FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Margot Gerber

323/461-2020, ext. 115

August 25, 1999

 

 AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE’S INDEPENDENT FILM SHOWCASE

THE ALTERNATIVE SCREEN PRESENTS

TWO LA PREMIERES OF NEW INDEPENDENT FILMS IN SEPTEMBER

DEATH: A LOVE STORY (September 7)

TEMPORARY GIRL (September 23)

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque’s THE ALTERNATIVE SCREEN: A FORUM FOR

INDEPENDENT FILM EXHIBITION & BEYOND... presents the LA PREMIERES of two new

independent feature films in September. On Tuesday, September 7th at 7:30 pm

is Michelle Le Brun’s DEATH: A LOVE STORY (64 min.), a heartfelt, uplifting

documentary about filmmaker Mel Howard’s demise from liver cancer and the

surprsing spiritual gift that he and his young wife derived from the

experience. "If anyone has peered into the sweet hereafter and actually

managed to tell us about it, it’s Michelle Le Brun and Mel Howard." (Harvard

Film Archive). Preceding is Eva Ilona Brzeski’s award-winning short film "24

Girls" (29 min.), a lyrical memoir depicting pre-teen girls on the edge of

discovering their identities as adults and women. The evening is

co-presented with the International Documentary Association. Tickets $5 for

current IDA Members (this screening only). On Thursday, September 23 at 7:30

PM is the LA PREMIERE of Lisa Kotin’s TEMPORARY GIRL (88 min.), a hilarious

satire about a driven, 40-year-old veteran office temp running short on time

to fulfill her dreams of Barbra Streisand level stardom. Preceding is Jeremy

Workman’s whimsical short "Claire Makes It Big" (28 min.) which takes on

Hollywood stereotypes with the story of a full-figured actress who levels

the playing field with a little ingenuity. Filmmakers are scheduled to

appear in-person at their respective screenings subject to their

availability. All screenings are at the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre, 6712

Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood (between Las Palmas Ave. & McCadden Place)

 

DEATH: A LOVE STORY: Tuesday, September 7th at 7:30 PM

This evening’s film is co-presented with the International Documentary

Association. IDA Members $5.

"…I was hoping to cure the disease in my body… Instead what I got was

authentic healing; an opening of the closed spaces in my heart," says Mel Howard, the subject of his wife

Michelle Le Brun’s challenging documentary on his physical demise from liver

cancer and the unexpected spiritual revelations that ocurred. Married only

two years when Mel, a 58-year-old Hollywood producer, actor, film educator

and cinema verite filmmaker, was diagnosed, the couple decided to document

their uncertain journey… their struggle with traditional and alternative

medical procedures; issues of quality of life during chronic illness; and

finally the gift that death offers when we are able to put our fears,

confusions and denial aside. An official selection of the Sundance Film

Festival and Winner of the Insight Award for Best documentary at the Santa

Barbara Film Festival, plus a Bronze Apple Award from the National

Educational Media Network, DEATH: A LOVE STORY opens the door for dialogue

about the process of demystifying death in America and making the experience

a dignified passage for the dying and his/her loved ones as they embrace

this most sacred event. "I was transformed, having been given by Mel, a look

into the eyes of death and seeing that there is nothing to fear," says Le

Brun. Writer/Director/Producer Michelle Le Brun will appear for discussion

following the screening.

Writing for VARIETY, Glenn Lovell called the film "…a compelling,

insightful, ultimately reassuring look at facing death with grace and inner

peace." In the BOSTON GLOBE, Renee Graham wrote, "…a noble, heartfelt

documentary."

Eva Ilona Brzeski’s short film "24 Girls" (29 min.), which precedes the

feature, is a wistful tribute to the potential and mystery inherent in every

life. This lyrical essay features 24 pre-teen girls (on the threshold of

life), who are auditioning before the camera. On the edge of identity they

still have a natural, uncomprimised sense of self, but they are beginning to

adopt the self-consciousness brought on by adulthood. "The mix of "real" and

"fake" identities is often charming and always fascinating." (FILMMAKER

MAGAZINE). Woven through their experience is a meditation on Lynnie Moore, a

little girl the filmmaker knew, who died when she was at this pivotal age.

LA based filmmaker Michelle Le Brun is available for interview. Topics she

can discuss in connection with her film include: The power of the Video

Diary to relate in the most immediate way to life; medical ethics, liver

transplants; baby-boomers approaching the final rite of passage; taking

death "out of the closet" (as pregnancy came out in the ‘70s), and bringing

it back into life; and achieving a "good death" – a death of dignity and

consciousness. Following the LA Premiere, DEATH: A LOVE STORY will run

Sept. 10-16, 1999 at the Laemmle Grand 4-Plex in downtown Los Angeles and at

the Fine Arts Cinema in Berkeley, CA October 25-29,

page 3 – Alternative Screen

1999. Screening cassettes are available for press preview. Also, black &

white photos and press kits. Call 323.461.2020, ext. 115 or 116 for press

materials or contact Michelle Le Brun at 310.839.6376 or Greg Gardner at

Laemmle: 310.478.1041.

TEMPORARY GIRL (88 min.): Thursday, September 23 at 7:30 PM

It’s Girl’s Night at the Cinematheque with a a short and a feature that

focus on WOMEN! "Chicago performance artist Lisa Kotin delivers an

endearing manic turn as a struggling actress with ripening ovaries…"

(CHICAGO SUN TIMES). Forty-year-old Jeanette Byrnestein has paid the bills

as an office temp for 15 years. "But its only temporary," she quips to her

annoying office co-workers. She is really a performance artist (rushing to

get her "Women, Sex and Technology" grant application in with a hilarious

skit about her date with a giant cell phone) – and an actress, obsessed with

visions of Barbra Streisand caliber stardom. By day she is the ultimate

office thief at agency Hungwell, Peterman and Cox, where she milks her free

use of office equipment to photocopy hundreds of resumes and headshots, dub

videos of her acting reel and to call to check her personal messages all day

long. When she finds she may have a shot at a part as "an office ditz" on a

TV show, suddenly everyone in Jeanette’s life wants her to go permanent. Her

boss-from-hell offers her a job as her full-time secretary, her husband

(David M. Pasquesi, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, THE FUGITIVE), who has given up

his own rock star dreams (to manage a record store), is hoping her pregnancy

test is positive – and her parents are lobbying for both job and baby. But

Jeanette has struggled too long and hard to let this opportunity pass her

by. In a manic finale, Jeanette manages to get the footage of herself she

needs for her audition, by throwing together office odds and ends to create

a "Singing Baby Gram" costume to crash a co-workers baby shower. Many Second

City main stage vets comprise the cast of corporate crazies and others.

Kotin is also the writer and co-director, with Johnny White, of this

poignant comedy about love, work, choice, perseverance, the pursuit of

personal happiness and the sacrifices we sometimes have to make.

Writer/Director Lisa Kotin will appear for discussion following the

screening.

Leonard Maltin called the film, "Bright and original with the definite ring

of truth." THE CHICAGO READER said it is, "A heartfelt, bittersweet tale of

an artist’s mid-life crisis." And an AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN critic said,

"The film is infectious as is Kotin in the lead role."

Plus, Jeremy Workman’s "Claire Makes It Big" (28 min.). A vivacious,

full-figured actress (Mara Hobel from TV’s Roseanne) is fed up with losing

parts to thinner rivals. When she is rejected for the lead role in a

Hollywood movie that was written specifically for her, she hops a plane for

the coast and aided by the latest technology – takes her revenge. Apparently

the story is based on a real incident involving Kathy Bates who was shut out

of the role (originally written for her) she had played on stage in FRANKIE

AND JOHNNY, when Hollywood made a movie version. Michelle Pfeiffer was cast

and all references to the character’s size were dropped from the script.

page 4 – Alternative Screen

Film Critic Evan Wiener of ICON Magazine called "Claire," "…a tremendous gem

of a film Funny, smart and resonant. Writer/Director Peter Bogdanovich and

actress Camryn Manheim consulted on this whimsical social commentary. New

York based Workman is also the director of the documentary WHO IS HENRY

JAGLOM? Jeremy Workman will be present for a discussion following his film.

LA based filmmaker Lisa Kotin is available for interview Screening

cassettes, press kits and photos are available for both TEMPORARY GIRL and

"Claire Makes It Big." Call 323.461.2020, ext. 115 or 116 for press

materials.

Ticket giveaways are available to all broadcast programs in the LA area or

through websites. Please call for details.

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 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 regarding the Alternative Screen or any other American

Cinematheque event, please call (323) 466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO

CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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