On the legendary Sunset Gower Studios lot, NewFilmmakers LA Film Festival will be making a mark holiday season. From Second City alumni, to Emmy-nominated actors, and American Film Institute thesis projects, NewFilmmakers LA showcases an evening of diverse independent short film programming, created by the next wave of talented filmmakers and screenwriters making their debut in Hollywood.
Featured selections on the December program include:
Be Forever Now (Dir. Casey Geisen / USA) – When does a dead-end retail job become a career?
Just ask the staff of Be Forever No–They’ll be happy to take their time and tell you, as long as they’re on the clock. ‘Be Forever Now’ centers on a trendy clothing store and its young(ish) employees as they hit on customers, terminate pregnancies in the back office and become mistresses to CEOs, all while dreaming of greater things.
Be Forever Now will make a smashing addition to the NewFilmmakers program and is written by Second City alums Casey Geisen and Jamie Fox. They’ve previously worked together on Geisen’s directorial debut, Virgin Wanted, and Fox’s off-Broadway solo show, Mazeltov Cocktail. Virgin Wanted won best comedic short at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, and the Audience award at the Los Angeles Holly Shorts Film festival, while critically acclaimed Mazeltov Cocktail was produced on the Comedy Central Stage and composed by Geisen.
Their latest effort, Be Forever Now, comes together with an all-star cast including Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, News Radio), Mindy Sterling (Any Day Now, Austin Powers franchise), and Camille Chen (Parenthood, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
Cherry Waves (Dir. Carey Williams / USA) – Angie Adams, a hardened yet spiritual street fighter faces her biggest challenge of whether to continue living her life for others or finally for herself and the woman she loves.
Written and directed by Carey Williams, Cherry Waves has picked up a lot of buzz during its award winning festival run in 2012. Funded through Kickstarter, the short film has gone on to receive Best Short at the HBO / American Black Film Festival, Best Short at NBC / Universal Short Cuts, Best Drama at the San Diego Film Festival, Best Narrative at Hollyshorts LA Film Festival, and Best Drama and a Best Actor award for star George Jonson at ITVFest. Williams, an MFA graduate of the Florida State University film program, is currently developing Cherry Waves as a feature film, and a webseries based on the popular blog Very Smart Brothas.
Cherry Waves stars Tracey Heggins (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, LUV), Lulu Brud (The Gravedancers), and George Jonson (Q. Allan Brocka’s Boy Culture).
Heads Up (Dir. Alex Merkin / USA) – An edgy, comedic story of two longtime friends, partners in crime, and somewhat surrogate siblings who love each other to death. When suspicions of trust and loyalty arise at the weekly poker game the situation erupts in an extreme way – because nobody fights like siblings do!
Director Alex Merkin made his directorial debut with the short Across the Hall starring Adrian Grenier in 2005. The full length followed in 2009, with Mike Vogel, Danny Pino, Brad Greenquist, and the late Brittany Murphy. Between his film debuts, Manhattan native Merkin designed and supervised the new film & television department at New York University for The Lee Strasberg Theatre in 2007. A film school graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, Merkin has been named by Daily Variety “a talent to watch”. His next film, the 2013 feature film House of Bodies, stars Terrence Howard, Queen Latifah, Peter Fonda, and Alexz Johnson.
Heads Up stars poet/actor Craig “muMs” Grant (HBO’s Oz, SlamNation), and UCB Comedy alum Adam Lustick (Punk’d, Funny or Die shorts).
The Escape (Dir. James Connelly / USA) – Jasper toils in a 1790s English prison, responsible for tying the hangman’s noose. When his estranged son William turns up and is set to hang, Jasper dreads preparing the knot. Before the execution a dark truth arises compelling Jasper to plan for an escape.
James Connelly’s AFI thesis project The Escape is an award-winning short featuring Shawn-Caulin Young (Thor, Scary or Die), Bart McCarthy (Funny or Die shorts, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), and Kevin Scott Allen. Connelly’s directorial debut has impressed festival audiences, winning awards at the Newport Beach Festival, Best Drama at the LA Film Festival LA Shorts Fest, Best Director, Best Narrative Short, and Best Actor for Bart McCarthy at NYLA International Film Festival, Best Cinematography at Idyllwild Film Festival, and nominated for Best Live Action Short Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Additional selections on the December program list include:
Abstraction (Dir. Daniel Gomes / USA) – A tormented fashion photographer’s last chance to recapture his career, his muse and his mind.
Becoming (Dir. Dustin Brown / USA) – A recent college graduate is torn between the decision to start a career in business or take a risk and follow his dream in the arts.
Jamón (Dir. Iria Lopez / UK) – José is a teenage pig living in a Spanish Town; he is the only pig in his family. One day a new neighbor moves in next door, and José starts to come to terms with who he really is.
Punch Face Moan (Dir. William Beaton / USA) – Present day Los Angeles. In a rundown 50′s motel, sound man Kirk Schneider and his brother Ethan prepare for the recording session of a lifetime. With a looming deadline, Kirk and Ethan race to collect a series of horror sound effects. Their logic, to get real horror, create it.
Shabbat Dinner (Dir. Michael Morgenstern / USA) – Friday night dinner is boring as usual. William’s mother is showing off, his father is drunk and berating their oddball guests, and he doesn’t have much in common with their son Virgo – that is, until they discover they both share a secret. The adults would be shocked to find out what is happening in the other room while they discuss trivialities.
Split Time (Dir. Fabrice Bracq / France) – A man and a woman in their mid-thirties. Attractive, single and day-dreamer, they cross each other a million times without ever meeting. Yet, they are meant to be together.
Train Bleu (Dir. Stephanie Assimacoupoulo / France) – Paris – Gare de Lyon. Helie behaves as a true bounder, Selena, evermore in love, still wants to pick up the pieces. At the bar of the Blue Train, where they stop to have a last drink, neither one could have imagined what will happen…
Virtual Inc (Dir. Devin Wilson / USA) – ‘Virtual Inc’ takes place in the near future, where down and out citizens now use virtual worlds as escapism. Arthur, a new user, enters into his virtual fantasy in search of intrigue and hope. However, his virtual world is not all what it seems.
NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA)