FaceBook Friend of the Week – The Swingin’ Miss Drea Burke

by Shannonn Kelly
06:23AM, EST, February 19, 2012

I’m so happy to blog about this week’s ‘FaceBook Friend of the Week’ – Miss Drea Burke

Drea Burck, Attorney, Actress, Dancer and Cat Lover
FaceBook Friend of The Week – Drea Burck, Attorney, Actress, Dancer and Cat Lover…

I’ve already got a smile on my face because I absolutely love this gal.

In 2007, ReelHeART International Film Festival introduced a Feature Screenplay Competition and in 2008 I met Drea, a stage actress who wowed me with her audition.

She was cast in the German situated, political screenplay “The Other Side Of The Wall”, by Mary Townsend as well as the sci-fi contagion screenplay “Scavengers” by Diana Kemp Jones.

Drea is a multi-faceted person having studied at the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in Lyon, France and then Law and French and English Literature at the University of Toronto. Continue reading “FaceBook Friend of the Week – The Swingin’ Miss Drea Burke”

FaceBook Friend of The Week – Actor Brian Mifsud

by Shannonn Kelly
06:11PM, EST, January 01, 2013

I hope everyone had a great entry into 2013.

Just a caution: This blog, is a little more personal than I usually write. Except of course for “My 9/11 Story” blog, which you all enjoyed. (Thank you by the way…)

As the managing director of ReelHeART International Film Festival part of my job is to develop and introduce new components for the festival. As a screenwriter myself, I decided in 2007 to introduce the ReelHeART Screenplay Competition.

Facebook Friend of the Week - Actor Brian Mifsud
Facebook Friend of the Week – Actor Brian Mifsud

It was a success right off the bat. After a few months of ‘reading rounds’ and scoring screenplays from around the world, we short listed about 8 scripts and sent them to our agent of record who chose the Top 3 scripts. Two of the top three scripts our agent chose were by the same writer! Mr. Joe Acton from Washington State.

As part of their prize, each of the Top 3 Feature Screenplay Winners receives a rehearsed cast-to-type Live Read in front of a festival audience. We were the only festival to do this at the time.

We started auditions in April and that year we saw close to 200 actors. Some are still alumni to this day and act every season for us.

But one actor came to the audition that was really different. He was quirky, tall and slim with these super expressive eyes and an unusual voice. He spoke with high and low tones in the same sentence. – Really fun on the ears.

His name was Brian Mifsud

I had just finished writing the outline for a feature script that takes place in the south and when I looked up I thought, “OMG, my protagonist just walked in the door!” Continue reading “FaceBook Friend of The Week – Actor Brian Mifsud”

My Favorite Thanksgiving Films – Make Room for Movies and Pumpkin Pie

Steve Martin and John Candy star in the Thanksgiving classic – “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”

By Shannonn Kelly
6:32PM, EST, November 22, 2012

November is a very busy time for studios trotting out their last minute hopefuls for award season. This year is no exception as films like “Hitchcock” (excited to see) and “Lincoln” (not excited to see but can’t resist Daniel Day-Lewis in this role) open in wide release just in time for the upcoming long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Every year bloggers and critics put out their best lists of holiday themed movies around this time too, often falling short when it comes to Thanksgiving.

Some of them miss movies that although not a specific holiday movie have some of the best scenes set around the traditional holiday of Thanksgiving.

Here are a few of my favorites classified into genres, including one indie film that premiered at ReelHeART International Film Festival that’s a lot of fun and worth checking out: Continue reading “My Favorite Thanksgiving Films – Make Room for Movies and Pumpkin Pie”

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From your friends
9th Annual ReelHeART International Film Festival

June 25-29, 2013
The “Filmmakers Film Festival”

 

 

Warner Bros Launches The First FaceBook Interactive Social Series

by Shannonn Kelly
10:35AM, EST September 29, 2011

“Aim High”, will the first interactive “social” series from Hollywood studios to appear on Facebook.

Warner Brothers Studio

Premiering October 18th, on Facebook. The series stars Greg Germann (Richard Fish from Ally McBeal) Singapore born, Jackson Rathbone (The Last Airbender, Jasper Hale in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2) and Aimee Teegarden from “Friday Night Lights”.

Warner Bros. says that they will personalize the show for viewers who, once they authorize the app on their Facebook page, will then be able to integrate their profile into scenes in the series and make comments about their “cameos”. Continue reading “Warner Bros Launches The First FaceBook Interactive Social Series”

TIFF 2011 – Spending My Last Day with Violet, Daisy, Pina and Michael

by Shannonn Kelly
04:03AM, EST, September 18, 2011

The best part of the last Midnight Madness was seeing the Shark Tank and it’s Canadian version “Dragon’s Den” very own bad boy Kevin O’Leary waiting to get into his seat. I have to say, he gave off a rather sexy vibe. It’s not the millionaire part that’s sexy, although I’d “pet the money” with him any time; he’s sexy smart and seems to have a killer sense of humor. I love that in men and women (insert Laren Bacall).

It’s a shame today’s film line up ended on such a lack luster note. “Kill List” by UK director fell very, very short as an occult film or any other thriller.

I won’t dwell on the negative but I’ll accentuate the positive. “TYRANNOSAUR“! Written and directed by another UK director Paddy Considine. Tyrannosaur was his feature film debut and it kicked me in the gut. I can’t stop thinking about it and almost wept in the middle of public transit ride back home. My review to follow.

On this, the last day of the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival, I’ll be seeing all films with names of people in the title:

A Scene from Groundbreaking Dance Film "Pina" by Wim Wenders

Violet and Daisy is the feature film directorial debut of Geoffrey S. Fletcher. Its about two teenage assassins who accept what they think will be a quick and easy job, until an unexpected target throws them off plan. It stars Saoirse Ronan as Daisy, Alexis Bledel as Violet, Danny, James Gandolfini and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

Pina is a 2011 German 3D dance film directed by Wim Wendersthat features the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal and Pina Bausch, the famed German choreographer. The film premiered Out of Competition at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. It stars, Regina Advento, Malou Airaudo, Ruth Amarante and Pina Bausch who died in 2009.

Michael, from Austrian director Markus Schleinzer is my last of the day before I go and watch the Emmy’s. According to Wikipedia

The film was met with mixed critic ratings at Cannes.While Indiewire’s Eric Kohn wrote about “a triumph of uneasy cinema: Not since Todd Solondz’s Happiness has a movie portrayed pedophilia in such uncomfortable detail”,[3] veteran Mike D’Angelo twittered “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE IN AUSTRIA. SERIOUSLY. Once again, very well made in the approved festival style, but I understand now exactly how detractors of Funny Games felt. Michael (Schleinzer): 32 (out of 100). Evil is banal. The end. No, wait, let me sadistically fuck with you for a few minutes. Okay, *now* the end”

TIFF 2010 – Day 10 – A Bobcat, UFO, Tyrannosaur and a Kill List

by Shannonn Kelly
03:36AM, EST, September 17, 2011

wow! What a night. I just got to my computer after a 50-minute delay at the Midnight Madness program at the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2008 there was technical difficulty 20 minutes into the premiere screening of Borat. So Sasha Baron Cohen did an hour and a half Q&A in character and just killed.

Bobcat Goldwait Saves The Day at TIFF2011 Midnight Madness

Tonight, when “Smuggler” was running into it’s 30th minute of delay, programmer Colin Geddes introduced Bobcat Goldthwait who did an impromptu standup routine and bashed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford much to the delight of the bloodthirsty #mmadness audience.

Coming off the successful screening of his own film, “God Bless America“, to the same audience a few nights earlier, Goldthwait wasted no time in turning what would’ve have been a nightmare revisited, into precious moments of comedy gold on everything from Sesame Street’s “Grover”, to “Police Academy” co-star and SFX master Michael Winslow, to the Special Olympics.

Smuggler finally screened at 12:50AM and it was worth the wait. After the screening, very few people left as they enjoyed the very happy albeit slightly overwhelmed Japanese director Katsuhito Ishii explained the manga turned feature film and his ramped up violence and choices for cast and music.

My review to follow.

I have 2  brutal days ahead of me as I couldn’t avoid early morning screenings, so for TIFF 2011 Day 10 here’s what I’m seeing before I fall asleep in my chair: Continue reading “TIFF 2010 – Day 10 – A Bobcat, UFO, Tyrannosaur and a Kill List”

TIFF 2011 – Day 9 – Vibrators, Smugglers and Brando

by Shannonn Kelly
03:24AM, EST, September 16, 2011

Today’s films on my TIFF Day 8 were both extremely different in genre, yet both had the same theme. Outcasts trying to survive in a world that turned its back on them.

After being inspired by the 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning”, Toronto born director Sheldon Larry brought us the low budget musical “Leave It On The Floor”, set in the underground ballroom scene in current Los Angeles.

Especially after Madonna never really acknowledged this underground gay sub culture, Larry thought it was time to give them this community the respect and illumination they deserved. Bringing on boatrd Beyonce composer, producer Kimberly Burse who worked for free, helped elevate this from a GLEE-like production to a serious “indie film”. It’s the new “Gay Fame”meets “The Wiz”. My review to follow.

My Midnight Madness film was “The Day” by director Doug Aarniokoski, where a surviving quintent of PTSD nomads must fight to keep humanity alive in a bleak post-apocalyptic world. The first thing that was striking for me was what a hunk Doug is. Eddy Vedder in Lou Ferrigno’s body.

The motley key creative seemed to have woke up one day and said, “Hey let’s make a movie”, and pieces started to fall into place.

The A-B list stars of the film, Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore were actually co-producers and there are a few surprises in the film which I’ll talk about later. My review to follow.

Today on Day 9 at the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival will be filled with Vibrators, Smugglers and Brando.

'Vertebrae' in "Smuggler" by Japanese director, Katsuhito Ishii

Continue reading “TIFF 2011 – Day 9 – Vibrators, Smugglers and Brando”

TIFF 2011 – Day 8 – Leave It On The Floor

by Shannonn Kelly
03:04AM, EST, September 15, 2011

I just got off the streetcar from my last film and thought I’d share. When I got on a goth-type teenage girl was sitting a few seats behind me with her girl-posse.

She called out to me and said “Hello”. Shock. No one in Toronto ever says hello to strangers. It’s not New York city here at all. If you live / lived there we all know how friendly NYC really is and that rep they laid on NYC is total bullshit.

Back to the story. I said hello back. She said, “You okay?”. I said, “Yes. You okay?” She asked what I was doing so late. I told her TIFF-ing. She asked what film did I see and then moved up into the seat right in front of me and turned around like a 4 year-old would and looked at me straight in the face. Continue reading “TIFF 2011 – Day 8 – Leave It On The Floor”

TIFF 2011 – Day 7 – Can It Beat Day 6…?

by Shannonn Kelly
03:48AM, EST, September 14, 2011

After starting Monday morning with the horrendous Rampart, I was worried that I had made a mistake. That all films I was seeing on Day 6 of TIFF 2011 were directed by Oren Moverman.

I’m happy to report that today at the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival, was a great day of films … and a path of redemption for Matthew McConaughey for his role in “Killer Joe”.

My day started with the biopic The Lady, by French born director Luc Besson, starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis. The Lady is the inspiring true story of Burmese pro-democracy activist, leader and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Besson brought passion and tenderness to the story and focused great care on the strong bond of husband and wife and their love and support for one another. Truly touching and beautifully filmed.

Regardless of some of the embarrassing audience questions, Besson held a sensitive Q&A after the screening. My review to follow.

I took a snack break and discovered a new Green “lime” tea at Bannock on Queen and took a window seat and people watched for about 1/2 hour before going to see “Killer Joe“, directed by the fabulous and approachable William Friedkin. My review to follow. I just want to say, I’m glad I don’t eat chicken…

And, as far as I’m concerned, the French hit the trifecta these last 3 nights at the rambuctious Midnight Madness. Two French horror films “Livide” and “The Incident” and this evening’s action-packed, cleverly devised Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night). Ouah trop génial !. Astounding stunt work — with NO stunt doubles. My review to follow.

My films for TIFF 2011 Day 7 are:

The Story of Film (Episodes 7-9), which is where I’ll be starting my 15 hour voyage into the history of film painstakingly documented by Scotsman Mark Cousins.  He adapts his celebrated book to screen and traces the entire history of film from the silent era to the digital age focusing on artistic vision of the filmmakers.

Americano directed by and starring Mathieu Demy, son of French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy. Americano tells the story of a young Frenchman who after his mother’s death revisits his childhood in Los Angeles as he prepares to wrap up her estate and discovers that his mother was very fond of a woman who appears in her will. I really like the intimate feeling of the cast: Mathieu Demy, Salma Hayek, Geraldine Chaplin, Chiara Mastroianni and Carlos Bardem brother of Javier.