Category Archives: Santa Barbara International Film Festival

33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival Podcast

SBIFF 2018

It’s time again for our annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival podcast! Frank and Tim recap Frank’s journey this year at the festival, including seeing Emilio Estevez’s new film, ‘the public’ and Susan Kucera’s LIVING IN FUTURE PAST which was presented and narrated by Santa Barbara’s own Jeff Bridges. This year, Frank’s red carpet interviews included on this podcast are with Executive Director of the festival Roger Durling, Gary Oldman, producer Doug Urbanski, Willem Dafoe, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Leonard Maltin, Academy Award-nominated editor of I, TONYA Tatiana Riegel, Academy Award-nominated VFX supervisor of BLADE RUNNER 2049 John Nelson, Academy Award-nominated sound editor of THE LAST JEDI Matthew Wood, GET OUT’s Daniel Kaluuya, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, and lastly Frank talking to Ben Mendelsohn about Podcasting Them Softly’s namesake, KILLING THEM SOFTLY.

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SBIFF Maltin Modern Master Awards Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman is charming. He’s effortless and he’s incredibly affable, which is a stark contrast to many of the prickly characters he’s most well known for playing. He spoke with Leonard Maltin for a little under two hours before the dapper and coarse Ben Mendelsohn presented him with the Maltin Modern Master Award.

Oldman said it was seeing Malcom McDowell in THE RAGING MOON that lit the burning desire for him to pursue a career in acting, which led to Oldman being turned down by a premiere drama school in England where a lot of the greats had studied, including Peter O’Toole.

Oldman spoke about how he fanboy gushed over John Hurt while working with him on TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, Anthony Hopkins during the filming of DRACULA, and over Denzel Washington while working with him on the set of THE BOOK OF ELI.

A very charming moment in the show was when Maltin showed a clip from a Harry Potter film, and Oldman went on to speak about his fondness for the young co-stars he worked with and how they were like a family, and he watched them grow up over the course of ten years. It was a very special period of his career for him, stating that his fanbase went from forty year olds to ten year olds overnight.

During the filming of BATMAN BEGINS, Oldman attributed James Gordon’s world weariness to jetlag, due to the fact that he was flying from LA to England a day or two at a time to film his scenes, not staying on set due to the fact of being a single dad and raising his two young sons.

Maltin asked Oldman about his character of George Smiley, and asked if he would be playing him again. He responded with an almost certain yes, telling Maltin that he really loved playing Smiley, and missed that character dearly. Asked about his preparation for Smiley, Oldman said that he was overly particular on the glasses his character would be wearing, and that he tried on at least one hundred pairs before settling on the pair that was used in the film.

When asked about his many accents he’s used, from Dracula to Churchill, Oldman said he uses not a voice coach, but an opera singer to condition his voice to drop or gain octivs, and once he is done filming said character he essentially unlearns how to speak that way, saying it’s like a muscle and that he can no longer recreate the Dracula voice or his Churchill voice on command.

Ben Mendelsohn was there to present Oldman with the Maltin Modern Master Award once the Q&A was finished. Mendelsohn gave a speech only he could give with his token outback roughness and lewd wit, speaking of Oldman’s many masterpiece performances and how he is one of his idols.

Gary Oldman is a cinematic treasure. He has crisscrossed many aspect of film from hard independent pictures, genre films, as well megabudget franchises. His latest turn as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR will surely award him the Best Actor Oscar, which for a performer like Oldman an Academy Award is long overdue.

33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Willem Dafoe Honored with Cinema Vanguard Award

Willem Dafoe is an actor. He’s not a celebrity, he’s not a movie star, he’s an actor. An actor’s actor like Robert Mitchum or Lee Marvin. He arrived early in Santa Barbara where he was receiving the Cinema Vanguard Award with an hour and a half long Q&A moderated by Deadline’s Peter Hammond. Dafoe took his time with his fans lined up; taking photographs and signing autographs and then spending an ample amount of time speaking to the press.

Dafoe is currently on his third Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He was first nominated for Oliver Stone’s PLATOON, then SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, and now for Sean Baker’s THE FLORIDA PROJECT where Dafoe plays a motel manager and surrogate grand father to a six year old daughter of an unruly tenant.

Inside the Arlington Theare, a highlight reel started and showed everything from STREETS OF RAGE to PLATOON to THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST to SPIDER-MAN and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. Noticeably missing from Dafoe’s greatest hits and Hammond’s Q&A were the four (soon to be five) collaborations with Abel Ferrara and his three films with Lars von Trier. To be fair any one of Dafoe’s performances from any one of his films would be worthy of being in the reel; yet those seven films are incredibly seminal to the Dafoe canon.

He spoke about being fired from his first feature film, Michael Cimino’s HEAVEN’S GATE for laughing out loud at a joke during a set break. He then went on to speak about how he was asked by Cimino to narrate a feature length documentary about the making (and unmaking) of HEAVEN’S GATE.

Dafoe spoke freely about his rich filmography. He stated the most physically demanding performance of his career had been when he played Jesus for Martin Scrosese. He talked about how taxing the crucifixion scene was, and how he could only stay in that pose for a maximum of twenty minutes before his body would start to give out.

Regarding MISSISSIPPI BURNING, Gene Hackman actually did hit him, they really smoked marijuana during the party scene in PLATOON, and how he was on three foot stilts doing motion capture work for JOHN CARTER ON MARS.

Dafoe is overly deserving for an Academy Award. Both on the account of his performance as Bobby Hicks in THE FLORIDA PROJECT and for one of those “lifetime achievement/we owe you one” Oscars. As Bobby Hicks, Dafoe is playing the guy, and for a career of playing that guy, he finally gets to shine and give one of his best performances as the guy.

Derek Wayne Johnson’s JOHN G. AVILDSEN KING OF THE UNDERDOGS

JGA Underdogs

 

19225757_10102471107188568_2867561815267919866_nJoining Frank is filmmaker Derek Wayne Johnson whose film JOHN G. AVILDSEN KING OF THE UNDERDOGS premiered in February at the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It is a fantastic film, chalked full of interviews with Sylvester Stallone, Martin Scorsese, Talia Shire, Ralph Macchio, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burt Reynolds, Bill Conti, and John Avildsen himself. Derek is currently going into production on his next two films, STALLONE: FRANK THAT IS and 40 YEARS OF ROCKY: THE BIRTH OF A CLASSIC. For those who tuned into our SBIFF podcast, you should remember my red carpet interview with Derek. 

The film hits theatres, blu ray, DVD, and VOD on August first. Please, pre-order the film at Chassy.

To order on iTunes, please click here.

32nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

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4161418625791602350-account_id1We’re very excited to publish our 32nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival podcast.  This year, Frank was able to get red carpet interviews with Executive Director of the festival, Roger Durling, film historian Leonard Maltin, Naomie Harris of MOONLIGHT, Stephen McKinnley Henderson of FENCES, David Crosby who wrote and performed an original song for LITTLE PINK HOUSE, filmmaker Derek Wayne Johnson who premiered his film, JOHN G. ALVIDSEN: KING OF THE UNDERDOGS at SBIFF, Aaron Taylor-Johnson of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, and filmmaker Damien Chazelle who wrote and directed LA LA LAND.  On the latter half of the podcast, Frank is joined with Devin Godzicki who took photographs and attended panels with Frank at this year’s SBIFF.  They discuss a film they saw, SEPTEMBER 12th, and end the conversation with a brief chat about LA LA LAND.

 

Best Actor 2017

Denzel Washington is the modern day Cary Grant.  He carries himself with grace and dignity.  He is charming, affable, and is one of the few cinematic icons that is worthy of that title.

Denzel was honored at the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival, receiving the Maltin Modern Master Award with a two-hour question and answer with Leonard Maltin.  It was incredibly joyous to listen to Denzel speak about everything from SAINT ELSEWHERE to FENCES.

He was very candid, yet gracious when he spoke about himself and his early career.  He frequently lauded the late Bruce Paltrow, producer of SAINT ELSEWHERE, who released him early from his television contract so he could star in A SOLDIER’S STORY and CRY FREEDOM.  He spoke in a very fond and sentimental way about Paltrow, attributing to his generosity that allowed Denzel to become the star he is today.

Denzel spent a lot of time talking about his childhood and how he accidentally found his calling as an actor.  He spoke about how he was continuously told he was a natural on stage and how that led to his ego being inflated. He learned early on that his natural talent as an actor could only get him so far, so he constantly studied and practiced his craft.

He spoke about his relationship with Spike Lee and how no one in Hollywood had employed and birthed more black actors and crew in Hollywood at the time. Denzel’s son now works for Lee as an assistant, and Denzel’s son told his father that Spike truly has earned his name.  He credits Lee with forcing him to become the actor he is today, that no one had pushed him and challenged him as much as Spike did.

Denzel just won best actor at the Screen Actors Guild, and he is poised as the front-runner heading into the Academy Awards at the end of the month.  Executive Director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Roger Durling, called Denzel’s turn in the film the pinnacle of his career.  Durling is correct, Denzel is a marvel in the film, and he knows when to yield the screen to other performers in the film.  His subtlety in the film allowed Viola Davis to outshine Denzel, in his most Denzel performance.
Denzel is one of the few actors left in Hollywood that not only draws the masses to the theatre, but he also is the epitome of a role model. To say that Denzel is one of the greatest actors ever does not do him justice.  He is more than an actor, he’s more than a director; Denzel Washington is an iconic titan.

The Opening Night of the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival opened last night with the cathartic and uplifting documentary CHARGED: THE EDUARDO GARCIA STORY.  Eduardo was shocked with 2400 volts of electricity that cost him am arm, ribs, and nearly his life.  The film is an inspiring story of resilience, passion, and the eternal flame of the human spirit.

Executive Director of the festival, the ever so dashing Roger Durling, introduced the film in a candid and heartfelt speech.  He spoke about the power of film, how it can not only inspire us, but also save our lives.  Durling then went on to speak about how he is not only an immigrant, but also an American.

He spoke passionately and proudly of how the festival is showcasing films from fifty different countries and how cinema and the arts are so powerful, they can deconstruct walls.

CHARGED is a fascinating film, and marks the second time in the festivals thirty-two years that it has opened with a documentary.  Coming up, Denzel Washington will be receiving the Leonard Maltin Modern Masters Award, celebrating Washington’s career right as he comes off his Screen Actors Guild award for FENCES, poising himself as the front runner in the Best Actor race.

There is much, much more to be excited about at this years festival.  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will be awarded Friday.  In total, sixteen actors who have been nominated this year for an Academy Award will be hosted.  Stay tuned for our SBIFF podcast that will feature red carpet interviews!