The trailer for TOGI.
More to come...
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Time again for a few weeks of work away in a foreign town... well, Lindsborg, KS, is not all that foreign, but it is new for me. The above mentioned film is a Christmas family picture, and it will certainly be shooting in authentic conditions - none of that 'shooting in July and pretending it's cold' bullshit here. I'm working with some familiar faces, and with some new ones, so we'll see how this works out.
Obviously, I won't be blogging during shooting. I should return to the warmth of home right before Christmas, so the next entry should be before the New Year.
To tide you over, and also to shout out to some of those people I'll be working with again, here's something that Script Goddess brought to my attention... Cube-Tap's "It Was A Good Day".
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Very good news indeed! For me personally, INDIAN will be the second film that I've been involved with that has screened at Sundance. The first was Cauleen Smith's DRYLONGSO (on VHS) back in 1999.
Doubtful that I'll be going along, but I know the rest of the group will have a great time.
Here's hoping the general public will get a look before the end of next year.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Well, the inevitable finally occurred -- my agency called me on Veteran's Day, telling me that my services "would no longer be required" at the Thieves' Den... they didn't go into detail, 'but I guess my best wasn't good enough', to quote an old 80's ballad. So I can pretty much write off any thoughts of a career answering the phone calls of dumbfucks and deadbeats, AKA 'Our Customers'.
I'm so devastated...
... or at least I MIGHT be, had I not detested the position in the first place. And had I not just been hired onto a feature film that starts shooting at the beginning of December. It's lo-budget, and not going to be a cakewalk, esp. shooting in Kansas Wintertime...
"... but I like it," to quote an even older song.
Of course, come the New Year, the inevitable question of survival will again rear its head... but that's always been the case, even through the last recession of the early 90's... and that was when I was working at a 'regular' job and the big concern then was if the company was going to survive by restructuring, or would it be bought out?
Neither of those things happened - the company's future was determined by a crazy guy with a grudge and cheap Uzi's... and by that time, I was well into this career path, lucky for me.
So, we'll see what comes and attempt to ride it out, as usual.
Another thing to make my day: From the Creators of THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT comes STINGRAY SAM.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Well, things turned out all right this week, after all...
As the man said, we're not out of the woods yet - and we may not be for awhile. But it's good to know that there's someone who knows how to read a map.
Michael Crichton died on Tuesday... I grew up reading and watching a lot of Dr. Crichton's work, and do mourn the loss of a very talented and intelligent individual. Whatever your thoughts towards his literary skills, he did know how to tell a story and keep one's interest... and he pulled off a very neat trick of misdirection, allowing him to sneak in a lot of info of what his books were really about - mainly about the misapplication of technology in our lives.
Smart man - but even a smart man didn't know enough not to fuck with Dori Dorreau.
Monday, November 03, 2008
On the eve of the Election, here's one last shot...
The theme song from MACHINE GUN MCCAIN, by Ennio Morricone... reworked by John Zorn * Mike Patton for the Morricone tribute album, THE BIG GUNDOWN.
This version is a dirge... and highly appropriate.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008 • 7:00 p.m.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
1515 SE Monroe • Topeka, Kansas
Free and open to public
RSVP by October 22, 2008 to
(785) 235-3939 or email@example.com
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
No humorous tales to spin now... and no Halloween listing - again.
I just haven't been in the mood recently.
Not with this kind of shit going on...
and even more of that good stuff:
As I mentioned on Facebook earlier - every passing year, I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of idiocy.
From Matt Taibbi's ROLLING STONE article, "Mad Dog Palin":
Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power. Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she's the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV — and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.
So my mood may be a bit dour for the next few weeks, until I get proof that this country is finally tired of letting shitbrains and moral retards lead the way.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
With Steve Balderson's new film screening in Lawrence next Monday, and beginning it's U.S. tour, I'd thought I'd share some interview footage shot of Steve and actor Matt Riddlehoover during production. The next MICRO-FILM (coming soon!) will feature an article about Steve and his work.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Courtesy of Peter Jasso of the Kansas Film Commission, here's screening info on 4 locally produced films that'll be screening in the area over the next couple of weeks:
Daily 1:30 4:30 7:30 / ENDS Oct. 2
Saturday, October 4th at 2:30 and 9:15
Sunday, October 5th at 2:30
Showtimes on Yahoo.com
Screenland at the Crossroads showtimes:
Saturday, October 4th at 4:45, and 7:00
Sunday, October 5th at 4:45, and 7:00
BUNKER HILL will also be screening at NYU at NYC on Oct. 8 and will be the opening night film at the Williamstown Film Festival, Williamstown, MA on Oct. 17.
Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS Oct. 13
If you're tired of the usual bullshit at the multiplex, go check out all, or at least some of these. All homegrown cinema.
With October, comes Halloween. I've not as of yet been able to tackle the annual listing of horrofilms that most others seem to be able to do... usually due to schedule problems and laziness. I may, on the odd weekend, throw out some suggestions that might be a nice change from the usual suspects that end up on those listings.
I mean, really... how many times can you watch HALLOWEEN and really be affected by it?
For a nice alternative, you might visit THE KIND OF FACE YOU HATE during the month of October - instead of horror films, Bill (the author) is checking out horror fiction... rather novel, I think... and a good introduction for people who don't think there's much beyond the genre besides Stephen King (the Good), V.C. Andrews (the Bad), and countless others - mainly whose book titles begin with "The" and end in "...ing" (the Ugly).
I can certainly make the rancid pun. It's my blog.... deal with it.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I write this yet another year older... my birthday was this past weekend, and while it wasn't a big blowout, it didn't need to be. More and more, I really appreciate the concept of 'low-key'. Thank you to everyone who sent wishes (and swag!).
Not much to add to current events - when you're on the cusp of choosing between The Future or The Past, snarky commentary, though helpful, ultimately means NOTHING. This is The Dark Night of the Soul for The American Nation and it literally is a case of either choosing to Look Forward and make our Future; or (continuing) to Look Backwards and hope that things will work out fine until The Rapture occurs...
It's fairly evident which side I'm on...
I'd put heads on sticks to make this country great. Guess whose heads?
Recent viewing has included ROAD HOUSE - no, not the Swayse movie! Expand your horizons, kids!! I, of course, mean the VASTLY SUPERIOR 40's noir with Richard Widmark & Ida Lupino... SINGING. If you haven't heard of it, check it out.
I also went through the JOHN FROM CINCINNATI set - I'd been wanting to see the series since its debut on HBO, where it was pretty much killed by the ire of pissed off DEADWOOD fans and blown off by critics who might've helped put in a good word for the show to be discovered by the larger public.
Or maybe not. JFC shares similarities to earlier David Milch created shows, but the whole is decidedly something not the norm for American television - magical realism combined with surfing, family function & dysfunction, Spirituality & the Nature of God, Art and it's uneasy alliance with Commerce, and Southern CA.
JFC is a rare slice of programming that is not quite like anything else you've seen, or will see - I was hungry for another season of episodes, but there's a lot that's satisfying in the 10 episodes in the set - more so than some shows can do in several seasons (*cough, HEROES, LOST, cough*).
Also in line to be watched, the second season of 30 DAYS, SQUARE PEGS, THE BOONDOCKS S2.
If the economy collapses, I may finally have some time to watch stuff again... in-between excursions to forage for survival.
Sometimes, you have to hit bottom, to be able to climb out the hole.... advice usually given to addicts and very apropos for a Nation addicted to Oil, Easy Solutions & Bullshit.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Regarding military experience and qualifications for Commander-In-Chief... is a man with no military experience any less qualified than a man whose primary defining military experience was being captured and held as a Prisoner-Of-War for many years?
I think this ends up as a draw...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I posted the RHUBARB PIE photos... so time for what's been going on recently, if anyone's interested. As I've remarked earlier, I tend to have to go back into the 'real' world to make a living. The last few years, since 2004 have been pretty good - usually, if there's one feature a year, that's a good year of work - two is practically a windfall. Last year looked really promising, with 4 possible films on the table -- but of those 4, only LAST BREATH and THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN actually got off the ground. The infamous NEVER SUBMIT bit the dust, and left a lot of bad feelings, and NAILBITER continues in a holding pattern.
So, no surprise that when the well starts running dry, you have to fall back on what you know... in this case, temp work - customer service, actually. And a chance to be able to finish a few projects in addition to keeping the bills paid. So, that's pretty much where the last month went - most of August spent in training, then unleashed onto the public before Labor Day.
As far as who I work for, that is to be hidden - I personally don't have a problem with saying who, but there are things as nondisclosure agreements; not to mention the fact that Eyes Are Everywhere.
Hey! Here's a mind puzzle -- Who REALLY hates thieves? EVEN BIGGER THIEVES.
Chew over that for a bit... of course nothing should be inferred by that interesting puzzle... heaven forbid.
all of that 9-5 drastically cut into time spent editing, creating subtitles, and generally watching stuff. So, did some time restructuring, and that always (at least for me) takes a few weeks to really kick into feeling comfortable.
Slogged through several sets of TV DVD -- last I left off, I was in the midst of the mega-set of LAND OF THE GIANTS, which I finally finished off. I find that there's not very much to add to my previous comments, other than it probably may be Irwin Allen's most consistent series (hight praise indeed, for IA shows). Towards the end, it starts to veer into more fantastical subject matter, with dimensional businessmen (Jonathan Harris, being relatively restrained), lost underground civilizations, time travellers (one pair being Bruce Dern and Yvonne Craig!), but it does avoid the silliness that usually befell later seasons of IA's shows, so watching the series wasn't quite as cringe inducing as watching LOST IN SPACE can be.
Another fun set was THE EQUALIZER S1, the 80's chestnut of ex-C.I.A. agent Edward Woodward 'equalizing the odds' for regular people terrorized by criminal elements in and around the New York area. The writing was very good for the show (holding up really well some 20 years later), as well as the acting -- a fun bit of watching old shows is spotting present day stars who were starting out at the time -- you'll see glimpses of Luis Guzman, Bradley Whitford (as a rural tough), Jasmine Guy (as a hooker); lots of 80's fashions & hairstyles.
But the main character is NYC B.G. (Before Guiliani) - THIS is the New York I grew up on, a place of awe and terror, where you could be eaten alive as well as drawn into the welcoming bosum... maybe both.
I also found ELEVENTH HOUR at the local library... you may have seen ads for the show on your televison over the past few weeks. You won't be surprised to learn that, yes, it's based on a show originally broadcast in Britain (as is more and more of our programming - LIFE IN MARS is another, and just wait for another attempt at an American DR. WHO. NBC is bucking this trend by basing one of its new sitcoms on an AUSTRALIAN series). The original British show starred Patrick Stewart, as government scientist Ian Hood who's called in to investigate cases that usually involve some perversion of science. The show is more of a thriller than science-fiction (with roots in a British show from the early 70's called DOOMWATCH), and it is good, albeit a bit dry... drier than you'd think with a show created by a writer for DR. WHO and with Stewart. Trekkers beware - if you're looking for a variation of his Picard character, look elsewhere. It was good to see what the original show was like - I think I have a pretty good idea what changes will be made for the American version (more contemporary music and a definite lack of ambiguity, I suspect.)
Currently checking out JOHN FROM CINCINNATI, David Milch's departure from DEADWOOD. I'm a 1/3rd into the series, and I suspect that this will become known as one of the most notorious missed opportunities that the public and critics had to support a show. It's definitely one of the most surreal shows created for American television... maybe a little more about this later, when I've finished it, but if you haven't seen this, rent a copy and check it out. Yeah, it ain't DEADWOOD, but it's not supposed to be. It's surfing and spirituality and Southern California.
... and that pretty much brings us to The Present.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I said that I'd post some pictures from the recent shoot when I could....
following are screen grabs (some excellent DP work by Todd Norris).
It's a short film featuring local KC area actors Jason Miller,
and Scott Cordes (from SUSPENSION).
Directed by Mitch Brian (on the R, next to Todd Norris, on L.
Not a frame-grab).
It was pretty good to work with both of them again... as I said before, the last time I'd worked with Mitch was on a short he did called STAY CLEAN, a few years back. He's been pretty busy with writing projects for awhile, so it was nostalgic to see the old gang back in action on set again.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
... but very busy at the new job that I just started in August, which is the main reason I haven't been updating. I also got a short film to work on, Rhubarb Pie, directed by KC screenwriter Mitch Brian (who I last worked with on the James Ellroy adaptation, STAY CLEAN way back when). So a lot of things got shoved aside or postponed.
I'm settling into the routine, so I'll post later in the week about the DVD's I was able to finish before getting back into the 9-5, and I'll put some RP production photos up too.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Random thoughts on THE CAR... (with soundtrack)
CAKE - "Satan Is My Motor"
If you added wheels to "JAWS", put it in the setting of "DUEL" and for added kicks, got Satan in the driver's seat, you'd probably come up with something close to THE CAR.
Derided as cheezy tv fodder for years, checking this out on DVD uninterrupted reveals a good - not great, but a damn good old-school B movie that they can't seem to be able to make nowadays.
It helps to have a star, too...
Looking like the eviler cousin of The Green Hornetmobile, it's quite easy to picture the heart attack you'd have if you looked in your rear view mirror and saw THAT on your tail. Worse than seeing the truck from DUEL heading your way.
THE CAR was written by Dennis Shryock and Michael Butler, the duo responsible for THE GUANTLET, another wonky exercise in vehicular action. There's lots of nice character stuff going on in the film... not much of it pays off to anything, but it does give a nice veneer of realism, so that when the deaths occur, they're pretty shocking.
The film was directed by Elliot Silverstein, known also for the films CAT BALLOU and A MAN CALLED HORSE, and the Twilight Zone episode, "The Obsolete Man" with Burgess Meredith and Fritz Weaver.
EddieMaxCarnage put this together: The Car and IRON MAIDEN - a match made in HELL
If you got together THE CAR with the truck from DUEL, CHRISTINE, and the Green Goblin semi from MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, you've got a tailor made sequel for Nascar Nation.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Not a lot going on as we enter the Dog Days of Summer... sorry.
As far as film work is concerned, I have a few days on a short that a friend is shooting in August - another project I was on is currently in limbo after shooting for two days... and it looks like I won''t be landing any feature this summer. But that's how it goes in this line of work - the last cycle was at the end of the 90's where I had a lot of work from '97-'00 and didn't do any features until 2004.
I head back into the world of 'real jobs' in August -- answering phones, 'business casual' - yeah, I know, but money needs to be saved up for various things, and benefits need to be taken advantage of while they're there.
So... I'm back to living in the '90's. I usually don't go for the retro thing.
(thanx to Jon for the title; it actually should be the heading for this blog.)
In honor of ComicCon (which I've never gone to), and to provide the pop/geek culture links that I occasionally indulge, here's a postcard design for SERENITY ROSE, a comic that I've been enjoying for a bit.
Being allergic to BatHype, I haven't seen THE DARK KNIGHT yet, though I will at some point when BatHysteria has subsided - and will catch up with some other summer fare (HELLBOY 2, WALL E) also.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Last Monday was the Lawrence screening of AIR, the musical by Jeremy Osbern & Chris Blunk of ThroughAGlass Productions.
Enjoy some very murky QT video of them answering questions about the film, along with actor Ian Stark.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Spinning recently - having gone through the Bava Box 2, I'm now attempting to mop up on the rest of the unseen Bava films via Netflix. BLOOD AND BLACK LACE is one of the more famous, being mentioned as one of the forerunners of the giallo films. I can't say that I'm a big fan of the giallo genre, but I find myself liking the forerunners quite a bit -- BABL is very stylish, and was very enjoyable to watch for being an early 'body count' movie.
Followed that up with a much more obscure Bava, THE WHIP AND THE BODY, presented in its fully restored version. Released in the U.S. heavily cut and under the title WHAT!, THE WHIP AND THE BODY plays out as a gothic romance with heavy doses of S&M, and with more than a whiff of Hammer Films ambiance - that due to the presence of Christopher Lee as the lead, with Daliah Levi as the female lead... and probably lot to the kinkiness (rather mild for the time -- but it is fully there.)
Having seen quite a bit of Mario Bava films in the past 2 years, I have to say that I've yet to be bitterly disappointed with anything - even the weaker films at least deliver on being entertaining. Coming up soon will be ERIK THE CONQUEROR and A HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON.
Also through Netflix is a big television series I've been waiting to see for sometime, especially since getting the complete series is a hefty $200 price tag. I grew up on Irwin Allen shows, and the one I remember seeing during its first broadcast (and in syndication several times since) is LAND OF THE GIANTS, which lasted 2 years on ABC in the late 60's.
The complete series (along with a bunch of nifty collectors items) is on 9 discs, all flippers, so that's 18 sides with six episodes per disc! A pretty hefty watching commitment, but I'm not really doing anything else at the moment...
LOTG is sort of a combination of LOST IN SPACE with GILLIGAN'S ISLAND played as serious drama. Set in the early 80's, a transorbital flight from the U.S. to London gets sucked into some sort of cosmic storm, and they emerge in a world which is a lot like the contemporary 1960's, only larger. Their ship is damaged, and the show plays out in their attempts to survive and avoid capture by the giants.
Being an Irwin Allen show, it delivers pretty well on the visual side - but as things progress, silliness will ensue, although there doesn't seem to be a lot of it as things start out. And, unlike most of the IA shows, this one has enough meat to it to be rather interesting - once you get over the whole thing of 'scientific accuracy' - but then, Jonathan Swift was able to accomplish that.
Discs 2 & 3 (Disc 1 with the pilot and 5 other eps is listed as being in 'very long wait' - having waited for these to queue up since late last year, I can attest that Netflix doesn't lie) get me pretty close to the halfway point of the first year of the show, and being an adventure fantasy of the 60's, it sticks to formula pretty consistently... most of the main plot is wrapped up by the end of the hour (50-52 minutes without commercials) - but there are intriguing nuggets dropped along the way and it'll be fun to see what gets developed and what gets forgotten.
It's established that the government in the Giant world is a fascistic one; and that humans ("little people" as they're referred to in the show) have been a consistent presence that the government attempts to control. It's also well established that the Giants are technologically about 50 years behind humans, which also feeds into the government's desire to capture them. The government, represented by police, and in some episodes (1 in the batch that I've watched) by the head of an organization called the S.I.D., Inspector Kobick (played by Kevin Hagen, who may be more familiar as the friendly doctor on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE -- he ain't friendly in this show.) And with so many 'little people' they're encountering, why doesn't it occur to any of them to band together and network?
The show had a big following in Eastern Europe - gee, wonder why?
There's rich material, moreso than for the usual fantasy adventure show... if the writers were more savvier, one could imagine a show that would walk that tightrope of political commentary/satire, and of giving the kids their monster fix, all under the noses of The Powers That Be...
But, one realizes that NO ONE has EVER done a faithful adaptation of Swift's GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, and Irwin Allen is NOTHING like Patrick McGoohan, no matter how much I can twist my mind into what could have been... although I'm not a fan of remakes, LOTG has enough material to mine where someone could re-imagine it as that type of a show.
Ah well... despite all of that, I'm having a fun time with the show, so far --
Also fun is THE MR. MOTO SERIES, Vols. 1 & 2. Mr. Moto is a long running mystery series character of the early part of the 20th Century, sort of the Japanese counterpart to the Chinese Charlie Chan. A popular film series was made of Chan, and likewise, Mr. Moto got the same treatment - 8 films were made in the late 1930's with Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto.
Before you go, "Wha...?" -- this sort of thing was quite the norm in Hollywood, sort of an early "Connery Casting" in which people would play different ethnic groups from their own. It's all over the place in the MOTO films, although Lorre does a great job with the character, who is one of the few 'good' guys that he ever portrayed.
Lorre makes the character his own, and one of the things about it is, for a good guy, Moto seems to be quite at home in the grey areas. He's a master of disguise, is usually the smartest one in the room and knows how to play dumb, a master of judo (there's the usual rough and tumble action in these things) -- and claims to detect as "a hobby". You're not really sure who Mr. Moto is.
This also helps in watching the films - not at all 'politically correct' (though I've yet to encounter anything really overt), it's well established that the white characters - the dashing young man, and the girl he falls in love with, all members of the upper class, of course - are not the brightest bulbs in the room.
The films hold up very well - usually just over an hour, so they move things along - and the extras are fascinating - featurettes about the producer and director of the MOTO series, as well as an interview with Lorre's stunt double, who worked with him throughout the whole series and on other films.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This is my first time participating in The Final Girl Film Club (part of Stacy Ponder's wonderful blog - lots of commentary on horror films, the occasional interview, and a continuing webseries, GHOSTELLA'S HAUNTED TOMB - dammit, go check it out now!), so I will hopefully keep the quality high.
I'm also somewhat lazy, as the film chosen for the month was one that I'd already seen and commented on a couple of years ago on my blog... although looking back at it, I spent a lot more time with its counterpart film; very entertaining, but it does go somewhat off-topic for our purposes today.
So... LIFEFORCE. Here's a good portion of my original intro:
POLTERGEIST was supposed to have elevated director Tobe Hooper from the muck of "horror director" into the A-list of directors - it had all of the right elements - a good cast, lots and lots of special effects and a story that was a thrill-a-minute roller coaster ride -- that it all really didn't make a whole lot of sense when you sat down and analyzed it was immaterial to an audience wanting to have the crap scared out of it. POLTERGEIST made tons of money in the Summer of '82, but it didn't do a thing for Hooper - the project was produced by Steven Spielberg (some would allege, creatively directed by him) and since the film used major elements of Spielberg's oevure, Spielberg got most of the credit for the picture's success and Hooper got the end of a buzzsaw.
When Hooper entered into a deal with Cannon Pictures, the first film he made "could" be seen as a response to the POLTERGEIST experience - a sci-fi/horror picture freed from the cuddly restraints of Spielberg, yet could function on that grand scale (distinguished cast, a thrill-ride story, and - again - lots and lots of State Of The Art effects)...
That was LIFEFORCE.
And the general audience at the time promptly responded, "What the Fuck?!", apparently not ready for an adaptation of Colin Wilson's THE SPACE VAMPIRES done as a slightly tongue-in-cheek homage to Hammer Studios' brand of grand scale sci-fi horror, with lots of sexual subtext, and best of all, French actress Matilda May making her American movie debut as a hot alien babe sucking the life out of people and traipsing around naked for the first 1/3rd of the movie.
So, what's not to like about this film?
Taking a recent look at it, one finds a hell of a lot to admire about it, beyond the obvious. First of all, the movie is serious. By "serious", I mean that the filmmakers never wink knowingly at the audience, no matter how absurd the situations appear... especially since there is a lot of sexual content and nudity in the film. They pretty much get as much bang for the buck as far as nudity goes, but it really doesn't register as gratuitous...
I do say that there is a certain tongue-in-cheek quality, but that goes to the type of filmmaking - If you've seen a lot of Hammer Films, you'll recognize it - from the look of the cinematography, to the lushness of Henry Mancini's score (seemingly a strange choice, but it makes sense when you learn that Mancini cut his teeth making music for some of the famous '50's monster movies like IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE...). Fans of Nigel Kneale's QUATERMASS series may also get a warm feeling, since the movie is pretty much a Quatermass story gone giddy.
That also extends to the acting, with most of the British cast playing the story as high drama, and Steve Railsback chewing up the scenery as he portrays a man in the throes of sexual obsession attempting to save the world - the best scene he has is with a pre-STAR TREK Patrick Stewart in one of the most twisted interrogation scenes put on film.
The special effects, pre-CGI and state-of-the-art for 1985, still hold up nicely onscreen.
(And, I'm assuming that if you're watching this on DVD, then you're watching the original, international cut of the film. For release in America, the movie was slightly altered - restructuring the beginning sequence and adding more SPFX corpses as London begins to feel the effects of the invasion. As far as I'm aware, that version is only on VHS.)
LIFEFORCE goes places where not many mainstream horror films would dare, for fear of being just too out there... well, I think one has attempted and, like LIFEFORCE, will eventually get its due. It's probably the best of Hooper's 80s films (followed by TCM:2, and THE FUNHOUSE), but its crash and burn at the box office, pretty much ensured that it'd be awhile before Hooper worked at that level again.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The Chutry Experiment posts about Bunker Hill's ACLU screening - and has some good things to say; also, David Henderson weighs in with some praise on his blog.
Thanks to Laura Kirk for providing the links.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Well, the big plaything for the month has been rediscovering Facebook - and watching others discover it too.
the following is from the blog The Savage Art - if you've been following the recent verbal smackfights between Clint Eastwood/Spike Lee and Herzog/Ferrara, you'll find it amusing.
Not much going on, other than the usual movie watching and general life around the house - although I will be working on a short film this weekend. More on that next time.
AIR screens at Liberty Hall in Lawrence this Monday, June 16. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a good opportunity. If you need convincing... well, Jon Niccum's article might help - or maybe this interview with director/co-writer Jeremy Osbern; or maybe these recommendations in ink and The Pitch might help in your decision.
Look for new posts over on the sister blog, Music-Snob, soon.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Things are a happenin' with some recent films I had some involvement in...
First off, BUNKER HILL:
ACLU OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AREA
TO HOST WASHINGTON, DC SCREENING OF
KEVIN WILLMOTT’S NEW FEATURE FILM
6:30PM, THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2008
UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AUDITORIUM
KANSAS GOVERNOR KATHLEEN SEBELIUS TO INTRODUCE THE FILM
PANEL DISCUSSION ON CIVIL LIBERTIES IN POST-9/11 AMERICA TO FOLLOW
WASHINGTON, DC -- Bunker Hill, the new, politically-charged independent feature film from director Kevin Willmott (CSA: Confederate States of America) will have an exclusive screening at the University of the District of Columbia’s Main Auditorium on Thursday, June 12, 2008, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of the National Capital Area. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will appear, and a panel discussion on Civil Liberties in Post-9/11 America will follow the screening.
The film stars Emmy and Peabody Award winner James McDaniel (NYPD Blue, Sunshine State); Saeed Jaffrey the legendary actor from India who has starred in more than 150 films including Gandhi, Passage to India, My Beautiful Launderette and The Man Who Would Be King; and Laura Kirk, star and co-writer of the acclaimed feature film Lisa Picard is Famous, which premiered at The Cannes Film Festival.
Bunker Hill is the story of a former Wall Street executive who leaves prison and heads for the small town of Bunker Hill, Kansas, where his ex-wife and their children have started a new life. Soon after he arrives, an apparent massive terrorist attack against America darkens the town. Cut off from the world, the town’s militant past is reawakened and forces coalesce to protect citizens from an unseen enemy. The town’s fear leads to the creation of a posse of gunmen, resulting in torture, illegal searches and eventually, murder.
"The America we live in today is very different from the America we lived in on September 11, 2001. The differences I speak of are the things Americans are doing to themselves, not the terrible things done by those wanting to do harm to this Country. We can rebuild the icons of democracy --- the Twin Towers are being reconstructed; the Pentagon has been restored; the grass on the side of that Hill in Pennsylvania has grown back --- yet, democracy itself is far more fragile. It is not easily rebuilt and restored. Democracy and freedom must not become casualties in the War on Terror. This great film reminds us of that," said Johnny Barnes, executive director of the ACLU of the National Capital Area.
“When writing fiction, you always hope that you’re on to something that reflects what is actually going on in the world,” says Willmott. “Bunker Hill tells a pretty wild story that is amazingly close to what has really happened to us since 9/11, right up to the current presidential election campaign.”
Also appearing in the film are: Broadway, television and film star Kevin Geer (American Gangster); Blake Robbins, from the HBO series Oz; Scott Allegrucci, (Chicago Hope, The Feud), singer / songwriter Kelley Hunt; Ranjit Arab; and Christopher Wheatley. Kelley Hunt co-wrote the film’s musical score with Nathan Towns and performs the original song “Mountain To Move.” The soundtrack also includes music by Pat Metheny.
After returning to Kansas from NYU Film School, Kevin Willmott began writing, first for the stage, and then for television and film. His film CSA: Confederate States Of America premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Presented by Spike Lee and IFC Films, the movie generated critical acclaim during its theatrical runs in the US and Europe. Willmott’s screenplays have been commissioned by Oliver Stone, 20th Century Fox and others. He co-wrote the NBC mini-series The 70’s with Mitch Brian. Ninth Street, a feature film starring Martin Sheen and Isaac Hayes, co-starred and was written, produced and co-directed by Willmott. He is currently in post production on a new feature, The Only Good Indian, written by Thomas L. Carmody and starring Wes Studi (Avatar, Last of the Mohicans).
Willmott directed Bunker Hill from a script he wrote with Greg Hurd. Matt Jacobson (CSA, Bukowski: Born To This) is the Director of Photography. Willmott also produced the film, along with Matt Cullen, Greg Hurd and Scott Richardson. Thomas L. Carmody is the Executive Producer.
For information on the screening:
Free admission, but seating is limited. To confirm a ticket:
Johnny.Barnes@ACLU-NCA.org or Beverly@ACLU-NCA.org
For information about the film:
SUPSENSION should be in stores now and is available online.
Some recent press:
KCUR interview with actor Scott Cordes
Fox 4 'Screening Room' segment
AIR will screen in Lawrence, KS on Monday, June 16
the Newton Kansan
Friday, May 30, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Hope that you enjoyed the holiday...
Not much going on - the website for THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN has finally gone live with content; and the BUNKER HILL site has some minor tweaks added.
The summer movie season has started - and ironically, I have very little interest in the films being released. I'm sure at some point, they'll be viewed, but as far as rushing out with the crowds to see them - meh. I'm tired of remakes and comic adapts (although I'll hold out for the WATCHMAN movie); and I frankly don't give a damn about seeing Indiana Jones twenty years later.
Finally got my hands on the Bava Box Vol. 2 and have been spending the last week and a half going through that set. I've also been gearing up for a serious examination of the works of Ken Russell and Andrej Zulawski.
I guess one qualifies as 'geezer' when watching good movies encourages you to stay home rather than venture out into the theatre. Come to think of it, the last time that I was involved in regular gatherings of like-minded film watchers was during college - there was very little arthouse cinema at Carbondale, IL at the time (mid-1980's), save for one semester where the SAC did eclectic programming interspersed with horror films like TEXAS CHAINSAW, DAWN OF THE DEAD -- where it was promptly discontinued the following semester due to not drawing in enough revenue.
Now, when most anyone with a DVD player can program their own repertory selection, I guess it makes interesting experiments like the late A/V CLUB -- SCREENLAND FREAKSHOW almost quaint. Added to the fact that there were - and are - few within my ever shrinking circle of acquaintances, who even register that there's entire worlds of film to explore. While some may enjoy gathering around the monitor to enjoy the work of Adam Sandler and who hate to tire themselves out reading subtitles, I don't count myself among their ranks.
Don't I sound just 'too cool for the room'? It's my curse...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Thought I'd slipped through time, and had gone back to April 1st. BUT IT'S NO JOKE.Nic Cage to star in 'Bad Lieutenant' Werner Herzog directing updated version of film
By DAVE MCNARY, PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Nicolas Cage will star in an updated version of 1992's "Bad Lieutenant" with Werner Herzog directing, Edward R. Pressman producing and Avi Lerner's Nu Image/Millennium Films financing.
Project, also called "Bad Lieutenant," is due to be announced at Cannes. Production will start in late summer.
The original pic, produced by Pressman, starred Harvey Keitel and was directed by Abel Ferrara from a screenplay by Ferrara and Zoe Lund.
Story followed the depraved New York police officer of the title, who was heavily involved in drugs, gambling, sex and stealing; the pic received an NC-17 rating.
The new script's penned by Billy Finkelstein, a TV writer with credits on "Murder One," "Law & Order" and "NYPD Blue." Stephen Belafonte, who brought Finkelstein to the project, is also producing, while development was financed by producers Alan and Gabe Polsky.
Along with Lerner, Nu Image/Millennium's Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson will exec produce with Elliot Rosenblatt and Alessandro Camon. Randall Emmett and Cage's Saturn Films are also producing.
Cage is filming "Knowing" in Australia for director Alex Proyas. Herzog's expected to follow "Bad Lieutenant" with Focus' "The Piano Tuner" late this year.
I dunno... it's totally crazy - crazy enough to work? Who knows? Checking out the video above (DEFINITELY NOT WORK SAFE), and trying to picture Nic Cage in the role...
Maybe they can hire Schooly-D to do a rap about bees. This could be a total train wreck or the mind roasting film of the year.
Monday, May 05, 2008
The guys over at ThroughAGlass Productions, Chris Blunk & Jeremy Osbern, have screenings of their feature length musical, "AIR", coming up this month:
The Fox Theatre, Newton, KS - Saturday, May 10
The Wichita Orpheum, Wichita, KS - Saturday, May 31
They'll have more news about more screenings, and how to obtain your own copy of AIR, over at their site. If you have the chance to see it, I highly recommend doing so.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Just got this in - for those who may have missed the BUNKER HILL screening in March, it will open in a limited engagement at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS starting on May 9.
This is the opening salvo in BH's release, which the filmmakers are handling themselves -
as reported by Jon Niccum of the Lawrence Journal-World:
Filmmakers forge distribution network
Lawrence filmmaker Kevin Willmott came to this realization: “Nobody cares about your film more than you do.”
And Willmott learned it the hard way after his second feature, “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” was bought by a major distributor ... and the company didn’t quite know what to do with it.
“Filmmakers have this romanticized reality with distributors. ‘If I could just sell my movie to so and so, I will have finally arrived. I will have made it.’ That’s just not true,” he says
So Willmott decided to launch his own company in order to distribute independent, socially relevant and specialty films.
Micheaux Motion Pictures — named after pioneering black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) — intends on using a hybrid model of placing its films in a network of theaters throughout the country, in addition to in-house DVD sales and barnstorming appearances by cast and crew.
The company will launch its first project today, when Willmott’s own “Bunker Hill” begins an engagement at Liberty Hall, 644 Mass.
“This is not a new idea for me,” he says, admitting he was inspired by the recording industry after established musical acts began to take personal control of their recordings.
He says, “It’s the hole in the independent film chain. You get the money on your own, you do all these things on your own, then in the end when it’s done, you sit around and go, ‘Well boss, are you gonna call?’”
Willmott is joined in Micheaux Motion Pictures by local writer/producers Tom Carmody, Greg Hurd and Scott Richardson. They settled on the Micheaux name (which is in the public domain) after working with the family of the legendary artist.
“It’s in honor of Michaeux obviously, and this is what he did at a time far more difficult than now,” Willmott says.
Next month the company will screen “Bunker Hill” at the ACLU headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“The independent filmmaker has to be proactive,” he says. “You can’t become this passive person waiting for someone to get it. Your job is to get it to the audience.”
So, it appears that BUNKER will make its way through the country for the rest of the year...
will keep up to date with it as information becomes available.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Still in the midst of job hunting... not that unusual for the time of year for me - I bounce back and forth between The Real World of Job and film freelancing since I got my foot in the proverbial door -- an uneasy balance, but one I've had to maintain. Since the bulk of my work is usually in features, I , of course, live in a place where there's lots of it... well, if I work for free, that is. But that would be true even if I lived in an industry area, to gauge by ads on Mandy.com and Craigslist.
And I just have not managed to make any inroads into the commercial/corporate video world... a bone every now and then, but nothing to rely on. Then again - the few commercial jobs I have done did pay better, but I can't say that I've ever seen the final result, nor do I really care to. And as I've mentioned before, when I've decided to go all out on the freelance route, it usually results in long, painful periods of cash deprivation. Such is the dichotomy that is My Life.
It has allowed me to catch up on DVD watching, however - one small glistening jewel in the dung mountain. A good part of April was spent watching the films of Seijun Suzuki - mainly his later period films, three of which are considered The Taisho Trilogy - ZIGEUNERWEISEN, KAGERO-ZA and YUMEJI. All three films are set in the 1920s and although all three are different, the best way to describe them would be Japanese Arthouse with supernatural overtones weaving throughout. Most of the Suzuki films I'm familar with are the yakuza films he did in the 60's that people rave about (quite rightly) - these three are quite different in tone, although there are visual touches that remind one of some of that early work. The films are also quite long - two and a half hours, and leisurely paced. Not being Japanese, I'm quite sure there's a lot going on that I'm missing, but there are interesting touches that made the watching experience rewarding. The Trilogy is available on Netflix - if you're into Japanese film, it's worth adding them to your queue.
Just watched recently was the new DVD release of Terry Gilliam's THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN - previously available in a bare bones release, this 2-disc Special Edition finally does justice to the film in a format that's readily available to everyone. MUNCHAUSEN's previous Special Edition was a Criterion Collection laserdisc that had a commentary by Gilliam and was packed with lots of extras - but it was hard to find and pretty pricey on eBay... not to mention that you had to have a laserdisc player!
The new release from Sony is about as cool as the Criterion release - it doesn't port Gilliam's original commentary from that set; instead, it features a new commentary by Gilliam done in tandem with co-writer/actor Charles McKeown, and it's a pretty good one... both sort of bounce things off of each other, and it's entertaining. Gilliam is one of the few directors who does great commentaries, and it's better when he has someone to play off of (like his commentary for TIDELAND, done with writer Tony Grisoni.)
The second disc has an hour and a half documentary on the Munchausen Saga - all of the main players are heard from, and it's as entertaining as the main feature. Some of the material from the Criterion laserdisc is used here, such as location video, but in truncated form. Also from the laserdisc are four deleted scenes (but without commentary), and a presentation of storyboards of scenes that had to be eliminated from the script, due to budget and time contraints. On the laserdisc, these were accompanied by Gilliam's explanation of the scenes, but for this release, they do something even better: Gilliam and McKeown aurally act out the storyboards as they're presented.
For fans of the film and of Gilliam, this is a release that's been long overdue, since the Criterion release never got to DVD format... still be nice to have it, but there's not much to be disappointed with the Sony release (also on Blu-Ray). Now it would be great if they'd do the same with THE FISHER KING, whose Special Edition is only available (as of yet) on Criterion laserdisc.
Looking around, I just discovered the following, scheduled to be released this August:
Hopefully, I'll be able to afford it, if I'm working by summer.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Well, first - ACADEMY OF DOOM!... there was a good turnout at the KC premiere. Quite a few of the guys from Mizzou came over - Chip, the director couldn't make it, due to being in Southern MO with a class, but we did hear him via phone just prior to the screening.
So, how was it? Happily, I can say that I was thoroughly entertained - I did get to see a very early and rough assembly of it about a year and a half ago, and though you could tell there was a movie there, it was going to require a lot of shaping - and Robert Swope, the editor, was up to the challenge. The movie was a lot of fun to watch (definitely 2/5ths of whiskey -- 3 bong hit movie), and it'll be interesting what the luchador crowd will make of it. The film should be making the festival rounds later in the year, along with its companion film MIL MASCARAS: RESURRECTION. (Both will debut at the RioFan festival in Rio DeJaneiro that starts next week - playing with SONG OF THE DEAD!)
more SUSPENSION activity - especially if you're in the L.A. area June 1 [per co-director Ethan Shaftel]:
At 7:30pm on Sunday, June 1st, to kick off the DVD release,
SUSPENSION will have its public LA premiere at Norris Theater on USC
campus. This is a special treat for many of us involved with the
movie that attended USC Cinema. And to top it off, we'll be having a
nice Q and A session afterwards with our local USC alumi (and our
lead actress and co-director thrown in for good measure!) available
to answer questions: star Annie Tedesco, writer/producer Aris
Blevins, producer Kevin Obsatz, Director of Photography Ben Van
Cleave, Editors Hillel Aron and Meg Decker, sound designer/mixer
Kevin Roache, and co-directors Alec Joler and myself.
Tickets are FREE to everyone, and there should be ample seating to
bring whomever you like! Also, Norris Theater has AMAZING picture
and sound and ridiculously comfortable seats. Make reservations here.
We got probably our best review yet the other day at
eFilmCritic.com. ; I'm sure you'll be seeing
quotes from this review on our future posters! And finally, If you
have a chance, check out our slick new website, designed by Team A
Design. Our DVD Presale will start in two weeks, where
you can pre-order your special SIGNED copy! More info soon...
If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.
Currently, I'm working on articles for the next MICRO-FILM issue, and slowly
tweaking a documentary on my desktop, while waiting around for word of the next job.
Which is... well, who knows? Last year at this time, I was on one film, and looking
at having 3 projects to keep me busy and solvent - of those, TOGI was the only one
of the three that actually shot -- NEVER SUBMIT (or as I know it, NEVER COMMIT) kept
getting pushed back, and eventually bit the dust in the summer; the other film is
still in limbo, and may possibly shoot this summer - or it may not.
As much as I love what I do, it's an extremely inconstant line of work - at least in NE KS.
You might take a peek to the right to see a new link - SCRIPT GODDESS, a blog
I recently discovered by a script supervisor who writes a lot more elequently
about the job we do.
I still plan to do that last print zine issue, about my adventures in film...
maybe sooner than I think.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Mil Mascaras taking care of business
The time is ripe for KS/MO indies to finally see the light of day... just got word that this film (originally titled WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE BRAINIAC) will debut at this year's KC Jubilee on Friday, April 18. You can check the Jubilee site for more info, once it's posted - the screening time is 11pm at the Tivoli theatre.
Here's the blub:
ACADEMY OF DOOM weaves a complex storyline involving mysterious characters and stolen brains. Shot in the psychotronic style of the no-budget Mexican “lucha” films of the early 1970s, this film tells the story of a series of bizarre murders at a famous wrestling women's academy. Appearing in a featured role is the legendary luchador, Mil Mascaras. The film was produced as an exercise in the use of technology for filmmaking by the Department of Computer Science, in the College of Engineering, at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Many of the supporting actors are MU students--who also participated in varied crew and post-production capacities.
This was directed by Chip Gubera, who did SONG OF THE DEAD - I'd worked with Chip several times before, and I was familiar with Mexican Lucha films... it was irresistible. I'm curious how the finished product will play, but if you like your movies with girls in wrestling masks, wrestling action, brain-sucking monsters, girls with flamethrowers, ninjas and dwarf assassins with jetpacks, you'll more than likely have a good time with it.
Alcohol and other substances are strictly optional.
I have to admit the jetpack assassin is what made me sign on... and the flamethrower girls were icing on the cake.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Liberty Hall marquee 3/29/08
Well, I think that it was successful... there was an excellent turnout; the 7:30 screening sold out, which prompted a second screening at 10pm... and judging from audience reaction, they seemed to get the film. So it was a very gratifying experience -- as it always is, to see the finished product after so much hard work, and to see that it WORKS, and as well as you pictured it... and I'm just a cog in the wheel. The guys below should be feeling the same, x 1000.
Kevin Willmott and Greg Hurd, BUNKER HILL co-writers
Of course, now comes the other part - selling the movie and getting it out there for the public to see, which if the public does in droves, will make EVERYBODY happy - especially potential investors for the next film.
BUNKER HILL plays out as a solid piece of entertainment, which has a bit more to offer the audience to think about, well after the lights come up and everyone heads up the aisles... It's a contemporary take on The Western, with The Outsider coming into the community, everyone confronting a situation larger than themselves, allies and enemies forming, and rough justice being dispensed before the credits roll. Kevin and Greg's take on that genre archetype was to slyly subvert it in some ways, while still paying homage; and to do a social commentary on events in the country since 9/11 .
There will be a LOT of comparisons with JERICHO -- I guess if one thinks of it in terms of great minds thinking alike (DEEP IMPACT/ARMAGEDDON, INDEPENDENCE DAY/MARS ATTACKS, 1984/BRAZIL, etc.), rather than the uninformed and knee-jerk reaction of "ripoff", one will be able to appreciate different approaches to the same premise -- two big differences in the two is the riff on the Western that BH does, and that the events that are the catalyst for the story are much more ambiguous than in JERICHO -- mainly due that ambiguity is more accepted in a two hour movie than in a television show. Unless you happen to be J. J. Abrams; but that's another post - not necessarily this one, but...
Actually I think that fans of JERICHO will appreciate BUNKER HILL, if they're open to it and can get past the taste of the bitter pill, Cancellation.
I won't get too detailed in reviewing, since I'm obviously not a neutral party... but I think that people will enjoy the film once it's available. It's another step up the ladder for Willmott - and after BH gets out, then people should be ready for the next step up when THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN is finished. More about that later in the year... maybe.
Friday, March 28, 2008
James McDaniel and Scott Allegrucchi
About 24 hours from now, I'll be getting ready to sit down in anticipation of my first look at BUNKER HILL, over at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS.
I'll be bursting to share my thoughts afterwards (biased as they will be, as being part of the production crew)... until that time, you might want to check out some recent items:
The Lawrence JOURNAL-WORLD has an article by Jon Niccum in anticipation of tomorrow's premiere.
An audio interview with singer Kelly Hunt (who has a small role) and Kevin Willmott - you also can hear Kelly perform the song she wrote for the film.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
If you ever get into the "MaryAnn or Ginger" debate with a friend (and at some point, you will), here's some points towards MaryAnn...
Guess we know now why MaryAnn's cooking on the island was so popular...
Also, two guesses what Dawn and Bob Denver were up to between takes.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Just in from Ethan Shaftel co-director of SUSPENSION:
Our movie is finally ready for the public! This May,Sounds like it'll be a packed disc...
Home Video will release SUSPENSION on DVD, packed with special
features including a "Making of the Visual Effects" featurette,
commentary tracks, and deleted scenes. The DVD will be widely
available for rental and retail, but we've also retained the right to
sell it directly off our website.
Also, news about BUNKER HILL - the film will have its premiere in Lawrence, KS on March 29, 2008 at Liberty Hall at 7:30pm. Following is the press release by Charla Jenkins:
LAWRENCE---An advance screening of the newest Kevin Willmott feature film,
“Bunker Hill,” will launch a new support organization for the University of Kansas Film
Program. The first public showing of the film will follow a gala reception for Friends of
Film (KUFF) Saturday, March 29.
The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Big Six Room of the Eldridge Hotel, 701
Massachusetts, in downtown Lawrence. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Liberty Hall,
642 Massachusetts, across the street from the hotel.
Formation of KU Friends of Film, a companion organization to Friends of the
Theatre (FROTH), has been in the organizational stages for several months.
“The film area of the department felt that having an organization to support
students in their future film endeavors made sense,” explained Tamara Falicov,
associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Theatre and Film. “We are
growing in leaps and bounds—film now has 10 faculty members and film majors
abound. We hope that forming this new organization in partnership with community
members will provide future film studies and film production opportunities for KU
students in the forms of improved facilities and future scholarships for our
undergraduate and graduate students. We feel that raising awareness of the need for a
larger facility is necessary.”
Falicov added that premiering Willmott’s latest work as a KUFF event is
“Willmott's previous work has put KU Film on the map. He is a fantastic colleague
and one who is always working to support the aspirations of our film students. For this
reason it makes sense that he would offer to show his latest feature film in a special
advanced screening so the local community will have an opportunity to preview the
Willmott, associate professor of theatre and film at KU, finished filming “Bunker
Hill” late in 2007. Production began in May 2006 with footage of the wheat harvest shot
between Russell and Hays. Principal photography was shot over a five-week period in
several Kansas locations, including Lawrence, West Mineral, Sedan, Nortonville,
Topeka, and the actual Bunker Hill.
The independent film stars the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning actor James
McDaniel, who portrayed Lt. Arthur Fancy on the NBC-TV series, “NYPD Blue,” as well
as Saeed Jaffrey, a legendary Indian actor, who starred in more than 150 films,
including “Gandhi,” “Passage to India,” and “The Man Who Would Be King”; Laura Kirk,
a KU alumna, who co-wrote and starred in the feature film “Lisa Picard is Famous”;
Broadway, TV and film star Kevin Geer, whose credits include “American Gangster” and
“The Contender”; Blake Robbins, from the HBO series “Oz” and FOX-TV‘s “24”; Scott
Allegrucci, who appeared on “Chicago Hope” and “The Feud”; and local
singer/songwriter Kelley Hunt.
“Bunker Hill” is the story of a former Wall Street executive who leaves prison and
heads for the small town of Bunker Hill in Kansas, where his ex-wife and their children
have started a new life. Soon after he arrives, an apparent massive terrorist attack
against America darkens the town. Cut off from the world, the town’s militant past is
reawakened and forces coalesce to protect citizens from an unseen enemy. The town’s
fear leads to the creation of a posse of gunmen, resulting in torture, illegal searches,
and eventually, murder.
Filmmaker Willmott, a native of Junction City, attended Marymount College in
Salina and New York University Film School, and then began writing, first for the stage,
and then for TV and film. Willmott’s screenplays have been commissioned by Oliver Stone, 20th Century Fox and others, and he co-wrote the NBC mini-series, “The 70’s”
with Mitch Brian. “Ninth Street,” a feature film starring Martin Sheen and Isaac Hayes,
was written, produced, and co-directed by Willmott. “CSA: Confederate States Of
America,” written and directed by Willmott, premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film
Festival. He is currently in postproduction on a new feature, “The Only Good Indian,”
written by Thomas L. Carmody and starring Wes Studi.
Willmott directed “Bunker Hill” from a script he wrote with Greg Hurd. Matt
Jacobson, KU associate professor of theatre and film, whose credits include “CSA,”
Bukowski,” and “Born To This,” is the Director of Photography. Robert Hurst, assistant
professor of theatre and film, was responsible for the postproduction sound for the film.
Reservations for the reception, which has a $15 admission charge, can be made
through the KU Film Program at Oldfather Studios, 1621 W 9th Street, W. Ninth, Lawrence, KS 66044, or by calling 785-864-1340. General admission tickets for “Bunker Hill” are
available through the Liberty Hall Box Office for $15 for the public and $10 for students.
In other exciting news, more of my reviews have been posted over on the Micro-Film blog - hit the link on the right to check them out. Currently working on more, and on a couple of articles for the next issue coming up.