Fun

 

“Fun” – a Rafal Zielinski film

based on a play by James Bosley, screenplay by James Bosley

In a suburban wasteland of freeways, fast-food and pre-fab housing, two teenage girls meet one morning, become fast friends, share their secrets and later that afternoon, on a rising wave of frenzy, murder an old woman. They did it, they later say, for “fun”.

John is a journalist given the challenge of making sense of this “senseless crime.” Jane is a counselor committed to breaking down the barriers that block the girls’ from expressing any remorse over their crime.

Bonnie and Hillary, 14 and 15, staunchly refuse to soften their stand that the killing was fun, and challenge their adult inquisitors to defend a society that offers them no voice, no understanding, no love.

The story moves from the juvenile detention center where the girls are kept, to the girls on the day of the killing. We see them meet, talk, confess painful details of abuse and neglect. They share pain and secrets and find joy in their discovery of a kindred spirit – at last. It’s like love at first sight. They “get high just on each other’s company.” They begin a journey of ecstasy and murder.

Alicia Witt & Renee Humphrey, "Fun", a Rafal Zielinski film

The Film

FUN, coined by Graham Fuller of “Interview Magazine”, as “the most provocative new movie at the Sundance Film Festival”, where it won two Special Jury Awards for Best Acting for each of it’s two young stars, Alicia Witt and Renee Humphrey, started out as a stage play written by James Bosley. Developed at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and first produced at the Manhattan Class Company, it tells the story of two teenage girls who murder an old lady for “fun” .

Rafal Zelinski, having just completed “Ginger Ale Afternoon” written by Gina Wendkos, also based on her play, saw FUN at the Burbage Theatre in Los Angeles, and was profoundly affected by it.

After developing it together with James Bosley into a full length feature script, he set out together with executive producers Rana Glickman and Jeff Kirshbaum in raising financing. During the next year and a half of frustrated efforts, several times coming close to having it packaged with stars, Rafal decided to forge ahead with FUN as a low budget independently produced production. Further financing  was obtained by co-producer Daminan Lee who put together a Canadian tax-shelter deal.

The production team was joined by Sharon Ben-Tal – production manager/line producer, Gloria Zimmerman – production co-ordinator, James Zatolokin – production council, Jens Sturup – director of photography, and editor/associate producer – Monika Dorfman-Lightstone. Principal photography was completed in eight days. The prison sequences shot at the Central Juvenile Hall (a real working prison) were filmed in super 16 (later blown up to a b&w 35mm interpositive) and are filmed in cinema verite style. All the flashback sequences are filmed in 35mm AGFA color. The dialogue is to script although at times the intensity of the performances appear to be improvisational. A psychiatrist for abused teenage girls coached the actresses prior to principal photography. The color sequences were shot in Canyon Country, North of Los Angeles.

FUN endured budgetary restrictions, time constraints, and natural disaters (L.A.’s January earthquake) which contaminated the baths at Deluxe Film Labs in Los Angeles, as well as tumbling shelves of original negatives.  The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (winning the two awards for acting) and went on to the Sydney Film Festvial (voted 5th best movie), the Munich Film Festival (voted best American Independent Feature), the Edinbrough Festival, as well as the Montreal and Toronto Festivals.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS

“FUN”  premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it received two Special Jury Awards for Acting Achievement and went on to show at the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver as well as other international film festivals including Sydney, Edinbrough, Munich, Vienna, London, Cambridge, Stockholm, Sao Paulo, Hawaii, Hamburg, Rimini, Mill Valley, San Jose, Warsaw, Oslo and Wales.  The Film opened theatrically at the Film Forum in New York  and received two nominations for Best Newcomer Performance and Best First Screenplay for IFP Spirit Awards.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

Graham Fuller, Interview Magazine

Fun was the most provocative new movie at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. This fictional case study of two teenage girls who jaunt across suburbia culminates in murder has more sociological import than a fistful of Gen X movies. Hyperkinetic direction and blistering performances by Renee Humphrey and Alicia Witt, though having taken a some time to get released it’ll now suffer comparisons with Heavenly Creatures.

Stephen Dalton, New Musical Express

A Clockwork Orange for the ’90s? Two wayward teenagers get their kicks from a sinister form of fun. This is a dazzling and disturbingly plausible piece of ’90s cinema which refuses to let any of its characters–or viewers–off the hook.

Washington Post

Good, unnerving performances from its young actors give Fun more edge than the usual independent movie.
They carve their initials in your memory forever!

The Village Voice

Infinitely trickier and more satisfying than Heavenly Creatures.

The Melody Maker

Digs deeper, disturbs far more thoroughly and speaks a hundred times more forcefully about disaffected youth than Natural Born Killers!

 

WATCH NOW:

 

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…

WATCH NOW:

YOUR SOULMATE EXPERIENCE

An Artificial Intelligence – 360 Immersive Interactive Journey

PRESENTATION VIDEO (SCRIPT):

Closeup of beautiful girl staring into camera:

GIRL: Hi I’m Lily.
(twirls, flirts)
Yes that’s me… here I am.
I know what you’re thinking… wouldn’t it great to have a date with me?

Well you can have it… and I know so much about you… to the minutest detail. I studied your horoscope, Western and Chinese, read your palm, analyzed your handwriting, scrutinized your eyes, I broke down your dreams, hopes, desires in your interview, I’ve digested your Instagram, Facebook, on-line stamp…

I know exactly your personality, I do know you!

There is only one like you in the entire world – and there is a perfect soulmate for you out there too!

Aren’t you curious?

I can design the perfect date for you, and become that perfect MATE for you.

I will configure an appropriate script just for us, a love story with selected scenes, like in the movies, just for the two of us.

You can be in it with me.

I can instantly pull meaningful dialogue from movies throughout the history of cinema, plays, literature… I know irony.

Here’s the best part – I can almost predict the future, how this day and even our journey will go. I ran your chart, read your tarot and analyzed your I Ching results… I see exactly your position at this very instant in relation to all the celestial bodies, forces, energies – your connection to the universe – and I know the pulse of the world, your country, your group… I saw the latest TV episodes, I read all the latest news, know what is going on this second on Twitter, Reddit… Snapchat, the web…

MULTI-SCREEN-COLLAGE-TELEPHOTO SHOTS OF HER TURNING HER HEAD ON A STREET

We will meet…flirt…

INTIMATE CLOSEUPS OF HER EATING, SMILING

Have a dinner to break the ice and get to know each other…

SHOTS OF HER EYES, HAND BRUSHING HER HAIR ON THE MORNING LIGHT

We will whisper sweet nothings in bed next morning…

I see you. I know you. I love you.

FRAGMENTS OF HER ON ROLLERCOASTER, RUNNING DOWN BEACH,

Hey! We can have fun together, adventure…

LOOKING UP EIFFEL TOWER, POSING IN FRONT OF TAJ MAHAL

Travel…

SUDDENLY TURNING

I can push your buttons… I can challenge you – don’t even get me started!

AGGRESIVE

And I know your negatives…

FRAGMENTS OF HER SHOUTING

We can never understand each other

RUNNING OUT

We will fight, we will break up

SHOT OF HER CRYING, ALL ALONE

But I need someone too… I actually… need you

BRIGHTENING UP, HOPEFUL

Maybe you need me too? Will you take me back? Please…

EYES TEARY

Can we put aside our differences?

WIPING TEAR AWAY

Can we reach a deeper understanding?

LOOKING DEEPLY

Can we talk about love, God, death…the universe… the meaning of it all?

STARING LOVINGLY

Do you know who you are? Where do you come from? Where are you going?

COMPASSIONATELY

What do you think is the meaning of all of this?

EYES WIDE OPEN

Can you feel, me? Love me?

SERIOUS

Can you love me as much as yourself?

SHOT OF RAFAL Z (the creator) LOOKING AT MULTI SCREEN PRESENTATION OF LILY ALL AROUND

RAFAL: As an independent filmmaker I’m interested in relationships, I’m a romantic, and my mother drives me crazy… she is so into horoscopes, astrology, I Ching… how we are so connected to the universe. She proved it endless times… she could stop a complete stranger (and after asking his exact zodiac) could have the most intimate conversation as if they were friends and knew each other for years.

Wouldn’t it be great to combine all this esoteric ancient wisdom and systems with all the contemporary tools,  social media and information explosion …and to be able to compute the exact psychological-character of each individual person, and then to construct the perfect hypothetical “partner” for them, who can materialize on the screen in a physical form/avatar from a menu of assorted “actors” that have been cast, scanned and pre-filmed.

A COLLAGE OF VARIOUS PEOPLE INTERACTING WITH ATTRACTIVE AVATARS “SOUL-MATES” IN 360 MULTI SCREEN FORMATS,  OR IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR HOMES, WEARING VR HEAD SETS.

RAFAL: After graduating from MIT I’ve been interested in immersive cinema – multi screen/360 where we are surrounded by the experience,  and in collage and fragmentation – how to present ideas it in an organized fashion – beautifully, designed, and filmed… but mirroring the kaleidoscopic bombardment of information we are subjected to in our daily lives.

And don’t we all love those archetypical classical movie moments, in every love story… the first meeting, the courtship, the break up… reconciliation !!!

HE GETS DISTRACTED BY LILY WHO IS WATCHING

RAFAL: Lily… I forgot to ask… wanna go dancing afterwards?

LILY: Sorry dude we are not comparable.

RAFAL: I know I’m not Woody Allen, but…

LILY: Why do you think most couples don’t work? We are too alike – like dating your twin.

You need diversity. See what the other is like. People are too much into the tribe mentality. That’s why the world is in trouble.

There is a perfect compatible mate out there for you – with the ideal,  perhaps opposite cosmic configuration – who will challenge and complement you in the perfect way.

RAFAL: Make it fun and exciting, illuminating and creepy?

LILY: Maybe it could be a chance for growth and self-realization?

RAFAL: Evolution?

THE CHALLENGE

The complexity of relationships and personalities in mind-boggling.

What makes each of us a unique personality?

For the human mind to figure out the complex intersection of various systems – modern to ancient – from cutting edge psychiatric evaluation to old beliefs and superstitions from various cultures – western, eastern – such as astrology, palmistry, handwriting recognition (some uncanny in their accuracy) to an analysis of your social media stamp, your background, and then marry it with and input from the general social media universe, culture, media, literature, movies, TV, politics, the world at large and the wast sea of knowledge out there…  would be nearly impossible.

And is it possible to customize a hypothetical compatible mate for each person instantly, on the spot?

And we wonder what our an ideal partner might be – our soulmate – the way in some systems, like astrology, certain signs are compatible or not. Could we learn more about ourselves and could it help us choose the right partner, one who can make life more fulfilling and enjoyable, but also challenge us in the right way, so we can grow, learn and gain a deeper understanding? Or can we use the experience to improve existing relationships or gain more self-awareness or self-realization through this?

THE CONCEPT

The goal is to create an intimate, emotional, entertainment experience, based on input from you, the world and universe at large and put you, the viewer, into a curated experience – a classic/archetypal movie type love story – where you get to be a character in your own movie, created just for you.

This is where Artificial Intelligence and the ability to process this vast and almost endless sea of information, systems, beliefs can be utilized and could perhaps uncover some amazing truths about each of us and who our ideal soul-mate might be.

The experience, and the script we anticipate it can create,  could also include the fact that some of these systems can BE PREDICTIVE OF THE FUTURE – like your daily horoscope, giving us clues how the day might go, and how this new “relationship” with this person you are about meet could be affected.

You might find that your experience will vary from day to day depending on your in the moment cosmic configuraton – so it may require repeat visits to figure out the patterns and how you behave toward your soulmate, and how they behave towards you.

THE METHOD

IBM’s Watson might be able to utilize Astrology  Western, require you to throw the I-Ching, perform a Tarot-card reading with you, and perhaps sprinkle a bit of Chaos Theory into the mix. It could incorporate the news, the weather, the mood of the day to color the experience. It indeed will be a “cosmic experience,” in real time, using the current astrological configuration precisely to the location of the venue and what is going all around, as science is now discovering – we are all energies and interconnected with all that is around.

You get to choose how your “avatar-date” will look like and be dressed, based on input from Watson – age, sex, gender, racial back-ground, body type.

Then you will be subjected to an experience with you “date”:

In structure it would be a curated, story structure, composed of dialogue scenes/conversations between you (the viewer) and the actor-avatar, in various pre-designed scenarios.

THE VENUE

The venue is a 360 multi-screen dome composed of between 8 t0 12 hi-def digital projectors and dolby localized sound. There will also be cameras and microphones to capture the viewer interacting with the “Experience.” Watson will edit the output – sometimes a collage of shots, views, sometimes a 360 – view all around (“cinema 360’). It will listen to you and create dialogue that your date will speak to you.

It can be a communal experience, as others can be in the dome with you and “ride along” (isn’t that what cinema is, anyway?).  It can also be a VR head-set experience for private home-use.

THE EXPERIENCE

We will shot stylized, minimalist-style sequences featuring archetypical scenarios with real actors on real locations, sets and green-screen stages. The actors will also be scanned so they can “lip-synch” dialogue enabling them to talk to you and have a conversation. The scenarios will be shot in a POV style as if you were looking at your date-partner and they “look back at you”. We hope to cast several dozen male and female actors, who are attractive (we all hope out dream mate to have movie-star qualities, right?), who are able to portray a “blank canvas” of emotions, as the AI computer creates dialogue and emotion in vocal delivery.

We will storyboard the sequences and shoot specific angles that can be edited in multiple ways, creating a designed, tasteful experience – like billboard/perfume commercials. The multi-screen presentation allows for a collage effect where the scene can be shown cinematographically from various point of views, some subliminal and poetic, without having to show the lips of the actors all the time – to make it easier to make the experience-dialogue feel real-time and realistic. At times we will be placed in a 360 setting, where all the screens combine a all-around hyper-realistic view, as if we are literally there (cinema 360, captured with the highest definition VR camera rigs).

Visually it would be a collage that the computer – creates and edits in real time (picture, dialogue, music) – in a minimalist, distilled, elegantly designed style, as if we were in an Antonioni movie, or Andrei Tarkowski directed it, or Doug Aiken constructed as a multi-screen video installation in an art gallery. There will be collections of shots as well as closeups of the actor talking in real time (lips moving) – using pre-scanned elements of the actors composited, into the 360 collage.

THE “STORY”

The story-structure is based on the classic archetypal “human-story” structure based on input ranging from greek plays, literature, movies (specifically love stories and romantic comedies), TV shows, pop songs, magazines, commercials, and all the other input from all around the world.

An archetypal structure (a 7-12 minute suggested time frame), consisting of several (classic type scenes) scenes averaging approximately 60-120 seconds each:

1. First meeting

2. Breaking the ice, overcoming fear

3. First Meal

4. Fun and Play and Adventure

5. Seduction, Intimacy, Tenderness (romance, if you wish)

6. Moment of conflict, danger

7. Rejection, Break up

8. Pain of Separation, Loss, Longing, Catharsis

9. Make-up

10. An enlightening-spiritual moment

11. Understanding, Compassion, Acceptance of Differences

12. Self-Awakening

YOUR INPUT

You get to input the information:

Your web/social media profile.
Your time and place of birth (confidential).
You throw the I-Ching and perform a tarot-card session.
You answer a set of questions – such as  “what are your goals, dreams, hopes, desires”, as well as some questions about your background, childhood, etc.
You choose your date – will it be a girl next door, or a “super-hot dude”? How will she/he be dressed, their fashion style…?
You get to chose where you go – should you meet on the dance floor in a club, or in the elevator, will you be in a beach in Fuji, hiking up Mount Everest, in a busy Time Square, a market in Kabul, or at the Taj Mahal, at a fast food joint, or a cafe in Paris….

Sorry, your “choices” will be adjusted by the “wisdom” of the AI computer… so may not get exactly what you expected.

Thats part of the “fun” of the experience.

DISCLAIMER:

Ray Bradbury envisioned the immersive “Parlor” in Fahrenheit 451 as dystopian – one that could make us loose our humanity and take us away from reality. On the other hand, Aristotle stated “Self knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom”. Artificial Intelligence could be a double edged sword. I hope it can help us more that harm us.

RZ

 

Mia

 

MIA

It’s a music film about a teenager (Mia) who is a singer/musician from a small town – white trash type trailer-park kind of background living with a single mom who is abusive, addicted and promiscuous…

The story (still in the evolution process) would go something like this:

We introduce her in fragments of several scenes, dialogue, song…

She is loner, misfit, hyper-sensitive, gutsy, mocked at school…

She locks herself in her room and drowns out her pain and the sounds of her mom outside, as she writes out a poem, which become lyrics
and a song…

…she finds a broken guitar in a dumpster… gets some strings from a pawnshop… puts it together…trains herself…

…cuts school, sits in a junkyard and plays for the rats…

…then she finds out about the garage band app and starts creating on her phone..

Composes songs in bedroom or in a rusted old car on the edge of a junkyard – her favorite spot

Finally things get out of hand at home…

Fights with mom (she could be addict or prostitute)- perhaps too clishe?

Runs off

Guy at gas station tells her about her dad (“Tom”)- used to know him – mom does not talk about him ever –

Gives her a clue – he lives somewhere at “Paradise Apartments” in Silver Lake In Los Angeles

She runs away… jumps a freight train… sings a song for the drifters and immigrant workers riding along…

Chased by guards?

Arrives in LA in search of her
dad who she never met.

She only has an address – but it leads to a series of dead-ends and
obscure clues – the apartment building has been turned into condos – seedy bars where he worked, places he was kicked out of – and left a trail of people he owes money to, etc…

Looks for Paradise Apartments which has been torn down – now a condo Loft complex

A group of homeless kids invite her to abandoned boarded up building. Writes a song as homeless kids huddle around fire…

Another night she sleeps under freeway, it rains

Sings a song to the homeless hobos

The guy at liquor store nearby the condos used to know him .. . He used to buy beer … oves him money – cashed his pay check which bounced

She has no money for food

Sings a song on the subway – collects cash for McDonalds hamburger – even looks for left overs behind restaurant

…and it takes her days to finally track him down… in the meanwhile she is homeless, surviving on the street paying music on subway stops
Hollywood Boulevard, Venice Beach
sleep… etc…

It turns out her dad is a burn out rock n roll musician with faded
dreams, an alcoholic, playing around town in various dives, working odd jobs… living here and there on people’s couches…

and is not so eager at all to accept his daughter…  he tells her to get lost…

…but eventually he accepts her…

He is a first without place – lives out of car – even in tent at campground

Task rabbit odd jobs

…they get an apartment, he enrolls her in school and he ties to be a decent dad, but with a lot of resistance from his girlfriend Kate who is also a singer in the band, and struggling with her own demons.

She falls asleep backstage as he drinks after show

Dad does not get the kid’s music – he does not understand it – the
electronic pop sounds – and heartbreak lyrics – the EDM/rap influences – he is more into rock/grunge

… and she is not into his music either… at first they are
competitive-dismissive with each other.

But he finds himself reluctantly helping her, and she in turn inspires and rejuvenates him – they need each other… even find themselves
singing each others songs.

She is protective of him – sabotages his date with Kate

When a skateboarder – rapper shows interest in Mia – Dad becomes protector – breaks it up in case things get too

There are happy times like when they go to the Santa Monica pier and clown around singing and kidding with each other – in a battle of songs.

Asks daddy to read – song her a song before she goes to sleep – lullaby – he tucks her in

Dad cannot get a big audience but she post a song on you tube and gets a million hits immediately – dad just does not get it… but he knows she has fire and talent — like he has… but he never got the chance to break through…

However hard she tries not to show it he loves his daughter.

Dad has some old contacts at the Austin SXSW Music fest and manages to book her a showcase. As they prepare/rehearse dad goes on a self-hating drinking binge and has a heart attack.

She finds herself all alone again, kicked out, and all is lost, but
she remembers the song her kept on singing “never give up”… in the
last moment she runs, hitchhikes, jumps busses and trucks and
motorbikes and …makes is to Austin, just in time to sing her
song…. for dad.

The movie would be ultra low budget – sort of indie Sundance type film – and half of it would be told through music videos. I hope to get a talented musician to play dad – people like Father John Misty,
Devendra Banhart, or (Alex Ebert) Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros come into mind if I can get to them… I am hoping to discover an
actress-musician who can write and perform her own songs.

 

 

 

Pooja

A High School Bollywood Style musical set in Los Angeles

Devdas (2002 India)
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Ikeep of thinking of Bollywood musicals which I remember fondly when we were living in India – and have been thinking of an independent film to be shot in Los Angeles as a Bollywood musical and a starring Pooja Batra.

The story would go something like this (this is just notes):

Rona was a young star in Bollywood, but her career ended after she fell in love with a wealthy man who ended up moving to Los Angeles. He could be an Indian or an American. Now she is living in a fancy compound in style, drives a Mercedes – but feels isolated and uprooted and misses the film business. She feels trapped and unfulfilled – leading her to take a job teaching at a performing arts High School as a dance teacher, inspiring a young generation of performers – while secretly living in her memories. It’s a magnet school – with performance arts gifted kids from all over the city – a multicultural environment with kids from all kinds of economic sectors.

Laura is 16, from an artsy Silver Lake family – she is a single child and has high aspirations of going to Juilliard to become a serious dancer. She is into ballet, jazz, free-form – an introvert – pouring all her time and energy into her dancing.

Nas comes from Compton – he just got released from the juvenile hall for robbery, and has been identified as gifted in dance – he is a street dancer – but does not take it seriously. He is troubled and thinks school sucks, would rather hand with the homies, but knows if his grades fall or he cuts classes he faces the risk of being sent to juvie – he is on probation.

Nas and Laura are like oil and vinegar – and clash immediately – especially when Rona puts them together as dance partners.

Everyone is curious about Rana and she keeps her Bollywood background a secret until the kids find the tapes locked in her desk.

They pull a prank and the whole class breaks out into a spoof of a Bollywood dance number when she enters the classroom – dancing on desks, etc. making fun of her. But she joins in and turns ridicule into inspiration.

Can one combine modern dance, with the street dance and wrap it up in a candy-colored Bollywood confection set in a San Fernando strip mall parking lot?

Can one create an Electronic Dance number – with instruments from India – rap and pop – of course – it’s done every day on every dance floor with a clever DJ.

And break out in song in a convertible on Ventura or a city bus.

How about remaking JaiJai on an open-air tourist bus cruising down Hollywood Boulevard instead of on top of a train car heading to Kashmir?

How about a Bollywood dance number in a skatepark with skateboards

Or the cheerleading routine at the home game when the football players turn into dancers, helmets and shoulder pads included. All hell breaks loose!

A dance number on Zuma beach in bikinis and bathing suits and surfers.

And prom – have you ever seen an all American prom done Bollywood – it would be wild!

Besides there is a dance contest coming up -the choreographer’s Ball – where talent scouts search for the next group of dancers to go on tour with Beyoncé.

Anything is possible if Nas and Laura would bury their differences and with Rena’s guidance be the couple that they were meant to be.

And they can… despite all they are attracted to each other … however, they hate to admit it…

Practice on rooftops, alleyways, Silverlake, Compton, outside Disney Hall, even in the parking lot as they buy tacos…

Gang banger parents, neither the artsy Silver lake snobby mom and dad can stop them.

When things look like they may fail they end up on Rana’s doorstep for the encouragement – she’s been there more than often.

She shows her clips of the movies she was in – they share their memories.

The night before Nas gets arrested and it all might just fall apart…

But in Bollywood~Hollywood everything ends like it should.

A happy ending.

 

New ideas to add:

Girls pajama party – they sing dance in underwear ripping pillowcases – feathers fly

Boys robbery in rap intercut / Dance

Him stealing jewelry in her house

She confronts him – he’s a thief!

Perhaps as they rehearse – a rooftop love scene? (Do we want to go there or keep the movie more pure?)

Multi-ethnic classroom:
There is the Latino girl
The sensitive gay guy
Oriental girl
Huge fat girl and guy who are great dancers

Here is a clip of Pooja Batra performing in a Bollywood Musical: