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Redstone Frustration

Balky projector cuts short festival screening

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In the video above, watch a clip from All Day Yeah, winner of the 2010 Redstone Film Festival.

This was not the year for the Boston University Redstone Film Festival. Rescheduled from February 10 for a snowstorm that never happened, Friday night’s screening ended abruptly when the projector broke. 

“Nothing like this has happened in the Redstone’s 30-year-history,” says Paul Schneider, an associate professor of film and television in the College of Communication. “We feel terrible for the filmmakers and for everyone who came out to see their wonderful work.”

Technical difficulties occurred less than a minute into the first screening, and the crowd’s sympathetic chuckles soon gave way to grumbles and frustration. Only three of the seven films had aired by the time festival coordinator Scott Thompson called it a night and announced the winners.

“The whole thing was pretty disappointing, particularly given everyone’s hard work and the huge turnout,” says Charlie Anderson (COM’11), whose All Day Yeah nabbed first place. “I was lucky that my film screened first, because at least everyone got to see it.”

A graduate student and lecturer in COM’s department of film and television, Anderson is a two-time Redstone winner. But All Day Yeah was a departure from last year’s second-place Werewolf Trouble.

Werewolf Trouble was my attempt to make a Hollywood-type comedy,” he says. “All Day Yeah is the type of film I want to make.”

Inspired by Anderson’s relationship with his stepbrother Joey Parker (who stars), All Day Yeah is a wistful drama about a young man’s journey to find himself. “Two years ago, Joey was struggling,” Anderson recalls. “He’d dropped out of school, been dumped by his girlfriend, and was out of work and sleeping on his mother’s couch.”

The brothers spent most of the summer filming in Sarasota, Fla., and after Anderson returned to Boston, Parker asked if he could visit. “I told him, ‘Get your GED, I’ll buy your plane ticket,’” Anderson says. “So he got it, and within a month he’d moved here and gotten a job.”

“All three judges immediately voted Charlie as the winner,” says Thompson, a COM assistant professor of film and television. “He made us sympathize with this kid, telling the story through him.”

Second place went to Atanas Bakalov (COM’11) for Death Whish, a psychological thriller about a psychotic woman who becomes suicidal when she loses the ability to distinguish between imagination and reality. “It explores dreams versus reality,” Bakalov says, “and whether they’re all that different.”

Picnicking Through Purgatory (and other things to do at night) took third place. A collaboration between Ryan Moloney (COM’09) and Alex Burnett (COM’09), this is a dark comedy about the disconnect between emergency medical technicians and their patients.

“Alex has been an EMT for more than five years,” Moloney says. “We came up with a story that demonstrated the general lack of control EMTs have over their patients’ outcome, combining that with my view of life in New York — the crudeness, the abrasiveness.”

Although Death Whish and Picnicking Through Purgatory were not able to be screened Friday night, both will air at the Redstone Festival NYC (along with Werewolf Trouble) on Wednesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. at Viacom, Inc., 1515 Broadway.
Sponsored by Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone (Hon.’94), the Redstone Film Festival showcases work produced for a COM film, television, or video production class and nominated by COM faculty. Approximately 40 entries were prescreened by a selection committee, and festival winners were chosen from finalists by a panel of film industry professionals. This year’s judges were Laura Bernieri, producer of Tin Can Films, Kurt Fendt, research director of MIT’s department of media studies, and Peter Keough, film editor of the Boston Phoenix. Cash prizes go to first, second, and third place finishers.

“The projects are becoming more sophisticated,” Thompson says. “The judges appreciate that the students don’t play it safe. A fresh point of view goes a long way.”

Many successful directors, producers, and screenwriters earned early acclaim at the Redstone Festival, including Richard Gladstein (CGS’81, COM’83), producer of Pulp Fiction, The Bourne Identity, and The Nanny Diaries. Two of his films, The Cider House Rules and Finding Neverland, were nominated for Academy Awards.

Prior Redstone finalists include Chris Koch (CGS’84, COM’87), who has directed several episodes of the TV shows Scrubs and My Name Is Earl, as well as feature-length films A Guy Thing and Snow Day; Gary Fleder (COM’84), who directed Runaway Jury and Kiss the Girls; and screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (COM’85), who wrote Con Air and High Fidelity.

Other Redstone finalists this year were Joshua Brown (COM’09) and Tessa Olson (COM’10), director and screenwriter of the family comedy Leftovers; Patrick Johnson (COM’10), director of the documentary Modern Alchemy; Matthew Lawrence (COM’08), director of a Jersey Shore tale, Shoebox Redhead; and Eric Scanlon (COM’09), director of exhibit A, fiction about a filmmaker making a documentary about a suicide.

The winners of the Fleder-Rosenberg Short Screenplay Contest also were announced. First place went to Terrence Smith (COM’10) for Don’t Give Them Guns; other winners were Rob Hackett (COM’10) for In Her Dreams and Andrew Bumstead (COM’10) for Dog Meat.  

And in a new category, the Glenn Cooper Award for most producible film went to Walter Gardner (COM’11) for Guppy Love.

Read more about this year’s Redstone nominees here.

Nicole Rojas contributed to this story.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @vickywaltz. Nicole Rojas can be reached at nrojas@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @nrojas0131.

4 Comments

4 Comments on Redstone Frustration

  • a parent on 03.01.2010 at 11:12 am

    Boston University needs to

    Boston University needs to invest some money in purchasing new equipment. It is wonderful that the university holds many events but there needs to be enough sound, light, video, and film equipment to go around so that students can enjoy all that the university and its clubs and programs have to offer. Wasn’t there another film projector available that they could have used that night?

  • Concerned on 03.01.2010 at 11:13 am

    new equipment?

    time to get a new film projector.

  • kcornuelle on 03.01.2010 at 2:57 pm

    whoa.

    this is insane… new equipment? time to invest, BU.

  • Anonymous on 03.04.2010 at 2:08 pm

    redstone frustration

    Wow. What a shame when the story turned out to be the glitches instead of the students’ work… Congratulations to all of the presenters and especially to the winners.

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