April 27, 2005
Ten CDs I Play At Night, While Working
All of these: sheer perfection. Eerie, quiet, moody, full of inspiration. Left to right, top: Labradford, Mi Media Naraja; David Sylvian, Gone to Earth; Pieter Nooten and Michael Brook, Sleeps With the Fishes; Windy and Carl, Depths; Flying Saucer Attack, Further; bottom: Jon Hassell and Brian Eno, Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics; Seefeel, Ch-Vox; Bark Psychosis, Codename: Dustsucker; Sigur Ros, (); This Mortal Coil, It'll End In Tears.
April 20, 2005
Movie Tie-In; London DIE-in
HarperCollins has just sent my author's copies for the "movie tie-in" reprint of Mysterious Skin. This will hit stores in just a few weeks, timed just before the NYC premiere of the film. I'm elated at how splashy the cover looks--a nice turn from 1995's original colorful and strangely subdued Froot Loops (which I was also really happy with, don't get me wrong--was their any bigger gift in the mid-90s than to have Michael Ian Kaye design your book cover?).
This new image is quite similar to one of the two main posters for the US release of the film (the other poster has opposite color schemes and Brady Corbet on the left of the frame, and different review quotes than this Joe Gordon-Levitt version). Anyway, it's like having the novel released, fresh & piping hot, all over again.
Just got back from my favorite city LONDON... and I only have a couple of days to clean my room, run errands, and get healthy (more on this in a second) before Michael and I head off to NYC for the Tribeca festival. In London, I had a terrific and busy time for the most part... until I fell deathly ill for four days. I think I'd initially picked up a bad chest cold during the flight across the Atlantic, but on Friday night or so, I seem to have picked up something else entirely. If this is what severe food poisoning is like, please, I've had it now, you can have it back. I won't give details except to say I'm sorry, Mark Flood and Paul Igo, for anything of any color of the rainbow that might have been splattered across your bathroom's floor, ceiling, or walls.
Uncharacteristically, I didn't take many pictures this time over there. For a few shots of the closing-night ceremonies of the LLGFF, you can look here. The festival opened with the Gina Gershon film PREY FOR ROCK AND ROLL, and it ended with our movie. The screening was at the Leicester Square Odeon-- same place we'd had the initial screening at the London Film Festival back in October-- and it was "packed to the gills," (one of my favorite cliches) around 900 people. Since I was the only person associated with the film there, I had to stand in front of this huge crowd and babble an intro and a Q&A afterward. I'd forgotten what stage fright felt like, actually.
I'd be a moron if I didn't say a huuuuge thank you to Becky Shaw and Sarah Lutton with the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival for making me feel welcome and coordinating everything!
And thanks, too, to the stellar TARTAN FILMS UK and especially to Virginia Todd, Sarah Bemand, Sam Ross, and Laura de Casto for guiding me and especially for doing so much for the film over there!!!!!! (Feel free to add many, many more exclamation points to this sentence.)
One other, soul-brightening bit of news: The film is really blooming in France... it was on the top 20 box-office list last week, and has gotten 17 Four-Star ratings
out of the 22 magazine ratings listed on this particular French site (click on the blue link). If only it will do that well over here!!
Okay, back to getting over this illness and preparing for tonight's long drive to Manhattan.
April 01, 2005
France (Present) and Sundance (Past)
It's Friday night, the first of April, and it's two days after Mysterious Skin opened to theaters in France. Unfortunately, I don't speak or read French--already lots of reviews have appeared on the internet, but I have no idea what any of them say. The film's distributor over there, mK2, is doing an amazing job with publicity. Even from snooping around on French magazine sites, you can find ads and banners from the film (the coolest one I've seen so far has a kind of "coming soon" ad for the film, with a shot of the young Brian, his mother, and sister looking up at the UFO in the sky, lit by a blue light).
In related French news: MYSTERIOUS SKIN (the novel) finally has sold to a French publisher. It will be published in August, in time for the DVD release, by Au Diable Vauvert, a nice edgy house who also publish some nifty writers like Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Coupland, and William Gibson. I'm overjoyed, because I've always wanted a French translation of the book, and Au Diable seems really cool. Big thanks to Christophe Grosdidier, who is doing the English-to-French translation duties.
People in New York who miss, or can't get tickets for, the Tribeca festival screenings, can see the film at the great West Village independent theater the FILM FORUM, less than two weeks later, on May 6th. Here's the cinema's page for the movie. I'm psyched, because the Film Forum was one of the first places I rushed to, all stomach-fluttery and fresh, when I initially moved to New York in 1991. I remember seeing so many different films there-- Dario Argento retrospectives; Vincent Price in THE TINGLER, complete with the theater's seats rigged with the gimmick "buzzers" that go along with the story; and lots of first-run indies that came out during those years.
Time to backtrack a little. I never really wrote an overview of my Sundance experience. In a word, it was mindblowing. Our distributor, Tartan Films, had rented a condo for the week, and many of us stayed there-- it was sort of like a slumber party. Gregg and Mary Jane and I were there, as were the castmembers who went to the Toronto festival-- but this time, Elisabeth Shue was part of the posse, as well, and I finally got to meet her and gush about how perfectly she nails the role of Neil's mother in the movie.
Park City--the town where the festival is held--is gorgeous. The word "nestled" kept bumping around in my head. It's this quaint little ski village embedded in all these white mountains. It only really snowed hard on one afternoon I was there. That was the same afternoon I saw Crispin Glover, dressed to the nines in a black suit, striding toward me on the snowy sidewalk like something emerging from a nightmare. I didn't see his film there, but I did see him, again and again and again (pigging out at the awards ceremony; packing suitcases into a car's trunk outside his hotel, etc). It was like he had cloned himself for Sundance.
We did a lot of press stuff. Photo shoots for IndieWire and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and others; interviews with TV and internet sources; lots and lots of magazines. One of the most intriguing (and slightly sickening) things I found about Sundance was the amount of promotional stuff given away by all kinds of companies-- brands, labels, etc that want celebrities to be spotted or photographed using or wearing their products. I was amazed at what many actors-- not so much the people from our film, but from others-- left Utah with. I saw people walking around with huge bags filled with Kiehl's products; iPods; loads of clothes. We finally found a way to head over to the cabin where Levi's and XBox and Ray-Ban, among others, had set up, and we managed to leave with a pretty nice supply. (The only bad thing about this was my embarrassment at having to choose Levi's with a waist size of 32 or 33, when the boys from the film, all of them astoundingly skinny, were trying on pairs from 27 to 30.) The next day, after a photo shoot, we got "goody bags" (I hate that term, but I hate the other term-- "swag"-- even worse) with either iPods or HP photo printers in them. Yeehaw!
Although Michael had classes to teach at Boston College, he arrived the day of our premiere screening. That event was sold out, an amazing thing considering the theater could seat 1,200 people. This night was one of the highlights of my life.
Above photos, L-R: (1) Joe in his parka at the Tartan party; (2) Gregg with Kelly Kruger, who plays the older Deborah Lackey, at our pre-premiere party; (3) Joe, Jeff, and Brady on the red carpet at the premiere; (4) Michael with director Ira Sachs and Beau Genot, our associate producer and post-production supervisor; (5) Joe on the big screen, presenting the short film award at the last night's awards ceremony; (6) Mike Reilly, a cool guy we met at the festival, with me and Brady at the Tartan party; (7) our co-producer Josh Zeman with Mary Jane at our premiere party; (8) on stage for the Q&A after the premiere: Michelle, Brady, Joe, me, Elisabeth, Mary Jane, and Jeff (Gregg is just offscreen with the microphone).
One afternoon Brady Corbet and I went to an And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead show (they did their typical destroy-the-stage antics, but sounded great even though they didn't do anything from SOURCE TAGS & CODES); we didn't have time for other concerts, although there was one unfortunate evening when Brady and Jeff Licon and I stumbled accidentally into a free Vanessa Carlton performance (yiiieee). Oh, and Paul Oakenfold was spinning at a club one night.
Since our schedules were pretty much filled with interviews, publicity stuff, photos, and our screenings, we didn't have much time to see other movies. I really wanted to see the genius Amy Sedaris in STRANGERS WITH CANDY, and also this Aussie horror film called WOLF CREEK. The only other film I saw, though, was BRICK, the other Sundance film that also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt... Joe snuck me in with him. It was terrific, really smart and energetic and gorgeously shot, and the director, Rian Johnson, won a directing award at the awards ceremony. (Michael and I had just met him earlier that day at lunch, and another lunch friend of ours, Ira Sachs, won the Grand Jury award for his film FORTY SHADES OF BLUE. I can't wait to see that one, as well.)
Some other good news bubbled up right after Sundance, too. The film was also part of the Rotterdam Film Festival, and there, it won the MovieZone Award, which is given to the favorite film of the festival by a panel of young jurors. There's more info here: MOVIEZONE
(To backtrack even further: while we were in London for the festival there, Gregg and I participated in a panel discussion about the film for The Script Factory. The transcript of this discussion, moderated by writer and critic Roger Clarke, is now on line at this site: Gregg Araki & Scott Heim.)
If you're reading this from Philadelphia-- it's going to have one screening at the festival there, too.
Besides all this film news, here are the other things I've been doing this week: 1, finally going to the dentist after years of avoiding it; 2, emailing my old high school classmates in preparation of my 20-year class reunion in May; 3, reading books by Gina Berriault, Alice Munro, and Daniel Woodrell; 4, rooting for the sexy goofball dolphin trainer IAN on SURVIVOR; and 5, sleeping late.
Actually, it's time to go to sleep right now.