by Jessica Shulsinger
SCRATCH, the brainchild of the innovative members of Cinematografia
Productions - Marco Masoni, Tommaso Fiacchino, and Lou Flees - premiered
on Tuesday at HERE, a cafe/gallery/theater space in downtown Manhattan.
Cinematografia Productions is the same group that introduced
CLIPS in November of 1996 -- a showcase of short films and
works-in-progress by independent filmmakers. The fourth CLIPS will be held next
SCRATCH is built on basically the same format as CLIPS -- both are shown to
a primarily industry audience, with the intention of helping to provide a
cohesive forum for New York's flourishing independent film community.
SCRATCH features four production teams, evaluated and selected by the
organizers with attention to the merit of the screenplay, the proficiency
and unity of production team, and the readiness of the project. The set-up
gives each team 30 minutes to pitch their projects to the audience -- the
producer introduces and briefly outlines the plot, and different scenes are
staged in a dramatic reading by actors.
"The format of [SCRATCH] is really producer-driven," says Cinematografia
member Masoni, who was on hand to orchestrate the evening and introduce
each project. Masoni and his partners intended SCRATCH to be an industry
event, not only as a venue to attract funding for projects that are already
on a natural progression toward production, but also as an evening for
people in the independent film community to just "enjoy as an event."
"Networking is essential [to SCRATCH], so the venue is chosen for specific
reasons," explained Masoni. One of the motivations for creating SCRATCH was
that many screenplay readings are done from start to finish, making the
event last for at least two hours. Masoni felt this can sometimes be a
disservice to everyone involved -- hence, the solution of limiting each
producer to just thirty minutes to pitch their movie and providing a
location conducive to mingling and dialogue among the film community
"Shoot That Clown" producer Gill Holland, had only enthusiastic things to say
about SCRATCH. "It's kind of like getting four for the price of one!"
Andreas Schimmelbusch, making his production and directorial debut with
"Star! Star!", agreed that SCRATCH provided a "good set-up" for people on
both sides of film production.
Masoni also mentioned that Cinematografia Productions was moving toward
playing more of a matchmaking role in the production process -- i.e.,
talking with producers and actually matching them up with potential
sponsors. With the current format, there is certainly the potential of
receiving money right away from someone who is interested, acknowledged
Masoni, but the event's present aim is getting the word out about good
scripts or a film in the works. SCRATCH can also provide some measure of
audience reaction to a particular work.
The debut of Scratch featured "Cement" written by Justin Monjo, produced by
D.J. Paul ("Sunday", "The Pompatus Of Love"), and directed by actor Adrian
Pasdar ("Top Gun", "Carlito's Way"); "Higher Education", written and directed by
Michael Clancy ("Emily's Last Date"), and produced by Jonathan Gray; "Star! Star!" written by Andreas Schimmelbusch and Jette Mueller, produced by Yan
Schoenfelf, Vladimir Yavachev, Allison Silver, and Andres Schimmelbusch,
and directed by Andreas Schimmelbusch and Allison Silver; and "Shoot That Clown", written by David Burris, Tom Gilroy, and Brian Thomas Walker,
produced by Gill Holland ("Hurricane Streets", cineBLAST!), and directed by
[For more information on SCRATCH, contact Cinematographia Productions at
212.971.5846, or visit their website at www.clipsnyc.com]