Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Springtime for Brooklyn: Surveying the Theater Scene

Although there’s no shortage of Broadway bonanzas to attend this spring season, those of us in Brooklyn know that high-quality theater actually lies right in our dynamic boro – a convenient subway ride away from hectic Times Square. In fact, three companies in the young vibrant areas of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Fort Greene and Williamsburg will make you wonder why you ever queued up at the TKTS booth in the first place. So mark your calendars and turn off your mobiles ‘cause the shows are about to begin. To read the rest visit the First Class Theater section of Amtrak’s Arrive magazine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Sonoma International Film Festival

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences abounded at this year’s Sonoma International Film Festival, a boutique event in the heart of northern California’s wine country – complete with complimentary wine and cheese before every screening (and a trailer featuring an animated, tap-dancing wine bottle named Tipsy whose tagline read, “Is everything out of focus, or is it just me?”). Held a week apart and an hour’s drive – yet a world away – from that longest running festival in the U.S., SIFF serves as a worthy reminder that attending fests that aren’t market-driven not only allows one the opportunity to discover overlooked diamonds amongst the seemingly rough cuts, but to enjoy chance encounters that have been programmed out of the older and slicker fests. While the films themselves might not have the cachet associated with the big boy on the Bay (save perhaps for the opening and closing night bookended Luc Besson flicks, “The Lady” and Radu Mihaileanu’s “The Source”) SIFF’s random weirdness factor proved absolutely intoxicating (no pun intended, really) to this non-drinking cinephile.
To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Filmmaker" magazine's spring issue now playing at a newsstand near you!


VIKRAM GANDHI’s KumarĂ© won festival audience awards even as it angered those who found the director’s impersonation of an Indian spiritual guru mean-spirited. LAUREN WISSOT talks with Gandhi about Borat, cinematic performance art and the guru inside all of us.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Bermuda International Film Festival

“Location, location, location” could very well serve as the tagline for the Bermuda International Film Festival. Set on a paradise island surrounded by spectacular pink sand and Technicolor-blue waters in the North Atlantic, it’s only a couple hours’ plane trip from NYC (or less if you can hitch a ride with the private-jetting Mayor Mike). This gracious and warmly welcoming fest – a reflection of the country’s unbelievably gregarious and helpful population (pull out a map and you’re just as likely to have a total stranger walk you to your destination as point the way) – is now in its 15th year yet exhibits the vitality of a young up-and-comer. Due to an economic crunch that nearly wiped out the 2012 edition, this BIFF was a scaled down version of former incarnations that still managed to screen over 80 flicks from around the world, mostly in a single venue (the Liberty Theatre, a nondescript cinema a few minutes walk from Front Street, the capital of Hamilton’s hopping main drag). And like the smartest, most tenacious indie producers routinely prove, size matters less than passion and the will to make every dollar – yes, this British protectorate conveniently accepts American currency – count.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.