Studio filmmaking and independent filmmaking both have their ups and downs, but a definite up of making a feature under the studio umbrella is guaranteed distribution. You can pour loads of money into your promotional campaign and travel from festival to festival, but, in the end, there’s certainly no guarantee a distributor will agree to show your film, let alone help you make your money back.
So, what can you do? After dropping tons of cash to actually make your film and also putting tons of time, energy and passion into it, you’re not going to let it go unseen, right? Well, if you’re capable to self-distributing, hopefully not. It isn’t easy and requires a great deal of work, but some people do it. In fact, come this weekend, writer-director David Grubin and producer Michael Hausman are doing just that with their feature, Downtown Express.
The film is about a young Russian violinist named Sasha (Phillippe Quint). Currently at Julliard on a scholarship, Sasha is preparing for a recital that could solidify a promising future. However, when a bohemian singer-songwriter named Ramona (Nellie McKay) comes into his life, he both falls for her and joins her band, forcing him to straddle both sides of a musical divide.
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Thanks to a great deal of unusual and somewhat off-putting hype, it’s nearly impossible to go into Red State without any preconceptions. There’s no denying Kevin Smith made some questionable decisions during Red State’s road to the public, but, in the end, how can you judge him when he managed to deliver? On a B-movie level at least.
Travis, Jarod and Billy-Ray (Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner and Nicholas Braun) are teenage boys and – surprise, surprise – they want to have sex. One tracks down a potential candidate on a website who’s willing to take on all three. The boys seize the opportunity and head out to their mystery woman’s humble abode, a trailer in the woods. Psyched to get down to business, the trio’s caught off guard when they’re drugged and wake up in the clutches of the Five Points Church.
No, this isn’t any old congregation. The members of the Five Points Church are religious fundamentalists willing to do whatever it takes to rid this Earth of those they’re fighting against with a relentless viciousness. Trapped in the church, the boys are forced to watch while Pastor Cooper (Michael Parks) executes a man, leaving the impression that they’re next.
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San Diego Comic Con is officially behind us and this edition of Best/Worst Movie Promos proves it — as just one film featured on the list had a presence at the event. It’s not necessarily because the material that came out of SDCC was lackluster, but more so because much of the footage debuted during the panels has yet to hit the web – in non-bootleg form at least.
Regardless, we still have a slew of material to sort through and while some received positions in the promotion and demotion departments, others find themselves floating in the abyss. Of the pieces in that middle ground, there are quite a few to note. In true Valentine’s Day fashion, New Year’s Eve follows that star-studded production up with a trailer packed with famous faces. As someone who didn’t appreciate the first film, this trailer doesn’t really do it for me, but clearly there’s a ton of moviegoers out there who enjoy some namedropping.
On the other hand, both Happy Feet 2 and Dirty Girl are quite appealing, albeit in completely different ways. The Happy Feet 2 trailer features dancing penguins with baby voices. Enough said. As for Dirty Girl, Juno Temple gets crude in the best possible way. The trailer presents it as Easy A on the road, but with a more unique texture. As usual, Temple is mesmerizing and has no trouble upping the intrigue for this one.
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Odds are, you know Kyle Gallner for one of the many high profile horror films he’s appeared in over the past few years. There was The Hunting in Connecticut, Jennifer’s Body and the highly anticipated reboot, Nightmare on Elm Street, but his success in the genre and the prominence of these films doesn’t mean these are the only types of films Gallner has to offer. In fact, he’s got quite a number of non-horror films on the way, one of which hits theaters this weekend, Cherry.
Cherry stars Gallner as Aaron, a somewhat sheltered guy starting his first year at a prestigious college. He may not be as socially and romantically developed as his roommate, but when it comes to academics, Aaron’s above and beyond his peers. He’s enrolled in an advanced engineering program and while the work should be his top priority, Aaron’s distracted by a woman, a much older woman. Aaron meets Linda in class and the attraction is instant. Problem is, Linda (Laura Allen) has a 14-year-old daughter, Beth (Brittany Robertson), and when Linda brings Aaron over for dinner one night, the attraction between him and Beth is instant as well.
Not only was I thankful to have the opportunity to chat about such a purely enjoyable film, but to an actor on the rise that’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. Check out everything Gallner told me about working on Cherry, working with Kevin Smith on his upcoming film Red State and his hopes for the future in the interview below, and be sure to catch Cherry at the Village East Cinema in New York City.
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