California Solo is out on DVD/Video On Demand, and now you can watch it almost anywhere in the confusing maze of internet video: Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, iTunes, etc. www.californiasolo.com has links to all the places you can watch.
My California Solo producer Mynette Louie and I got to go to the Independent Spirit Awards last week. Mynette was lucky to be one of the only nominees who didn’t have to be too nervous about whether or not she’d win — they’d already given her the Piaget Producers Award a few weeks earlier at a special luncheon. Still, she had to go on-stage before a lot of folks. Her speech at the awards show didn’t make the television broadcast. It’s worth a watch, and while there’s a lot to question about the “independent spirit” of these awards (see Andy Samberg’s opening monologue), Mynette showed why she’s the real deal:
California Solo opens today in New York! I’ll be at a number of the screenings this weekend with some of the cast and crew.
Please help us spread the word by posting, tweeting, etc. For those of you who live in Los Angeles, tell your New York friends to come, and please join us next weekend at the Landmark Nuart.
A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS PICK!
“MARVELOUS! COMPELLING! MAKE THE EFFORT TO FIND IT; YOU WON’T BE SORRY” - Marshall Fine, The Huffington Post
“A BRAVURA PERFORMANCE…DONT-MISS” - Rex Reed, New York Observer
(Find more lovely press here)
I was in Mexico last week and blessedly unplugged from email/internet for the first time in what’s been a busy year. But while I was away, some exciting news was announced: California Solo was picked up for U.S. distribution by Strand Releasing! Some amazing films have been released by Strand, including Cannes Palme d’Or winner ‘Uncle
Boonmee’; Sundance/Toronto selection & BAFTA winner ‘Tyrannosaur’; and
films by Gaspar Noé, Lodge Kerrigan, Hal Hartley, Fatih Akin, François Ozon, and
Gregg Araki. It’s a huge honor to be in this company.
Strand is planning a theatrical release this fall in NY, L.A., and other cities to follow. Some press links from last week:
Deadline.com | Strand Releasing Acquires Sundance’s ‘California Solo’
Indiewire | Strand Releasing Buys Sundance Drama ‘California Solo’
Starring Robert Carlyle
Screen International | Strand Releasing takes US rights to ‘California Solo’
The California Solo website is up at www.californiasolo.com! Cast and crew, press, trailer (coming soon), downloads of the poster, etc.
I also wanted to mention that the film’s producer Mynette Louie has written a post for IFP’s blog called “The Privilege of Representation” about diversity in casting (or lack thereof). Great, important article.
California Solo premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival. The festival is a whirlwind – a lot of fun and a thrilling place to premiere a new film. Showing it for the first time to such great audiences was the best part, as was bringing together so many people who worked on the movie, who made the trip to Park City to be at the premiere. We were honored to be a part of it.
CALIFORNIA SOLO’s talented leading man Robert Carlyle has officially joined Twitter as of a week ago. After one too many impostors tried to impersonate him, he took the plunge and started tweeting himself at @RobertCarlyle_
You can also get updates on our movie by following @CaliforniaSolo. And here are some other entertaining Cali Solo related people you might like to follow:
- @MarshallLewy (director)
- @mynette (producer)
- @DannyMasterson (actor)
- @SavannahLathem (actor)
- @MDesBarres (actor/musician)
- @_jablonski (editor)
- @james_laxton (DP)
- @RossGirard (co-producer)
- @VisitFilms (sales agent)
- @JoeRudge (music supervisor)
- @theActorGenie (casting director)
Filmmaker Magazine asked all the directors who have films premiering at Sundance this year to write responses to the same question. This year, the question is: As an artist, why are you a filmmaker, and why is film, as opposed to all of today’s other forms, the medium for your story? The question is meant to be open-ended, and we can answer however we want. Here’s what I wrote (and here’s a link to the magazine site):
I remember watching the end of Hannah and her Sisters as a teenager, when Woody Allen finds out he’s not going to die from a terminal illness and then fails at a suicide attempt. How does he find the will to live again? He walks past a theater where a Marx Brothers comedy is playing, he slips in and loses himself in the magic of Duck Soup, and all his problems melt away.
Of course, right? I mean, what better way for a person to celebrate life than to go sit in a dark room in the middle of the day for two hours and watch other people hit one another over the head on a giant screen?
I used to get choked up at the end of Hannah and her Sisters every time I watched it – which was far more frequently than your average teenager, by the way – because I identified with how Woody Allen feels about movie-going at that moment. I found no better cure-all than to slip into a sparsely crowded screening of some obscure film at the Brattle or Film Forum, and get lost in it. I wanted to make movies like the movies I loved when I grew up.
But following that idyllic dream into adulthood turns out to be a somewhat masochistic choice. I bet every filmmaker at Sundance can attest that it’s hard to get a movie made, it can be tough to make a living as an independent filmmaker, and when you are lucky enough to make a film, it doesn’t quite turn out the way you thought it would. There’s very little about the whole thing that’s romantic.
I don’t even get lost in movies the way I used to, and that’s partly because now I’m a person who makes them. I’m jealous of people who can still be transported by a movie, their problems melting away. Instead of movie magic, I see shot selections and story beats and what equipment they had.
My romantic attachment to movies got me here, but I stay because of a less romantic, more rewarding relationship with them: I love the experience of making them. Some film scholar whose name I learned and then promptly forgot in film school used a term for filmmaking that first applied to opera: he called filmmaking the “everything art” – Gesamtkunstwerk – and believe it or not, that mouthful of a word popped into my head while working on California Solo. There is no part of my left or right brain that I get to switch off for even a second when making a film. One minute, I’m talking with Robert Carlyle about the meaning and emotion of a scene he’s about to perform; the next, I’m frantically scribbling new dialogue into the margins of the pages we’re about to shoot; then I’m interrupted to discuss the finer points of mid-1990s British album cover design for a scene we’re shooting tomorrow. I get to learn about US deportation laws, second-tier Britpop bands, the economics of farmers’ markets, and which Scotch is the cheapest in Scotland. There’s no limit to what gets thrown into the maelstrom of making a single movie, and then I get to shape it and put it all together with the help of so many talented people.
Directing a movie is challenging, exhausting, and all-consuming. It’s fun and satisfying, insane and absurd and irrational, and I keep doing it as often as I can because, well, I need the eggs.