Sullivan Brown and Maya Lawson are a brother and sister living out
an accursed childhood in Guy Maddin's latest film BRAND UPON THE BRAIN!
New York/Chicago/Hollywood -- Director Guy
Maddin's (THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS) latest Cinema
Spectacular BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! ---- In an unprecedented act of faith in the enduring
power of the theatrical experience, BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! will be presented as an
expansive live event in select cities, featuring an 11-piece LIVE orchestra, a 5-person
LIVE Foley (sound effects performed onstage) team, and a LIVE celebrity narrator, and
supplementing the filmic image, to comprise a one-of-a-kind
cinematic spectacle. Filmmaker Guy Maddin will appear in person to present the film during
these exclusive live engagements in select historic movie palaces in Chicago (The Music Box), New York (The Village East) and Los Angeles (The Egyptian Theatre). Following presentations of this unique stage
production, the feature film BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! will continue in those cities as a
regular film run (with a pre-recorded soundtrack including narration by Isabella
Rossellini) as well as others nationwide, beginning in May. BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! will
also be presented live for one night, on May 7th as part of the San Francisco
International Film Festival. The film is distributed in the US by The Film Company and Vitagraph Films.
Featuring an original score by Jason Staczek, BRAND! has
been earning unqualified raves during 9 months on the festival circuit, including
Festival-best mentions at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, 2006 New York Film Festival, and
the 2007 Berlinale.
Surreal, satiric and surprisingly touching, Maddin's
film looks at the secret lives of families in a work that is equal parts childhood
reminiscence, Expressionist horror movie, teen detective serial and Grand Guignol reverie.
Guy Maddin's latest delirious creation is a silent film like none you have ever seen
Whatever are young "Guy Maddin's" parents really up to in
their lighthouse home/orphanage on a chilly remote island? Overbearing Mother (Gretchen
Krich) tracks her son's (Sullivan Brown) every move, bellowing for him to come home over
the "Aerophone" just as something interesting is about to happen! And poor Sis
(Maya Lawson), his older sister (who is rapidly blossoming into a young woman) -- Mother
will never let her have any fun! The intrigue continues as deranged Mother, hellbent on
restoring her youth and sinister Scientist-Father (Todd Jefferson Moore) who is
sequestered night and day in his basement laboratory, engage in diabolical, secret
experimentation. When new parents of recently adopted children from the orphanage notice
strange wounds on the youngsters' necks, a pair of teen sleuths, Wendy (Katherine E.
Scharhon) and her brother Chance, known as "The Lightbulb Kids," appear on the
island to investigate -- and in the process, inspire Guy's first crush and Sis' first love
affair. The lurid family secrets that unfold are positively shocking!
The film was written and directed by Guy Maddin. George Toles is the
co-writer. The original score is by Jason Staczek. Benjamin Kasulke is the
Cinematographer. The film is Executive Produced by Jody Shapiro, Philip Wohlstetter and
A.J. Epstein. The Associate Producer is Brian Grant. Amy E. Jacobson and Gregg Lachow are
BRAND UPON THE BRAIN!, Maddin's first production filmed outside of his
native Winnipeg, was produced by The Film Company, a unique, Seattle-based independent film studio
founded in 2004 by filmmaker Gregg Lachow (who directed/produced his own modern day
"silent" film with live components, SILENCE! in 2001). Long-time Lachow
collaborator Jamie Hook is Co-President with Lachow. The Film Company greenlights artists,
not projects, and provides all the support and collaboration necessary to create a feature
BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! world premiered at the
2006 Toronto International Film Festival in the historic Elgin Theatre. It has since been
performed with live accompaniment at the 2006 New York Film Festival, the 2007 Berlin
International Film Festival the 2007 Mexico City Film Festival, and the 2007 Buenos Aires
Film Festival. It is scheduled to be part of the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival at the Castro Theatre in
Canada/USA, 2006, 96 min., B & W, Not rated
About the Foley Artists
Led by Andy Malcom, the Toronto-based Footsteps Studios created Foley
sound effects for films such as THE BOOK OF CALEB (coming in 2007), SILENT HILL, THE LIFE
AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU and many others. They designed and custom built Foley equipment
especially for the production of BRAND UPON THE BRAIN!
- Music Box Theatre
3733 N Southport Ave,
Chicago, 60613 | 773.871.6604
BRAND UPON THE
BRAIN opens at the Music Box, May 18 - 20 for a limited engagement of the live
Cinema Spectacular, followed by a regular print run with pre-recorded soundtrack, from May
21 - 24. A narrator will be announced when confirmed.
Friday, May 18 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 19 at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 20 at 2:30 PM
www.ticketweb.com or 866.468.3401
Prices will be announced when confirmed.
Music Box Theatre History
The Music Box Theatre opened on August 22, 1929, at a time when the movie
palaces in downtown Chicago had seating capacities of around 3000 people. The Music Box,
which sat 800, was considered an elaborate little brother to those theatres. Theatre
Architecture Magazine noted in 1929 that the theatre "represents the smaller,
though charming and well equipped, sound picture theatre which is rapidly taking the place
of the 'deluxe' palace".
The theatre was built for a cost of $110,000. The entire building, which also included
nine storefronts and 32 apartments cost $260,000. The building was designed by Louis A.
Simon a local architect who was better known for his depression era WPA Post Offices and
homes for the nouveau riche. The building was erected by The Southport Avenue
Businessmen's Association and operated by Lasker and Sons, who operated several smaller
neighborhood houses in Chicago.
The design of the Music Box was indicative of the growth of the motion picture. The
grand movie palaces that preceded it were multiple use facilities with stage and film
presentation capabilities. The Music Box had no stage and, therefore, could only be a film
presentation house. When the theatre was built, sound films were a new technology, and the
plans included both an orchestra pit and organ chambers in case sound films failed and
silent film accompaniment was needed.
As Chicago Tribune Architectural Critic, Paul Gapp wrote (Arts and Books July
31, 1983) "the architectural style is an eclectic melange of Italian, Spanish and
Pardon-My-Fantasy put together with passion." The actual style is called
"atmospheric." The dark blue, cove lit ceiling with "twinkling stars"
and moving cloud formations suggests a night sky. The plaster ornamentation of the side
walls, round towers, faux-marble loggia and ogee-arched organ chambers are, by Hollywood
standards, reminiscent of the walls surrounding an Italian courtyard. Overall the effect
is to make the patron feel that they are watching a film in an open air Palazzo.
ANGELES - Egyptian Theatre
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Boulevard (just east of Highland Avenue)Los Angeles, CA
BRAND UPON THE BRAIN opens at
the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre, June 8 - 10 for a limited engagement
of the live Cinema Spectacular. A celebrity narrator will be announced when confirmed.
June 11 - 14 the film version with pre-recorded soundtrack will screen exclusively at
the Egyptian Theatre prior to expansion.
Daily Showtimes: TBA
Tickets: Advance tickets will be
www.fandango.com Tickets can also be purchased at
the Box Office.
History of the Egyptian Theatre
The landmark 1922 Hollywood Egyptian Theatre, founded by theatre impresario Sid
Grauman was the home of the first Hollywood based movie premiere when it opened its doors
with ROBIN HOOD starring Douglas Fairbanks on October 18th 1922. It immediately
became the premiere palace for many of the biggest silent films of its day including many
starring Grauman's friend Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The Egyptian, with its
Hollywood Boulevard location, open-air 150-foot courtyard and 2000+ seat theatre and grand
columned entrance, was a natural for premieres. While the theatre was never a live venue,
Grauman directed elaborate "prologues" featuring live actors, dancing and
singing, that were staged prior to the film screenings and shared a theme with the movie
he was running. Myrna Loy is said to have been a dancer on stage at the Egyptian.
In the 1950's the theatre became MGM's road show venue for many of their major releases
such as BEN-HUR. By the late 1980's the theatre was in great disrepair and United Artists
put it up for sale since single screen theatres were struggling against the emergence of
The Egyptian theatre was sold for $1 to the non-profit American Cinematheque, by the
City of Los Angeles, with the stipulation that the theatre undergo a complete historic
restoration/renovation and rehabilitation. Following a $15 million overhaul, the
Cinematheque re-opened the Egyptian on December 4, 1998 with a staging of Cecil B. De
Mille's 1923 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, with live orchestral accompaniment, on the exact 75th
anniversary of its original premiere at the Egyptian. The Cinematheque continues to own
and operate the Egyptian Theatre, providing Los Angeles audiences with diverse year-round
specialty film programming in a state-of-the-art 616-seat venue boasting a 57 foot screen
and pristine sound and projection housed in an historic shell.
York - Village East Cinema
181 2nd Avenue, New York, New York 10003 (at
212.529.6998 | Theatre Express Code: 922
BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! opens at Village East Cinema on
Wednesday, May 9 and plays through Tuesday, May 15. The film will be presented as a live
Cinema Spectacular with various narrators throughout the engagement, including Isabella
Rossellini and Suzanne Vega. The film will continue to run in New York City as a film
without the live component following the special engagement.
7:00 PM & 9:30 PM
Available either online at Moviefone.com and
Movietickets.com or at Box Office: $30.00
Tickets at the Box Office (the day of the event): $40.00
History of the Village East
City Cinema's beautifully restored Village East Cinemas was once the home of Yiddish
theater. Legend also has it that Walter Mathau began his film career here, as a young boy
working at the concession counter. It was built in 1925-1926 by developer Louis N. Jaffe
for the actor Maurice Schwartz as a legitimate Yiddish-language theater.
Its past is still evident in the Moorish designs that adorn both the inside and outside
of the theater. Yiddish writing outside the lobby and a large star of David in the dome of
the main auditorium further infuse atmosphere into the historic building.
"Guy Maddin's latest
astonishment-- has ransacked film history and his own delirious imagination to create a
work like none other: a silently shot film about a man who, on revisiting his childhood
home, hurtles unto a past where orphan children, coy lesbian lovers, and a mad scientist
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"One of the year's 10 best films."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Imagine all the
beauty of a silent black and white film but with a modern sensibility as well as a wicked
sense of humor, and you begin to get a sense of Maddin's brilliant work."
Karen Wilson, Gothamist.com
"Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin isn't known for run-of-the-mill movies, but
the feature he debuted at the Toronto Fest was outrageous even for him. A silent film
taking the form of a twelve-chapter Feuillade-flavored serial and designed to have live
accompaniment, the movie itself is a match for any of his features to date, and could
outstrip earlier efforts in the arthouse arena. To his familiar (which is not to say
tired) bag of faux-vintage tricks -- the iris shots, manufactured decay, and
hyper-artificial acting -- Maddin adds some newer techniques. He finds a way of
integrating the flaws of digital imagemaking into an aesthetic that usually avoids any
hint of the modern era, for instance: alongside his usual flash frames and jarring edits,
Maddin adds the hiccupy freeze frames associated with digital playback errors."
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
"The finest evening at Toronto 2006? The world premiere of Guy Maddin's BRAND
UPON THE BRAIN! , a comedic detour into a whirlpool of incest, lunacy, and
obsession that typifies the cine-world of the wonderfully demented Winnipeg
Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
"Most memorable night at the Toronto Film Festival? Has to be the world
Guy Maddin's delirious silent, 'Brand upon the BRAIN!',
complete with a live orchestra, a narrator, three lab-coated foley artists to supply the
sound effects, and even (allegedly) a castrato for two song sequences."
Tom Charity, Time Out London
The most joyous film at Berlin was Guy Maddin's Brand upon the BRAIN!! The film
is passionately serious and poetic. Maker and master of his own cosmos, Maddin says he
shot this film in nine days. That is three days longer than God took to create the world,
but the extra 72 hours were worth it.
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"Uproariously funny and surprisingly touching. A magical experience."
Michael Dwyer, Irish Times
"What kind of silent film is this, then? In form
Maddin's film assumes the shape of a serial: the 97-minute running time is divided into
twelve "chapters". In place of Pearl White's exploits or the dreamlike
activities of Fantômas, we are offered the reminiscences of a character billed as Guy
Maddin himself, recalling a boyhood on the island of Black Notch. Never a dull moment
here: it's home to a lighthouse, an orphanage, his repressed mother with a birthmark
shaped like Romania, his mad scientist of a father, and a visitation by two childhood
detectives. Among the images, inspired by Maddin's love of German Expressionism, gothic
horror stories, and Hollywood's pulp junkyard, a mystery looms that needs solving: why do
so many orphans have wounds on their heads? Maybe the answer has something to do with the
mad scientist's syringe --"
Geoff Brown, Film Intelligence
Writer/Director Guy Maddin (based in Winnipeg, Canada), as well as representatives
from The Film Company (Seattle & NY based), the Foley Group Footsteps Studios
(Toronto, Canada based) and other talent are available for interview. Contact to schedule.
Please indicate if you are seeking in person or phone interview, how long you need with
the talent and what your deadline is.
Based in New York:
Erik Maak (plays "Adult Guy Maddin")
Katherine E. Scharhon (plays the dual role of brother and sister
teen detectives Wendy & Chance - who become Sis' lovers.)
Based in Seattle (coming to NY May 11 - 14)
Based in Los Angeles (San Francisco native, will be in SF for May 7
Screenings & Materials
Theatrical press screenings will be held in New York, Chicago
and Los Angeles. Please contact the appropriate publicist below if you would like to be
notified of these screenings. The press screenings will be the film with recorded
soundtrack and narration by Isabella Rossellini.
Materials will be online by April 1st.
Download available at: www.branduponthebrain.com
David Shultz is the founder and president of Vitagraph Films, a self
contained theatrical and home optical, television distribution entity. Vitagraph has
consulted on releases of films through First Look Studios (WASSUP ROCKERS, THE
PROPOSITION, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS), Lions Gate (JU'ON THE GRUDGE) and
currently, Tartan Films USA (THE CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG, RED ROAD, THE PAGE TURNER) and
independently Vitagraph released Alex de la Iglesia's EL CRIMEN PERFECTO and Takeshi
Miike's AUDITION among other titles. Margot Gerber heads up all of Vitagraph's Marketing
and Publicity campaigns including the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award Nominated campaign
for EL CRIMEN PERFECTO.
Press Contact National & Los Angeles:
ext. 115 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Contact New York:
(212) 673-4627 | Cell: (646) 287-2126
Press Contact Chicago:
Press Contact San Francisco International Film Festival:
Director of Publicity