Movies by Mills (August 2013)

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Issue 4

August 2013

Onata Aprile *** Film of the Month ***

What Maisie Knew Arthouse Ambiance Gate Picturehouse, Notting Hill *** Q & A Stephen Simon & Scott Cervine *** ** FilmFest Follower **

Venice Short Cuts — Extras


SOME THINGS MEAN SOMETHING Written, Produced & Directed by Dee Meaden

Opening on a young man reciting his name in a mirror, “Some Things Mean Something” introduces us to a protagonist who is mentally challenged every moment of the day but is protected by his mother. It is his birthday, there is a cake and greeting cards and one in particular that is his poem that he reads aloud which tells him how much he means to the sender and he thinks of him every day and loves him; the words are really beautiful and makes him feel good. The card is from his father. Tony is still smiling at the sentiments expressed when his mother’s words trample on his joy. “It doesn’t mean anything” It is her recurring mantra whenever there is a glimmer of hope. Tony believes that his father’s card has a hidden code in it and he begins to carry the card with him and is constantly re-reading it. We can feel Tony’s entrapment in the symbolic colour tones and the drabness of the decor. He is comforted yet confused, safe yet perilously vulnerable. “Nothing ever changes and never will” his mother tells him which he believes until that is he reads that poem. For his mother there is fear that she may lose control and not be able to protect her son from the real world and from himself. What about his father? Who is he? Where is he? We never know. “Some Things Mean Something” is a remarkably emotional film that will move you to anger and sadness and the performances of the actors are faultless: Robert Boulter as Tony and Tilly Vosburgh as Tony’s mother. This is Dee Meaden’s third Short film as director and each seems to dig deeper and deeper into the human psyche that focuses on the difficulties that some people face. The importance of Short Films cannot be emphasised enough. It is where the majority of filmmakers start You may not have seen or heard of “Lanton Mills” “Doodlebug” “The Beguiled: The Storyteller Short” “Vesuvius V1” “Always Tell Your Wife” “The Hearts of Age” “The Last Gun” “Milk” or “Lick The Star”. They are Shorts and were the first films that Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Andrea Arnold and Sofia Coppola directed before going on to make their memorable features. Short films are often a short cut to success… so watch this space for the name of Dee Meaden. 2

Editorial * You will not have heard of Onata Aprile who graces this month’s cover. It is not surprising as she is only six years ofrdage, but I promise you that you soon will after the 23 August when WHAT MAISIE KNEW is released in the UK because she dominates the film which is MbM’s Film of the Month. Child stars are often known as scene stealers but you may be surprised at how many stars today started their careers as infants or teenagers: Christian Bale, Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlet Johansson, Elijah Wood, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Kristin Stewart, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore… * I am very pleased to welcome Stephen Simon & Scott Cervine to MbM’s Q & A to answer questions about the very exciting and inspiring project that will be a series of films based on the best –selling classic of self -help books THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill. You will be able to download these gems of wisdom to your computers and mobile phones and you will discover how this all came about. It could not be in better hands than Stephen’s and Scott’s who will produce and direct the films respectively * You are invited to enter the Gate Picturehouse Notting Hill in the series Arthouse Ambiance, a cinema which epitomises excellence for discerning cinemagoers. * A new feature this month is Short Cuts which takes a look at the sometimes unsung hero of filmmaking – the Short film. I shall be reviewing SOME THINGS MEAN SOMETHING written and directed by the very talented Dee Meaden. * And of course there are the regular features: Filmfest Follower which looks at the longest running film festival in the world Venice, plus Extras with this month’s choice of DVD. * Thanks again to Paul Ridler for the look and design of the magazine and thanks to our loyal followers who share it on their websites, facebook and twitter. * Acknowlegements for images: Artificial-Eye and UPI Media - Universal. Dee Meaden. Scott Cervine & Stephen Simon. Picturehouse Enjoy the read.

Brian Mills 3

SOME THINGS MEAN SOMETHING CAST & CREDITS Tony: Robert Boulter Rosa: Tilly Vosburgh Young Mum: Hannah Dean Shopkeeper: Michael Gilroy Jones: Aaron Ishmael Mark: Jonathan Chabara Boys in Park: Charlie Clarke Shaquille Ali-Yebuah Sam Jones Couple in Street: Molly Steere Roger Smissen Baby: Bertie Coppin Written, Directed & Produced: Dee Meaden Starring: Robert Boulter & Tilly Vosburgh Director of Photography: Ollie Verschoyle Production Design: Richard Ward Set Decorator: Paula West Casting Director: Kharmel Cochrane


WHAT MAISIE KNEW *Spoiler Alert If there was a prerequisite for a film to justify its inclusion in a film festival it surely should be one that the audience can relate to on an emotive level while recognising the vicissitudes of human relationships but being charmed by the way the story is told and acted. The charismatic charmer in “What Maisie Knew� is young Onata Aprile who plays the eponymous Maisie, a child sandwiched between her divorcing parents who are constantly shouting and accusing each other in their custody battle over Maisie; always in earshot of their vociferous belligerences. The parents attention to their child is always secondary to their own self-importance: the mother with her rock group and always touring on the road with them, the father pursuing the next business deal, and each giving a small piece of their time to Maisie to take her for a soda or to buy her an outlandish present believing that such acts could possibly compensate for their absences and their love. 5

When they both begin to things begin to take on reveals even more about not really caring about themselves.

find new partners a new meaning and their true nature of anyone but

The loathsome pair Susanna and Beale, played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan are irritatingly irksome enough to justify you wishing them out of Maisie’s life forever, a subconscious wish maybe but one that promises to be granted when they both cheat on their new respected partners: Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard) and Margo (Joanna Vanderham) who are increasingly left to monitor Maisie’s school pickups and outings. For the first time Maisie finds two people who genuinely like being with her and are kind, loving and playful. At one point Margo asks “You like Lincoln don’t you?” “I love him,” she replies. Onata Aprile gives one of the best performances of any child actress that I have seen and she is only six years old. The whole weight of the film is on her tiny shoulders; she is mesmerizingly magnificent and able to convey her feelings with just one look. She will capture your heart as she did mine and the Edinburgh Film Festival audience too. It seems what Onata knows about acting is that it is a make-believe game which she enjoys playing and one that I hope she never stops enjoying. UK Release date: 23rd August. 6


What Maisie Knew The film is based on Henry James’ 1897 novel about the effect that two selfish despicable parents, who are in the aftermath of a bitter divorce, have on their six year old child. What was written then is even more relevant in today’s society. Maisie becomes the pawn they use in their loveless tug-of-war. Her mother, Susanna, is a rock star, Beale, her father, an art dealer When Beale marries Margo, Maisie’s nanny, Susanna retaliates by marrying Lincoln one of her groupies. Both of their partners are young and good looking and are ego boosters for them both, which proves to be a blessing for Maisie as Lincoln and Margo spend more time with her and give her the love that her too often out of town parents can’t. Lincoln and Margo are drawn closer together because of their heartfelt duties to Maisie, especially when they are constantly picking her up from school because Susanna and Beale have forgotten about her. Seeing Maisie standing and waiting to be collected is heartbreaking. If these additional words to this review seem like afterthoughts – they are, because “What Maisie Knew” is the kind of film that creates them. 8



ARTHOUSE AMBIANCE THE GATE PICTUREHOUSE NOTTING HILL Besides the obvious attraction of its imposing auditorium and its selected screenings, the one thing that elevates The Gate above many of its competitors is that is it a single screen cinema, thus resisting the temptation to add another screen. The silver screen lies behind beautiful drapes or tabs as they are called in the business, the splendour of which you can see on the next page. Some cinemas today have, regrettably in my opinion, no curtains and when the patron enters the auditorium they see a blank screen thus destroying the illusion offered when the lights would dim and the curtains would open and you would enter a cinematic dream. The Gate is located in the west London district of Notting Hill, which has three other art-houses cinemas in the area: the Coronet, Phoenix and The Electric, the latter which MbM reviewed in its first issue. Some of these are frequently playing main stream films which you could see at a multiplex and in so doing cross the divide from art-house which made them unique in the first place. Fortunately the Gate supplements its programming with live opera which is beamed in by satellite. Like the majority of art-house cinemas the Gate is appealingly rich in history. As the early ephemera shows, it began its life as the Golden Bells, a ham and beef shop and eating house. The floor above was a hotel which operated as a brothel. In 1911 an architect opened the ground floor as a 450-seat cinema the Electric Palace. By 1931 the Electric Palace became one of the first British cinemas to convert fully to sound and changing its name to The Embassy. During a bombing raid in the Second World War, the facade and roof were badly damaged and had to be removed and replaced. Come the 50s and the Classic Cinemas chain purchased the building and removed the proscenium arch to make way for the new cinematic innovation of the day – cinemascope. It reopened as the Embassy Classic Notting Hill. Later in the decade cinema attendance dwindled due to the advent of television and many cinemas closed. There were new owners in 1974, Cinegate who re-launched the cinema as part of the Gate chain showing avant garde and experimental films alongside repertory art-house programmes. Subsequent owners were Oasis Cinemas in 1985, City Screen in 2003. Today it is owned by Picturehouse Cinemas and has been totally refurbished and fully re-seated with luxury armchair seats, each with their own drinks table. On the wall in the lobby is its Cinema 100 plaque given in recognition of being ‘one of London’s favourite independent cinemas’. Long may it remain. 11

Photo credits: Faye Hindley 12




Scott Cervine

Stephen Simon 14

Q & A Stephen Simon Producer: Somewhere in Time, All the Right Moves, What Dreams May Come. Director: Indigo, Conversations with God. Author: The Force is With You, Bringing Back the Old Hollywood. Co-Founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle.

& Scott Cervine Editor. Actor. Writer. Director: The Shadow Effect, Robert-Houdin, The Keeper of the Keys, People v The State of Illusion, Sacred Journey of the Heart.

BM: Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” was a massive inspiration to millions of people. How did you first discover it and how has it changed your life? SS: Scott should answer that one because he’s the one who created and brought this wonderful project into my life. SC: I'll talk about how I first discovered it in the next section. But 'how it has changed my life' is easy. It's reminded me that anything I can dream of in my wildest ambitions is not only possible, but that I can start today to put that dream into action. There's something about the stories in Think And Grow Rich which are authored right next to a set of astounding


principles that swings the door of your mind wide open. It literally demands that you think bigger and elicits from within you an image of the miraculous. Not bad for a book authored seventy something years ago. BM: To quote Napoleon Hill “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” Can you give some examples where that gem of knowledge has rung true for you? SS: If I answered that completely, this interview would take weeks! I’ve been fired 3 times in my life… 25 years ago, I had to declare bankruptcy… I’ve produced movies that I loved with all my heart bomb badly at the box office and with critics… I had to leave L.A. in 2001 and start all over again in Oregon because I just couldn’t get anything done in the traditional film business anymore… and the list goes on. But… each time those things happened, they led directly to wonderful and miraculous successes and happiness. None more than this: in 2003, at the age of 56, I had been divorced twice, and had raised my daughters on my own for 15 years. I was convinced that romantic love had eluded me and I was going to be alone. And then I met my wonderful Lauren… whom I married in 2006… who is the woman I had always dreamed of but never thought I would find… and who has changed literally everything about my life and all for the better. She also saved my life- literally. Without her, I wouldn’t have survived my heart attack in 2011 when 16

my heart stopped 4 times. And that’s a whole other story! SC: I have countless stories about this one. But here's my favorite. I was 23, and a world class Magician at the time. I'm proud to say that I had 'chops'. I was already a working professional. But on this particular Saturday night, there was a lot on the line. It was a competition for the title of 'Magic Entertainer of the Year' and first prize was $5,000 cash. Some of the most amazing magicians from around the globe were competing for a panel of exceptional judges. (Even Michael Jackson who was a big magic fan was in the audience, in disguise so we wouldn't be bothered.) When I was introduced I took the stage and quite literally did one of the best shows of my life. I was grounded, centered, connecting with the audience. My sleight of hand was picture perfect, the room was electric because I was "on" -- and certainly headed for the gold medal and a $5,000 prize. Then, right before my big finale the guy in the sound booth thought that I was done, and not only stopped my music but started rewinding the tape (yes it was that long ago -- a cassette tape;) So there I was, center stage with no music and two minutes from one of the biggest victories of my life. My finale in those days was was a magician's cane that turned into an umbrella, which led into a tap dance number and finished with me literally floating in the air as the music crescendoed. But I had 17

no music. Instead of losing my cool, something in me said 'use it'. The audience was tense‌ what to do? So I just went with it and started doing some funny bits of mime that I'd learned in college. I pretended to be bored, waiting for my music, then did the 'walking in place' bit as if I had all the time in the world. When the music finally came on, and I launched into my finale the audience was almost on their feet before they'd even seen the illusion. There was something about my willingness to 'go with it' and use the disaster to my advantage that struck a chord with audience and the judges. I won the contest and used the 5k to put a nice down payment on my first new car. To this day I try to remember this great lesson and do my best to use it every time. BM: Stephen, you are currently raising funds for the film on Indiegogo. Why did you choose crowdfunding as the means of financing these films? SS: Scott and I both believe that crowdfunding is the development in film talking movies came first time, we film

most exciting distribution since on the scene! For the makers have the

opportunity to retain creative control and also a legitimate share of the profits. We also have the ability to share our vision 18

with the audience before we even begin filming and get feedback that can help us. In fact, the films have an interactive element as well whereby our audience can make crucial suggestions after the 3rd film that will influence some of the content of the 4th film. We hope everyone will join us at Indiegogo to help us make these films a reality. SC: At its best, crowdfunding seeks out and identifies a formidable AUDIENCE for your project BEFORE the film is even made. It's good business that simultaneously supports the mission of the film. I'm proud to join a new breed of film directors who are as committed to finding their audience as they are to telling their story. I'll even go one further. And I'll only speak for myself here, but if I'm truly committed to a story -- it is my duty to seek out that story's audience. Does crowdfunding work for every project? No. Does it work if you're so fired up about a story, or an idea, or an invention that you're simply going to burst if you don't create it? Well now we're talking. Now we're in the territory of an original authentic IDEA. When you're 'called' to do something, whether that calling comes from within yourself, or from a source that you admire, you are now charged with a chosen destiny, and if you don't complete it, "The world will not have it," as Martha Graham wrote in her extraordinary quote about being an artist. 19

BM: The idea of making a movie or series of movies based on “Think and Grow Rich” was suggested to you Stephen by Scott. Was that Scott something that you had wanted to do for a long while? And what happened after that? SC: I was in the edit bay for my last film and there was an image of Napoleon Hill in it. I remember the moment so clearly. The camera pushed in fast and landed in a close up of Dr. Hill's face, and even though I was alone in the edit suite, it felt as if I heard a voice say, "Are you ready?" The very next day I started reviewing information about him. I finally read the book again in a new moment, and several key ideas literally leapt off the page. I think if I had to pick one idea from the book that meant the most to me, it would be this: Each and every one of us

has an idea within us that only we could have. If we're brave enough to seek out that idea, and put it to good use then there's almost nothing that we can't accomplish. While holding that book in my hands I paused. What could I do? What was my creative impulse that could open the door to the next big chapter of my life? And then I looked up and saw Napoleon… already on my edit screen. I started writing down ideas the next day. SS: Scott and I have been friends for over 10 years. We’ve worked together before as well on a miniseries for The Spiritual Cinema Circle, which also has distributed several of Scott’s shorts. Besides being 20

one of the most genuine, lovely people on the planet, he’s also a brilliant film maker with a unique sense of humor that always makes me laugh out loud. So, when he approached me with this idea, I was thrilled and we dove into it together. BM: You have decided to make these movies so that they can be downloaded to computers, mobile phones… was that the way you envisioned the movie being released? Did you ever consider making the book into an omnibus movie that would be sold to a theatrical distributor? SC: It was pretty early on that Stephen and I both hit upon the sort of 'intimate nature' of watching content on tablets and computers. Now having said that, I've always envisioned the possibility of any content that I make having its day in a traditional theater. So nothing is off the table… that's half the fun. SS: While I love and will always love, seeing movies in theaters, these films seem uniquely suited for digital Distribution. BM: Scott you have the Herculean task of writing, editing and directing these movies. Will you be concentrating on making a movie of each of the 13 Proven Steps to Riches or working from chapter 3 “Three Feet of Gold” to “Fifty Seven Famous Alibis” which is chapter 40 of the book? SC: I think we've found the best cinematic structure that will retain much of the content within the book while at the same 21

time bringing it into a very modern context. We don't try to cover all of the 13 steps. We do give viewers a strong experience of many of the ideas in Dr. Hill's book while layering them into a very funny interesting journey that our main character takes. Also, this won't be the only set of films. We're planning on several sets of films that can bring to life more and more of what Think And Grow Rich has to offer. Opposite of our main character who is a twenty nine year old app developer is a 'stylish mentor figure' who happens to be an expert on Think And Grow Rich. When these two characters meet, the real fun begins. BM: Scott, how do you go about casting these movies? Do you envision lengthy auditions or do you already have some actors in mind? SC: Lengthy, drawn out, extensive, endless casting sessions. It's so important to find the right actor/actress for these roles. They are literally the foundation of the house. That search will be thorough to say the least. BM: Stephen, how soon can we expect to see the first of these movies? SS: As soon as we complete our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, we will begin to prepare them and hope to have them ready by the fall of 2014.


BM: Stephen, I was really excited to hear that you have bought the movie rights to the book “The Address of Happiness” Two of my favorite movies are “Somewhere in Time” and “What Dreams May Come” and now you are planning to produce this story about two souls starting out in the ethereal plain and making the journey to find one another. It seems that with this project you will be fulfilling another dream to bring back the Old Hollywood? SS: First of all, thank you for those kind comments about Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come which are, as you know, very close to my heart. In answer to your question--Yes, that is so absolutely true. “The Address of Happiness” is a magical, spiritual, poignant, beautiful love story and I am beyond proud and honored that the book’s author David Kirkpatrick has entrusted the film rights to me. BM: Thank you Stephen, thank you Scott for unfolding your dreams that they may be shared with the readers of Movies by Mills. SC: I love talking about movies… one of my favorite past times. Thanks for having me. SS: Yes, and thank you, Brian… For Movies by Mills as well. You are such a great film fan, aficionado, and observer of the film genre that I look forward to Movies by Mills every month!





FILMFEST FOLLOWER MbM RECOMMENDS 28th August – 7th September at


Directed by John Curran. Starring: Mia Wasikowska. Adam Driver. A young woman goes on a 1,700 mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with her four camels and faithful dog.


Written, directed and starring Emma Dante.


Directed by Terry Gillam. Starring: Christoph Waltz. Matt Damon. Melanie Thierry. David Thewlis. Lucas Hedges. Ben Whishaw. Tilda Swinton. A computer hacker’s goal to discover the human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management, this time they send a teenager and lusty love to distract him.


Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Starring: Scarlett Johansson. Antonia Campbell-Hughes. Paul Brannigan. Krystof Hadek. Robert J Goodwin. An Alien in human form is on a journey through Scotland. 25


Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring: Nicolas Cage. Tye Sheridan. Ronie Gene Blevins. An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15 year and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.


Directed by Peter Landesman. Starring: James Badge Dale. Zac Efron. Jackie Earle Haley. Colin Hanks. David Harbour. Marcia Gay Harden. Ron Livingston. Jeremy Strong. Billy Bob Thornton. Jackie Weaver. Tom Welling. Paul Giamatti. A recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas Parkland Hospital on the day US President John F Kennedy was assassinated.


Directed by Kelly Reichardt. Starring: Jesse Eisenberg. Dakota Fanning. Peter Sarsgaard. James Le Gros. A drama centred on 3 environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam.


Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Starring: George Clooney. Sandra Bullock. Astronauts attempt to return to Earth after debris crashes into their shuttle leaving them drifting alone in orbit. 26


Directed by Steven Knight. Starring: Tom Hardy. Olivia Colman. Ruth Wilson. Andrew Scott. Ben Daniels. Tom Holland. A man’s life unravels during a 90 minutes race against time.


Directed by Ettore Scola. Featuring: Sergio Rubini. Antonella Attili. Vittorio Viviani. Sergio Pierattini. Tommaso Lanzotti. The film is a memory of Federico Fellini, told by Ettore Scola on the 20th anniversary of his death. A story of the friendship between Scola and Fellini who met at newspaper ‘Marco Aurelio’ in the early 50s.


Directed by Agnes B. Starring: Douglas Gordon. Lou-Leila Demerliac. Sylvie Testud. Jacques Bonnaffe. Marie-Christine Barrault. Jean-Pierre Kalfon. Jean-Francois Garreau. Celine is 11 and meets Peter who is 60. Together they go on a luminous journey in his red truck, she, escaping her desperate and incestuous father. 27


Directed by Gia Coppola Starring: Emma Roberts. Jack Kilmer. James Franco. Val Kilmer. Keegan Allen. Nat Wolff. Colleen Camp. A drama centred on a group of teens with a penchant for finding trouble.


Directed by Lukas Moodysson. Starring: Mira Barkhammer. Mira Grosin. Liv LeMayne. Three 12 and 13 year old girls form a punk band in 1982 Stockholm.


Directed by John Krokidas Starring: Daniel Radcliffe. Dane DeHaan. Michael C Hall. Ben Foster. Jack Huston. Elizabeth Olsen. Jennifer Jason Leigh. A murder in 1944 draws together three great poets of the Beat Generation




THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES Directed by Derek Cianfrance Starring: Ryan Gosling. Bradley Cooper. Eva Mendes

FILM **** The film is a triptych about two families whose paths cross over two generations. The first part about a stunt rider who learns he is a father of a baby boy and sets out to provide for his son by robbing banks. The second part concerns an ambitious cop who becomes a hero under suspicious circumstances. The final part fast forwards the story to when the cop is running for attorney general and has to confront the son whose father he killed.

EXTRAS **** Deleted Scenes Going To The Place Beyond The Pines Featurette. Feature Commentary with Director Derek Cianfrance. 29

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