Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The nominations are in... and we have a winner!

By Devin Wachs, Public Relations Coordinator

It's official. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the contenders for the most coveted prize in Hollywood, Oscar gold. The King's Speech snagged the most Oscar nominations--a whopping twelve--and Black Swan has a chance to take home five prizes. But who will take home a statue? Who will give an acceptance speech? Who will become a part of Hollywood history?

Last week, we encouraged you to write your own Oscar acceptance speech for a chance to win two tickets to our Oscar Party! on February 27, which will feature a big screen simulcast of the Academy Awards, gourmet food, delicious drinks, a cash bar, and a silent auction. We received a number of wonderful (and very creative) entries, but it was Colin Firth and the cookies that put us over the top. Congratulations, Janice Marini, you've won!

Here's her winning entry:
Colin Firth reads the card. "And the Academy Award for Best Screenplay Adaptation goes to... JANICE MARINI for Salmon and Name Tags: My Life in Special Events, based on her novel of the same name..." I slink to the stage in red Prada. Somehow my hair stays perfect, and my mascara isn't running even though tears are slowly running down my face. Colin hands me the statuette and kisses me like it's the end of Bridget Jones's Diary. When I catch my breath, I look out toward the audience and camera and jokingly send a message to Ardmore: "Eat your heart out, Rosemary." Then I thank the studio, my agents, my publisher, my publicist, and the incredible cast, especially Keira Knightley, for bringing the main character to life. I thank my incredible director Ken Loach for his stunning work--since a slapsticky American comedy was a bit of a departure for him... I thank my former boss by name (which I won't do here!) for the endless supply of material and daily humiliations that beame the backbone of Salmon and Name Tags. I thank Archway Dutch Cocoa cookies for fueling the effort to write the screenplay. I acknowledge my family by name, all my friends in Philadelphia, and end by thanking my wonderful husband Joe. I couldn't have done it without his endless reserves of good humor, encouragement and love.
You can read all of the entries here (scroll down to the comments). And remember to buy your tickets before it's too late!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Win Tickets to BMFI's Oscar Party!

By Devin Wachs, Public Relations Coordinator

It's that time of year. Time for red carpet, champagne, and glitzy dresses. Time for the movie stars to truly shine. Time for BMFI's Oscar Party!

Join us on February 27 for BMFI's third annual Oscar Party! Celebrate Hollywood's hottest night in style. Enjoy a gourmet buffet dinner, drinks, a cash bar, and a silent auction, and watch the Oscars simulcast live on our big screen. Tickets are available at the Box Office and online here.

Want to be a winner yourself? Imagine that you're in the Kodak Theater and your name is called. Did you hear right? Yes, you won! You can hardly believe it, you've been dreaming of this day since you were a kid.

Tell us what you would say or do in your acceptance speech. Post it in the comments here. A jury of your peers will choose a winner to receive two tickets to our Oscar Party! Entries must be posted by Monday, January 24 at noon. We'll announce the winners next week.

Please note: When posting your comment, you will be asked to select a log-in from a list. If you do not have a Google account, etc., please select either 1) "Name/URL", which requires that you have a valid website address of your own, or 2) "Anonymous". If you select the latter, please be sure to sign your name in the post. Thanks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Exclusive Interview with MY DOG TULIP Filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger

By Meredith Slifkin

The holidays may be over, but there’s no reason to get the winter blues when there are such great events at BMFI! On Wednesday, January 19 at 7:30pm, there will be a special screening of My Dog Tulip followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. The Fierlingers will also teach a FREE Master Class at 2:00pm about animation in the digital world.

My Dog Tulip is the story of a man, his dog, and the extraordinary nature of canine-human friendship. This animated adaptation of the memoir by J.R. Ackerley has already earned widespread praise for filmmakers Paul and Sandra, who reside on the Main Line.

Paul and Sandra Fierlinger will teach a free Master Class at 2:00pm and
answer questions after the 7:30pm screening of My Dog Tulip on January 19.

Paul began working in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, where he became the state’s first independent producer of animated films. In 1968 he escaped the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, seeking solace in Holland and eventually the United States, where he continued to create animated films for television and the big screen. Paul was awarded the PEW Fellowship in the Arts in 1997 for his body of work.

Sandra is a native of Wayne, Pennsylvania, and graduated with highest honors from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She has collaborated with her husband, Paul, on many projects, including short and feature films for Sesame Street and PBS.

I caught up with Paul and Sandra via email. Keep reading for their take on My Dog Tulip, animation, and their exciting new project!
My Dog Tulip features the voices of Christopher Plummer, Isabella Rossellini, and the late Lynn Redgrave.

Q: What drew you both to My Dog Tulip? Has it been a “pet” project of yours for awhile, or did you come across the Ackerley material recently?

Paul: The book has been with us since it first came out in the New York Review of Books Classics series. Soon after reading it I began to make notes which I stuck between the pages with a possible theatrical film in mind. After a few weeks we got busy with other projects and the whole idea just vanished from our thoughts and conversations. When the two producers who became the actual film’s producers first called us—this happened years later—I had no recollection of ever thinking of Tulip as a movie and was immensely surprised when I discovered my notes between the yellowing pages. Mind you, the producers called us to make Tom Sawyer, not Tulip, but as we talked about all sorts of other ideas, the four of us on that conference call agreed that My Dog Tulip was a good one.

Q: The animation in My Dog Tulip has such a distinct look to it. Would you tell us about the method of hand-drawn computer animation used? Will this technique play a prominent role in the future of the animation art form?

Paul: The computer software we used is called TVPaint (made in Metz, France) and it has been our primary production tool since its inception, twenty years ago. We have been their beta-testers for about fifteen of those years now. It has gone through a slow recognition process mainly because the world wide market for such an application is incredibly miniscule, and these five Frenchies, who are still together after twenty years, had both zero marketing skills and money. TVP is now a household name in any 2-D animator’s family, and all the prominent animation schools around the world; this happened by word of mouth only. The software has grown in those twenty years, too, of course, and has finally reached the well-deserved status of the best there is for handmade (or computer assisted; take your pick) independent productions of art films. Hand-drawn films are coming back in a big way.

The Fierlingers created My Dog Tulip using hand-drawn computer animation. 

Q: Was your style of animation at all influenced by the Czech cartoonists and animation artists from the golden age of Kratky Film?

Paul: That yes, and by the way I grew up in the United States during WWII, and by the dreaded boarding school in which I had to spend my first four years in Czechoslovakia, by my father’s insistence that I drop the idea of becoming an animator, by the fact that no one had ever thought possible that one person alone could draw films, by my first and second divorces, the dogs I had owned, the despair I had fallen into that I will be forever locked within the barbed wire borders of that horrible place ruled by a tyrannical Soviet system, by my escape back to the West, by every advertising agency I had ever done work for, by my third and final marriage on a boat off Ordinary Point on the Chesapeake Bay, and by my 41 years of life on or close to the Main Line.

Q: Sandra, when did you become interested in animation? How do your skills as a painter influence your work with computer animation?

Sandra: Animation was never in my vocabulary as an artist growing up on the Main Line. Then Paul hired me as a colorist, married me, and what else am I supposed to do? The garden is so small.

Q: Are you working on any new projects?

Paul: The film we are working on now is being done in a way no one else has ever done before us, unless you count Charles Dickens, but he was not an animator. Sandra and I have embarked upon the serialization of an animated graphic novel to be released in installments on an e-magazine website, yet to be determined. This work in progress will be screened as the core of our Master Class earlier in the afternoon. We will also be discussing the explosion of hand drawn animated illustrations and tiny art films made by tiny cameras all over the pages of internet e-readers, a new publishing phenomenon which already is beginning to happen.

Exclusive image from Paul and Sandra's new project, Slocum at Sea with Himself.
Excerpts will be featured in the free Master Class taught by the Fierlingers.

Thanks, Paul and Sandra! 

If you have questions of your own for the Fierlingers, join us at BMFI's Master Class or the My Dog Tulip screening.

The Master Class is free and open to everyone, but there are only a few spaces left! To register, email or call 610-527-4008 x109.

You can purchase tickets to the My Dog Tulip screening and Q&A by clicking here or visiting the Box Office.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And the Award Goes to... BMFI's Oscar Party 2011!

By Meredith Slifkin

“There’s no other way to describe it, it’s the moment of a lifetime.” Kathryn Bigelow uttered these heartfelt words at the 2010 Academy Awards after winning Best Director for The Hurt Locker, but she could easily have been referring to last year’s Oscar Party at BMFI!

The anticipation is mounting as Hollywood prepares to celebrate its best and brightest, and you can experience Oscar magic larger than life at BMFI’s third annual Oscar Party. The 83rd Academy Awards will be simulcast live from Hollywood on BMFI’s big screen on Sunday, February 27 at 7:00pm.

"Hello Gorgeous"
There’s no better way to experience Hollywood’s party of the year than right here where we’ll have all the glitz and glamour of the real thing, but with a better view. At the Kodak Theatre you’d be stuck in the nosebleeds, but you’ll be able to see every glorious pore on George Clooney’s face on the big screen at BMFI. You may not walk home with a gold statue, but there will be good food, good company, plentiful spirits, and a silent auction! Back for its third year by popular demand, this year’s Oscar Party will offer a gourmet buffet dinner prepared by JPM Catering, and a myriad of social-lubricating cocktails at the cash bar.

"You like me, you really like me!"
There will also be a silent auction featuring gift certificates to some of the Main Line’s best restaurants and businesses including Mediterranean Grill, LeBus, and Margaret Kuo’s. All proceeds will benefit Bryn Mawr Film Institute so really it’s a win-win—you'll get to enjoy dinner at a delicious restaurant, while helping to ensure that your favorite non-profit movie theatre can keep on keeping on.

Don’t forget to come in your red-carpet best—evening gowns, dapper suits—or costumes inspired by the films. I expect to see at least one Black Swan-inspired outfit, and maybe a few Western hats to channel True Grit, or Harvard sweatshirts from The Social Network. (But please, don’t go so far as to pull a James Franco in 127 Hours…) However you show up, this party will be an amazing event full of fun, food, and film, all leading up to that exciting final moment—Best Picture!

"I'm the king of the world!"
Tickets for the Oscar Party are $55 for BMFI members and $65 general admission, and are available now for purchase online or at the box office.