Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hollyshorts Film Festival 2013 - to open with First Ever Feature Film - David Rodriguez Star Studded Indie - Last I Heard

For the first time in the festival's history the HollyShorts Film Festival, Hollywood, Los Angeles California, USA, will open with a feature film. SOLmont Events, the organizers behind HollyShorts announced today that festival alumni David Rodriguez' star-studded dramedy LAST I HEARD will receive its official Los Angeles premiere as the fests first-ever opening feature film with a special event screening on Thursday August 15, 2013 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

LAST I HEARD stars Paul Sorvino, Michael Rappaport, Renee Props, Andrea Nittoli, and Lev Gorn. The film notably features the first onscreen pairing of mafia movie legends Sorvino and Chazz Palminteri (The Usual Suspects). 

Ranked 3 times as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s top 25 Festival’s Worth the Entry Fee, the 9th annual HollyShorts Film Festival runs August 15-22, 2013 in Hollywood and will feature over 300 short films in competition. International and local next generation filmmakers will transcend to Hollywood for a week of in-competition screenings, galas, World premieres, panels and networking events.

LAST I HEARD follows veteran actor Paul Sorvino as he gives a rare lead performance in this touching Sopranos-like character study. After serving 20 years in a federal prison, mafia capo Joseph "Mr. Joe" Scoleri (Sorvino) is released for health reasons. As he reconnects with his daughter Rita (Renee Props) and tries to build a relationship with his neighbor Bobby (Michael Rapaport), he realizes life will never be what it once was.

Director David Rodriguez (AMERICAN BULLY), filming in his hometown of New York City, expertly captures both the gritty streets of Queens and the pain of a man facing his own mortality. Other recognizable faces include Steven Bauer (RAY DONOVAN), Paul Ben-Victor (THE WIRE) and Hassan Johnson (THE WIRE).

Commented festival co-founder and co-director Theo Dumont: “Our special opening night presentation of David Rodriguez’ s LAST I HEARD is a prime example of how HollyShorts stands apart from any other Shorts Festivals in LA; we’ve seen a lot of fests lately put screening restrictions on filmmakers, telling them when, where and where not to screen and we do the complete opposite, we strive to create fun and imaginative platforms for our filmmakers to network and advance their careers. We look forward to kick-starting our week with this special event.”

Added co-founder and co-director Daniel Sol: “Our goal from day 1 was to create a place where filmmakers can advance their careers to the next level and receive maximum exposure, and that tradition still continues today. We couldn’t be happier to have such a talented filmmaker and superb cast be the first feature film to open HollyShorts. “

HollyShorts 2013 sponsors include: Company 3, Deluxe, Method Studios, Uber, Panavision, Indiegogo, Law Offices of Clifford Lo Entertainment Law, Moviola, FEARnet, Martini Crew Booking, You Me and Charlie, Noci Cortinfestival, Showbiz Software, Lightspeed EPS, LAPPG, New Media Vault, The Roosevelt Hotel, Pop Chips, Final Draft, True Vision Entertainment, Yabazam!, Pretzel Chips, Production Hub, Quick Film Budget, Festival Genius, Indie Pix, ShortsHD, EuroChannel, Jungle Software, Los Angeles Hair Studio.

LAST I HEARD screening tickets, opening night tickets, and HollyShorts all access passes are now available at

About HollyShorts
HollyShorts Film Festival is an annual short film festival showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe. HollyShorts is devoted to the advancement filmmakers through screenings, Q&A sessions and networking events. The HollyShorts Film festival showcases the top short films produced 30- minutes or less. For more information please visit

*Thanks to Hollyshorts for this press release*

Interview with the producers of One Wall, Kings of Coney Island, engaging audiences with a film documentary about handball

One Wall : Kings of Coney Island had it's European Premiere in the Feature Documentary Section, selected for the 25th Anniversary of the Galway Film Fleadh (Film Festival), in Galway, west of Ireland, which took place 9th - 14th July 2013.  Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival and the New Hope Film Festival. Nominee of Best Documentary and Best Director at the Idyllwild Cinemafest 2013, and the official selection at the New Hope Film Fest 2013.

The film takes a look at handball as an ultimate, beautiful, challenging and seriously brutal game, even one player comparing it to boxing, except with a ball. For over 50 years the National One Wall Handball Championships has been played at the Seaside Courts in Coney Island. This film sets out to follow and explore the most talented athletes as they compete for the prestigious title, and showcases comparisons and contrasts of the young, handsome, talented reigning champion Tyree Bastidas, to the legendary Joe Durso, the legend that everyone loves to hate. The challenges, trials and tribulations of handball players that are prepared to play throughout all seasons, whether snowing or whether it is hot and humid, to attain their goal of the title using whatever tactical means available to them at whatever cost. Handball players from all walks of life demonstrate their skills, sheer grit, and determination to prove that they are the best of them all.  The other handball players featured in the film range from maths teachers, policemen, to glaziers and truck drivers, who find their ultimate release, challenges and satisfactions in their love of competitive handball, which defies all boundaries.

Joe Durso, at 57, a nine time National Champion, and the best player of all time, is not willing to give up the sport which ultimately shaped his life and identity.  Off court a former District Attorney, and now High School teacher, narrates in parts in local Brooklynese lingo, the beauty of the sport, artistry, athleticism of top players and his frustrations that this sport is still not mainstream. He was considered the foul mouthed egomaniac, on the level of Mohammed Ali, one of his heroes being Arnold Schwarzenegger with a similar mentality showing great inner and outer strengths which surpasses normal sporting limitations, and over 20 years had changed a lot, and not quite reconciling with the fact that his prime days as a top athlete were fading....

One Wall Kings of Coney Island gets up close and personal to the determination and effort that is required of a handball player, who will stop at nothing and defy all limitations to reach the ultimate goal of being a winner.  The effort that is required is beyond that one would think prima facie, and this is brought to light clearly throughout the film, as the layers of playing such a demanding sport are revealed one by one.  Players push themselves beyond their physical and mental limitations, which is demonstrated by the close up shots during the film.

Joe Glickman, Director for the film is a Brooklyn based freelance writer, his articles have appeared in Outside, National Geographic, Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine among others. Antony DeAngelo, executive producer has written numerous scripts for film and television, as well as a competitor and fan of handball, and complemented making this film with the rest of the team.  Michael Inglesh, the executive producer, nearly 20 years ago, packed up and moved with his wife and family, to pursue their dreams, and is well known in showbusiness via television and independent projects and has 3 daytime Emmy Awards. Ken Saunders also an executive producer for the film, provided some of the inner passion vital to this teamwork, in his collaborations for this film.

See below for the Interview about the film with Michael Inglesh & Ken Saunders, executive producers during the Galway Film Fleadh 2013 -

-How did this film come about?

(Michael Inglesh) As the executive producer, co creator and jack of all trades, I shot, edited, and hired everybody myself, so it was kind of a labor of love at the beginning, a grass roots thing, it grew and grew, we attached really good people, accomplished writers, producers and we pulled it off, and it is about 3 years to the day when we started this film.  In 2010 we started to shoot and finished in 2011, editing was during 2012, we started showing it in the Festival circuit in January Idyllwild CinemaFest.

Actually, I was in pre-production of another film, with my my original co-creator Anthony DeAngelo and we realized that the film we were working on was going to be very expensive, labor intensive and would require a lot of money.  We sat down on a park bench in Coney Island, at the handball courts where Anthony used to play as a teenager.  Himself being one of the 'Brooklynees' – ' in the hood 'where old these old timers and young players would gather around us, like we were somebody important, we kind of were as Anthony used to play on the courts. 

I went home later that day and Googled all these kids names, they are YouTube, Twitter freaks, they have homemade videos that thousands of people watched.  I said this is an audience.  These guys will show up every day to the court, we don't have to pay them, just for the thrill of making a movie they will show up, I did not need to give them a call sheet, or tell them what time to be there – they would be there... so we started shooting...

-So you had a ready made set and a real story to tell? Why did you decide to tell this story in the manner that you did as a documentary, rather than a live shoot?

(Michael ) We kind of did an amalgam of both – a balance, as pure documentarian style, we looked for the story.  Along came a writer named Joe Glickman who had written about all our guys 10 years prior, when they were 10 years younger, so we attached Joe to the project.  He started sifting through our 17-18 days worth of footage that we had, hundreds of hours and because of his diligence and hard work we awarded him the director credit, as frankly he crafted a story for us. We could have told many stories but he picked a really good story to tell.

We did kind of head to Coney as the third character, but also showing their personal side – Pizza parlor – house,back yard, where they hang out. Shot on a 50mm lens as I am a fan of the close up, no take 2's

-So the film has a very personal feel in the way it was shot but also in the way that you filmed it, not just the aspect of the game, but also personal life too?

(Michael) Yeah, one thing I learned is that I will never shoot multi-format again, we started with one camera and went to another camera. We then hired someone with an expensive camera, so we had 5 different formats that we are editing. I recommend use one camera – regardless just stick that particular camera.....

-Before editing when you had all of the material put together how long was the film ?

(Michael) 7 hours, mini series -ridiculous! We had a lot of the women's stories in that 7 hours, we started to realize that maybe if we kept the story to the men, not to be exclusionary in any way. I have been asked what about the women ? ...well I have all those interviews and all that footage, distribute this first one and we will release the second one Queens of Coney Island...

-What are you hoping from your audiences when they see this film?

(Michael) I hope they want to take a cheap flight to Brooklyn and come to Coney Island, have a hot dog on the seashore there, …. just to experience Coney somehow...the film is a lot of sweat, some tears....

-What is next for you ?

(Michael) Its funny our production company is called We Got Next Productions. Ultimate Frisbee – if I can get the funding- looks simple to play but is a lot of running- and there is a subculture that you would not believe...

-Would you go about this the same way as you did this film?

(Michael) I would go a little younger and and a female cast, as my daughter has introduced me to some many cool high school girls and to me if I could capture their development as they go through school and get the story behind that as well as the sport...

-What format did you use and why ?

(Michael) I wanted it to be like a person was speaking to another, there would not be a lot of distance between us.  A 50Mm Nikon 40 year old lens put on a brand new Canon DSLR 7D, used a very old lens and a very new camera and then we graduated to a RED one for the competition coverage, which was pretty intense, and could you see every sweat drip, every, bump of the skin, and the RED camera really gave our film a distinct look.

-In saying that did you want the film to have a raw but personal look?

(Michael) Yes, I did not want it to look a Hollywood feature, I wanted it to feel like one of the players was making it, but to capture the essence of the game we needed a high end speedy camera that could catch the ball – a mixture of formats, and doing everything 3 or 4 times – next time one camera. I even used the cellphone on one of the shots.

-Why did you decide on Joe Durso as your main character ? Were you trying to portray his raw emotion, strengths and the character of the man behind and fielding that handball ?

(Michael) Because he is the mouth that roars, they all love to hate and hate to love him. A kind of a Darth Vader, we wanted to make him mythical yet very vulnerable at points

(Ken Saunders) -Joe Durso is a charismatic, intelligent sophisticated New Yorker, he is steeped in this sub culture which is really street, really masculine, that is almost violent, very Brooklyn, Joe is uniquely intelligent enough to be crazy with himself and then step out of himself. His perception of the subculture and its idiosyncratic elements, characteristics.

- How did he feel about the fact that you wanted to make this film?

(Ken) I think he was vain, glorious enough to get caught up in it, he really loved the glamour and glory of it, he says himself, if he walks away from the court, three blocks down the road he isn't famous anymore.  So here we were following him around Brooklyn, insisting that he was a famous person. I think that he gets a kick out of hearing his voice. He has not seen the movie, ..... maybe he is afraid of success, getting older, how his teeth look.. 57 and not the champion anymore and he is known as he was the champion...

-The future of handball ?

(Ken) One wall handball will be a demonstration sport at 2014 World Games and a demonstration sport by 2018 for the Olympics.

Twitter @wegotnextprod

*Thanks to Michael Inglesh and Ken Saunders for their time and kind invitation to watch and discover the film during the Festival, and for interviewing with myself. Thanks also to the Galway Film Fleadh for their kind hospitality during the Festival*

Lost Property, short film by Cappabue National school, screens at Galway Film Fleadh 2013

Lost Property, a short film, showcasing young talent from the Cappabue National School in Bantry, County Cork, was selected as part of the New Irish Shorts Section - Way out West at the 25th Anniversary of the Galway Film Fleadh 2013 (Film Festival) in the west of Ireland.

This film was part of many film projects in schools to encourage children to be inspired and develop an interest in the film industry. Its premiere was on April 19th, at Cinemax in Bantry, Cork, Ireland, was attended by special guests Lord David Putnam and his wife, together with an honorary Oscar for the drama teacher and Schools Completion Programme co-ordinator Victor Hayes, who has shared his knowledge and experience in film with this and many schools over the years. Since that premiere the film has gone from strength to strength, winning the first prize at the Galway Junior Film Fleadh ( Film Festival ) as well as being in the REC Youth Film Festival in Berlin.

The film contains only child actors from the Cappabue National School, the storyline being that after overhearing a conversation via snooping through the wall, that they are about to lose their home. In shock, they then set off with their friends trying to find their home, before it is too late, and find out the real reason as to who or what took away their home or the home's whereabouts. In today's economy this was a relevant and present film, and the understanding from a child's level, why a bank would want to take away their home...

After the screening at the Town Hall Theatre, I interviewed the Principal of Cappabue school, (outside Bantry in County Cork), Norma Healy, as well as young actresses, sisters Jessica and Tamara Kelleher -

-How does it feel that your school has a film selected in this year's Galway Film Fleadh ?

(Norma Healy ) We traveled up specially today as we were very honored to win the Junior Film Fleadh in November and as a result of winning that we were screened today with the other short films, which is a great honor for a small school. We have a tradition of filmmaking and IT in the school and to date we have made 6 movies. We won the first film award with Lost Property, which came in the top 5 in the childrens Fim Festival in Berlin September 2012.  We were represented there by one of the drama teachers from school, a parent and one of the children. Presently we are still on our journey to date...

-How did this all start to come about ?

(Jessica Kelleher ) It all started when we were sitting down at the table with our drama teacher Victor Hayes, we were thinking what to do for our Christmas play, so then we thought of doing a movie for our Christmas play and we made it kind of different. It was where we lose our house at Christmas time and we are afraid that Santa cannot come and deliver our presents as we are not in the house we are, so Santa would not know where we are, so then we decided to make a movie out of our Christmas play

-How long did it take from when you had this idea at Christmas to put this movie into

(Jessica) About a month and a few weeks

-Can you tell me a little bit about the director?

(Jessica) Victor Hayes – a Drama teacher to our school, and others also, as well as a Youth worker

-Was there a script that you had to memorize and how hard did you find that?

(Jessica) I didn't find it very hard, as I read books..

-Do you see yourself as an actress when you get older?

(Jessica) More for my sister, but I want to be a teacher..

- I hear that you are a little actress in the making,would you like to tell me about your part
in the film?

(Tamara Kelleher) It was a school student and we were going around with little flags looking for the house, and a banner saying welcome home to our house

-How exciting?! Was this your first film?

(Tamara) Well, for me it was the first one I was in...

-How did you find that – actually doing the role or part that you were given? Were you
scared or excited?

(Tamara) I was excited as I was never in a movie

-A-H-A..So you felt kind of famous then, a bit like a Bailee Madison? So which films can I see you in

(Tamara) Yes,  I did. The next film I will be in is part of film projects in school as part of Failte Isteach.


*Thanks to Norma Healy, Principal of Cappabue National School, Jessica and Tamara Kelleher, for their time. Also to their mother Anne Marie Thomas for allowing me to chat with Jessica and Tamara. Thanks also to the Galway Film Fleadh*

Love At First Sight, short film communicates uniquely at 25th Galway Film Fleadh 2013

Love at First Sight, a short film which screened at this years 25th Anniversary of the Galway Film Fleadh, (Film Festival)  in Galway in the west of Ireland, as part of the New Irish Shorts - Way out West section.  The Film Festival took place between 9-14th July 2013.

The short film was based on one simple theme close to everyone's heart - love.  Love in its purest form, where a schoolboy finally sees the girl of his dreams, passes her everyday, has a locker near to hers and wonders how he can overcome the obstacles in his path, to get to know and conquer the girl of his dreams. 

The film had no dialogue and effective communication was achieved through emotional and  physical language, and dialogue was replaced by using and effective set of notes between the two main characters to communicate and show their feelings, and overcome the barriers to achieve the goal of the film

Already a Winner of Intermediate Film Makers Showcase Award at 2012 Junior Film Fleadh, directed by David Newell, produced by Trading Faces Film School, Galway, west of Ireland.

I was able to interview Claire Parr, the Artistic director of  Trading Faces Film School in Galway, as well as the two main actors of the film Aiobheann Houston, and Jack Fitzgerald, after the screening during the Festival the Town Hall Theatre in Galway.

-How did this film come about?

(Claire Parr) Trading Faces is a Film School that we set up in 2006, as a sort of a back up to a
casting agency for the children, based in Galway city. Most of the young actors work professionally any opportunity that they can get, and always get the chance to work on a real set.

-How does one get their child into acting with Trading Faces ? And what are the courses on offer?

(Claire) They can become members of Trading Faces and  take courses – acting, singing, dancing, stage school courses. Acting for screen and television, speech and drama, public speaking and dissertations.

-From what age?

(Claire) From the age of 5, right through to about 20 – juniors, tiny tots and seniors. We are based in Salthill, generally they can access the course through the website

-How did you get cast for the part in this short film?

(Aiobheann Houston) We were in groups and we had a lot of ideas first of what we should do & once we decided on this idea, we kind of just took it from there....

-Was there a script that you had to prepare from or was it mostly improvisation due to the nature of the film's lack of dialogue?

(Aiobheann) A lot of improvisation but we were relying on the director to kind of lead us through it, as there was no talking at all, it would have been hard to script it and going through the motions, without having the director lead us.

-Would you say as an actress that it was easier using visual language & emotional expressions rather than with spoken dialogue?

(Aiobheann ) I think so it was a lot more effective in the overall.

-How did you find it being in love?

(Jack Fitzgerald) laughing It was good.....

-How did you go about preparing for the role of interpreting love? Maybe through a personal experience at school?

(Jack) Not sure really, I just went up and did it as I felt it would be...

-What is next for you?

(Jack) I directed and was in another film with Trading Faces this year – called 'The Genres of Life', made there recently. ( at Trading Faces Stage School)

-Where do you see yourselves 10 years from now ? (At both Aiobheann & Jack)

Movie screen or Broadway

More information about Trading Faces Stage School, Galway, West of Ireland

Love at First Sight

*Thanks to Claire Parr, Trading Faces Galway, Aiobheann Houston, and Jack Fitzgerald for their time. Thanks also to the Galway Film Fleadh *