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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meet The Director Q and A at NYIT Part 1 11-22-2010

This is most of the Q&A at NYIT, which lasted about an hour from 9 to 10 PM. Vincent discussed many aspects of making the film, Don't Go In The Woods," including how he decided to make a rock horror musical in the first place, the importance of "a good song" and how a musical should sound good, his effort to get his actors to sound natural and speak with a flat tone, his observation that "everybody sings these days" and how the popularity of "Glee" has helped his movie "a lot," and how combining the elements of horror and music was like sabotage("You mean suicide?") since music actually breaks the tension a horror film is meant to create. Vincent also described how DuArt was critical in helping him with post-production on the film for "almost nothing" and how Michael Erman assisted in "grandfathering" DGITW into the film festival circuit to gain more exposure for the film and help sell it to Tribeca Films for distribution, a deal that was just finalized on 11-22-2010. During the second part of the Q&Q when members of the audience were able to ask questions, Vincent also explained how he embraced the absurdity of the plot of DGITW and decided to "let it play out" and would not rule out plans for a sequel or another horror film if it can be a similar low-budget affair. DGITW was filmed in 12 days on a $100,000.00 budget. Vincent also declared how much he loved acting, saying "It's my whole life, everything I do." To one young actor/writer, Vincent emphasized that "You have to be writing all the time" in order to become a good writer and described his early days as a struggling actor driving cabs, working as a bouncer in clubs, etc, and said that he continued to act "all the time" in order to sharpen his skills. "What better things do you have to do than what you love? Nothing." After a round of applause from the audience, Vincent told the young lady, "Go home and write."

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Pics from the NYCHFF 11-12-2010

Here are a few more photos I took during the NYC Horror Film Festival on Friday, November 12, 2010.

NYIT Screening of "Don't Go In The Woods" and Q&A 11-22-2010

It was a balmy 62 degrees in New York City last Monday night and mid-town Manhattan was decked out with Christmas decorations, lights, trees and music. I visited the shops at Columbus Circle and checked out their Christmas light show before heading over to the NYIT auditorium for the "Meet The Director" event with Vincent D'Onofrio,scheduled for 7:30 PM. While some attendees, including me, were waiting for the 7 PM check-in in the lobby, Sam Bisbee arrived and we exchanged hellos as he briefly left the auditorium before returning later to introduce the film, "Don''t Go In The Woods". Vincent arrived in time for the Q&A at 9 PM with Sam, Joe Vinceguerra, Cassandra Walker and Brad Balfour. He looked dapper in a black suit, white shirt with no tie and black loafers and black socks. During the first half-hour, Brad Balfour moderated the question and answer session and the second half-hour was comprised of questions from the audience. The entire Q&A was filmed for broadcast on Channel 75 at a future date. I took some photos early on and made my own video from my front row aisle seat directly in front of Vincent, who was very relaxed and comfortable onstage. Vincent revealed that his film was bought by Tribeca Films for distribution and also revealed that he kept his plans to make DGITW under wraps until he was about to begin filming so that his lawyer, manager and agent did not even know he was making a film beforehand. As a matter of fact, Vincent completely bypassed the major studios when making and promoting his film. He also gave some advice to a young actress/writer later on, advising her that "in order to become a good writer (or actor) you have to write all the time."Vincent did briefly discuss his next project "Johnny and Me," describing the plot as a father-daughter story with a different twist than anyone ever experienced and "very interesting.". By the way, Vincent also pointed out how much he loves acting, saying "It's my whole life, everything I do." Wow!! At the end he was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a surprise gift. He left the auditorium shortly after the Q&A ended and he briefly paused outside to speak to several friends and smoke a cigarette before heading towards Columbus Circle with Sam, Cassandra, Joe and several others. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to speak to him this time, as he didn't remain on the scene very long and was surrounded by people, including his handler.  Hopefully, I will have other opportunites to see Vincent in future, as I did at Joe's Pub four months ago and at Tribeca Cinemas two weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sam Bisbee Intro to "Don't Go In The Woods" 11-22-2010

Meet The Director Video-Vincent D'Onofrio Q&A Pt 2 11-22-2010

Last night's Q&A at the NYIT Center for Communication followed a screening of "Don't Go In The Woods" and was moderated by Brad Balfour, featuring DGITW director Vincent D'Onofrio, co-screenwriters Sam Bisbee and Joe Vinceguerra and actor Cassandra Walker. The Q&A was about an hour long and included questions from the audience about the making of the film. I sat in the front row right in front of Vincent so I had a great view of him in his black suit, white shirt, black loafers (Size 13) and black socks. I have posted the introduction to the film by Sam Bisbee and a video of the last four minutes of the Q&A with Vincent. The bulk of my footage is nearly an hour long, so I will post it later. It's taking awhile to upload it, so enjoy these shorter clips.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

J&R Music World Signing 11-16-2010 with Quincy Jones!

Tonight I met musical legend and record producer Quincy Jones at J&R Music World in downtown Manhattan near City Hall Park. I arrived at about 4:30 PM straight from my job nearby and patiently waited for Mr. Jones' impending arrival for the 6 PM signing of his new CD, book and line of stereo headphones. I had purchased two copies of his new CD "Soul Bossa Nostra" for myself and my brother Alberto for Mr. Jones to sign. The book by Quincy Jones, called "The Quincy Jones Legacy Series: Q on Producing," described his career as a record producer and detailed his work with many artists of the past and present, including the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Two of my friends from work were supposed to meet me at the store later so they could also meet Quincy Jones. David arrived at nearly 6 PM but his wife Ellen waited for him at the office, as she is recovering from leg surgery and cannot remain on her feet very long. Mr. Jones finally arrived at 6:30 PM to thunderous applause from the many fans, including myself, who comprised a long line that stretched from inside the store to around the corner of Park Row. Luckily, I had arrived early enough to get a spot on line inside the store, as it was expected to rain heavily later tonight. We were limited to taking pics before approaching the autograph table and were not permitted to pose with Mr. Jones due to time constraints. Also, no personalizations of autographs for the same reason, so I snapped a few photos before my turn to meet the legendary Quincy Jones, recipient of numerous awards and producer of the biggest-selling album-to this day-"Thriller."  I was nervously thinking about what to say to Mr. Jones when I met him and I remember saying "Thank you. I'm such a fan" and "Thank you. Have a good night."  Quincy signed his name to both CD booklets and said to me "Thank you." Outside the store, David and I picked up free Quincy Jones posters for his new CD before we left. It didn't start raining until I got home, thank goodness!

Enjoy the pics!

Astoria LIC Film Festival 10-24-2010-Screening of "Zaritsas:Russian Women of New York"

I attended the first annual Astoria LIC Film Festival on its third and final day, Sunday, October 24, 2010 at the Secret Theater in Long Island City. Armed with a day pass for the occasion, I caught a slew of short and feature films screened between 10 AM and 6 PM, including "Zaritsas: Russian Women of New York", directed by Elena Beloff and co-produced by Vincent D'Onofrio and Erika Hampton. Ms. Beloff was gracious enough to speak with me for a few minutes after the 2 PM screening of her insightful documentary about Russian immigrant women living in New York City and the challenges they face in assimilating into American society and the common stereotypes of Russian women as either being very unattractive and manly (a clip of the famous Apple computer commercial from 1984 was shown)  or sexy gold diggers or even spies (calling Anna Chapman!).  Ms. Beloff asked me how I had heard of her film and I mentioned that I had read about her film and the festival on the Vinnie Vidi Vici site by Nantz and she replied, " Yes, Nantz." We posed for a few photos before she left the theater. My friend Eddie had attended the 2 PM screening with me but had to head back to Staten Island, but he also got to meet Ms. Beloff before he departed.

I also saw a short film "Last Rain", a Spanish film about a man who time travels into the past to meet his future wife and to warn her about a terrible event that she must prevent, or they will never meet. The plot was so reminiscent of "Happy Accidents" and the film was well done and very romantic. I love happy endings! I also picked up a cool t-shirt and met the film festival founder, Dennis Cieri. One complaint, though. The theater was freakin' cold inside and no heat was provided the entire day. I foolishly left my winter coat at home and only wore a light jacket, so I was freezing all day, so I didn't attend the fan awards ceremony, as I had planned to earlier. I voted on all the films I had seen during the day before I left. Although "Zaritsas" did not win as Best Documentary, I thought it should have. Ms. Beloff will make her next film about the art of hypnotism, of which she is a trained practitioner.

Zaritsas is a Russian word meaning "female czar." Cool.

Here are a few pics from the festival:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vincent D'Onofrio Q and A at the NYCHFF 11-12-2010

I filmed the Q&A with Vincent, Sam and the cast of DGITW shortly after the screening ended at 12:45 AM Saturday morning. I was juggling two cameras and the picture was a bit shaky, and I cut off Vincent's head at one point without realizing it. Darn it! Well, at least there was no blood! LOL He is entertaining, no?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NYCHFF Screening of Don't Go In The Woods" 11-12-2010

What a crazy night! I had been looking forward to seeing this film for months and, finally, I would get to see the entire movie on Friday, November 12, 2010 during the 9th annual New York City Horror Film Festival, founded by Michael Hein. Before heading for the Tribeca Cinemas on Varick Street, I stopped at Bubby's Restaurant on Hudson Street (Staten Island, NY reference) for dinner. Lovely, homey place with a cow outside (not a real one, but a reasonable facsimile) and the scent of applewood smoked bacon that envelopes you upon stepping inside the place. Roasted chicken club sandwich (with bacon!) with fries and an iced tea were delicious and service was friendly. Nice cloth napkins, too.  After dinner, I walked  back to the theater just a few blocks away and spied a half moon in the clear night sky. I could imagine the Bubby's cow jumping over that moon in a heartbeat (smile.)

After picking up my ticket for the 10 PM screening ( originally scheduled for 9 PM), I headed for the lounge at 7 PM to chill out and make a few calls on my cell phone. I had my photo album of the best pics from the meet and greet at Joe's Pub on July 22, 2010 that I wanted to give Vincent plus a few souvenirs I picked up at the Criss Angel Mindfreak Store in Las Vegas during my most recent trip there. I also plan to visit the Luxor Hotel again next month with a friend to see Criss Angel's "BeLIEve" show with Cirque Du Soleil. I also tucked inside a paper American flag that my brother Alberto had made for Veteran's Day.

Maybe I would see Vincent before the screening, or, after the Q&A that night. The anticipation was half the fun, not to mention, half the stress! Well, lo and behold, Vincent appeared at the lounge just after 8 PM with his family and members of the cast and crew from the film. Having spotted him outside the theater just before his entrance, I knew this was my opportunity to meet him again. After observing him chatting with various people at the bar and steeling my nerve, I finally approached Vincent with a fellow fan, Sarah, that I met earlier in the lounge. Vincent was gracious to us both and warmly accepted my gift, asking me "Mind if I flip through these first?" before looking at the photos and mementos in the book I had given him. He asked, "Is this for me?" and thanked me for the book before signing my NYCHFF program and posing for a photo with me and Sarah. We posed for another photo in the back of the lounge, where the lighting was better, but the picture didn't come out. The first one did, but it was very dark. Sarah and I spent the next two hours in the lounge while Sam Bisbee did a soundcheck for the after party concert and talking about the film DGITW. I had wanted to ask Vincent to pose again with us for one more picture, but I was too nervous too approach him again, Silly, huh? That's the trouble with social anxiety disorder, it really cramps one's style at the worst possible moments. Well, I did help Sarah out by helping her to meet Michael Hein, who was hanging out at the bar and he was nice enough to pose for photos with Sarah after offering to buy us both drinks, which we declined.

The screening to DGITW was delayed until 10:30 PM, so we stepped outside for some air, and to let Sarah make a call on my cell phone, since she didn't have one. Vincent was also outside chatting on his cell phone for awhile, and several people standing nearby were smoking, so we kept our distance.  Continuing to battle my nervousness around Vincent, we went back inside to line up for the screening. I wanted a front row seat for the film and the Q&A with Vincent and the cast, so we stood near the door to the screening room. While we were there, I met another VDO fan who recognized me from Joe's Pub and asked me if I was Billygrl. Well, we ended up on line together and sat in the front row left side. Sarah sat behind me, due to her farsightedness, so she didn't want to be too close to the screen. I, however, wanted to be as close to Vincent as possible, and to take more pics. Michael Hein appeared just after we were seated to introduce the film, preceded by several short films, and announced that Vincent was still at the bar. After the short films were screened, DGITW finally began just after 11:30 PM. By then, I was so tired and pissed that the screening had been so delayed, I realized the after party was out of the question. I would stay for the Q&A and go home. My ride home was supposed to be at midnight, but I ended up leaving at 1:30 AM.

Vincent appeared after the screening ended at 12:45 AM for a brief Q&A with Sam Bisbee and the cast of DGITW and I filmed it and took some great pics. I should have left it at that, but I decided to go back to the lounge after the screening to speak to Vincent once more and ask for another photo with him. However, Vincent was busy giving an interview at the bar and his handler, who I had not previously encountered, was the stone waller and would not permit us to even talk to him. My companion at the screening kept taking pictures of Vincent anyway, but was rebuffed when she tried to approach. Sarah had left before the Q&A and  I left the theater at 1:30 AM and caught my ride home, with bittersweet memories and some beautiful pics. I did get to congratulate Vincent on the success of his film and told him I was happy for him. I also briefly mentioned my upcoming trip to Vegas when I showed him the CA souvenirs in the photo book. I enjoyed seeing the entire version of DGITW and loved the music, so I was sorry I didn't stay for the after party, but I was pretty wiped out from the late hour and wanted to go home. I will attend the screening in NYC on November 22 at 6 PM, and will have another opportunity to meet Vincent and to ask him again about "Johnny and Me," his next film and third directorial turn. Wish me luck!

All text and photos by Billygrl copyright 2010.