Posted: 03/14/2005

 

The 7th Annual Method Fest Independent Film Festival 2005

by Richard Kaplan




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7th annual Method Fest independent film festival will be held April 1-8, 2005 at Edwards Grand Palace Stadium 6 Cinemas and The Commons at Calabasas, California.
The mission of the Method Fest which takes it’s name from the renown acting technique theories of Russian director Constantin Stanislavski 1863-1938 founder of the Moscow Art Theater. Is to create a festival of discovery, seeking breakout performances of emerging stars and established actors in story-driven independent films, and pay homage to them.

Having been born in the city of Hermosa Beach CA, the 2005 Method Fest will be held for the first time in Calabasas, CA much to the delight of it’s founder and Executive Director, Don Franken who announced at their press conference that the strategic relationship with Calabasas will enable the fest to really expand and evolve into a true international destination festival.

Speaking of Calabasas, in the past 14 years since it has incorporated as a city. Countless industry folks from film, music and TV land have nestled in the bosom of her scenic hills. It seems that at least one such filmmaker has taken interest in the fest by submitting a movie he produced and directed which was accepted for the competition. It turns out he is an Academy Award winning director by the name of Jim Wilson whose films include Dances With Wolves, The Bodyguard Wyatt Earp, Message In A Bottle (does this guy enjoy making films with Kevin Costner, or what ?!) and his most recent which will compete in the fest, Whirlygirl. A coming of age drama that deals with the harsher realities of falling in love for the first time. ” I have had this movie in my head and heart for so long that I finally just had to make it,” said Wilson. The film which Wilson financed and co-produced with Bruce Moriarty stars Monet Mazur, Julian Morris, Daniel Franzese, Rob Sullivan and Fran Kranz. Whirlygirl, was selected to be the fest’ Centerpiece film. (Sunday, April 3, pm, Edwards Theater.

I should point out that over 600 submissions came in from filmmakers around the world. And, every single film was viewed according to Method Fest programmer, Tiffany Naiman. In all, 25 feature films, including 9 World Premiers, with 47 shorts will be screened April 1-8 at the Edwards Grand Palace Stadium 6 Cinemas at the Commons at Calabasas and the Louis B. Mayer Theater on the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills. Steal Me, Melissa Painter’s complex drama about growing up, innocence lost and family love, which premiered to acclaim at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, will kick of the fest April 1, at 7 pm at the Edwards.

Both feature and short films, will have juries presenting awards. The feature prizes will go to Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Ensemble as well as Best film, Director and Screenplay. The new, Young Actor to Watch Award for the breakthrough performance by an actor or actress under 18. The Short prizes are for Best Film, Actor and Actress. There will also be an Audience Award for Best Feature and Best Short.

During the course of the fest there will be several party and award presentations including an, Indie Hero Award for Golden Globe and Screen Actors nominee Jena Malone. Crispin Glover will receive the festival’s, Maverick Award. And, the Family Legacy AWARD will go to the Bridges family, Jeff, Beau, and their late father Lloyd.

Other trademarks of the Method Fest include: The Actor Competition hosted by Joanne Baron / D.W. Brown Studio—prelims are Wednesday, March 16, finals Thursday, March 31, both at the Agoura Hills Calabasas Community Center. The Indie Music Night featuring acts like Todd Smallwood, Mick Fleetwood, and Shankar and Ginger. April 2, 8 pm at the Sagebrush Cantina and a full slate of filmmaking and acting seminars, panels and workshops, including youth education programs, conducted by industry leaders.

Another highlight will be a celebration of the fest’s acting roots in it’s first Retro Salute to the ultimate Method actor, Marlon Brand. The Brando Salute will screen two Brando movies produced by Stanley Kramer. The Wild One April 3, 7 pm and, The Men, April 7, 7 pm. Both will screen at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills. The late director’s wife Karen and daughter Kat will attend the screenings.

Tickets for the fest are available in advance through www.ticketweb.com (800) 965-4827, and at the theaters the day of the screenings. Details on the films and screening times and other information is available at www.methodfest.com.

The state-of-the-arts are definitely looking up for the San Fernando Valley so, don’t be surprised if you see some of your favorite Method actors hanging out in the valley during the month of April. Maybe Dennis Hopper riding a big-ole hog chopper into the Sagebrush Cantina, or another past Method Fest actress, Elizabeth Shue having martini’s with Nicolas Cage at Amazon bar & grill. And, of course, if you look carefully you will probably see Marlin Brando, Rod Steiger and Elvis, drinking malted floats at Ruby’s Diner on Topanga Canyon Rd.

Richard Kaplan is a writer, art dealer and publicist based in California.



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