House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Sick Sense


My friend, Bill McNally, has posted his award winning short film, THE SICK SENSE, on You Tube. (Or rather his brother, Patrick, put it up there. The two bros are under the name "Bonanza Films".

I think it was 2000 when Bill made THE SICK SENSE out in LA. It's a spoof of "The Sixth Sense", "Patch Adams" and "Die Hard". It's quite a clever and funny film and I'm so glad that everyone can watch it on You Tube.

Also check the many other short videos that Bonanza Films has put up on You Tube. They're shorts that the guys made for their yearly Christmas parties. There's lots of stuff to keep you entertained!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hartford International Film Festival

Just this week I got word that I Just Want to Eat My Sandwich would be screening in the Hartford International Film Festival this weekend. It was to be screening today at 11 am at the Art Cinema and at 12 noon at the Pope Park Recreational Center. Since I had an appointment later in the afternoon in Cambridge, Jeremy and I decided to go to the 11 am screening.

The building is deceiving. As you can see from the picture above it looks like there must be a small screening room, but instead it is a a well-sized theatre, and it's one of Hartford's oldest -- 86 years old.

On the website it said that the Art Cinema was an "alternative" movie theater. I thought, oh, like the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline... well, not exactly. The Art Cinema is primarily an X-rated movie theater. The reason why the screening was at 11 am was so that it could be over in time for it's 1 pm porno flick. Of course upon finding out this information, I wondered how many people would show up to this screening. I've never seen a morning screening with much of an audience in general. Never mind a morning screening at this place. I thought that locals would know about this theater and probably decided against attending, unless, of course they were also porn movie goers. Actually, come to think of it, having a festival there might be a good excuse for some people to go to this festival. They could tell their honeys that they were supporting the arts by going to this screening and then stay for the afternoon delight. Hmm...

OK, well, that might be a good idea in theory but it certainly wasn't put to use as there were only about 10 of us in the audience, counting Jeremy and myself. There was also another filmmaker and probably a couple of friends/family members of his. I did note that attendance grew towards the end. It appeared that some of the 1 pm matinee audience was arriving early. Fine, given that my film was second to last. More eyes on my film are more eyes on my film.

Ten may be a low attendance number but actually not all that bad considering the time and place! It actually gave me hope that if there were ten of us there that there would be more people attending the screening in Pope Park. That one would be a more family oriented screening in a more family-friendly place. And heck, it wasn't in the AM! Too bad I couldn't find out. The 11 am and 12 noon screenings overlapped and Jeremy and I couldn't stay too long in Hartford, anyway.

Yes, having ten people there today really did give me some hope. Look, I know that festivals have a hard time bringing in audiences. So I do give credit to these guys for bringing in any audience at the Art Cinema. On top of that, they ran it with respect, still announcing the films before the screenings and the attending film makers as well as making concluding remarks and offering up a Q & A.

They guys I met who were running the festival were Kevin O' Toole and Helder Mira, both very approachable and considerate. I hope that if they read this, they know I'm not dissing them for using the porno palace. It's so challenging to run a festival and get venues. You have to be creative and resourceful. And, I think they completely appreciate the humor and irony in using this theater. Never mind they seemed to care about the history of this theater. Part of what they were trying to do with this theater was to get something else going other than adult movies. I got the sense that they screened adult movies there because it was the only way to keep this theater going at all.

All and all it was a fun way to spend the midday. We had a nice ride there and back. And, on the way back, Jeremy and I stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant for lunch. I had never been to one before. So it was Jeremy's first time in Hartford and my first Cracker Barrel experience.

Hmm.. porn and crackers. That has a kind of ring to it.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back to Happy at Home

(Back to Happy at Home website)

In my first post about Happy at Home nine months ago, I wrote that this project remained on my To Do list. I didn't believe in overexerting myself on this film when I needed my energy for other films that would probably do more for me in advancing my career. (After I wrote the post I started writing, casting and planning for I Just Want to Eat My Sandwich.) But, Happy at Home had a special meaning for me and I knew that I could still do something with it without having it take over my life.

Well, I finally did, and I can now say that the film is completed.

I had to wait until September to make any progress with it. I really wanted my star, Sean Vincent Biggins, to do his own voice over, and since Sean lives in Los Angeles, I had to wait for a time when he came back here to visit his family in Waltham.

So when Sean came home for his 20th high school reunion over Labor Day weekend (which I find funny since, as you can see in the photo above, there is a scene in the film where he is paging through his high school yearbook) I asked if he would come over and record the voice for us. When I say "us" I mean Jeremy and me. Jeremy's the sound guy, after all.

Sean was more than happy to do it. I wrote a new script and he executed it with ease.

OK, so it still took me another two months to finish it. In October I did a few re-edits and laid in Sean's voice. I still was needing something else, though -- a voice for Neo, Sean's dog in the film (and in real life). Just last Sunday, before the Patriots game and before the Red Sox won the World Series (WOO-HOO) I had Jeremy record Neo's voice. I thought that giving more life to Neo would give the film a boost and insert more ideas in the audience's mind over what the film was about.

It's actually quite fitting that Happy at Home was a film I did for my last class at LA City College and that I finished here in my metro Boston town, because the film itself has Los Angeles and Boston elements. The setting is clearly LA (at least to those of us who know LA), in the neighborhood of Silver Lake. You can see from the style of the building and the steps leading up to the apartment that this is California.

Then there's Sean, as "Steve", wearing his Cape Ann T-shirt. Also, if you look, you can find Boston items in his apartment such as a photograph of Fenway Park and some Red Sox knick-knacks. Not to mention that Sean does his Irish jig in a couple of bits in the film, and hey, after watching the ALCS and the World Series, a certain Red Sox pitcher named Jonathan Papelbon comes to mind.

The time was right for me to complete this film. Thank you Jeremy and Sean for all your work on it. And Neo, too. It was nice to have just a three person and one dog film.

Happy at Home part 1
(Back to Happy at Home website)

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