Thursday, October 11, 2007

"A Rustic Town With a Pulse"

There is a momentum building in Woodstock, more than 12 hours after the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival opened.

Bodies are moving in and out of the Colony Cafe, which is film festival HQ and the sense of excitement is palpable, despite the overcast weather.

Journal Videographer Chrissie Williams just oversaw our big WFF video shoot at the Colony. Somen highlights include film fest executive director Meira Blaustein identifying "Tarzan" as a movie she saw as a child that really grabbed her, but then, later, growing up in Haifa, Israel, Meira just immersing herself in film, and loving directors like Ingmar Bergman...

Meira said she watches thousands of movies in a year and that the process for this year started right after the 2006 fest ended. But I don't want to spoil the video.

On our trip around Woodstock we popped in and saw Lisa Hantes, manager of the Bearsville Theater and paid a visit to those zany characters at WDST. Jimmy Buff was kind enough to put me on the air and told me to hide my laminate pass from DJ Justin Foy...Careful Justin....I've got my eye on you.

We drove around the village green and inteviewed this guy Richochet on camera, whose bicycle basket had a stuffed Kermit the Frog doll. Remember that song about rainbows he sang in the "The Muppet Movie"? Loved that.

During our video shoot at the Colony,we interviewed Jonathan Blitstein from Chicago, director, producer, writer and editor of "Let Them Chirp Awhile," which will be shown Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at the Tinker Street Cinema and Friday at 9 p.m. at the Catskill Mountain II theater.

This film is about chronicles "the struggle between an aspiring screenwriter and an aspiring musician in New York City's East Village."

"It's a hilarouis biting comedy about two people battling to destroy each other's careers.

Blitstein, 24, may have come up with the buzz line of the weekend...H called Woodstock "A Rustic Town With A Pulse."

As Blitstein was telling me about his movie, he was telling me about himself, and now I am waiting for the movie about Blitstein's life.....

He was hospitalized during the filming of this movie - WITH AN ULCER FROM THE STRESS OF THE MOVIE! "From making my first feature," he laughed. He was in one day, pumped full of morphine, when he found out during that stay in the hosptial, that he HAD ONE KIDNEY! MAKEUP PLEASE - LET'S MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT THIS GUY WHO MADE A MOVIE.

The ulcer, he said, was "also because I drank a lot of coffee."

"The film was shot in 18 days, no reshoots, all on location in New York City, I cast the film myself by cold calling agents." You gotta love that.

Blitstein has worked a lot of different jobs on a lot of different films, "No Reservations" with Catherine-Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin, among them. When that movie wrapped in March 2006, he said, "I was tired of P.A.-ing (that's producation assistant-ing."
Being a production asisstant can include anything from driving trucks to pouring coffee, operating booms, working the camera system and going on runs, in Manhattan, in 90-degree heat, delivering packages and reading hundreds of terrible scripts in a week.

Why, you ask?
"You get to combine every single art form into one thing," with film, Blitstein said.

One last comment - He'd like to thank the New York City film industry, which has grown incredibly over the last few years.

"When I worked these lowly positions, people said when you make your first film, call me."

He called them and they called them back. And that's how Blitstein made his movie. What a story.

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p.s. That's Blitstein up top there, with Chrissie in the foreground.

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