Erebus"; Minnesota Dreamin'
by Kevin Dreyfuss
New York-based writer/director Karyn Kusama is in preproduction on her
first feature, "Girlfight", to be shot this Spring in Brooklyn under the
Green/Renzi Productions banner. The low-budget drama, which has been
bubbling beneath the surface for several years, tells the stories of
young amateur boxers in Brooklyn trying to come of age and break out of
their tough environment. In a significant challenge to the norm of
testosterone-laden boxing offerings, the main character in "Girlfight"
is a female boxer, and the producers have been conducting open casting
calls in a search for a fresh face to play the 18 year old Latina
protagonist. Kusama, who has dabbled in boxing herself, noted that she
wanted to make a film about "how women deal with their rage." Veteran
John Sayles and David Mamet producers Sarah Green ("Passion Fish," "The
Secret of Roan Inish," "The Spanish Prisoner," Mamet's upcoming "The
Winslow Boy") and Maggie Renzi ("Men with Guns," "Lone Star, Sayles'
upcoming "Limbo") will produce.
>> El Salvador Doc Opens up Old Wounds
"Hearts that Broke the Sword," a documentary from filmmaker-producer
Esther B. Cassidy, is currently in post-production. The film explores
the United States' often controversial foreign policy adventures in El
Salvador since the gung-ho Reagan years in the early 1980s, detailing
the devastating effects of that country's civil war and their recent
attempts to find justice and reconciliation. The documentary is
narrated by Martin Sheen, and executive produced by Academy
Award-winning producer Deborah Shaffer ("Witness to War: The Story of
Dr. Charlie Clements")
>> Sporn Debuts with "The Road From Erebus"
"The Road From Erebus," a low budget psychological thriller from
writer-director David Sporn, was recently discovered as a short reel of
preview footage at the Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) by
LA-based indie Silverline Pictures, and is shooting this month. The
film tells the story of a man searching for the identity of a mysterious
woman with whom he had a passionate one night stand, and who has since
disappeared without a trace. It stars TV soap veteran Brenda Price ("All
My Children"), alongside theater actor James Reynolds. Andy Stauffer
will co-produce with Brett Leitner as associate producer. The 5-minute
sample trailer for the film caught the eye of Silverline President Axel
Munch and CEO Leman Cetiner on the final day of the Market, and they
will serve as executive producers.
>> Minnesota Dreamin'
Minnesota-based writer-director Mary Katzke is set to begin production
on her first feature, "Tuesday Morning Coffee," next month. To be shot on location in southern Minnesota using digital video, the film tells a
documentary-style tale of a group of older widows in a dying southern
Minnesota farming community, and Katzke notes that, "Minnesota humor is
rampant throughout and the tragedies are manageable." After the script
came up a winner in the 1996 Minnesota Blockbuster McKnight Film Fund
Competition, Hollywood beckoned. But interest evaporated once producers
realized that most of the cast would need to be over retirement age.
This is when the production process took an unusual turn, to say the
least. Katzke was somewhat stunned when County Commissioner Jack
Quinlivan of her chosen location, little Delavan, Minnesota, called to
say he and the rest of the town were going to raise the production funds
themselves. With the new influx of funds, Katzke re-imagined the film
as a Dogma 95-style digital feature, employing only real clothes and
props, real locations, natural light, handheld camera and, most
importantly, real people. Katzke is currently prepping for the upcoming
shoot, and is still waiting for a return call from Governor Jessie "The
Mind" Ventura's office regarding a cameo.
[For further information on "Tuesday Morning Coffee," email Mary Katzke at ArcApple@aol.com]
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