Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Orlando Film Fest - 2011

The cast and crew of "No Charge" at OFF 2011
The Orlando Film Fest 2011 had a lot of really great features and shorts.  It was at the The Plaza Cinema Cafe from October 19-23rd and commenced with a screening of Virgin Alexander, starring Bronson Pinchot.  Anyone? Balki from "Perfect Strangers".  I know this because I've been told I looked like a young version of him.  What do you think?

I really wish I had had the time to be there all weekend and watch almost all of the films.  I spent most of that weekend in rehearsals for my role of Mr. Cunningham in "To Kill A Mockingbird".  Luckily I was able to make it out there to catch two short programs that included the screening of two films that I was in.  One a comedy, No Charge, and one a dramatic thriller, Rust.  Among the many friends and familiar faces were also some of the cast and crew of Two Days, a feature I'm so glad I got to be a part of.

Back to films.  No Charge was one of the shorts in Short Programs # 24.  No Charge was in good company as all the shorts were really entertaining and of high quality.  No charge is set in a coffee shop with some very diverse but extremely funny characters.  This is what a comedy looks like when done right.  This short is a riot with an extremely talented cast and amazing crew.  Other films in this program included:

Colt Jackson: Enforcer, film noiresque but in color.  A very funny short about a security officer in a gated community who takes his job seriously, a little too seriously which makes for quite an escapade.

If you're in theatre, as in stage, you know all about the oldest curse of Shakespeare's Scottish play.  Break a leg has you hoping against hope that the production survives.  You know things will go wrong but what now? What else could possibly happen?  Break a leg is available for purchase on Amazon

Blackout Roulette was another fun little short, black and white, where despite almost knowing what to expect you can't turn away, you can't help but keep watching for the inevitable.  Then there was a sweet little short in Spanish,  Letter to Julia, with subtitles for the linguistically challenged.

Here's one for the thrill seekers, movie style --  Short Programs # 6.  Rust was very well received by the audience present.  This time I got to watch it on the big screen!  It was also kind of nice to be there to observe the audience's reaction and response.   All the movies in this program were suspenseful and kept your heart pounding and very macabre - except for one.  The last one,  Coffee, Tea, and Cappuccino ended on a very heartwarming note.

Rust on the big screen
I only got the chance to catch a few minutes of My Fair Lidy which had a lot of really great local talent in front of the camera, including Rus Blackwell, Joe Coffey as well as the Extreme Stunt and Driving Team, behind the cameras.  Watch this behind the scenes with stunt coordinator, our very own, Grady Bishop:

I can't end without mentioning THE MAN in Orlando, Valensky Sylvain!  Any theatre, any showing, every screen - everywhere you go, there he is!  That was just awesome!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

En garde! Thrust, parry, foil and so forth...

So I decided to try out fencing.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it but I was willing to at least explore it.  
I learnt a few basic steps and rules, including safety.  My instructor told me that a really good fencer could be judged by the beauty of their form and movement.  That may be something fencing and dancing have in common, because isn’t that a big element of the latter as well?  His advice of “you’ve got to know when to advance, when to retreat and when to trick them” seems rather zen and probably applicable to both life and war. It’s a pretty good workout, especially for your legs. 
Oh, I almost forgot, I met this young man, who has been attending this class for a while and he sparred with me and shared his knowledge.  He was very helpful and did an excellent job of teaching me.  Something about him reminded me of the character Manny from “Modern Family”, if I didn’t know any better I’d swear I ‘d met the real-life version of him.  Oh, you’ll never guess what this kid’s name is.  Wild guess, anyone?  If you guessed Manny, you’re right! 
Sorry, don’t have any prizes to give out for the right answer yet.  Although, when I’m in the money, that will probably be an option.