FBF: BAGDAD CAFE

bagdad cafe_titleFlashback Friday has us asking: Why-oh-why don’t people make movies like this any more?! Say hello to 1987’s Bagdad Cafe (dir. Percy Adlon; writers Eleonore Adlon, Percy Adlon & Christopher Doherty).

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CCH Pounder as Brenda and Marianne Sägebrecht as Jasmin in “Bagdad Cafe” (1987)

Original, quirky, unexpected, legit-interesting and wickedly funny with a solid story backbone. The antithesis of hack. Brilliantly cast. And it has a KILLER theme song: Jevetta Steele’s “Calling You.”  Without falling into stereotype, Bagdad Cafe takes angry black woman Brenda (the incomparable CCH Pounder) on a life-changing journey thanks to the lonely German tourist Jasmin (Marianne Sägebrecht), who sets out to transform her own life when she falls into Brenda’s dusty little cafe.

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Monica Calhoun as Phyllis in “Bagdad Cafe” (1987)

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Darron Flagg as Salamo in “Bagdad Cafe” (1987)

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G. Smokey Campbell as Sal in “Bagdad Cafe” (1987)

Also on this ride are  Brenda’s introverted musical prodigy son Salamo (real-life tenor Darron Flagg, who played the music in the film); her free-spirited, biker-loving daughter Phyllis (a budding Monica Calhoun); the family’s spiritually expansive, ex-Hollywood set decorator friend (Jack Palance!);  and Brenda’s estranged husband, Sal (G. Smokey Campbell) — who narrates from afar.

And all this kookiness works beautifully because Bagdad Cafe is an honest story about the kind of growth we hope for as human beings.

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Jack Palance as Rudi Cox in “Bagdad Cafe” (1987)

Is it surprising that this is a foreign film?

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Women. Film. Now.

Women + Film = Power

Women + Film = Power

If you don’t do anything else the rest of the day, read this little ditty:
Here’s Why Female-Driven Films Are Important Right Now
by filmmaker Alexis O. Korycinski

Indeed….what she said (so well). For now, let’s just stick with business. I suspect that, as with much cultural progress facing futile resistance these days, the money will win out in the end. Women spend a lot of money going to the movies; neglecting that audience/market segment is simply idiotic. And I, for one, am not an idiot. That is all.

How Star Wars Ruined Sci-Fi

Star Wars

It’s been a long slide downhill since the original….

If you care about sci-fi, check out this piece entitled “How Star Wars Ruined Sci-Fi.” It’s one of the best op-ed pieces I’ve read in a minute. Big up to this writer for so eloquently and insightfully discussing the demise of sci-fi film and the slippery slope of commercialism that has transformed the very chromosomes of the American film industry — particularly science fiction. Yes, there is a business that supports film — but do not get it twisted: filmmaking is an art.

I give the writer, Lewis Beale, even more love for not only shouting out Octavia Butler, but also for pointing out the insanity of her work and the work of other top-notch sci-fi novelists (like Joe Halderman’s The Forever War) not being adapted to film because they’re ‘too smart’ and don’t fit into Hollywood’s moronically simplistic sci-fi lexicon of CGI, weapons battles and tired archetypes. Can I get a witness?

I have two things to say: a new day is dawning…and sci-fi 4eva!

ROXË15: Update!

You’re probably wondering:
Where in the world is Roxë?

A new voice in science fiction

Roxë15: A sci fi short film

We are thrilled to report that as you read these words,
Roxë15 is in the very capable hands of superb editor Lamont Jack Pearley!
YAAAAAY!

Lamont Jack Pearley

He’s very serious about editing: Lamont Jack Pearley

Jack (who’s also a fantastic filmmaker in his own right) has edited for Bloomberg Business Week and City Lights Media, worked production with Upright Citizens Brigade and in the documentary world — not to mention his work producing, directing and editing his films and Web series. We’re amped that he is now slicing, dicing and cutting Roxë15 into the future-forward visual journey it’s destined to be. Our ETA for the finished film? Early 2014. After Jack does his thing, we still have a couple more post-production bases to cover before prime time…..but baby, we are well on our way.

Stay tuned!

Roxë15: Onward and Upward!

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We have officially concluded the IndieGoGo campaign for Roxë15!

Thanks to the backing of visionary and generous supporters, we are headed toward post-production. We SO appreciate everyone who gave to this project.
Thank you for being invested!

We eternally grateful for all of the many forms of love that have come to this project from so many corners. Without audience, there is no point — so having you with us means everything…. and we will be loving you right back. We very much look forward to presenting a sci-fi film that is fresh, authentic and innovative.
Roxë15 will represent a new voice and a new perspective, in a new way. Namaste.

P.S.:
If you missed us on IGG,
the production accepts donations ongoing through PayPal:
Roxë15 on PAYPAL

BEWARE THIS VIRUS

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Of course, it doesn’t pop up until the year 2051…in virtual reallity….but you can never be too careful. It’s pretty focused on getting Roxë, but anything is posible in VR. And don’t get it twisted: this digital monster is stealth. It doesn’t speak, it doesn’t feel, and it’s brutally efficient. Just saying.

Check out the very un-monstrous Daniel Moser, who plays the virus in Roxë15, talking about his inhuman character. Daniel is nothing like the photo —- honest.

Roxë15 is raising money for post-production on IndieGoGo until Sept. 30. Help make this film happen — become a backer today!
http://igg.me/at/roxe15/x/1502

You can get in touch with Daniel Moser (actor and performance artist) at dannydomore@me.com.

Tragically Perverted: The Thirsty Barfly

Meet The Barfly, played by NYC actor Michael Kaplan in sci-fi short film Roxë15.
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The Barfly can usually be found at the end of the bar in Tranzit, the high-tech dive where Roxë makes her daily bread. He  is the quintessential mid-21st century man: disgruntled, full of rage and more than anything, THIRSTY — because like most people in the America of 2051, he can’t afford water — let alone a drink. The Barfly represents many future Americans: bled dry and mad about it. Somewhere along the way, he’s decided to take it out on Roxë….but she’s not having it.

Hear what the actor has to say about the low-life he plays so well:

WE HAVE 3 DAYS LEFT IN OUR INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN.
If you want to see a new and different possible future, help make it happen.
Become a backer at any level. Today’s a great day for it!
http://igg.me/at/roxe15/x/1502

And oh yeah — in real life, Michael is a really cool guy and an illmatic actor. Keep up with him.
FB: Michael.Kaplan