What’s great about being a character actor is you know that you can survive forever. It’s not about the gloss of your eyebrows.
— Martin Short
We’re back for a fifth consecutive year to honor the versatility and depth of supporting players with the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Based on a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the WAC! Blogathon is an event that many look forward to each year. It’s a chance to pay tribute to the Louise Beavers and Eddie Andersons of the movie world — the names that seldom or never appeared above the title. Your enthusiasm for spotlighting the oft-nameless faces that appear in countless beloved movies is admirable, and Aurora, Kellee, and I extend sincere thanks to all of the bloggers who have joined us in the previous four years. We invite you all to help us make the fifth outing extra special. Get all the details after the jump…
As some of you may know, Tim and I have found a permanent space to show movies. I’ll be talking about this and our upcoming events and screenings tomorrow on the radio. Yikes! UPDATE: The radio show’s podcast is here, my segment is about 2/3 of the way through. Thanks to everyone for their support…it is so very appreciated.
I’m super-psyched to be on WDET’s Craig Fahle Show, tomorrow, Monday October 21, at 11:30 a.m. with Connie Mangilin of the Mitten Movie Project, to talk about Cinema Detroit, MMP Detroit Night, and the Burton Theatre. Except in the case of breaking news. For those in the metro Detroit area, WDET is at 101.9 FM. Outside of the broadcast area, you can listen online. Wish me luck!
If you’re into movies at all, and you’ve been on social media in the last couple of weeks, you’re probably aware of a Kickstarter project for Be Natural, a feature documentary about Alice Guy-Blaché, the first female film director. Hers is a fascinating story. In 1895, at age 23, Alice was a secretary to Leon Gaumont when she saw a demo of the Lumière brothers’ brand-new Cinématographe and got inspired to start making movies. She made one of the first narrative films, La Feé aux Choux, in 1896, and synced sound with picture in 1902, to name just a couple of her innovations. After working at Gaumont for ten years, she started her own studio, Solax, in 1910. During a 20-year career in film, she wrote, produced or directed more than 1,000 films.
Even if Guy-Blaché had been male, it would be odd that such a pioneer is so little-known. But take into account that she was female, making films 20 years before U.S. women could even vote, and the fact that she and her work are so obscure becomes downright weird. What happened? Pamela Green and Jarik van Sluijs, of video effects house PIC, have decided to find out, and in the process, return Guy-Blaché to her rightful place in history.
Even if you don’t know their names, you know their work. Green and van Sluijs have created some of the most interesting main and end titles in film, including the ingenious opening titles for Cabin in the Woods. Their take on Guy-Blaché’s story is sure to be as innovative as she was. They’ve also gotten some pretty big names involved. Jodie Foster is narrating, Robert Redford is executive producing, and a wide variety of filmmakers appear in the trailer. Many others are donating their time and labor. But the bulk of the work – research, travel, finding photos and footage, securing rights to them, preserving and/or copying them – costs money. As they state in their Kickstarter intro…
Sadly, this is not the type of project that easily gets traditional Hollywood funding, nor is it the type of film that qualifies for most of the typical educational grants. Hollywood funding doesn’t usually go into beautifully made documentaries; educational grants don’t allow for this kind of ambition and entertainment value. This is a passion project for all of us involved, and it is through passion that we’ve been able to pull the favors from those in the industry so far.
The Kickstarter has been gaining some buzz on both social and traditional media, and it’s really taken off in the past few days. That’s the good news. The bad news is, there’s only 1 full day left. If possible, post a link to your networks and please pledge if you can. The world needs to know as much as possible about Alice Guy-Blaché.
Update: Woohoo! The Be Natural Kickstarter is funded as of August 27. The project actually exceeded the goal. But further help is needed to ensure that the film will have the funding to continue beyond the rough cut. Contributions can now be made via the web site.
How is that for a generic blog post title? The thing is, I’m pretty sure there are a lot of year-end “Best and Worst Lists” out there that I completely agree with, and chances are, you’ve probably already read those. So here is a little bit quirkier, non-standard list.
Film that unintentionally emphasizes the importance of hand sanitizerShame
Movies I liked that prove I’m not too pickyThe Three Musketeers (2011). Cowboys and Aliens
Sequel that prompted me to check out the first installment in the seriesSherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
2011 movies I’ve haven’t seen yet but want toMoneyball.Young Adult. Drive. The Ides of March. Warrior. Melancholia. 50/50. The Guard
2011 movies I’m dying to see but couldn’t until 2012 (and still haven’t)A Dangerous Method. Haywire. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The Artist. The Mill and The Cross.
Possibly the hugest disappointmentThe Green Hornet. I still don’t know what happened there.
My most anticipated movies of 2012Wettest County (It’s about Prohibition. Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain are in it, and the screenplay is by Nick Cave. I’ll be there.) The Dark Knight Rises. The Hobbit. The Woman in Black (if I can handle it). John Carter.
Movie in which I totally identified with the main character to the point that people in theatre were staring as I laughed and cried my way through itBridesmaids
First Woody Allen movie I’ve really, really liked in yearsMidnight in Paris
Extraordinarily gorgeous movie I saw three times in the theatreJane Eyre (2011)
So…what are some of your quirkier likes and dislikes of 2011?