FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 12, 2009 – Portland, OR
“Not Dead Yet” beats out stiff competition to win Best Feature prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival The Oregon-made film to next screen at the Baltimore Women’s Film Festival as its opening night selection “Not Dead Yet” – starring Susan Hess Logeais, Betty Moyer and Sherilyn Lawson and directed by Sam Hull – has been awarded the prize for Best Feature by the Rhode Island International Film Festival in a tie with “Fifty Dead Men Walking,” a $14 million drama starring Ben Kingsley. Despite what might have been perceived as handicaps – a shoe string budget, first-time director and lack of name stars – the Oregon-made film beat out such formidable competition as “La Masseria Dellee Allodole” from director Paolo Taviani, the critically-acclaimed recipient of over 30 major awards,
including the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize (“Night of the Shooting Stars”) and Golden Palm (“Padre Padrone”); “Prince of Broadway,” named Best Dramatic Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival; “The Vicious Kind,” a contender at the 2009 Sundance Festival; “Love and Savagery” from John N. Smith, director of the $178 million blockbuster, “Dangerous Minds”; the James Brolin-starrer “Bitter/Sweet,” which garnered both the grand prize and Best Director honors from WorldFest Houston; and the multiaward-winning “Like Dandelion Dust,” starring Miro Sorvino. “Not Dead Yet” will next screen at the Baltimore Women’s Film Festival on October 23, as its opening night selection. Calling “Not Dead Yet” “a sweet and sensitive movie, the very definition of a chick flick for women of a certain age,” Providence Journal-Bulletin film critic Michael Janusonis notes that the acting is “first rate” and “Lawson and Moyers are especially good in portraying the frustrations of women who want more than their current situation can offer.” “Not Dead Yet” is a dramatic comedy about three midlife women who join forces to revive their acting careers, only to find themselves on a quest for something far more important. Frustrated by the lack of roles for women over 40, they decide to create their own film, starring themselves. As the project spins out of control, the result of unwittingly hiring a kinky director, so do their lives. The film brings a dramatic new perspective to a range of women’s issues rarely embraced by American cinema. “Each character represents an aspect of what we face as women today,” says Logeais, 50, who spent several years developing the story, which incorporates insights from her two co-stars, as well as others. “They say: ‘Write about what you know. Well, this is what we know. It’s what we’re going through right now, and what we felt was relevant.” Indeed, “Not Dead Yet” was inspired by the real-life frustrations of trying to make a comeback by the three Portland actresses. Like their characters, each has spent countless hours at casting calls, only to watch roles appropriate for women their age go to actresses a decade or so younger. “I wanted to act again, but I knew no one would hire me for a starring role in a feature film. So I was going to have to hire myself,” says Logeais, a former Hollywood actress who had starred in four network television movies, a Sidney Sheldon mini-series for CBS, and a highly-rated two-hour season opener for Miami Vice as Don Johnson’s girlfriend, among other roles, before leaving the entertainment industry in 1990. The classically-trained former San Francisco Ballet resident dancer has also graced a dozen major
magazine covers – including Italian, English, and German versions of Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle – and glided down the runways at Paris, Milan and New York shows for such designers as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Gianni Versace. Moyer, originally from Texas, had majored in drama at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos, then spent eight years in Dallas, working in regional theater. Within two months of landing in Southern California, she had scored an agent, a part in a play, and a day job as a desk clerk at the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset – but gave it up to move to Portland after meeting the love of her life. While raising her son, Moyer was finally able to launch her career, with roles in nine films, eleven network movies, and two television series. “Now that my son is in college, I’m free to work. I want to work. We want to move on with our careers, and there’s a lot of resistance!” she says. Lawson, a University of Oregon graduate with a B.A. in Theater, had opted to table her acting career to raise a family. “I was pretty much in suburbia mommy mode for the first few years,” she says. “I tried to continue to work after my son was born, but it was a little difficult because I never got any sleep for the first eight months – making it almost impossible to memorize anything, not to mention that I looked like dust,” she says with a laugh. Lawson gave birth to her daughter at 40, but didn’t try to get back in the game until her youngest was four. “Meantime, reality TV hit, all of the movies-of-the-week had gone to Canada, and all the local commercial companies were being purchased by out-of-state conglomerates. It just all dried up,” she says, noting that it became doubly-difficult for female actresses in their upper 40’s to score good roles. For all three, making “Not Dead Yet” was both a cathartic experience and a back-to-the-present awakening. “When we first began meeting, we asked ourselves, ‘What should this movie be about?’ And it was Betty who said, ‘I think it should allow us to do everything we’ve always wanted to do, but never got to.’ So I wrote it from that perspective – giving ourselves a second chance!” Logeais says with a triumphant grin. The film also stars Hollywood veterans David Ogden Stiers and Seymour Cassel, and features a strong local cast that includes Jill Andre, Patricia Ferguson, Alexander Blaise, Allen Nause, and Ryan Findley. Making his feature film debut, classically-trained stage director Sam Hull helmed an outstanding production team that included producer Roland Sarrazen, whose previous work includes the featurelength documentary, “Larke Ellen Circle,” and a short film for the White Wolf Sanctuary in Tidewater, OR, which is a permanent part of their exhibit; Colorado Film and Video Institute graduate, cinematographer
Brian Liepe; former Hollywood television writer Jackie Blain as associate producer; classically-trained multi-instrumentalist Gary Damron in charge of music and sound design, and Seattle-based vocal stylist Johanna Kunin.
For more information about the film, visit www.NotDeadYetTheFilm.com. ***
A downloadable media kit is available at: http://www.notdeadyetthefilm.com/press.html Hi-res images and film clips can be downloaded at: http://www.notdeadyetthefilm.com/press_files/ MEDIA CONTACTS: Lyla Foggia Foggia Public Relations LLC (503) 622-0232 firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Hess Logeais Producer / Screenwriter / Star (971) 563-6247 email@example.com Sam Hull Director firstname.lastname@example.org 503-381-3218