Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday at the Film Fest

Two groups of hungry people got together at Fess Parker's Double Tree hotel Saturday morning. The first group was composed of filmmakers who were hungry to draw attention to their films which are entered in the Santa Barbara International Film Fest. The other group was media types, like myself, who were hungry for a free breakfast.

Between bites of sausage bacon and eggs we got to meet the mostly young filmmakers and hear about their films.

Most of the filmmakers were having their very first films shown at the festival. They included Aaron Rockett (The Fixer). Maximilian Schmige (How to Direct a Commercial). And Justin Lerner (The Replacement Child).

It wasn't all unknown names though. There was a Desperate Housewife, Brenda Strong, and a guy with a lot of Dirty Sexy Money, William Baldwin, who were there to promote A Plumm Summer, a movie they are in which also features former sportscaster Lisa Guerrero formerly of Fox Sports Net.

Cast of A Plumm Summer including Brenda Strong, Lisa Guerrero, and William Baldwin. Gloria Montano of SB's "Scene and Heard" magazine is on the far right.

When I walked into the room for the breakfast I was surprised to see my old friend, Deputy D.A. Ron Zonen, who was one of the prosecutors on the Michael Jackson case. Zonen isn't a filmmaker but his good and great friend Louise Palanker is. She, along with Jennie Reinish directed the film We Played Marbles.

After the breakfast I had the opportunity to talk with the producer, director and two of the stars of the movie Fix.

Producer Nat Dinga, actor Shawn Andrews and director Tao Ruspoli of the film "Fix."

It's a feature length film which director Tao Ruspoli described to me as a "fun movie about a serious subject, addiction." (And yes, he appeared to be serious.) It's also a homage to Los Angeles and it was suggested features an underbelly of L.A. that even an L.A. native like myself may never have seen.

The principals of the movie came straight here from the Sundance Film Festival.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard from at least one local writer who has seen it that it's very good.

Last chance to see it here at SBIFF is 4:30 pm today (Saturday) so hurry. Otherwise, wait for when it hits general release.

So, what's the real story about the last minute cancellation of this morning's screen writer's panel? Was it really a flu epidemic or was it strike politics?

Carol Marshall of the film fest told me that she wants to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and that she knows for a fact that some of the participants on the panel were at Sundance last week and many attendees there did in fact contract the flu.

In any event, at least two of the writers who were to have participated in this morning's panel or scheduled to be here next Saturday for the Women In the Biz Panel.

My bout with the flu lasted less than a week, let's hope the same for theirs.

If you can't get in to see Cate Blanchett tonight you might want to check out Saving Luna playing at 7 pm at the Center Stage.

Also playing at that same time over at the Marjorie Luke Theater is We Played Marbles.

And I'm going to try to post photos from the red carpet tonight at the Arlington as I take them over at my photo gallery on

Among the films you may be interested in that are being shown tomorrow, January 27th

The Fixer (1 pm)

Shall We Gather at the River (4 pm)

The Man of Two Havanas (4:45 pm)

A Room With A View (6:30 pm)

Victory has many fathers. In my post from earlier today I reported that it was film fest director Roger Durling who I heard call out the name of "Juggernaut" the title of a Richard Lester film that neither Julie Christie or Leonard Maltin could recall. This morning at the breakfast I confirmed with Roger that it he did call out the name, although he said he was sure other people in the audience knew it as well. Anyway film critic Jeffrey Wells in his blog says he was the one who shouted out the name of the movie. And at least one independent witness has confirmed that for me.

Gotta run now. Have to brush up on my bow tie tying.

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