Thursday, January 29, 2009

Virtuosos and Not So Virtuoso

Four of the five people pictured below are Oscar nominees this year. And they were all on stage at the Lobero last night for the Santa Barbara International Film Fest's Virtuosos 2009 Awards.

Left to right, Viola Davis (Doubt), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Melissa Leo (Frozen River) and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor.)

Photo Credit Chuck Cagara

Viola Davis before the Virtuosos Award
Photo Credit Chuck Cagara

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I think it's safe to say that everyone at one time or another undoubtedly dreams of being in the movies.

The other night I went to see my dramatic big screen debut. Only to find out it had gotten smaller than I had imagined.

My dramatic screen debut that is.

Late in 2007, the husband and wife film-making team of Michael and Tina Love, who live here in the area, contacted me and asked me if I would be willing to play a small part in a movie they were making. The role was that of a TV reporter.

I had been in another film they had made, Much Ado About W, about the debate in Santa Barbara about public and political art on State Street. It was shown at the Santa Barbara Film Fest two years ago.

But that was me, appearing as myself, being interviewed about the role the Santa Barbara News-Press played in the debate. And of course, I had also appeared in Citizen McCaw.

Not wanting to pass up any opportunity to expand my experiences and to play someone other than myself, I readily agreed.

Well, we shot my part in the movie in December of 2007. I didn't get a chance to see the movie until Hold It Like A Baby made it's world premiere last Sunday at the Film Fest.

It played at one of the smaller venues, the Art Museum, and people were actually turned away, the audience being packed with friends and family of the filmmakers and cast.

It's a screwball type of comedy, shot mostly in and around Santa Barbara.

My scene does not come until the end of the movie. And my big screen debut, besides being in one of the smaller venues and on one of the smaller screens of the festival, also turned out to be on the TV screen in a bedroom of a couple who are laying in bed and watching me report a news story.

If I had only known, I would have brought a Galileo telescope to see myself.

I recently found out that I was not the Love's first choice for the role. They originally asked KEYT reporter John Palminteri to play the part.

At the question and answer with the filmmakers, the cast members were introduced. When it came to my turn, Michael Love told the audience that I was "the consummate professional." In other words, I showed up on time when it was time to film my scene.

Hold It Like A Baby is showing again today, Thursday, at 10 am at Victoria Hall. If you want to get a good look at me on the screen, bring some binoculars.

By the way, anyone know where I can go to get a SAG card?

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My Film Fest picks for Thursday:

Poppy Shakespeare (8:15 am Metro 4)

Everest A Climb for Peace (12:30 pm Victoria Hall)

Zift (1 pm Metro 4) One of Roger Durling's picks.

Cliente (7:30 pm Lobero)

Tonight's tribute is to Clint Eastwood. The man who asked, "are you feeling lucky? Punk." Will receive the Lucky Brand Modern Master Award at 8 pm at the Arlington.

A complete list of Film Fest screenings and events is
posted here