Fallbrook Film Festival, Awards Ceremony

Fallbrook Film Festival
The makers of Paper Dolls are interviewed by Fallbrook Film Factory.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Tao of the Traveler
Australian filmmaker Robin Ramsay, the producer of Tao of the Traveler, which was shot in Australia, New Zealand and India.

Chase Masterson, Tom Del Ruth, and James Kerwin
Chase Masterson, Tom Del Ruth, and James Kerwin.

Brent Gorcie

Brent Gorcie
Actor and filmmaker, Brent Gorcie of Encinitas.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Tom Del Ruth A.S.C. and Linda Mandrayer
Tom Del Ruth A.S.C. receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Del Ruth is a cinematographer and worked on Clint Eastwood’s Outlaw Jose Wales, Stand By Me, The Mighty Ducks, The Breakfast Club, Look Who’s Talking and The West Wing. The award was presented by Linda Mandrayer.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Dean LeCrone
Dean LeCrone, of Dean LeCrone vs. The Mutants of Comic-Con.

Bryan Nest
Bryan Nest’s film, The Vaudevillian was named Best Narrative Short.

Craig and Lisa James
Craig and Lisa James after winning the Director’s Choice Award for their film, Defying Gravity.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival, Tattered Angel

Fallbrook Film Festival

Flo Villane
Outside the theater, Flo Villane is interviewed by Fallbrook Film Factory about Fallbrook High’s new film program.

Jack Ragland
Fallbrook artist, Jack Ragland.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Tattered Angel is on the surface a story about the disappearance of an eleven-year-old girl – but ironically the last person to see her before she vanished, is a man racked by grief and guilt over the abduction and murder of his eleven-year-old sister, when he was a small boy. Adding to his troubles is a steady stream of alcohol, and between his grief over his sister’s death and his mother’s more recent death, he starts to hallucinate and the lines between the two disappearances blur – and soon he’s not sure what he saw – which of course puts him in a difficult situation with the police. But even more pressing than the threat of being blamed for the disappearance, is his need to separate reality from memory – and he ignores the directive from a police officer to stay out of it, and launches himself into the mystery full force.

Duffy Hudson wrote, produced and stars in the film, and Linda Carter of Wonder Woman fame has a supporting role as the missing girl’s mother.

Duffy Hudson

Duffy Hudson at a Q&A session after the screening, sharing how he took his initial story idea and first fashioned it into a theater workshop production in New York City, which featured Brooke Shields, and then let the material evolve into a feature film.

Fallbrook Film Festival, Tom Del Ruth, A.S.C.

Tom Del Ruth, A.S.C.

A few years ago when my mother mentioned that one of her acquaintances was married to a cinematographer, I barely paid attention. Then she mentioned that he’d worked on lots of movies that she knew I’d heard of – and still, I wasn’t that interested. But then she said, “Oh, and he’s currently working on The West Wing – and that piqued my interest!

To me, The West Wing was the most beautiful show on TV – ever. I always noticed the light, the color, the motion. It was predominantly shot indoors – yet that was never a limitation – it was always visually stunning. And it was also a bit mysterious. There was always something about the shadows…

So what a surprise to learn that the man ultimately responsible for that look, Tom Del Ruth, lived right here in Northern San Diego County? He and his wife Patricia have since moved to Oregon, but they were back in town for the film festival this weekend. Tom is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he also gave a seminar on Saturday morning.

He talked about his childhood growing up in Los Angeles with well-known parents, his early career, and how he managed his career. Then he showed his reel – the most visually interesting 20 minutes of his career, culled from a variety of his films and television shows. And with no sound, he was able to talk us through the scenes, as they spun by on the screen.

Honestly, it was a dream come true. How could it not be? Breathtakingly beautiful footage, and the creator in the same room explaining how and why – it was the best!

I had to ask one stupid question – the room was full of filmmakers and then there was me. Not a filmmaker… But definitely a visual person. And he started to talked about lens choices, and I didn’t know how to relate it to the lenses I do know. It’s like the difference between a 35mm camera and a medium format camera – for the first a 50mm is considered the normal lens – neither telephoto nor wide – it mimics the human eye. And for medium format an 80mm lens is normal. But where does a film camera fit? So I had to ask. I know, way way beginner question and I’m in a room full of filmmakers! But it would have driven me nuts not to understand as he threw out lens choices – and once he told me 75mm was about normal – then it all made sense.

That hour was the highlight of the weekend for me – and I suspect I’m not the only who feels that way.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Bob Fisher
Bob Fisher, Historian of Cinematography.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

There was also a Q&A session with the makers of most of the major features screening over the weekend.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival
David Blair, director of Paper Dolls.

Fallbrook Film Festival, Adam McKay

Adam McKay

Recognize the car? It appeared in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, with Will Ferrell – and that’s writer and director Adam McKay behind the wheel.

In town for a Q&A with aspiring and established filmmakers, Adam took a moment to hop in the car and pose for me – he was a good sport! The car was sold to a local resident after the film wrapped, and it was parked in front of the Art Center during the seminar – and attracting a lot of attention!

Adam spoke about how he got his start in several comedy troops in Chicago. Next he became a writer on Saturday Night Live, and a year later the head writer. His first day at SNL was also the first day for Will Ferrell – and the two have been linked by work ever since. After SNL they worked on Elf together in 2003, and in 2004 made Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Talladega Nights came in 2006, and next up is Step Brothers, set to be released later this year.

Adam McKay

Adam McKay

Adam McKay

After the Q&A Adam hung around out front, giving advice and talking about film. The filmmakers in attendance took full advantage of the opportunity to talk one on one with him!

Adam McKay

Adam McKay

Fallbrook Film Festival, Opening Night

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Gregory Mannino
Production Designer and Art Director, Gregory Mannino is here in support of his film Paper Dolls, showing on Saturday night.

James Kerwin and Chase Masterson
Director James Kerwin and Producer and Lead Actress Chase Masterson of Yesterday Was a Lie, at the Opening Night Party.

Linda Mandrayer, Ronald Shattuck, and Brigitte Schlemmer
Linda Mandrayer, Ronald Shattuck, and Film Festival Director Brigitte Schlemmer.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Adam Pitman
Producer, Writer, and Lead Actor Adam Pitman talks up his film, Paper Dolls.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Christiana Minga and Peter Hulst
Actress Christiana Minga and Peter Hulst, the Director of Photography for Misunderstood.

Fallbrook Film Festival
Jingles and Colleen Aichle.

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

Fallbrook Film Festival

After the opening party, it was time to officially begin the festival with a few films! The Flyboys was at the Mission Theater – the largest venue – it’s stars Stephen Baldwin and Tom Sizemore and was released in March. JJ Purty’s showed The Matter with Clark.

And at the Art Center, Yesterday Was a Lie was shown. Described as a groundbreaking new noir film, combining the thrills of a classic detective mystery with the imagination of science fantasy, Yesterday Was a Lie was directed by a Fallbrook resident – and one of the lead actresses was there. So for me, it was the obvious choice.

I remember when I took cinema classes in college, having to let go and trust that my professor had chosen wisely – because ground-breaking, genre-warping films can be mind-numbingly awesome, or mind-numbingly awful. You have to go with it, and trust that it’ll be awesome – you can’t approach it half-heartedly – you have to let it take you for the full ride. And if it’s awesome, it’s great! And if it’s awful, all you can do is vow to read more reviews next time…

But isn’t a film festival the time to take a risk and see a film that challenges you?

The director, James Kerwin was introduced before the film started and he made a comment about not worrying if you don’t get it – that it takes most people multiple viewings to really get all the layers. So fair warning!

The look of the film is gorgeous – it’s what I call glowy black and white. Mr. Kerwin explained the process at a Q&A after the viewing, and it’s similar to how I’d achieve the same look digitally in a still image – duplicate the image, blur one version, and layer them. It mimics the look of film – and the way light can bounce around when hitting the film.

The film features two beautiful blondes, and you never really know for sure if they’re two different people, two sides of the same person, or if one is a figment of the other’s imagination. That sounds complicated – but it’s not. When you’re along for the ride, it all makes sense – even the fact that you’re not sure, makes sense. That’s the whole thing – the fun of it all – being unsure and wondering.

But unlike a lot of films that leave you hanging, and leave you unsatisfied – this one has an ending that fulfills. Things aren’t wrapped up with a bow – it could never be that simple! And I may interpret the ending one way, and you another, and I think that’s a beautiful thing!

In other words, it was awesome!

Chase Masterson and James Kerwin
Producer and Lead Actress Chase Masterson, and the Director, Fallbrook resident James Kerwin at the Q&A after the film.

Chase Masterson and James Kerwin
Chase Masterson talks about the challenges and the joys of producing her first film.

So Many Choices

I just got my program guide for the Fallbrook Film Festival this weekend, and wow, there are a lot of choices! On Friday alone I’d like to attend the opening night ceremony at the Art Center, and then there are three films at three different venues I’d like to see. And then a meet and greet at the Irish Pub, after one of the films, with the filmmakers. The whole weekend – all three days – is like that. Just go, go, go from 10AM to midnight.

It’s going to be great!