brand, financial powerhouse Morgan Stanley, and luxe automaker Maserati.
The 2019 edition of the festival had a global reach and a social-justice conscience. The festival received more than 3,000 submissions from 68 countries, including feature films, shorts and documentaries. Panel topics ranged from technology and streaming services and what lies ahead for digital platforms while others included “Unstoppable Women” and “Social Impact.” SDIFF screened films from Brazil, Congo, France, Indonesia, Japan, Romania, and South Korea.
Most of the film showings were followed by Q&As with their casts and crews, something that sets the festival apart with attendees having access to many filmmakers.
On Oct. 19, the festival presented “Filmmaker Awards Show & Party” at the Pendry. The competitive categories included narrative (fictional) and documentary. After receiving nearly 70 short films, the competition was divided into categories: “Twisted Humor,” “San Diego Scene,” and “Global Consciousness.”
The winners of the SDIFF competitions were: 100 Days to Live, best world premiere; Angelique’s Isle, Kumeyaay award; Babysplitters, best comedy; Breaking Their Silence, best documentary; The Steed, best feature film; Inside Game, best ensemble cast; Safe Spaces, artistic director’s award; Love In Kilnerry, best original screenplay; Philophobia, best global cinema; Portraitist, best international short film; Riptide, best animation, Safe Inside, best thriller feature; Long Time Listener, First Time Caller, best short film; Sonora, best student film, and, Flourish, best local film.
In addition to the screenings at the Pendry and Theatre Box, ArcLight La Jolla hosted the SDIFF’s popular “Culinary Cinema” on Oct. 20, which paired the screenings with delicacies provided by top local chefs.
LOS ANGELES, CA — An Emerson College student turned instructor has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the “Oscar” people).
Georden West is one of 16 students as winners of the 46th Student Academy Awards competition for the film Patron Saint. For 2019, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,615 entries from 255 domestic and 105 international colleges and universities, which were voted upon by a record number of Academy members, according to an Academy press release. The 2019 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen, and Robert Zemeckis.
West was recognized in the category: Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools).
West (Emerson MFA ’18) used a number Emerson students in making Patron Saint, which reimagines religion and history as queer deities wearing Jamall Osterholm’s fashions interact with a mystical landscape, according to an Emerson College news story. The film was West’s graduate thesis project.
Hao Zheng (Emerson ’15), who attended a graduate program at the American Film Institute, was among those recognized in the Narrative (Domestic Schools) category for The Chef.
“I am so immensely honored to be recognized by the Academy and extremely proud of my crew – all of whom I met while at Emerson and remain my closest and dearest collaborators,” West, also an affiliated faculty member in the Visual and Media Arts Department, said for the Emerson website.
“Taking the risks that are necessary to convey and heighten concepts of underrepresented creatives within the fashion industry is something that makes [Georden] so special,” said Osterholm, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and former Project Runway contestant. “Through [Georden’s] collaboration with myself and many other queer, LGBTQ+ creatives, [their] rise into the highest spaces of excellence is paving way for our community to be recognized and respected.”
Zheng’s The Chef is set in a world where human workers are being replaced by humanoid robots. Pu, a Chinese chef, is ordered to pass along his cooking skills to his humanoid replacement, according to Emerson’s website.
Medal placements — gold, silver and bronze — in the seven award categories will be revealed October 17 in a ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
This year’s winning films are also eligible to compete for this year’s Oscar competition in the Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film or Documentary Short Subject categories. Past winners have garnered 62 Oscar nominations and won or shared 12 awards, according to Deadline.
By Jeanne Ferris
LA JOLLA — The Film Insider Series saw the golden sun lower its languorous, warm rays on Arclight Terrace — allowing the stars to come out and play for a special screening of Official Secrets.
Fit, in a taupe dress shirt with grey denim pants and sporting rock star hair — Gavin Hood was in the house. The South African born, Oscar-winning director of Tsotsi flew in to attend the exclusive Official Secrets. And it was much appreciated.
Hood and Tonya Mantooth, CEO and executive artistic director of San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF), were in the spotlight and joined by local luminary Naila Chowdhury, director of social impact and innovation at UC San Diego and a new SDIFF board member.
Everywhere you looked, the lights reflected back from the crowds of dark stylish shades – the literati and glitterati.
Madame and messieurs: sweet summer has finally arrived in the Jewel that others call La Jolla.
SDIFF cofounder Kevin Leap was seen sharing celebratory smiles with Film Insider Series devotees comprised of stellar volunteers, anonymous benefactors, fabulous patrons of the arts, international press corps, Hollywood studio producers, and they-who-support-the-machine: cinephiles, as those with a passionate interest in cinema are sometimes called.
Anticipation was high for the screening of the political thriller that stars Keira Knightly and the buzz rose with each guest arriving. Food was plentiful with pints of Stella Artois, gourmet wine, Urban Leaf elixirs, and Liberty Call Distilling Co., and appetizers from Eureka, Craft pizza, Frill, and the Melting Pot. The evening’s presenting sponsors were Morgan Stanley, Procopio, and Maserati. The dress was decidedly San Diego glam: sleek business casual and envious haute couture — all waiting for magic hour.
Official Secrets saw its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. Massachusetts’s own Provincetown International Film Festival awarded it Best Narrative Feature.
Based on real interviews with British Intelligence whistleblower Katherine Gun, played by Knightly, the story revolved around a leaked memo to the press. It contained a directive of an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the United Nations Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
An Oscar and BAFTA nominee, Knightley also was nominated as best actress for Pride and Prejudice by Boston Society of Film Critics. And of course, by association with an international director: sometimes cast and crew read like a passenger manifest from the QEII.
British thespian Ralph (Rafe, like safe) Fiennes shares the screen with Knightley, playing a steely barrister. Boston showed its approval when the film critics awarded Fiennes Best Supporting Actor for Schindler’s List.
Also from across the pond: London educated, handsome (unrecognizable with a buzz cut) Matthew Goode dubbed a rising star by Brits — is a Primetime Emmy nominee and an Aussie awards fave. Serious Welshman, Rhys Ifans (Ee-vans), a BAFTA winner, adds his shape shifter persona as an f-bombing guerrilla journalist. Adam Bakri, a young Palestinian auteur, plays Knightley’s husband. Estonia (yes, the country) bequeathed Bakri with Tallinn Black Nights Festival Jury Prize Best Actor.
Afterward, Tonya moderated an uproarious Q & A with Hood, a candid raconteur: “[My] Eye in the Sky producer contacted me and asked if I had heard of Katherine Gun. I said no and he replied, ‘Google her and call me back.’ ”
“I called back and asked if I could meet her. We met in London and spent five days talking. As a former lawyer, I can assure you this is deeply and accurately researched and part of the challenge in writing this story is that all the people in the movie are still alive. We shot the film in 36 days. What attracted me to this story is loyalty. Her loyalty — to her conscience, her husband, and to the British people. She insisted that it was for the British people she worked for and not the government. When I asked if Keira would consider it… She said, ‘I want a role with substance and not heavily made up with a corset.’” The audience of course, laughed on cue.
At the post screening champagne and Cookies by Cravory reception: Cookie monsters, red carpet selfies and corner table conversations regarding the upcoming SDIFF are bandied about. Plans are made to attend exclusive screenings, biz card flurries, and cinephiles audibly declare their passion for film with promises to reunite on October 15 to 20, 2019.
Until then—ladies and gentlemen, it’s a wrap! www.sdfilmfest.com
Rated R for language, release date: August 30, 2019
If there was a Tony Award for best dress worn by a presenter, then actor-director Billy Porter would have taken the prize. His flowing custom-made ballgown (created from the curtain of Broadway’s Kinky Boots) – the show that won him his Tony Award – was just one more bold choice by the star of TV’s Pose. Porter will be in Boston late this summer directing the world premiere of Dan McCabe’s The Purists at the Huntington Theatre Company.
At the award ceremony, the most-talked about outfit was worn by singer-songwriter/playwright Taylor Mac, who was on stage in a full-fledged costume created by Matthew Flower, who is known as Machine Dazzle. Mac, who wrote the Tony-nominated Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. He became a hit in Boston for his five-hour show that played at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon in Cambridge in 2012.
It was a good night for Bryan Cranston, who won for his role as Howard Beale in the stage adaptation of the film Network. Cranston won a Tony two years ago for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in All the Way, which got its start at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge before heading to Broadway. In his acceptance speech, Cranston used the moment to reflect on the state of things, which was very “Howard Beale” moment: “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
And while, the Northern Ireland drama The Ferryman won the best play Tony, it was Hadestown, conceived and written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who won a Tony for her score that stole the night with eight total awards. Also winning for Hadestown was director Rachel Chavkin, who was at the ART a couple of years ago with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and returns to the ART this summer to open the 2019-2020 season with Six, a musical about the merry wives of Henry VIII.
Berklee College of Music and its sister school Boston Conservatory at Berklee College alumni and faculty were involved in various capacities with other Tony Award-winning shows this season, including Oklahoma! Hadestown, The Cher Show, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain’t Too Proud, Ink, and Tootsie.
Sergio Trujillo received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography in a Musical, for the show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. He, too, had success in Boston as the director and choreographer for the stunning Arrabal, at the ART for which he won Elliot Norton Awards.
Also – finally – winning a Tony for his turn on Hadestown was Broadway veteran André De Shields, the narrator of the show. De Shields stole the show in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of The Jungle Book in which he played King Louie. The Huntington had a lot to celebrate on Sunday night with 23 of its alumni receiving Tony Awards nominations this year.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced its newly elected 2019–20 Board of Governors, including Massachusetts native Ruth E. Carter, of the costume designers branch. They will assume their posts July 1.
Born in Springfield, MA, Carter won an Oscar in 2019 for her work on “Black Panther.” She was the first black costume designer to win an Academy Award.
In her acceptance speech, she stated that “Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king.”
“This is for my 97-year-old mother watching in Massachusetts,” she said. “Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and their stories. You are the original superhero.”
Newly elected to the Board:
Ellen Kuras, Cinematographers Branch
Ruth Elaine Carter, Costume Designers Branch
Donna Gigliotti, Executives Branch
Howard Berger, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
Eric Roth, Writers Branch
Reelected to the Board:
Laura Dern, Actors Branch
David Rubin, Casting Directors Branch
Steven Spielberg, Directors Branch
Roger Ross Williams, Documentary Branch
Nancy Utley, Marketing and Public Relations Branch
Laura Karpman, Music Branch
Mark Johnson, Producers Branch
Jan Pascale, Production Design Branch
Kevin Collier, Sound Branch
Craig Barron, Visual Effects Branch
As a result of this election, the number of female Academy governors increases from 22 to 24, and people of color increases from 10 to 11, including the three new Governors-at-Large, DeVon Franklin, Rodrigo Garcia and Janet Yang, recently announced.
Balloting in the Academy’s Film Editors Branch produced a tie between candidates Dody Dorn and Mark Goldblatt, necessitating a runoff election. Voting will begin Monday, June 17, and end Tuesday, June 18. The Academy last held runoff elections in 2018 for the Producers Branch and in 2016 for the Film Editors Branch.
The Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. The Board of Governors sets the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health, and assures the fulfillment of its mission.
They both attended Wellesley College and they both faced the usual uncertainty of attending college, surrounded by women of note and, in many cases, privileged. Those campus experiences started both on their paths to serving as the United States’ highest diplomatic position, Secretary of State.
Madeleine Albright, Wellesley Class of ’59, and Hillary Clinton, who graduated from the all-women’s college ten years later, were both on the leafy campus west of Boston for their class reunions. Both women were on stage on Saturday with Wellesley’s president Dr. Paula A. Johnson.
A theme of their discussion was the need to protect democracy from a threat of fascism, something Albright called out in her 2018 book, Fascism: A Warning. “The idea that, ‘Oh it can’t happen here,’ is just old fashioned, my friends,” Clinton was quoted as saying. “There seems to be no staying power for these really serious threats and that’s part of the strategy. …You say something that’s totally beyond the pale of what should be expected from any public official. And so what happened yesterday is quickly lost in what’s happening today.”
You can read more about the Wellesley talk here.
As part of styleboston’s look back at our launch as a television show in 2009, we offer this Power Player segment with Albright and show creator Terri Stanley.
BOSTON – 500 guests turned out for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation‘s 14th annual Boston Hot Pink Party, which raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research. The BCRF has awarded more than $8 million in grants this year.
The swanky gala recognized New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, with the organization’s Carolyn Lynch Humanitarian Award for their commitment to breast cancer research that stretches back to several years. This year’s Hot Pink Party was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at the InterContinental Boston hotel.
The BCRF was founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993 and she served as the organization’s chairman until her death in November 2011. In 1989, Mrs. Lauder initiated the fundraising drive that established a state-of the-art breast and diagnostic center at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. That facility is known as the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center.
She and her husband, Leonard A. Lauder, who attended this year’s Hot Pink Party in Boston, were committed to providing the most innovative clinical and translational research for breast cancer in the world. Styleboston’s Terri Stanley spoke with Mrs. Lauder at the Hot Pink Party in Spring 2010 about the BCRF and her many roles with The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., including serving as senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide until her passing.
At this year’s Hot Pink Party at the InterContinental Boston, the stars turned out to honor Coach Belichick and our styleboston colleague Linda Holliday.
Gov. Charlie Baker told TV station WHDH that the recognition is well-deserved. “I certainly think if you’re looking for a symbol of excellence over time, which is in many respects what this foundation has been all about, they’re not going to find a better one than what Coach Belichick has accomplished.”
Recently retired (it kills us to write this) Patriots player Rob Gronkowski was on-hand to celebrate his former coach, including taking a turn at the DJ table. Gronk brought along his lady friend, the model Camille Kostek. Breast cancer survivor Paqui Kelly and her husband, Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly, presented the award to Linda and Bill.
Among those in attendance were Holliday’s daughters, fashionistas and bloggers Kat and Ashley Hess; now retired (we’re still upset about Massachusetts’ first lady Lauren Baker; football great Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie; former Patriots defensive coordinator (and current Detroit Lions head coach) Matt Patricia and his wife, Raina; mega-builder John Fish; WZLX 100.7’s Sue Brady; WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and her husband, Bill; philanthropist Simone Winston; tech and business guru Bob Davis and his wife, Rita; and Pyramid Group’s Rick Kelleher and his wife, Nancy, who hosted earlier Pink Party events at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
For a gallery of photographer Bill Brett’s party pictures, click here.
By Jeanne Ferris
SAN DIEGO – Hundreds turned out for the San Diego Film Foundation’s Film Insider Series special pre-release screening of Long Shot, which stars Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, an unlikely duo at the center of an unlikely, but charming, comedy.
At the Series screening, held every month through July at ArcLight Cinemas, the local cinephiles – some on date night and some on friend’s night out – sporting sparkly stilettos, stylish chapeaus and sleek business suits walked the red carpet with big smiles for the camera, making for a fun departure from the beloved San Diego standard: activewear and flip-flops.
Those gathering for the swanky pre-screening soiree enjoyed tasty sliders (from Liberty Call Distillery), flatbreads (Melting Pot), glazed Brussels sprouts (Eureka) with Stella Artois beverages and lemonade from Urban Leaf.
Long Shot’s star Charlize Theron has won a slew of awards (Oscar, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor’s Guild) and been nominated for just about everything else (Emmy, British Academy). She has played a one-armed big rig driver (Mad Max: Fury Road), a serial killer (Monster), and a coal miner (North Country) among other roles. So, why not a presidential nominee?
Her partner in this rom-com is Seth Rogen, who adroitly handles the slapstick and ribald humor, which, in one particular scene, rightly earns the film its R-rating.
Rogen, who plays a brutally honest journalist, has honed his fast-talking neurotic signature character that allows the audience to believe he is a worthy relationship interest for intelligent, stunning women.
Several East Coasters also add to the evening’s cocktail buzz. Connecticut native Liz Hannah of The Post penned Long Shot with Dan Sterling, whose previous credits include Girls. Sterling is a West Philadelphia native and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. He and Rogen co-authored the now infamous, The Interview, which Rogen also directed. Sterling and Rogen are back at it, except this time Hannah brings it home with boisterous female comedic repartee and political gags galore.
Costars June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel elevate the comedy to additional face hurting laughs. Theron is a master of the impeccable comedic deadpan. Who doesn’t micro-nap with her eyes open?
Did we mention Theron’s fabulous comportment? She rocked Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana like newborn skin while striding in Christian Louboutins with 4-inch heels. Her wardrobe stands in sharp contrast to Rogen’s ’80s color-blocked windbreaker, with a baseball-capped slouch replete with “Daddy” YMCA camp pants. The costumes were the unmistakable handiwork of Mary E. Vogt, who nearly stole the show with her work in Crazy Rich Asians. Vogt added to the hilarity with Rogen’s traditional Swedish folk dräkt in a colorful scene.
Produced by Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures, Long Shot (a South by Southwest Festival audience winner) is scheduled for release on May 3 by Lionsgate.
As with all FIS screenings, the evening did not end with the credits but with a post champagne reception, Cookies by Cravory and red carpet interviews.
FIS runs February through July, leading up to the San Diego International Film Festival, which will run from Oct. 15-20, 2019 when VIP hubs of premieres, screenings and parties will connect Arclight Cinemas and the highly anticipated Theatre Box (new this year). TCL Grauman’s Chinese Theatre owns Theatre Box and has brought its Old Hollywood legacy with New World technology to the Gaslamp District. Join us next month for another exclusive screening. For more information, click here.
To what lengths would you go to save your child from the pain and possible death from cancer? Weed the People, a documentary that follows five families who, in a desperate effort to find treatment for their children’s cancer, obtain cannabis oils to give the young patients a better path to a cure. It was screened in Cambridge on April 8, 2019.
The team behind the film – director Abby Epstein, Emmy Award-winning TV host Ricki Lake, and producer James Costa, a Boston native known for the documentary Lunch Hour – was in town for the screening and question and answer session at the Landmark Square Cinema in Cambridge. The event was hosted by the Boston Globe’s Meredith Goldstein. It was a return to town, of sorts, as the documentary brought Lake and Epstein to Boston, specifically Harvard Medical School, where we see the medical efficacy of marijuana in cancer treatment is being studied.
The documentary, which was released late last year, also looks at the federal government’s reluctance to allowing marijuana to be accessible to all patients. (Currently 33 states allow medical marijuana and 10 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for recreational use.) Weed the People is available for download and online viewing. For more on the film, click here.
Before the screening, styleboston.tv and LeftCoast.LA caught up with Ricki Lake and asked her a few questions about the documentary, the need for medical marijuana, and Dunkin’ Donuts and her other Boston connections.
Q: This project started with a 7-year-old girl reaching out to you at a time when the opioid crisis was coming to the front and center? How have people been reacting to this documentary?
A: The reactions to this documentary have been incredible. People seem to be ready to open their hearts and minds to the true medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant. Yes, the film began with a seven-year-old girl who was a fan of mine from “Dancing with the Stars.” She was undergoing chemotherapy and there were very few options to treat her condition. My late husband Christian Evans had been researching cannabis oil and CBD for his grandfather and we thought it might help this little girl as well because of the anti-tumor properties of the plant. That experience was how our film was born.
Q: Was there anything from the filming that surprised you?
A: One of the most surprising things for me personally was to see how well cannabis can actually work and how little you need to get therapeutic effect. You see one child in the film who was taking six OxyContin a day plus other pain relievers and after two days of taking a sesame seed-size dose of the concentrated cannabis oil, he was completely off the OxyContin. So not only was his pain gone but he was sleeping and eating, where on the opiates he was just vomiting and deteriorating.
Q: Here in Massachusetts we have embraced marijuana, first medical uses and later recreational. But even here, in a super-liberal blue state, it seems like people still don’t “get” the potential of what marijuana can do and the benefits of legalization of it.
A: Yes, there is such an intense stigma around the plant it is incredibly hard to break through, even in the medical community. Doctors have been trained that this is a drug abuse and of course the public has also been brainwashed into thinking this is a dangerous narcotic and a gateway to other substances, which is untrue. That’s been the revelation of this movie and we have shown it in places like Oklahoma City and weeks later they passed their referendum on medical cannabis! The film is a really powerful tool to help people understand the real potential of medical marijuana.
Q: As filmmakers you looked at the choices available to patients and parents. Have you seen changes since you started filming in those choices that the patients’ families have? In the attitudes of the medical community?
A: We’ve seen so many changes since we started this film back in 2012. At the time, a lot of the families were getting medicine from underground sources, medicine that wasn’t properly tested and in one case in the film you see it actually contained rubbing alcohol! In California the regulations have helped improve quality and testing for patients, but ironically the regulations have also made it harder for patients to access certain preparations and strengths. We’ve definitely seen the attitudes of the medical community change but it’s still way too slow and it seems to be that money and the green rush is what motivates most of the public perception changes these days.
Q: You and Abby set up a GoFundMe account for those in your project and others. It seems like this film pushed you in ways that a “typical” film project might.
A: Yes we set up a GoFundMe account for the kids in the film. All of them still take a maintenance dose of cannabis oil and one of the children is still in treatment. Unfortunately even the maintenance dose can run these families around $1,500 a month and it’s just not affordable without help. Our website is weedthepeoplemovie.com And you can make a donation there under the “get involved” menu tab.
Q: OK, a few Boston-centric questions. We know you’ve been to Boston before and even filmed a movie here, do you have any favorite things to do? Go see? Do you load up the carry-on with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee?
A: Oh yes, I grew up in New York so definitely a fan of Dunkin’ Donuts! I absolutely love Boston and have the best memories of shooting “Mrs. Winterbourne” there. I’m excited to share this film with the community.
Q: There’s always Provincetown, but the Fast Ferry is fully running this time of year. Do you get back to the area when you are not?
A: Yes, I have been to the Provincetown Film festival a few times and we screened my earlier documentary “the business of being born” there. My dear friend John Waters invites me there all the time.
Q: Many people know you from so many different things in your varied career. We imagine that people approach you with all kinds of references in your background, but we hope that none of the really whacky people are from Boston.
A: I definitely have some amazing fans from Boston! It’s a fantastic city and I’m so proud of Massachusetts for making cannabis accessible.
Q: Will you be stopping by the recently opened marijuana dispensary in Brookline?
A: I would love to check out the new dispensary Brookline! We are very fortunate that a local cannabis company called Green Line is sponsoring our Boston premiere screening. I love how Green Line is integrating social justice into their company philosophy. They are including members of the Roxbury community on their board and helping to repair some of the harms of the drug war on communities of color. I believe that social equity needs to be a major component of marijuana legalization.
Filmmaker Georden West is getting ready to screen her second fashion film at the Emerson Film Festival this weekend. “Patron Saint” (click here to see trailer) will be part of two programs of student shorts that will be screening in the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Center ArtsEmerson on Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m., followed by a red carpet reception open to the public at the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, located at 25 Avery St. (across the street from the Ritz-Carlton hotel.) West recently completed the Emerson graduate program in Film and Media Arts from what many consider to be one of the top film departments in the country.
West identifies herself as a queer woman and a queer filmmaker and what lead her to making fashion films was the opportunity to speak to groups neglected and often left out of the mainstream conversations. Fashion films can be used to magnify expression, exploring and pushing bounderies, especially with regards to gender.
“The queer community is hungry for representation” says West. “In a society where so much of how we perform gender and sexuality is based on media representation, we actively seek ourselves in the visual arts and are consistently let down. This is why I make fashion film. I am passionate about building visual experiences reflective of the subculture and history of queer people. I want to craft stories in new ways that surface historic and contemporary marginalization and builds community around art that resists universalization and commodification.”
Fashion films have been evolving over the last few years into a way to make a social statement with a new look and language that showcases fashion and lifestyle brands in a more creative and narrative way. Acting as an alternative to traditional promotion and marketing of brands, such as print photo shoots and :30 fashion ads for television, the brands behind the films can be emerging designers or well-heeled names.
For “Patron Saint,” West is collaborating with emerging designer Jamall Osterholm, who is currently a contestant on Bravo’s “Project Runway” and who will be debuting on New York Fashion Week’s official schedule in September. A Rhode Island native, Osterholm graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and his focus is on futurism and borrowing from the past.
“Jamall is a designer whose work speaks to a need for fashion to recognize its own political nature” West explains. “He makes beautiful work while remaining relational to history. Jamall is brilliant and he brings out the best and challenges the teams around him; I know when I work with him nothing will be less than exceptional and intentional. Nothing we say is for beauty’s sake alone.”
“We deserve characters and media art with complexity beyond the tropes of coming-out and romance. I long to see queer stories told in interesting and challenging ways that bring queer cinema to the forefront of the film industry without having to assimilate into its narrative demands that manifest in stereotypes and conventionality,” says West. “To me fashion does this. As an experimental and atmospheric filmmaker, I have an ambitious approach to queer cinema that would allow a narrative to be told with magical realism, challenging the medium of filmmaking as well as presenting original content with novelty.”
Patron Saint will be screening on Sunday March 24th at 12pm and on March 29th at Distillery Gallery.
SAN DIEGO — It’s a good thing that the Oscar ceremony is on a Sunday night as we all seem to need a little bit more time to get ready for a party that celebrates the best in film and the best (and worst, gulp) in fashion.
We just wish that we got another day after the festivities to rest up. This year looked like it might be a quiet evening (no hosts, no controversy) but that quickly proved to be wrong, thankfully.
So, the anticipation and guess work on who would win which award was palpable from LA to Boston for the 91st Academy Awards. The San Diego Film Foundation did not disappoint on the party spectrum as it threw its best and biggest annual signature fundraiser that night, held at the Scripps family estate in Rancho Santa Fe. The SDFF used the event as a fundraiser for its highly successful “Impact On Film Tour,” which brings socially impactful films to thousands of high schoolers in the San Diego area in an effort to educate and create a call to action for the youth of the city.
The splashy event was done in true Hollywood style with a Maserati Levante and a Maserati Quattroporte lining the driveway and a Gran Torismo and Ghilbli at the red carpet. Gorgeous women and men turned out in gowns and tuxedos and everyone had a favorite going into the evening, but as we all know Oscar always surprises.
Meanwhile, up the road a bit, things at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles got rolling early with a slate of dynamic interviewers handling the “heavy lifting” for ABC along the red carpet: Medford, MA, native Maria Menounos in a stunning Celia Kritharioti yellow and white gown with Chopard jewelry; Tony Award-winner Billy Porter in a custom (is there any other kind on Oscar night?) tuxedo-gown by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano; Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth also wearing a Celia Kritharioti gown; and supermodel Ashley Graham wearing Zac Posen and dripping in $1 million worth of jewels on loan from Martin Katz.
The only thing we think could live up to the Porter moment was Lady Gaga‘s breathtaking — and nearly blinding — diamond pendant. If you thought it looked like something familiar, indeed it is: that rock is The Tiffany Diamond, worth an ice-cold $30 million. (It had a previous brush with Hollywood when it was used for the promotional photo shoot for Audrey Hepburn’s turn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.) Careful viewers of styleboston.tv and LeftCoast.LA will remember that Kenny Loggins predicted Gaga’s Oscar success while walking the carpet for the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival. View his prediction below; he was spot on!
Gaga, of course, won the Oscar for best original song for “Shallow,” which she co-wrote with Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, and longtime Boston music maker Anthony Rossomando, best known for the bands The Damn Personals and Dirty Pretty Things.
When the first 8.5-pound golden statue was handed out to Regina King as “best supporting actress” for her star turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, it was Boston native Chris Evans who chivalrously helped King navigate the steps up to accept her award. Yahoo caught the image, you can view it here.
Another high point for those of us following the theater and fashion scenes in the Northeast as well as those around the world who are fans of her work, was when Ruth E. Carter got an Oscar for costume design for her work on Black Panther. Carter, who on stage gave a shout-out to her 97-year-old mother back in Massachusetts, has been toiling away in productions large and small for decades. She is a Springfield, MA, native, who apprenticed at the former StageWest in Massachusetts. MassLive had a great story on Carter, which you can read here.
And if you can stand us having one more fan moment from the Oscar night, it was when Peter Farrelly, a Rhode Island native whose parents live on the South Shore of Massachusetts, won the Oscar as part of the team who wrote the screenplay and the prize of the night, “best picture,” for Green Book. “I want to thank the whole state of Rhode Island,” Farrelly said during one of his acceptance speeches.
FUN FACT: If you thought it seemed like just about every movie that was nominated won something, you were onto something. At least with the “best picture” nominees. Since the number of potential nominees in the best picture category was expanded from five to 10 in 2010, this was the second time that every nominee got at least one award. Second fun fact: Five times in the last six years the “best director” trophy has gone to a Mexican director.
SAN DIEGO — The owners of TCL Chinese Theatre, known to most as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, are behind San Diego’s newest hot spot, The Theatre Box, a luxury theater, dining and entertainment complex.
And, the new venue was kicked off in grand style, with a private screening of “A Star Is Born,” which recently was nominated for eight Oscars. Noted movie producer Billy Gerber made the short trip form LA to welcome the guests and lead a question and answer session before the film’s screening.
The night was held in partnership with the San Diego International Film Festival, which launches its 2019 season this month with the “Film Insider Series” and its Annual Awards Viewing Party (watch the Academy Awards in style!) star power fundraiser on Feb. 24th.
Theatre Box was the perfect venue for about 400 attendees who played on the red carpet and sipped cocktails from the large bar upstairs. “For the theater itself, Theatre Box plans to host world-class Hollywood film premieres and hand- and footprint ceremonies in the long-standing tradition of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre,” said a representative. “We will surprise you by bringing Hollywood to San Diego.”
Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the high-profile eatery is one of the stars of the show, with plenty of celebrity endorsements behind it. Britney Spears, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and many others have been seen licking those lollipops, but there is so much more on the table here. The Sugar Factory offers a menu created by world-class chefs that promises to satisfy any palate, offering items from yummy pancakes to mouth-watering burgers, pizza and salads.
Nick Cannon is the face behind the new rooftop sports bar and arcade opening up this summer called Wild ‘N Out, and according to those in the know he and other celebs will be appearing from time to time to guest DJ. A 14,000-square-foot hip-hop-themed Wild ‘N Out will feature a complete arcade with interactive games and memorabilia from the hit MTV show and a sports bar that claims to have the largest televisions in the city. TCL has also teamed up with Pitbull “Mr. Worldwide” to collaborate on ILov305 Rooftop Bar & Garden–a 6,000-square-foot Latin-inspired, rooftop Tiki bar and nightclub set to open in 2019. Known as the place “Where What Happens, Never Happened,” ILov305 fare will consist of a seafood-themed menu to offer in its numerous VIP rooms, several bars and a private lounge, all complete with Pitbull’s ball of fire persona.
So much more than a movie theater, the Theatre Box promises a multi-faceted experience that certainly feels like a giant step forward in the entertainment business. San Diegans should support any venue that shines a spotlight on this beautiful city that is only a stones throw away from Hollywood.
The Theatre Box is in discussions with the San Diego International Film Foundation to partner on several events over the course of the year and film fest CEO Tonya Mantooth is excited about the opportunities to engage with this spectacular venue.
BOSTON — Are the spirit of the times and the spirit of the holidays on a collision course? Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been a time of good cheer towards all men (and women), a celebration of our founding fathers giving thanks to their new world, and, for many, the birth of Jesus Christ.
But today it could be said that the feeling among many people this holiday season is not one of joy and hope, but a heightened sense of anxiety that threatens to derail the holiday train and throw it right off the tracks.
One way to return the essence of the season is to see a “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” which opens on Nov. 29 for a four-day run at the Boch Center-Shubert Theatre. The unforgettable music of Vince Gueraldi brings people back to this story time and time again and there are several threads to pull on that resonate today-inclusion, tolerance, anti-bullying, and independent thought and speech.
This story also works as a reminder of better days and kinder times, when the world seemed a lot simpler and in many ways much safer. Baby boomers grew up with the Peanuts gang and introduced them to their kids, who still love the timeless group of characters. Lucy, Charlie, Linus, and Schroeder are a staple in the line up of holiday must-sees and accompanying the original Peanuts gang will be Rudoph, Frosty, the Grinch and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Perhaps what remains relevant for so many of us is that in each one of these stories lies the power to defeat the bad guys and believe, in the end, in decency and the basic goodness of mankind.
For those looking for fun ways to celebrate the holidays, Charlie Brown’s Christmas runs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. Or, by clicking here.
SAN DIEGO — One of this town’s biggest and best events took place last week and the celebrities came down to party. The San Diego International Film Festival’s “Night of the Stars Party,” held at the glamorous Pendry hotel, was electrifying in the excitement and buzz around this year’s honorees. Topher Grace, Kenny Loggins (who wowed the sold-out ballroom with three amazing songs to close out the night), John Cho, Kathryn Hahn, Keith Carradine, Zachary Levi and Alex Wolff all made the trip from LA to celebrate film.
Sponsored by Morgan Stanley, Maserati of San Diego, Jamul Casinos, Pendry Hotel and The Nemeth Foundation, the festival screenings and events spanned five days and included films of all genres and subjects that would entice any film lover to this beautiful waterfront city. Check the website for 2019 festival dates and mark your calendars for a premier way to experience one of the most standout film festivals in this Oz-like setting.
By: Anna Paula Goncalves
Season 3 of TV’s number 1 drama (all around show really, if we’re being honest) is already giving us all the feels – as expected – with this first episode. With laughter, tears to some and a bit of curiosity, the touching stories and relatable characters is the consistently winning combination that makes this show the success it is.
It’s all in the “construct of the show,” as show creator, Dan Fogelman said during the panel discussion that followed the premiere screening. It’s a construct that he credits to the writers of the show (which he, and the cast, made a point to honor) for their brilliancy.
With a plot that lives in the past just as much as it does in the present (with this season expected to tackle glimpses into the “future”) there’s a level of excitement in learning about each character and what makes them, them. Like Chrissy Metz’ character, Kate, and how heartwarmingly real her character is depicted. Someone who “can’t catch a break” while battling her weight, guilt, loss, addiction, and how that all ties into her struggle with self-acceptance. Which to that point, Chrissy says, when asked how she feels about her storyline helping others facing the same struggles as she: “I just know things happen as they should. And that everyone has their really beautiful journey and we get to help each other along and through that journey.”
In the midst of laughter and “truth, dare, or ‘swear on Oprah’” (You need to watch S3E1 to understand the Oprah reference), the panel discussed the first episode and how it embraced a more light-hearted relationship between Randal (Sterling K. Brown’s character) and his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson’s character). They also each talked about their individual characters, the season’s construct and how we’ll “live in the past a bit” during season 3. We will get to learn more about Jack (Milo Ventimiglia’s character) and his past, including his time in Vietnam, and also life following his death as Rebecca (Mandy Moore’s character) navigates as a single parent caring for teenagers. We can also look forward to upcoming “stand alone” episodes that will dive into specific characters that we know little about underneath, like Chris Sullivan’s character, Toby – a character who suggests something deep in connection to his dependency on anti-depressants and after this first episode, also speculates about the trajectory of his relationship with Kate into the “future”. Another character we can all look forward to seeing unfold is Lyric Ross’ character, Deja, now a season’s regular. Described as “the truth” by her cast-mates after becoming a revelation to them while shooting season 3, and to us in this first episode as the embodiment of what boldness and hope looks like.
In true “This is Us” form, the first episode entitled “Nine Bucks”, which falls during the Big Three’s birthday (as it has consistently done in previous season premieres) gives us just enough to make us sink into our seats while looking forward to speculating what’s to come.
Thank you to NBC Entertainment Director Jeanette Eliot for the invitation.
Season 3 of “This Is Us” continues on Tuesday, October 2, on NBC.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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