Gingerale Afternoon

 

 

A comedy about birth, love and betrayal, Ginger Ale Afternoonis set in the middle of a rundown Texas trailer park, where we find Jesse (Dana Anderson) and Hank (John M. Jackson) living out their lives and trying to understand why everything has to be so difficult.  Nine months pregnant, Jesse is no more prepared to cope with life as a mother than she is about being a wife.  She spends her days half-heatedly cleaning the trailer, lazing around outside in a bikini working on her tan, and fighting with Hank.

Life is fairly predictable, though not particularly satisfying, until Jesse discovers that Hank is messing around with Bonnie (Yeardly Smith), a plump little teenager given to shorts and halter tops, with a wisdom beyond her years.  Words fly, tempers soar, egos bruise and we see deeply into the hearts and minds of three sensitive and generous people.

This intimate, warm, and touching comedy was written for the screen by Gina Wendkos from her original stageplay, directed by Rafal Zielinski (“Hey Babe,” “Fun,” ,”Age of Kali”,”Bohemia”). Shot by cinematographer Yuri Neyman (“Liquid Sky,” “D.O.A.”),  Ginger Ale Afternoon offers a spectacular wall to wall music score by blues legend Willie Dixon.

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Hey Babe

 

 

“Hey Babe!” is the story of Theresa (Yasmine Bleeth), a rebellious, gutsy orphan from Brooklyn, who has dreams of show business success.  She tries desperate schemes to launch herself into the public eye, until finally meeting mentor, Sammy Cohen (Buddy Hackett), whose own career fizzled as a result of alcoholism.

As Rafal Zielinski’s first film, it the opened the Taormina Film Festival, had it’s North American premiere at the Toronto FIlm Festival, and went on to play at AFI Fest as well as a number of other international film festivals.  ”Hey Babe!” introduces the 13 year-old Yasmine Bleeth, who would go on to become a major Hollywood actress in shows such as “Babewatch” and “One Life To Live,” in her first film –  alongside the legendary comedian Buddy Hackett, the much loved musical-comedy performer of such films such as “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Music Man, and “The Love Bug.”

Written by Canadian artist Edith Rey, with music specially composed by techno-star, Gino Soccio, the movie contains plenty of disco fever that will keep viewers lighthearted and entertained.

It is an uplifting, bitter sweet and gritty journey which is at the same time  whimsical, dreamy and full of magic. The combination of Bleeth and Hackett creates a provocative and often fascinating song-and-dance extravaganza!

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Age of Kali

Age of Kali, a Rafal Zielinski film, poster

a Rafal Zielinski film

written by John Steppling

According to Hindu mythology, we are living in the Kali Yug (“Age of Kali”), a time of decadence, desire and deterioration…

Written by LA’s “quintessential” playwright, John Steppling (screenwriter of Steve Bushemi’s “Animal Factory”), shot by Eric Steelberg (DOP, “Juno”, “Up in the Air” and Sundance 2006 Grand Jury and Audience Award Winner “Quinceanera”) and directed by Canadian director Rafal Zielinski (whose “Ginger Ale Afternoon” and “Fun” both premiered at Sundance in the Dramatic Competition), the film stars Taylor Nichols, a veteran of Wilt Stillman’s films (“Metropolitan”, “Barcelona”, “Last Days of Disco”), Sarah Zoe Canner who stars in Agnieszka Holland’s latest film “Prawdziwa Historia Janosika i Uhorcika“ and Whitney Able as Sabrina, whose new film Monsters was the rage of this year’s Toronto Film Festival and is about to come out  theatrically in the US and Canada.

A young, recently married Los Angeles couple –  Tom, a promising architect and  Ellie, manager of a trendy modernist furniture store – are certainly on their way to affluence – they are sophisticates, but with some edges.

Sabrina, a teenager of questionable age with radical pretensions and a desperate, dangerous, flirtatious nature, becomes a force of “destruction” and at the same time “creation” Like the goddess Kali, in a way, she represents cyclical time-consciousness that transcends individual destiny.

A psychologically erotic triangle — a downward spiral of obsession and compulsion — a dangerous journey of self-discovery.

Director’s Statement

My experiences in Living in Calcutta as a teenage, my passion for the three masterpieces (Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’, Antonioni’s ‘Red Desert’, Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’), fascination with the disturbing plays of John Steppling, and the never-ending search for some sort of illumination, created the inevitable necessity of making this film.

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Bohemia

Bohemia, a Rafal Zielinski film, poster

memory, darling

Gabi, an aspiring young Czech filmmaker feels compelled to create short films about her life; one of them –

Jack works as a writer in the world of advertising. He is discontent with his present life and the choices he made; he did not follow his idealistic youthful dreams of becoming a ‘serious’ writer.

Spending the weekend in a faceless Los Angeles hotel, with a view of a concrete freeway bridge, writing a cat litter commercial, Jack feels he has reached an all-time low. After finding an advertisement in the local paper that reads: “Scheherazade: I’ll tell you stories”.

The call girl (Gabriella) comes to Jack’s aid, for a price – this Czech beauty came to North America chasing her own dreams, she hides her pain in the fantastical stories she tells for which she charges her clients by the hour.

She begins her story with a young man named Jake, who takes an extended holiday in Prague, a haven for young expatriates, in search of culture and rejuvenation.

On the Charles Bridge, he meets Gabi, filmmaker and dancer. Pure, passionate, mysterious, enchanting, she instantly falls in love with Jake, her “American dream-man”. They have a whirlwind romance, exploring the rich, mysterious “Kafka-esque” city.

The exact opposite of everything that Jake represents, Gabi intuitively begins to help Jake uncover his lost self. By unwrapping the numerous layers of fear, denial and disappointment in which Jake hides, Gabi uncovers his true and innocent nature. Yet, alas, the two must part, and do so, sadly.

A story, within a story, within a story… Jack is Jake, or is he… Gabi is Gabriella, is is she…

…like films and memories, stories cannot stop, they must live forever…

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Mother

When I was a teenager we lived in Calcutta for five years.

Mother Theresa was not an international figure at the time, and my mother had several projects going with her. She founded a dance & music school and made an arrangement with Mother Theresa where children from her orphanage would be be given free art, music and dance classes. Whenever we saw a leper, sick or dying person in the streets, we would call the Mother and one of her sisters would come and arrange for the person to be taken to the hospital or hospice.  It was a tumultuous time for our whole family and India changed us forever. I would like to go back and explore that part of my childhood, as a gateway to the  inspirational life-story of this powerful, compassionate and loving being, when she was just beginning her mission.

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Flood refugees and my father’s pre-fab concrete low-cost housing projects sponsored by the Ford Foundation.

The pre-fab toilet factory was another project. Thousands of toilets were installed all over Calcutta (prior to that people went to the bathroom in open ditches lining the streets, the only form of sewage system in most parts of the city – which became a greater issue during the Monsoon season).

Every moment in Calcutta was an assault on the senses, the mind and one’s soul…