Monday, March 8, 2010
On the eve of the Oscars, lucky visitors to the 92YTribeca got an early glimpse of celebrity-driven movie magic at the latest Iron Mule monthly screening, beginning with Iron Mule co-host and producer Jay Stern (left in the above photo), who fielded questions from the audience about his upcoming new feature film The Adventures of Paul and Marian. Jay's currently in the fundraising stage of the project and will be updating Iron Mule audiences monthly as to his progress. Jay's co-star Victor Varnado (to the right of Jay) then plugged the upcoming Comedy Central premiere of his latest directorial project, the feature film The Awkward Kings.
After these shameless plugs, our fearless hosts introduced our Guest Judge for the evening, Rob Cantrell. Rob, a comedian, author, and now recording artist, premiered the music video for his song, "Rub My Feet," directed by Victor.
Following that, our first block of films began with True Beauty This Night, a beautiful film from L.A. resident and German expat Peter Besson, about a very unconventional love story. Next up was Larry Ziegelman's Check Please, an unconventional meet-the-parents story about a father and son's battle over paying for dinner that may make the son's girlfriend think twice before joining the family. Larry (pictured below during his Q&A flew in from Chicago to talk about the film and how his recent unemployment might help him realize his dream of making more films.
Hosts Jay and Victor checked in with Guest Judge Rob, who seemed to be enjoying himself and the films. But would it last? To test his good humor, the next film on the program was Like Jumanji, by Will Newman and Jill Morris. Like the title says, the movie follows the haphazard adventures of four friends who find a mysterious board game that will change some of their lives forever. In a bad way. Will and Jill joined the hosts for a little Q & A (as seen below), sharing the story of the first incarnation of the film, at which none of the cast or crew showed up, and how that lead to a new production with a new and more reliable team.
Our next film, Mum's the Word, was our first from Newfoundland, and the film's writer, the lovely and talented Kerri MacDonald (below), flew down for the weekend to join us. She talked about the local tradition that forms the basis of the movie, "Mummery," in which Newfies put on crazy disguises and knock on other people's doors and then hang around their houses until the host can guess who they are. It's a Christmas thing. Kerri was also kind enough to bring handcarved ornaments featuring characters from the film for each of our producers. Thanks, Kerri, we love presents!
Unfortunately, since our show was running a little long, we lost our guest judge to a previous engagement. Left with an ever-shrinking cabal of judges, hosts Jay and Victor soldiered on. Our last bloc of films for the evening featured the German film, Run Granny Run! by Nikolaus von Uthmann, described as "The race from Ben-Hur, but with old ladies and their walkers." Rounding out the program, The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! follows a courageous astronaut who lands on a lonely planet determined to kill the mysterious man-eating creature of the title, but the Thing might not be so terrible after all. Animator Jake Armstrong (below, hiding in the shadows) talked about the painstaking process of hand-drawing the film, which was his thesis project at the School of Visual Arts.
While the ballots were counted, audience members were treated to this month's Wanna Be A Star? film, Nuh-Uh, starring audience member Ilya Kushnirsky and directed by first-time filmmaker, long-time theater director Annie G. Levy. For more information on this monthly audience-participation competition, please visit our website.
And when all was said and done, one film stood out from the rest. Jake Armstrong's The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! took both the Judge's Award and the Audience Award for the evening. Congratulations to Jake and to all our filmmakers, and join us next month for a very special double-feature, the Iron Mule 8th Anniversary Show! Two shows, one night, big laughs. You can get your tickets here: www.ironmulenyc.com