Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

AWESOME! More Championing of Originality

June 9, 2011

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that lately I’ve lamented over the lack of originality in Hollywood. Now I want to highlight someone who is throwing a spotlight on originality. His name is Josh Goldbloom and he is the mastermind of Philadelphia’s Awesome Fest, a regular weekly showing of independent films and oldies but goodies like Goonies and E.T.: The Extraterrestial at various locations in Philadelphia.

Goldbloom was inspired to start the Awesome Fest when he visited Philadelphia’s Piazza at Schmidt’s, an 80,000 square foot open-air plaza that is surrounded by both retail establishments and residences. Goldbloom noticed that the Piazza has a 40-foot HD LED screen and he thought, “…[S]omeone’s gotta take control of that screen.” So, he set up a meeting with the management firm of the Piazza at Schmidt’s, pitched the idea of hosting free outdoor screenings of independent films at the Piazza and the rest is history.

Yippee, more one champion of originality. While it can be fun to see a movie based on an old television show or to see a remake of an older film, there comes a point where the remake/reboot/re-imagining gets old and something that is truly new needs to come along. That’s where people like Goldbloom come in, since they take a chance to spotlight people working outside of the studios and give these filmmakers the exposure they need. This ultimately leads to more funding for the filmmakers, so they can make more films.

“My goal is to turn Philadelphia into the Hollywood of the East Coast,” Goldbloom said in a June 2, 2011 Northeast Times (Philadelphia) interview. “It’s not just me, there are plenty of others creating stuff like this.”  In fact, Goldbloom has partnered with New York City based Rooftop Films to not only bring independent films to Philadelphia, but to create events based on the films. For example, if there is going to be a video game documentary, then the Piazza will be one giant video game. In other words, you’ll do more than just show up and watch a film. Rather, the viewer becomes a participant at an Awesome Fest showing.

It is film festivals like the Awesome Fest that will bring the work of independent filmmakers to a wider audience and could possibly be the thing that starts breaking Hollywood’s current recycling habit.

Hey, a gal can dream, can’t she?

To learn more go to: http://www.theawesomefest.com/

Sources:
http://www.bsmphilly.com/star-home-news/northern-liberties/3129-piazza-gets-039-awesome-039-summer-film-line-up.html

http://www.atthepiazza.com/about-the-piazza.html

http://www.theawesomefest.com/

My Favorite Films & Why

May 14, 2010

It was going to happen eventually, my writing about my favorite movies. So, let’s get started.

Star Wars Episode I-VI
When I saw the first movie in the series, now known as Episode IV, with my brother in 1978 , I had no idea what kind of movie I was going to see. Once the movie was finished, I was hooked.  Like many kids growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s whenever Episodes IV-VI were re-released, I was at the movie theater.  (Remember, this was before the proliferation of VCRs. Also, I live in Philadelphia and the city wasn’t wired for cable until 1986.) The Star Wars series was a story of finding your place in the world, finding love and finding redemption. George Lucas and company did a very good job for all of them. Don’t look at me like that! Yes, he did do a good job with both the original three and the prequels. While the acting was off the mark at times, Lucas took those age old stories and retooled them for modern audiences.

E.T. The Extraterrestrial
This movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, who is a contemporary of George Lucas, incidentally they joined forces to make the Indiana Jones movies.  I went into this expecting a film where alien comes to earth and creates havoc with the people the alien lives with. Instead, I got a film that shows how love and friendship encompass all that we know and yet to know.

It’s A Wonderful Life
An oldie but a goodie. I first saw this film on a Philadelphia UHF television station in the mid 1980’s and I watch it every December since that time. I love the story of George Bailey, played superbly by Jimmy Stewart, the every person who had dreams but set them aside for the sake his family and his community. After a serious business mishap, Bailey felt that his life was worthless and he decided to kill himself. An angel came along to stop him and showed him what life would be like if he had not been born. Life sans George Bailey wasn’t a pretty picture. This film reminds me of the power of small acts of kindness and how these small kindnesses mean a lot to others.

Avatar
Now comes the recent stuff. I read an interview with Sigourney Weaver in Parade Magazine in December 2009 and she spoke a little about her role in Avatar. That piqued my interest. So, once the holidays were over, I went to see it and WOW! Watching Avatar, I didn’t just engage in a little fantasy, I inhabited the world of Avatar. The acting was first rate, the visuals were spectacular and the story of indigenous peoples being forced off their land, is applicable to our time. As deserving as The Hurt Locker was for its Oscars, it would have been nice if that movie won the Best Director award and Avatar won Best Picture award.

Well, those films are a motley bunch. Still the one thing they have in common is this:

I loved them all.