2011 — Do Look Back

8 01 2012

It’s been an exceptional year, so time to look back at 2011.  Last year I wrote 2010 had been, “a year in which the film has been at many international festivals, and as a result I’ve traveled to lots of great places and met a spectrum of new friends and colleagues,” and that emphatically applies again to 2011. So I’m going to thank those who made 2011 one of the best of my professional life.  I’m beginning with thanks to all who have purchased the DVD and viewed the doc at festivals and other events — your support of independent film is inspiring and appreciated.

2010 started off with a great festival experience at in Calgary, Alberta at the Soundasaurus Festival at the EPCOR center.  Jodi Lucas was the programmer who brought the film there and was wonderful host during my stay.  Later in January, another great experience at the Club Transmediale festival in Berlin.  The man who made it all happen was Remco Schuurbiers.  The film was also in the REEL Music festival in Portland, Oregon, last January, Bill Foster is the  Director there.  I couldn’t make it to Portland, but I did go there last September for another terrific event — the Jackpot Music Film Festival, run by Issac Slusarenko the owner of the fabulous Jackpot Record shops there.

In February the film was shown at the Glasgow Film Festival in Scotland.  Stu Brown’s Sextet, who live in Glasgow, performed and filled-in for the Q&A.  Then in March I was at the wonderful Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival in the wine country north of San Francisco.  A big shout out to festival programmer Jason Perdue (and wife Gena) as well as Robert and Paula Brent who graciously let me stay at their lovely home in the nearby countryside.  This would have been a fabulous festival in any case but was made all the better bythe fact that the film won the Critics Award.  Thanks again to critic Gil Mansergh for picking the film.  In April the film was at the electronic music oriented Together Festival in Boston, run by David Day — I had a lovely evening there as Tom Rhea and Hoby Cook , who are both in the film, were able to attend, and thanks to Berklee for providing us with a screening room.  And then I had another lovely event, in Peekskill, NY, at the Center for The Digital Arts at Peekskill Community College organized by Lise Prown.

In early April there was the showing at the Unsound Festival in Manhattan, programmed by Andy Battaglia.  In early July the film and I went to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.  This was a great trip and another truly memorable experience — the KVIFF is one of Europe’s biggest and there were two full-house screenings while I was there — Pavel Klusak, the festival programmer for music films is the man who made it all happen.  Back in the USA later in July the film shown in Sacramento at Movies On A Big Screen, an ongoing weekly festival programmed by Robert McKeown.

August was notable for an event at the municipal art gallery in the town of  Milton Keynes about 50 miles Northwest of London — the film was selected by local sound artist Caroline Devine.  At the end of the month I was fortunate to be invited to Museum Ludwig in historic Cologne (Köln) Germany during an event that’s part of the reiheM concert and film series.  This came about through the efforts and enthusiasm of Frank Dommert from A-Musik, and reiheM.

In October there were two New Jersey festivals, the first was the ATP festival on October 2nd in Asbury Park, NJ (ATP stands for All Tomorrow’s Parties) — a wonderful fest that started in the UK and now has worldwide events.  Deborah Higgins and Barry Hogan, are festival organizers and thanks too to Aidan Flax-Clark of Lapham’s Quarterly, who brought the film to ATP’s attention, and to Abbey Lustgarten and Jason Altman of the Criterion Collection for including the film in their curated film section at the festival.  A couple of weeks later I was in Atlantic City for the Downbeach Film Festival where Deconstructing Dad won the Best Documentary award.  

A real thrill and thanks to Bill SokolicJoelle SokolicNed Eckhardtand everyone on the festival staff for the award and a great time in Atlantic City.  And thanks as well to George Stewart who originally suggested that I submit my film to the festival. The film was also shown in Ghent, Belgium in October as part of the 38th annual Gent International Film Festival, programmer Jeroen Derycke was responsible for this showing. In November the film was screened in Israel at the Jewish Eye World Jewish Film Festival in Ashkelon it was very satisfying to have the film shown there though I couldn’t attend — Gady Castel of the festival was instrumental in making it possible.  And the final festival of the year was in November at Scheld’apen, programmed by David Van der Weken.  Scheld’apen is a youth culture center and a contrary art workshop in Antwerp, Belgium that has an annual program that features films about early electronic music and synthesizer pioneers.

There were also several excellent radio interviews in 2011.  On November 18th, Jeff Winner (who co-produced the film) and I were interviewed on NPR‘s “Radio Times” with Marty Moss-Coane, produced by Patty Leswing — WHYY in Philadelphia is the originating station.  You can still listen to that broadcast — here’s a link.  In October as part of spreading the word for the Atlantic City festival, George Stewart interviewed me on his show Crazy College which aired on radio station WVUD in Wilmington, Delaware.  There were three other notable radio interviews last spring and summer, one with the legendary Jordan Rich on WBZ in Boston, another with musical historian and preservationist  David Miller for his NPR show Swingin’ Down The Lane, and a third with Technically Classical, a radio show on the University of London radio station.  They put together a terrific piece about the film and Raymond Scott.  To have a listen to this half hour show click here.  Thanks to Laurel Murray and everyone else at the show for making it all happen.

And ongoing thanks to those musicians around the world who help keep the music of Raymond Scott alive: Stu Brown in Glasgow for all he’s done for Raymond Scott’s music and my film in the UK, to Adam O’Callaghan in Montreal, Miguel Malla and Raculmuto in Madrid, the revived Raymond Scott Orchestrette in New York, Quintette 7 and Kristen Mathis of the West Point Band, guitarist and music historian Skip Heller who has some wonderful moments in the film, Don Byron, one of the first contemporary musicians to revive Raymond Scott music, and the newest members of this ever expanding yet very exclusive group the MeaNensamble from Norway!  Plus the other groups from (including the DJ’s), who play Raymond Scott music one way or another. Finally, as always, perpetual thanks to Gert-Jan Blom, Irwin Chusid, and Jeff Winner (co-producer of the film) — the Raymond Scott brain trust — who are great colleagues, friends, and consultants.  Their work on the Raymond Scott legacy remains an ongoing inspiration to me…

Happy New Year to all!

—Stan Warnow

Best Documentary, Atlantic City Cinefest!

18 10 2011

Greetings from Atlantic City — OK, not literally as I’m back home, but I was in fact there this past weekend of October 14-16 for the 4th annual Atlantic City Cinefest, presented by the Downbeach Film Festival.  Not your normal type of film festival location, but that made it all the more fun and definitely unique.  The fest is run a by a dedicated group of film lovers headed by William Sokolic and they work very hard to create a festival that feels at once real and fantastical, given the Las Vegas inspired nature of modern Atlantic City (and there’s still a beautiful beach, boardwalk, ocean, and salt water taffy).  But I’m delighted to report that the highlight of the weekend for me was that “Deconstructing Dad” won the Best Documentary award!  A real thrill and thanks to Bill Sokolic, Joelle SokolicNed Eckhardt, and everyone on the festival staff  for the award and a great time in Atlantic City.  And thanks as well to George Stewart  who originally suggested that I submit my film to the festival….

—Stan Warnow

Downbeach Cinefest — Atlantic City — Friday, October 14th

8 10 2011

Back to New Jersey but not Asbury Park, a very different Jersey Shore town — Atlantic City and the Downbeach Film Festival.  It’s Friday October 14th at about 6pm (it’s part of a block of films that starts at 5pm, see this link to festival website for details) and the venue is The Screening Room located on the 13th floor of the Ocean Tower at the Resorts Hotel, and panel discussions will be held in The Director’s Room. The festival’s mission statement is: We are rooted in the celebration of film, and the creation of a forum where filmmakers can exhibit their work. The festival promotes new films, as well as filmmakers and actors all in an effort to celebrate the art form of moviemaking. Sounds good to me, and I will be there, and as an added bonus, I’ll be joined by Jeff Winner of the Raymond Scott Archives, who is a major character in the film.  Jeff has encyclopedic knowledge of Raymond Scott lore and legend, so it’s always extra special when he can attend a screening.  We’ll both be available after the screening for a Q&A.  And another bonus, this is likely the only public screening where attendees will also be able to gamble at will after the screening, so it’s truly a unique event!

Additionally, there’s a festival related preview interview with me on radio station WVUD Sunday night October 9th, hosted by George Stewart, who hosts a weekly show on the station and is the person who first contacted me about the festival.  It’s available on the air and online.  Many thanks to George and William Sokolic of the festival for making this all happen.

And looking back for a moment I had a great time over the weekend of October 1-2 at the All Tomorrow’s Parties “I’ll Be Your Mirror” festival in Asbury Park NJ, thanks again to Deborah Higgins and Barry Hogan, the festival organizers for a wonderful couple of days. And thanks too to Aidan Flax-Clark of Lapham’s Quarterly, who brought the film to ATP’s attention, and to Abbey Lustgarten and Jason Altman of the Criterion Collection for including the film in their curated film section at the festival.

—Stan Warnow

FREE Screening at Unsound Festival — NYC April 10th

4 04 2011

Unsound Festival

In a refreshing change for me, the film is being shown this Sunday close to home, at the very cool Unsound Festival in Manhattan.  This is a cutting-edge electronic music festival now in its second year that has already made a major impact on the NYC cultural scene.

Unsound was established in 2003 in Krakow, Poland, as a festival of advanced music. Starting out as an underground event, in recent years the festival has grown in size and scope.  Unsound currently produces an annual festival in Krakow at the end of October each year and now has expanded with the New York event.

THE NEW YORK TIMES said the NY edition, claims a shrewdly amorphous domain: a zone in a virtual Europe where electronics, arty, multimedia experiments, chamber-music meticulousness, punk impulses and DJ dance beats may all appear amid clouds of noise. This festival’s aesthetic: high-tech, allusive and not to be pinned down.” But one thing that can be pinned down is the time and place of the screening: Sunday April 10th, 3 pm at the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building, 5 East 3rd Street, just east of the Bowery.  Here’s a Google map link as well.  And this is a FREE screening.  I’m attending — hope to see you there.

Also, the festival, which is produced in tandem with the Polish Cultural Institute, has lots of other appealing events — here’s a link to the main website. Definitely worth checking out…

—Stan Warnow

2010 — Do Look Back

2 01 2011

Despite Bob’s advice, I am going to look back because it’s been a truly exceptional year.  A year in which the film has been at many wonderful festivals, both in the U.S. and abroad, and as a result I’ve traveled to lots of great places and met a whole spectrum of new friends and colleagues.

So I’m going to take this opportunity to give a thank you shout out to those who made this year one of the most exciting and satisfying of my professional life.  In the UK Ros Rigby and crew at the Gateshead Jazz Festival, Nigel Humberstone and Jo Wingate at the terrifically enjoyable Sensoria Festival in Sheffield, and Jon Kraus in Manchester who produced a splendid Raymond Scott tribute this November.  And ongoing thanks to Stu Brown in Glasgow for all he’s done for Raymond Scott’s music and my film in the UK.

Back in the USA thanks to David Kaminski and Matthew Seig of the Rockland Filmmakers group for organizing a great local screening, and Larry Applebaum at the Library of Congress for a great DC screening; Doug Whipple and Thom Mulligan for the filmmaker focused New Hope Film Festival in Pennsylvania; Allison and Tiffany Anders for their selection of the film for the Don’t Knock The Rock Festival in L.A., and to Hadrian Belove and Bret Berg of Cinefamily who started the ball rolling — this was one of the all time best screenings.  And I’ve just learned some exciting news — Allison and Tiffany selected the film for inclusion in their contribution to the See It Loud Best Music Docs of the Year list.  Thanks to Scott Parejo of the Carmel Art and Film Festival, a lovely event in a a lovely part of the USA; and to Leslie Harlow at the Park City Music Film Festival, where the film won a Director’s Choice Gold Medal.  And thanks/merci to Adam O’Callaghan who produced and played with his group at the scintillating Montreal event at the Rialto Theatre just a few weeks ago; then it was on to Austin’s amazing Alamo Drafthouse — thanks to programmers George Bragdon and Zack Carlson of for hosting the film as part of their Music Monday Signature Series.

Back on the other side of the Atlantic, gracias to Daniela Rosenfeld at the Barcelona Jewish Film Festival in July,  and to Miguel Malla of Racalmuto who initiated my visit with the festival and then performed with his group in a stellar outdoor concert of Raymond Scott music, — and dank u to Dario van Vree and everyone on the KLIK Animation Festival in Amsterdam — special dank u to Lucy van Kleef who was a tireless guardian angel and facilitator during my stay in Amsterdam in September.

AND….thanks to all the people who came to the screenings, participated in the QAs, and those who have also supported truly independent filmmaking by buying the DVDs.  The audience responses I’ve gotten this year make all the hard work and thousands of hours I’ve devoted to this film worthwhile.

Finally, perpetual thanks to Gert-Jan Blom, Irwin Chusid, and Jeff Winner — the Raymond Scott brain trust — who are great colleagues, friends, and consultants.  Their work on the Raymond Scott legacy is an ongoing inspiration to me…

Happy New Year to all!

Stan Warnow

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