By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
It is blatantly obvious that no one here tonight actually does his or her own vacuuming. And it is for that very reason that the DC07 is such a spectacular hit. Its form may follow its function, but at this particular gathering of designers and architects, vacuuming itself has become performance art. Through no fault of his own, Dyson and his beloved machine are dancing a pas de deux that reinterprets the drudgery of housework as a delight. And who wouldn't be cheered by that change of affairs? —Greg Goldin
INSTANT KAMERA: 48-Hour Arty People
AT 8 P.M. LAST FRIDAY NIGHT, EIGHT writers drew script parameters out of a hat — an adjective and a noun befitting Valentine's Day, plus a breakdown of cast by number and gender. At 8 a.m. Saturday, the writers — primarily from the legit and improv worlds, with the occasional West Wing or E.R. vet — turned in finished 10-minute scripts and were randomly assigned cast and directors. By midnight Saturday, principal photography was completed (theoretically); by 8 p.m. Sunday, the finished films (edited, scored, titled, color-corrected) were screened at the L.A. Center Studios downtown to an overflow audience of cast, crew, and friends, which voted for the top awards of the evening. In the spirit of the competition, this chronicle was reported and written in 48 hours.
Saturday, 8 a.m.:The Announcement in the Trades. Instant Films, in conjunction with Chris Ursitti and Brian Brosnan's L.A. Center Studios, announces a production slate of eight films in the $0-to-$15 range for specialty exhibition sometime late Sunday.
"This is our sixth time doing this," says Instant Films co-prexy Peter Lebow, who imported the idea from New York, where 24-hour plays are all the rage below 14th Street. "We'd like to do them once a month, if we could manage the funding — it's not like we're talking a lot of money: On our films, if you spend five dollars, that means you're five dollars over budget."
Fellow co-prexy John Sylvain predicts additional legs in ancillary, as films will soon be up on their Web site, at www.in stantfilms.com. Foreign rights are available.
Saturday, 8 p.m.:The Production. Christopher Atkins has his hand on another man's ass. We're waiting for the "martini," film-crew parlance for the last shot of the evening, in a nondescript home in Venice. He's a Man, directed by Donn Viola and written by Maureen Cassidy, follows four football buddies who have gathered for Sunday's big game only to learn that girlfriends have dumped two of them for not knowing how to . . . well . . . hug. And so, at the behest of Atkins (the prospective Neil LaBute character of the film), they are paired off in "passionate embrace," the phrase that inspired the script. It's only natural, being in character and all, that a man's hands should wander.
Atkins, the hunky '80s heartthrob who got his start opposite Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon and has over 50 film and TV credits, showed up for the call on a dare from Chris Ursitti, co-owner of L.A. Center Studios, where Atkins was shopping for a production-company office.
"It's a great exercise to be able to get back to your grassroots," says Atkins, "to go guerrilla, within the time frame that you've got. Of course, you don't see Chris out here. But it's been a lot of fun."
Rounding out the all-male cast are Sam Lloyd, a regular on Scrubs and memorable as the TV Guide Man on Seinfeld; Matt Walsh, a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe; and David Holcomb, late of Port Charles and the band Throttle Back Sparky. By the craft services table, during a lull in shooting, Walsh goes out of his way to assure me there have been no on-set romances.
Across town, in Toluca Lake, director Charles Papert, a camera operator and second-unit D.P. on Scrubs, is coming off the early-evening high of a multiroom Steadicam shot, and trying to focus on the remaining pages of script he still has to shoot (Gerald McClanahan's ambitious Hollywood & Valentine, based on the phrase "sexy lover"). Papert is the third founder of Instant Films, as well as its local star, having won the Best Film prize in four out of the five contests — due in part to the battery of equipment he has in tow: smoke machines, multiple filters and, especially, tonight's state-of-the-art 24p camera.
"I don't think DV, I think Panavision," says Papert. "We're going to light it, block it and stage it like a feature film."
He finally wraps at 5:30 a.m.
Sunday, 10 p.m.:Premiere and Awards. Papert's amped-up production values bring him his fifth Best Picture win and McClanahan Best Writer; Papert shares Best Director with Marc Ostrick and Bernard Chang (whose Lovely Flowers features a barely recognizable Ahmet Best, the actor who galvanized a nation as the computer-animation model for Star Wars' Jar-Jar Binks). Be a Man takes Best Cast (as well as Best Sex Scene). And Viola's He's a Man? The director's controversial choice to go mostly hand-held may have proved too edgy for the hometown crowd. Other shut-out audience favorites were John Ennis' flashy Fox reality send-up The Eligible Gentleman and Jordan Brady's winsome Mother-Fucking Wedding Planner. Tragically, The Ring, from director Lily Mariye (feisty Nurse Lily on E.R.) ran into technical problems and was disqualified. (All eight films will screen Monday, February 17, at the Yard as part of the Santa Monica Film Festival.)