Contact: Margot Gerber

323/461-2020, ext. 115

March 19, 2001








HOLLYWOOD – In April, the American Cinematheque’s THE ALTERNATIVE SCREEN: INDEPENDENT FILM SHOWCASE presents the LA PREMIERE of the new independent feature film BLACK DAYS and an in-person tribute to Seattle-based filmmaker Gregg Lachow, featuring the California premiere of his latest work, the unique "living film" SILENCE!, which combines an original, projected silent feature with live accompaniment by 6 jazz musicians and a performing cast of 7 who interact with the film live onstage! On Thursday, April 5th at 7:30 PM the IFP/West’s Festival Buzz series and the Cinematheque’s Alternative Screen Independent Film Showcase will co-present the Los Angeles Premiere of Ari Margolis and James Morley III’s debut feature BLACK DAYS (2000, USA, 80 min.), a riff on the film noir genre. With Weldon DeBusk’s "Shadowgraph" (2000, USA, 3 min.), an animated meditation on a traveling bullet. Cast and crew members will appear in person for discussion following the screening.

On Saturday, April 14 & Sunday, April 15 there will be a weekend tribute to Gregg Lachow which will include the California Premiere of SILENCE! on April 14 at 8:00 PM followed by a reception. On Sunday, April 15 there will be a matinee performance of SILENCE! at 2:00 PM, followed by a 5:00 PM screening of Lachow’s THE WRIGHT BROTHERS (1997) and a 7:15 PM double feature of MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS (1999) and Lachow’s first feature, THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF LIFE (1994). Gregg Lachow and company will appear for discussion with selected films. All guests are subject to their availability. All screenings are at the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood (between Las Palmas Ave. & McCadden Place).

BLACK DAYS (2000, 80 min., USA): Thursday, April 5, 2001 @ 7:30 PM

Co-presented with IFP/West Festival Buzz

BLACK DAYS (2000, USA, 80 min.) "Envision a film noir cranked to 11 with a sprinkling of the sort of bizarre elements and violence you might find in a Japanese Yakuza flick from the last 20 years. …a tight, witty, often brilliant and quite damaged comedy." (Ron Wells, FILM THREAT) Co-writer/directors Ari Margolis and James Morley III (who produced with Matt Rose) riff the film noir genre with a nod to "Sin City" graphic novelist Frank Miller in a hard-boiled story where the details aren’t the most important elements. "It’s only the track that leads to where you are going. What you’ll remember is not the destination, but the style and quirks of the car you rode to get there." (FT). Meet Gwen (Shiva Rose), a psychotic femme fatale who likes to keep her ex-boyfriends’ thumbs around, Ty, the parking lot attendant (S. Greg Gardner) who gets in way over his head with her – and Gordon (D. Reynolds) her mumbling (he’s got tongue paralysis – you’ll love how), thug of an ex. Nice canted angle Ty. Photographed in black & white (of course) with a finale in color. ( An official selection of the Slamdance Film Festival. Discussion following with cast and crew members. With Weldon DeBusk’s "Shadowgraph" (2000, USA, 3 min.) A handgun takes form, a bullet is fired, and the path of the projectile is followed through a surreal lanscape of possibilities. ( All 3-D models were created in form-Z, then textured and animated in ElectricImage. Textures and environments were created in Photoshop, primarily from scanned photographs. Motion graphics and compositing were done in After Effects, and the final footage was sequenced in Premiere. CyperSound Studio and SoundEdit were used for the soundtrack.

"BLACK DAYS brought me more joy than much of the 2000 studio output that has steadily chipped away at my sanity. Even on the indie level, this movie surpasses at least 90% of what I’ll find at Sundance." – Ron Wells, FILMTHREAT.COM

The IFP/West will host a beverage reception following the screening. Free to all ticket buyers. Live music. For information about IFP/West please call 310.475.4379 or see

BLACK DAYS is available for press preview on tape. Please call Margot Gerber for tapes, press kits and photos. The Los Angeles based directors are available for interview.



Saturday, April 14 & Sunday, April 15, 2001

The Gregg Lachow tribute was made possible through the generosity of the Ledler Foundation and Lloyd E. Rigler and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

"Lachow is a very real and original talent." – Kevin Thomas, LA TIMES

"Lachow is a filmmaking original." – Gerald Peary, THE BOSTON PHOENIX

"Lachow has always been one of Seattle’s treasures. Through all of his films, two things remain constant: an exploration of interesting themes, and top-notch performances." – THE STRANGER (Seattle)

"Unforgettable moments fill Gregg Lachow’s films like fractured glass beads, 12 carat diamonds and bits of gumwrapper strung together on dental floss. His work is suffused with gentle comic genius." (Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist) Gregg Lachow has been making films in Seattle since 1987, often collaborating with the same small group of actors, musicians, and technicians, including his wife Megan Murphy who has starred in all four of his feature films. Perhaps it is his isolation from the filmmaking meccas, that gives his character-driven work an unmediated freshness devoid of the cliches of independent film of the past decade. Whether writing about pioneering aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright (THE WRIGHT BROTHERS), or the dance of two lovers growing in different directions and their attempts to rediscover each other (MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS), there is a strong sense of humanity and philosophical insight in the films of Gregg Lachow, but also of whimsy, humor, irony and an acknowledgment of the surrealism in our daily lives.

His first dozen films were shot on Super-8 and incorporated into the work of Run/Remain, an interdisciplinary performance group founded and directed by Lachow from 1987-1995. Run/Remain toured its unique blend of theater, film, live music, and dance to wide acclaim in the U.S. and Europe. Lachow’s first stand alone film was the Emmy nominated TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (1992) for PBS. In the next eight years Lachow made four features: THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF LIFE (1994), THE WRIGHT BROTHERS (1996), MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS (1999) and the unique performed film, SILENCE! (2000). His new feature, IT’S ALL MY FAULT, will go into production this June.

Lachow is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was an editor for The Harvard Lampoon.


Saturday, April 14 / 8:00 PM - LA PREMIERE!

Living Film! An Original Silent Film Presented with Live Actors and Musicians On Stage!

SILENCE! (2000, USA, 83 min.) In Lachow’s latest work, the silver screen is both open canvas and gilded cage. SILENCE! in an original silent film with live dialogue, music, and sound accompaniment performed by the seven film actors and six jazz musicians live on stage. The result combines the visual impact and inflexibility of a film with the immediacy of live performance, to create a unique cinematic/theatrical experience. As a living film, SILENCE! explores in depth the intersections of film and performance, silence and sound, and words and images, inspired by a whole-hearted love of Cinema and the movie-going experience. SILENCE! is a cross-section of several stories. It begins on a silent film set where an actress and actor meet to work for a dogmatic female German Director with a peculiar vision of her tawdry love-drama, "Spring is All About Love." As the day progresses, the film begins to fold in upon itself, creating numerous reflexive narratives. Everyone on the film set is making a different film… the Cinematographer’s is a documentary about lunch. Yet another thread, is a child's recollection of his parents' fateful meeting on the silent film set. As SILENCE! winds to a dramatic close, the child (now an adult), watches the silent film his parents made, and protests the climactic conclusion. By the end we are less and less sure where the film ends and memory begins. Inspired on Delmore Schwartz’ 1937 short story, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," SILENCE! is designed to pose more questions than it answers. Inspired by such diverse forms as early silent film, Japanese benchi film-translation, and live theatre, it is a film nor a theatre performance. This performed film evokes both the history of the film medium (with explicit references to silent film), and performance art. As such, SILENCE! provides a challenging, original context in which to examine film's historical and changing role as a visual art-form in America. Written by Matthew Stadler & Stacey Levine. Directed by Gregg Lachow. Starring Michael Chick and Megan Murphy. SILENCE! was created via a unique partnership between Cinema Seattle and the Northwest Film Forum. Join the performers for a reception following the screening. Reception

sponsored by Beaulieu Vineyards, Boddingtons Pub Ale, Mission Beverage, Crystal Geyser and SoBe Beverage. Special Ticket price includes reception: $10 Members / $11 Students/Seniors / $12 General. The general public as well as members of the Cinematheque may purchase advance tickets to this program only. Please fax ticket orders to 323.467.0163 with your name, phone #, credit card #, exp. date, name as it appears on the card, name of program (SILENCE!, indicate premiere) and # of tickets. [Repeats April 15 at 2:00 PM. See below for details].


Sunday, April 15 / 2:00 PM

SILENCE! (83 min., USA, 2000)

[Repeat performance. See April 14 for details]. Matinee: $8 Members. $9 Students/Seniors. $10 General Admission. The general public as well as members of the Cinematheque may purchase advance tickets to this program only. Please fax ticket orders to 323.467.0163 with your name, phone #, credit card #, exp. date, name as it appears on the card, name of program (SILENCE!, indicate matinee) and # of tickets.


Sunday, April 15 / 5:00 PM

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS (1997, USA, 103 min.) Steeped in whimsy, Gregg Lachow’s gender-bending tale is an endearing imagining of the trials and tribulations of brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright – from their unassuming beginnings as bicycle mechanics to their historic success at Kitty Hawk, operating the first "flying machine." Far from a straightforward biopic, this unpredictable, eccentric and humorous story is the timeless tale of two dreamers – the thrill of invention and the resulting fame. Watching this film, which is simultaneously set in the past and the present, one can’t help but wonder which seemingly fanciful dreams of today will become the take-for-granted realities of the future. The theme song was written by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter who also appears in the film. "…reminiscent of Terrence Malick’s luscious DAYS OF HEAVEN, with its open, gorgeously lit landscape juxtaposed against an innovative script full of thoughts and dreams." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Discussion following with Gregg Lahow and other collaborators.


Sunday, April 15 / 7:15 PM - Double Feature!

"A thoughtful and lyrical film… takes to heart Checkov’s belief that people can be doing the most mundane things, while underneath, they are destroying one another’s lives." – VARIETY

MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS (1999, USA, 104 min.) Part absurdist comedy, part realist character study, this film journeys through the hills and valleys of a complex relationship between a middle class, suburban Seattle couple on the brink of divorce. Money (Jeff Weatherford) and Georgia (Megan Murphy) suddenly find themselves in possession of a piano when a friend of a friend commits suicide. As one fight leads to another, they decide that once they get it home, they’ll break up. As Money stubbornly attempts to push the piano all the way across town (before sundown and the beginning of the Sabbath) Georgia searches out the mysterious "V" who long ago sent her a declaration of undying love (a note she still carries with her). During the course of this epic journey, full of stops and starts and off-kilter encounters and re-encounters, husband and wife waver between satisfying their individual needs for self discovery and growth and falling prey to the familiarity of their eroding relationship. Oscillating easily between biting black comedy and a poetic realism reminiscent of Godard or Renoir, Money Buys Happiness is a transforming movie-going experience. "…Murphy is an enthralling screen presence as the lost spouse." THE BOSTON PHOENIX

Discussion between films with writer/director Gregg Lachow and collaborators.

Next on the same bill is the LA PREMIERE of Lachow’s first film, THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF LIFE (1994, USA, 88 min.) A deadpan farce in the spirit of STRANGER THAN PARADISE meets the supernatural worlds of TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS director Guy Madden (for its matter-of-fact suspension of disbelief in rather unbelievable circumstances), Lachow’s charming debut feature was called "An unexpected delight" by Variety. On Halloween day, an unassuming inventor (Gregg Lachow) takes two friends (Megan Murphy and Kara McMahon), a small boy and a time machine to an empty beach in a small town in Washington state. He unveils his plan to travel back in time to the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, to save the president’s life. In his absence, the two women bond, spending the day absorbing their friend’s inconceivable quest, borrowing the car of a sleeping man who never awakens, calling dead relatives on a pay phone and breaking into a spirited dance number (to the tune of Tommy Dorsey’s "Yes Indeed") with a costumed skeleton on the beach. "Filled to the brim with the unexpected… these mysteries are not for solving, but for savoring… Murphy and McMahon hurl themselves into their roles with an engaging quality that could have been lifted from a screwball comedy." – Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Seattle-based based filmmaker Gregg Lachow is available for interview while he is in LA or prior to his arrival. Please contact Michael Seiwerath at the Northwest Film Forum to make arrangements: 206.329.2629 (tel) or 206.329.1193 (fax). For more information on the NWFF and its programs see and

Due to the fact that SILENCE! is a live performance, it is not available for press preview, however a 5 minute clip tape is available to journalists who want to get an idea of what the production is like. All of Lachow’s other films: THE SEVEN MYSTERIES OF LIFE; THE WRIGHT BROTHERS and MONEY BUYS HAPPINESS are available for press preview on video tape. For photos, cassettes and press kits please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.

For press credentials send a fax on letterhead from your outlet stating that you have a specific assignment to cover, and when the coverage will appear. If your outlet is not known to us, please include a paragraph describing your outlet’s circulation and focus. Press requests not faxed in on time cannot be honored. For details see our website for press policies.

There is a special ticket price for SILENCE! Details are indicated above as part of the description of the event. Unless noted otherwise, regular General admission price: $8. Sr./Student rate is $7 and Cinematheque Members are $6. This information and more is also on our website:

Programs listed as double features are one price for both films. There will be a 5-7 minute intermission between programs (or longer if a Q & A is scheduled in between the screenings).

The Alternative Screen: A Forum For Independent Film Exhibition And Beyond…, the American Cinematheque’s on-going series focusing on independent and new forms of cinema was created to serve the public as well as the independent film community in Los Angeles by providing a year-round venue for independent feature films that have not yet secured wide commercial distribution. Whatever the ALTERNATIVE SCREEN offers from month to month, it promises to be provocative, innovative and fiercely independent. Select Alternative Screen alumni include THE BIBLE & GUN CLUB, HABIT, STAR MAPS, OUR SONG and THE LAST BIG THING.

The Alternative Screen takes on-going submissions for consideration of fiercely independent work in all genres. Please send a 1/2" tape to: Margot Gerber, The Alternative Screen, c/o American Cinematheque, 1800 N. Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA., 90028. Include a SASE if you would like your tape returned. Inquiries should be directed to 323.461.2020, ext. 115. Short films should be sent to the attention of Andrew Crane.

For information about the Alternative Screen or other American Cinematheque events, please call 323.466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.


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American Cinematheque, 1800 N. Highland Avenue, Suite 717,

Hollywood, CA 90028 tel (323) 466-3456 fax (323) 461.9737



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