Category Archives: film directing

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with ‘The Surface’ producer writer Jeff Gendleman

Jeff Gendelman headshot - 2013 copy 2

Jeff Gendelman is a Writer and Producer. He wrote and produced The Surface, an 18-year journey of perseverance from idea to production. The film stars Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey and Mimi Rogers. It was directed by Gil Cates Jr. and premiered October 9, 2014. It is soon to be in theatrical release. See below* Jeff also produced and directed the award-winning short film, In Passing. He produced the Los Angeles world premiere of the play, The Letter Writer, and then developed it to be made into a film. He produced and directed two science documentaries, and a pilot for a syndicated TV series.

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with producer writer Jeff Gendleman

As an actor, Jeff co-starred with Christopher Lambert in the feature film, Splitsville. He had a supporting role opposite Robert Forster and Donnie Wahlberg in the feature film, Diamond Men. His TV work includes guest-starring roles on NBC’s Law and Order and he was featured on Beverly Hills 90210. Jeff was also a series regular on the television dramas One Life to Live, Guiding Light and Loving (nominated for Outstanding Actor in a daytime TV series).

He studied in film classes at the American Film Institute (Los Angeles), New YorkUniversity, USC, and at the BBC (London).

Jeff has also been involved with the theater since age 10. After graduating from the University of Minnesota he went to train in the American Conservatory Theater Advanced Actor Program in San Francisco. He has acted and directed at theaters throughout the United States and Japan, including Old Globe Shakespeare Company (San Diego), Milwaukee Repertory, Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles), and Riverside Shakespeare Company (New York City).

Jeff is a graduate of Outward Bound Survival School. Additionally, he has been involved with martial arts for over 40 years and has achieved advanced ranks in 4 different styles. In addition to being a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Jeff is a principal with the renowned J.K. Lee Black Belt Academy.

*The Surface opens at Marcus Cinema Theaters in the Milwaukee, WI area the weekend of October 31st. Check your newspaper for more information.

Also visit The SurfaceMovie Official Website for more!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Peter D Marshall

peter d marshall

Peter Marshall so far has had a 35-year career and has worked as a PA, dolly grip, electrician, assistant cameraman, commercial production manager, first assistant director, TV series creative consultant, television producer and director.  

He has worked on many different types of productions, from industrial films to documentaries; television commercials to music videos; Emmy Award nominated TV series to Hollywood feature films.

Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama and written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs. His documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards.

UPCOMING LIVE: Thursday Dec 4, 2014  11aE 10AC 8aP TO LISTEN CLICK THE BOLDED LINK BELOW:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Director Peter Marshall Pt 30

Peter has some incredible products for the director and 1st AD a his website. He also organizes thoughts and materials in an incredible easy way for filmmakers to use and apply. I asked Peter to discuss the criteria necessary to be a good director. In this series we go over elements and priciples critical to apply when preparing to direct and when directing. Enjoy this nuts and bolts Director Series with Peter D. Marshall.

***The Directors Series on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat is listed in descending order from first aired to last episode.***

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Director Peter Marshall Pt 1

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As a First Assistant Director he’s worked on 12 Feature Films, 15 Television Movies, 6 Television Series, 4 TV Pilots & over 20 Commercials. He’s  worked for directors such as Zack Snyder, John Woo, Ed Wick, Phillip Noyce, John Balham, Roger Adam, Anne Wheeler, Bobby Roth &  Kim Manners.

He has worked with talented actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Mel Gibson, Kathy Bates, Adam Sandler and Peter O’Toole.

He has co-ordinated huge WW1 battle scenes, planned complicated visual FX scenes, managed large groups of extras & directed intimate emotional scenes between two actors. 

His first major series as 1st Assistant Director was Steven J. Cannel’s “Stingray” in 1986 after having been the 1st AD on a Canadian TV series called “Hamilton’s Quest”.

Thereafter he worked on several more TV series with Cannell and became 1st AD on “Wiseguy.” which he worked for two years. He  got his directing break on this series & directed a couple of episodes.

“The Fly 2.” was his move into feature films as a 1st AD. Other credits include “Happy Gilmore”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “The Butterfly effect”, “Lizzie McGuire Movie”,  “Look Who’s Talking Now”, “Bird on a Wire”,  scores of television series as 1st AD & as a director.

Peter Marshall Official Web Site  Peter has incredible learning products, ezine, workshops, blog and services. Check into these.

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

The Surface starring Sean Astin and Chris Mulkey Premieres at Milwaukee Film Fest.

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“Cast and Crew, Friends and Fans and Film Goers made the World Premiere of producer screenwriter Jeff Gendelman’s and director Gil Cates Jr. ‘The Surface’ a big success!

The feature starring Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey and Mimi Rogers was the closing night movie at the Milwaukee Film Festival. Jeff, Gil and cast and crew had reason to celebrate and to feel proud as the Oriental Theater was completely sold out.

The Surface was shot entirely in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and mostly on Lake Michigan during August of 2013.

It is about the chance meeting of two men with nothing in common. However, the two discover that is not true while struggling to survive. Mulkey, portrays Kelly, a small aircraft pilot whose plane went into the lake and Mitch, played by Asitn, happens upon him in a small boat. Why and how and what happens I will leave to you to go find out when the movie opens at area Marcus Cinema Theaters October 31st.

Gil, Sean and Chris arrived from Los Angeles to attend the premiere. After the showing they joined Jeff and cinematographer producer Jimmy Sammarco on stage to answer questions from the audience led by festival director Jonathan Jackson.

It appeared to be a fun evening for all at the theater. Cast and crew and and others proceeded to an after party.

For me it was good to see friends from the coast and the local area. It made me feel good to witness Jeff’s and everyone’s hard work make this dream come true. Mr. Gendelman has been working for 18 years to bring his feature to the screen and succeeded.

It is exciting that an area film got the financing it needed to become a reality so kudos to all those who helped make it happen. I wish he and everyone a successful run with this fine film.

While shooting last summer I visited the set a number of times, prior to returning to L A during the later half of August and I could see, first hand, the difficult conditions, working 12 hours or more, on the water was for all. Despite that hardship and needing the weather to cooperate what I witnessed pleased me. The crew and cast were all dedicated and happy. When conditions are tough it is easy to get discouraged and grumbly but these fine filmmakers kept spirits high and made it through it all.

Jeff and Gil’s film has raised the bar on Wisconsin area filmmaking. Everyone involved can feel very proud to have been a part of it.” Rex Sikes

Visit: The Surface Official Web Site

I’ll try to post some pictures soon.

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Two Fantastic Wisconsin Film Festivals Coming Up In October and Novembe

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Why I like Flyway Film Festival? Because the directors Rick and Diana Vaicius, VP Allison Lisk and Programmer Jim Brunzell, Lu Lippold and the rest of the staff love film and filmmakers. This is so obvious when you attend.It is a celebration of both.

Filmmakers mingle among fans and support, nurture, encourage each other. Some end up collaborating. It is the friendliest and most optimistic festival I have attended. It is a high spot of each year for me and I eagerly look forward to my time in Pepin.

The Programming is great and everyone goes out of their way to make sure all attending are enjoying and being looked after. There really is none other like it! It is also in Pepin, a little haven on the Mississippi that is wonderful. Great people, great festival, great food and a welcome experience.

UPCOMING LIVE: Tuesday October 21st, 2014 11aET 10aCT 8aPT TO LISTEN CLICK THE BOLDED Link Below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with FlyWay Film Festival director Rick Vaicius

If you are able to attend the Flyway Film Festival!   On Facebook: Flyway Film Festival.

The Flyway Film Festival October 23-26, 2014 Pepin, Wisconsin.

People have traveled from both coasts and overseas to be there. You should too.

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I am eager also to attend the upcoming Weyauwega International Film Festival November 12-15, 2014 in Weyauwega, Wisconsin.

Here too the directors Kathy Fehl and Ian Teal go a long way to make sure they program well, and that everyone has a wonderful time. I got to be there last year for the first time and was delightfully impressed.

Filmmakers from as far away as Japan and Alaska were in attendance. I enjoyed the programming and the food and the family atmosphere and the fun. I saw some really good films and met some talented and delightful filmmakers.

Weyauwega is in the middle of no where. Off Interstate 10 about 30 minutes west of Appleton one would drive right by never knowing that it is home to Wega Arts housed in a former Opera House. That makes a visit worthwhile to start with but on top of it Kathy and Ian bring arts and film and more to this little hamlet area throughout the year.

It is great to have all involved care so much for the well being of filmmakers and fans. I am looking forward to this fine festival coming up soon too. Check into it and I will see you here too!

UPCOMING LIVE: Thursday October 30th, 2014 11aET 10aCT 8aPT TO LISTEN CLICK THE BOLDED Link Below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats w Kathy Fehl and Ian Teal Weyauwega International Film Festival

Facebook Page Weyauwega International Film Festival

If I am lucky I will see you at both of these festivals!

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB, through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Debra Granik’s Stray Dog & Working With Actors Symposium | Christopher Emmons’ Serial Daters Anonymous at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Fesitval

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Two delightful offerings from Academy Award Nominated Director Debra Granik at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival. Okay, actually three. Winter’s Bone played and if you have never seen this movie it is a must for filmmaker and fan alike. It is a riveting exploration or rural life and murder and mystery, fabulously well acted and the movie that brought Jennifer Lawrence to the world’s attention.So that certainly counts but Winter’s Bone is a couple years old now.

The movie Debra brought with her this year is her recent documentary Stray Dog about a motorcycling, dancing, PTSD, dog loving Vietnam Vet. It is a fascinating look at and ride along with delightful real life characters. I enjoyed this movie very much. I also enjoyed meeting some of the real life subjects of the film who were in attendance. Go see Stray Dog.

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What I found extra compelling and very valuable for the filmmaker was the afternoon symposium she conducted on working with actors. She she shared some of her thoughts, philosophy and methods for working with the actor to get their most realistic and captivating performance. She explained how she used this process too in writing and further developing the script prior to filming. She had four very apt and talented actors from the Milwaukee area to work with so audience members not only heard about what was important for Debra in working with actors and crafting the performance and the scene but we got to see it.

This workshop was excellent. Debra gave away a lot of great tips and advice that wise local directors would be willing to utilize and explore in their own work. It is this kind of panel, or symposium or workshop that is valuable to both the filmmaker attending the festival and the fan and Milwaukee Film Festival should continue to offer these type of programs when able. This workshop alone is worth the entire price of a full pass and it was provided for free. Kudos to all who helped make it possible the Milwaukee Film administrators and staff, Debra and the actors. Thanks!

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Another event I enjoyed very much was the locally produced Serial Daters Anonymous feature film directed by Christopher Carson Emmons and Executive Produced by Sam Kozel. The film starred Louise Linton, Sam Page and Scotty Dickert along with local area cast members and local area crew. The DP is Nate Haban.

The film is enjoyable, I thought it looked great, was well acted in most all cases, and I really liked the musical score. I particularly applaud all these filmmakers (cast and crew) because I know the constraints they were under to get this film made and I am impressed with the job they turned out.

Louise Linton is delightful, and it is difficult to take your eyes off her.

Bravo to the Wisconsin area filmmakers for their turning out a well made local feature. There are some really nice performances from the local actors. If you get the chance to see it – see it!

It may or may not be your cup of tea, after all it is an unromantic comedy, but I am glad I saw it. I think you will be too.

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Louise Linton’s character learns, at the alter on her wedding day that her fiancee cheated on her with her sister. She dumps him at the alter and then resumes her life attempting to recover from the shock and the hurt. What does she do to heal herself? Well, she decides to continue to meet men. When she does and they ask her out she grants them a single date, no sex and no second date. I guess that might make sense if you were upset with the male gender for betraying you. You might want to take some time to heal, to explore and to play the field before giving your heart to someone new. This is all understandable but she takes it a step further. She creates a blog and, post date, she writes about the man, but not in a very nice way.

Okay, well that sets the scene now it is up to you to go see it. It plays twice more at the 2014 festival.

Stray Dog shows again as well! Check the Film Festival calendar for dates and times. See you around!

Visit mkefilm.org for information on the film festival

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano on making TV movies – Thursday 10/2

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Rex graduated from NYU School of the Arts in 1981 as a film major – concentrating on writing, producing and directing. While there, he worked on several films and commercials, most notably: “Ms. 45” for director Abel Ferrara and “Mother’s Day” and “When Nature Calls” for director Charles Kaufman. Upon graduating, Rex worked as a 1st A.D. on dozens of commercials and films until he took a full time position at a NY Commercial Production Company.

UPCOMING LIVE: Thursday October 1 2014 11aE 10aC 8aP TO LISTEN CLICK  the bolded link below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano PT 5

Previous Episodes: TO LISTEN CLICK the bolded link below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano PT 2

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano PT 3

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with director Rex Piano PT 4

In 1985 Rex became Head of Production for O’Quinn Productions where he produced numerous videos for Fangoria Magazine (O’Quinn’s creation) that were distributed by MPI and Paramount Home Video.

In 1987 Rex moved to Los Angeles and was Head of Production for Associated Television International. While there, Rex wrote, produced and/or directed several TV specials and numerous travel videos. Rex also co-wrote and line produced the feature film “Chill Factor,” starring Paul Williams, Patrick Macnee and Andrew Prine.

Rex line produced “Severed Ties” in 1991 for Fangoria Films and continued freelance production work until 1995 when he was hired to produce the syndicated TV show “High Tide,” starring singer Rick Springfield. Rex also directed two episodes that season which lead to him becoming one of the series’ rotating directors.

Rex continued directing episodic TV shows, including “Mike Hammer, Private Eye”, “Silk Stalkings”, “Born Free”, “Air America” and “Nightman.”

In 2000 Rex produced and directed the multi-award winning romantic comedy feature film “The Month Of August.” The film garnered nine Best Picture awards and ten Official Designations at various film festivals around the country.

Rex followed that film with the highly viewed and critically acclaimed TV movie “Hope Ranch” for The Animal Planet channel. Rex then began directing TV movies that aired on PAX and Lifetime Television.

To date, Rex has directed or produced 21 movies that have either aired on television, gone straight to DVD or have had limited theatrical distribution.

In 2007 Rex was the primary director on “ROME – The Rise and Fall of an Empire,” for the History Channel.

Rex continues to produce and direct TV shows and Independent films; the most recent being “The Littlest Angel,” an animated Christmas movie that comes out in 2011.

Rex is currently attached to direct/produce several films including “Storm Front”, “Pizza Face” and “Phylicia’s Final Fling,” to name a few. Rex continues to write screenplays, his most recent a comedy called “In A Gadda Da Vida,” is currently making the rounds in Hollywood.

Rex Piano Official Website

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

John Ridley, 2014 Oscar-Winner, Returns To Milwaukee As Guest Of MKE Film Festival

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Milwaukee Film Festival Secures 2014 Oscar-Winner John Ridley who is scheduled to attend Jimi: All Is By My SideRecord advance ticket sales; MFF opens Thursday

The 6th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival, presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is thrilled to announce the scheduled attendance of Oscar-winning filmmaker, John Ridley, for the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival.

Ridley was born and raised in Milwaukee. He received an Academy Award this year for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. 

Jimi: All Is By My Side, written and directed by Ridley, is the festival Centerpiece with a single screening taking place on Saturday, October 4, 7pm at the Oriental Theatre. It is an intimate portrait of rock legend Jimi Hendrix, portrayed by Outkast’s André Benjamin. The film follows a year in Hendrix’s life from 1966-1967.

Ridley is currently in production in Austin, Texas for a new television drama entitled “American Crime,” which stars Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton and is slated to premiere on ABC mid-season.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele,  a co-founder of Milwaukee Film, and current member of the board, personally provided the support necessary to secure the private plane transportation required for Ridley’s limited availability for attendance. As a long-standing supporter of the arts community in Milwaukee, Abele expresses that he is “more than happy to do my part in bringing back home a talented Oscar-winning filmmaker. John Ridley is an example of the kind of spirit, drive and passion we strive to foster in Milwaukee through exceptional cultural experiences like the festival.”

In addition to securing a last-minute high-profile festival guest, Milwaukee Film has seen a record number of ticket sales for individual films–an increase of 35 percent compared to the same time last year. Eight films have thus far sold-out for advance sales and are only available on rush (see “Films on Rush Status” list below). Rush tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and are available 15 minutes prior to showtime.

The Milwaukee Film Festival opens this Thursday at the Oriental Theatre with the thrilling documentary, 1971. Director Johanna Hamilton and numerous film subjects will be in attendance for an extended question and answer session, immediately followed by the Opening Night Party taking place from 9-11:30pm at Kenilworth Square East (1915 E. Kenilworth Place).

Film on Rush Status

We Are the Nobles | Saturday, Sept. 27 | 4:15 PM | Fox-Bay Cinema Grill

1,000 Times Goodnight | Saturday, Sept. 27 | 7 PM | Times Cinema

We Are the Nobles |Tuesday, Sept. 30 | 7 PM | Downer Theatre

Mood Indigo ( L’Ecume des Jours) | Wednesday, Oct. 1 | 7 PM | Downer Theatre

The Imitation Game | Sunday, Oct. 5 | 1:30 PM | Oriental Theatre

Advanced Style | Sunday, Oct. 5 | 4 PM | Oriental Theatre

Art and Craft | Monday, Oct. 6 | 7:15 PM | Downer Theatre

Advanced Style | Tuesday, Oct. 7 | 7 PM | Fox-Bay Cinema Grill

The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival runs September 25 – October 9, 2014 at the Landmark Oriental Theatre, Landmark Downer Theatre, Fox-Bay Cinema Grill and Times Cinema.

Visit mkefilm.org for information on the film festival and the organization, membership, special events, and to sign up for the weekly email newsletter (mkefilm.org/newsletter-signup). Connect with Milwaukee Film on Facebook (facebook.com/MilwaukeeFilm), Twitter (twitter.com/mkefilm), Instagram (instagram.com/mkefilm), and the Milwaukee Film blog (mkefilm.org/news).

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Academy Award Nominated Director Debra Granick

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Debra Granik, is the Academy Award-nominated director and co-writer of Winter’s Bone, which was nominated for four Oscars, including  Best Picture, and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Granik’s first feature film, Down to the Bone, was awarded the Best Director prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. She is known for her amazing work with actors, essentially launching the careers of both Vera Farmiga and Jennifer Lawrence. Her work is known for an instinctive, collaborative style that Granik describes as “late-breaking global neorealism.”

To Listen Click The Bolded Link Below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Academy Award Nominated Director Debra Granick 

Granik’s most recent offering, the documentary Stray Dog, began with a chance encounter while scouting and casting Winter’s Bone. Granik met Ron “Stray Dog” Hall in the Biker Church of Branson and cast him as the film’s estranged father, Thump Milton. Of her work she says, “The question I’ve had for most of my life is, ‘How are you coping?’ Some people have these small, positive schemes for survival, a kind of strength that I am attracted to, maybe because I’m prone to the blues.” In Hall she found a worthy subject—one whose humor and lack of self-consciousness had the potential to make the plight of Vietnam vets accessible to a broader audience.

Debra Granick is a special guest attending the Milwaukee Film Festival 2014. She is scheduled to attend screenings and participate in question and answer sessions with her film’s subjects, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, of Stray Dog. See below:

Winter’s Bone Sept 27, 11:30AM | Downer Theatre

Working with Actors Sep. 27, 2:30PM | Colectivo Prospect Debra Granik will present on this topic.

Stray Dog Sep. 27, 7:15PM | Oriental Theatre & Sep. 29, 4:15PM | Times Cinema. In attendance are Debra Granik: Director, Tory Stewart: Co-Producer/Editor, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall: Film Subject, Freddie Strickland: Film Subject, and Robin Smith: Film Subject.

You will want to attend these showings and panel.

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

‘MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH’: ‘LORD OF THE FLIES’ 70S STYLE’ reprinted

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It’s great to come across these reviews. I reprinted it from dangerousminds.net for you below. Enjoy! —

There is the old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.Cliched? Absolutely. Trite? Perhaps. Accurate? Sadly yes and nowhere is it more apparent than in Rene Daalder’s brilliant and bleak 1976 film, Massacre at Central High. It is considered to be a huge influence on Michael Lehmann’s Heathers, but while the darkness of that film is cushioned by some exquisitely played gallows humor,Massacre at Central High is truly the unrelenting real deal.

The film begins with a young nerdish hippie type, Spoony (Robert Carradine), who is painting a swastika on the locker of one of his bullies. In fact, the bullies of Central High, Bruce (Ray Underwood), Craig (Steve Bond) and Paul (Damon Douglas), referred to by one character as “the little league Gestapo,” are more than just your garden variety jocks and mean kids. They rule the roost, complete with exclusive use of the student lounge and the more cherry part of the parking lot. The adults are neutered and the kids are all too scared and beaten down to challenge them. (Sound familiar?)

A young Robert Carradine being bullied.

Their harassment of Spoony is interrupted by David (Derrel Maury), the new kid at school, who is trying to find the student lounge. (Not knowing yet that it is alpha-douchebag territory.) The guys tell him to all but get lost and other students ignore his query until the sweet-faced, flaxen-haired Theresa (Kimberley Beck) offers to walk him there. He is then greeted by his old friend, Mark (Andrew Stevens), who is telling him how “he’ll never have any trouble again.” As if on cue, the asshole trio saunter in and let Mark know that they all have already met. They soon leave and sensing the already growing tension, Mark warns David “to drop the loner shit” and that this could be like their own country club.

Turns out that David once did Mark a favor at their old school. The exact specs are never quite told, but enough is said to infer that basically, David protected Mark from the same exact kind of cretin that he is now hanging out with. Except that David didn’t even know him at the time. Speaking of cretins, the five of them hang out after school and go out for a joyride until they spot poor Rodney (Rex Steven Sikes),driving along in his sputtering, barely running vehicle. Considering his car’s existence within their vicinity a personal affront, they end up stopping and all pile into his vehicle, where they proceed to wreck it until it is as dead as Rodney’s sense of self-esteem. David’s quiet but Mark senses that he is not pleased about this incident.

This feeling builds, as David witnesses the trio kicking and brutally tormenting chubby Oscar (Jeffrey Winner), during gym class. Mark tries to excuse it, saying that they are ultimately helping him. David starts asking the same question a lot of viewers may be thinking, which is why isn’t anyone stopping these guys? The have-nots far out number them, but yet much of the student body walk around like whooped animals, lest they be the next targets for abuse. To hear Jane (Lani O’Grady) and Mary (Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith) tell it “they get to everyone sooner or later.”

The bullies hassle the student librarian.

David begins actively talking to their assorted victims, starting with Rodney and offers to help him fix up his car. He also helps Arthur (Dennis Kort), the partially-deaf student librarian, after the gang shove him around and tear apart the library. Appreciating his friend’s act of kindness, Mark tells David that “he is playing with fire.” David’s response? “You tell them the same thing.” None of this endears David at all to Mark’s buddies, though he is temporarily spared, for the time being, due to Mark’s pleading. The really heartbreaking thing about all this is Arthur telling David that he is “breaking a long school tradition.” There’s the really terrifying thing, the fact that bullies are not just a school institutional trope but in fact can be a multi-generational culture.

Things continue to fester, with Paul, Craig and Bruce, after observing Alice and Mary earlier in the film, calling them “dykes” and stating “that all they need is a couple of good fucks,” decide to “teach something” to the two unwilling girls, dragging them in an empty classroom. Mark meets with Theresa in the parking lot while this going on. He gets pissy with Theresa’s lack of being social and suggests that maybe she would rather go “party” with the boys, just like her friends Alice and Mary. Sensing something is foul, she immediately goes on the run, looking for the girls. She manages to find them and starts chastising the boys, with things escalating from verbal to physical. One the bullies ends up restraining her, while the other two are still trying to execute the rape. Hearing commotion, David bursts in and efficiently pummels the three attackers, before anything can get even worse. Theresa runs off and Alice and Mary, looking stunned, turn down his offer of a ride home.

David and Theresa

Worried, he follows Theresa, who is at first disturbed by his violent actions, but ends up being glad that he stood up to the terrors of the school. They go down to the beach where David reveals that he has a lot of inner rage, stating that “anger just builds up inside.” But his fix for it is going for a run. Meanwhile, Bruce, Craig and Paul are beaten and foaming at the mouth for some revenge. Mark tries to save things, stating that if David was able to single-handedly kick their collective asses, that he could be a good ally. Grudgingly they agree, but only if Mark can talk some sense into him. Seeing David’s jeep near the beach, he goes down there only to see his friend and girlfriend skinny dipping in the ocean. Hurt, he goes back to his “friends” and lies, saying that David said no. Being the complete coward that he is, Mark all but okays their retaliation, just as long as he is not directly involved.

Mark realizes something bad is on the horizon.

The result is the gang harass David while he is working on Rodney’s car. One of them kicks the carjack in, propelling the blunt force of the car onto one of his knees. The “accident” ends up leaving David with a permanent limp and having him return to school looking like a veteran of the psychic war. What ends up resulting is a series of violence that turns out in ways that are both expected and completely unexpected, with the ending leaving you with the a taste of one grim Lord of the Flies meets La Ronde experience.

Massacre at Central High is one of the best films about high school life and what happens when no one looks out for the students. It is absolutely telling that you do not see one adult in the whole film until the climax at the school dance. Even then the adults are just there, as ineffectual in presence as they were absent. Which is part of the real life problem with bullying is that the adults that should be there to help guide, educate and protect students either turn a blind eye, especially if it’s just a “boys will be boys” kind of situation or even worse, aid and abet it. (I actually had a teacher in junior high snicker as some kids picked on this one boy who was both dirt poor and developmentally disabled. Sartre said hell is other people, but I would argue that junior high is right next to it.)

Mark and Theresa at the Dance.

The film is almost forty years old and yet all the same problems are there. The only real difference is if Massacre at Central High was made nowadays, one of the bullies would be shooting video of their various attacks on their cell phones and uploading it to YouTube and Twitter. The ghosts of Steubenville are still omnipresent and bully culture thrives long and strong.

One of the many smart moves that director Daalder made with this film is that the reactionary violence is neither condemned nor endorsed. It is there, all for you as a viewer to soak in and process and think about. With a film like this, cliché and heavy-handedness would be the easiest twain approach but Daalder skillfully avoids both. The only real misstep is the awful MOR theme song which sounds like something David Soul would have expectorated out. No surprise that this was a powers-that-be decision, reportedly making Daadler not being able to stomach seeing his own film for three decades. The film is too solid to be ruined by such a trite song, but it is bad enough to where one can completely sympathize with the director.

The fracas with the music was only the beginning, between a weird print of the film being released as Sexy Jeans (?!?) in Italy with hardcore inserts that are visibly not the actual actors and the fact that the film remains unreleased on either DVD or Blu Ray in America. (Though cross your fingers, since there is word that Cult Epics, who have also released Daalder’s incredible apocalyptic, post-punk musical Population 1 as well as his more recent feature, Hysteria, are prepping to release it later this year.) There was a DVD release in the United Kingdom with the cover art looking like something out of a bargain basement slasher film, which is beyond misleading.

Awful UK DVD release Cover Art

Further proof of the film’s punch is that while it was originally scheduled to air on Turner Classics Movies “Underground” segment back in 2009, it ended up getting pulled, reportedly due to it being excessively violent. While there is undoubtedly violence in the film, it is no more brutal than some of the other films that have gone on to air on “Underground,” including Blue Velvet and Herschell Gordon Lewis’ gore classic, Blood Feast. One cannot help but suspect that the subject of school related violence has made this film more taboo now than it was back when it was theatrically released. And it’s a taboo that needs to be broken, not just because this is a smart, strong film, which it is to the nth degree, but also because the less we communicate as a culture, the more we are damned to repeat what hurts us. Art is considered a mirror for a very good reason. Massacre at Central High is one of those reasons.

Posted by Heather Drain (Reprinted from Dangerousminds.net)

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Producer Director Gil Cates Jr

gil catesAugust 05- 201329-1 copy

Director Producer Gil Cates Jr will be attending the Milwaukee Film Festival Premiere of ‘The Surface’ shot entirely in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. The movie stars Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey (both will be in attendance) and Mimi Rogers. Tickets are on sale now for the Thursday October 9th Premiere at the Oriental Theater on Farwell Avenue.

GIL CATES, JR. , Director / Producer  has produced and directed many films and documentaries.  His motion picture directorial debut was the 1997 short film Screening. With an ensemble cast including Morgan Freeman, the film played at numerous film festivals and was subsequently purchased by Showtime and The Sundance Channel.

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with producer director Gil Cates Jr.

Following up on the success of the short, Gil wrote and directed his debut feature film $pent, a serio-comic look at life, love, and addictions. The film stars Jason London (“Dazed and Confused”) and was distributed by Regent Entertainment in the summer of 2000.

In 2002, Gil wrapped the twisted comedy The Mesmerist, based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story. The film, released by Seventh Arts Releasing, stars Neil Patrick Harris and Jessica Capshaw, and was Executive Produced by Barbara De Fina (“Casino”).

In 2003, Gil completed the ensemble A Midsummer Night’s Rave, released by THINKFilm. “Rave” features Andrew Keegan (“10 Things I Hate About You”), Chad Lindberg (“The Fast and The Furious”), Sunny Mabrey (“XXX 2”), and Carrie Fisher.

In 2005, Gil shot the documentary feature Life After Tomorrow, which follows the girls that were in the original productions of Annie on Broadway. The film won Best Documentary and Best Director at the Phoenix Film Festival and had its premiere on Christmas Eve of 2006 on Showtime.

In 2006, Gil directed the feature Deal, which he co-wrote with Marc Weinstock. The film stars Burt Reynolds as an ex-gambler who is sucked back into the popular game of Texas Hold’em. The film, shot in New Orleans, also stars Bret Harrison, Shannon Elizabeth, and Charles Durning, and was released by MGM in the spring of 2008.

In 2008, Gil produced the indie feature Order of Chaos, starring Rhys Coiro, Milo Ventimiglia, Samantha Mathis, and Mimi Rogers. The film, directed by Vince Vieluf, was released February 12th, 2010.

In 2010, Gil directed the feature Lucky. The film, a dark comedy about a serial killer who wins the lottery, stars Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor, Ann-Margret and Jeffrey Tambor and was released by Phase 4 Films in the summer of 2011.

In 2012, Gil co-produced the feature film Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher, Matthew Modine, Josh Gad, Dermot Mulroney, and J.K. Simmons. The film, which tells the story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout into one of our most revered creative entrepreneurs, was released by Open Road in the summer of 2013.

In 2013, Gil directed the feature The Surface, starring Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey, and Mimi Rogers. The indie drama, about two strangers who meet in the unpredictable waters of Lake Michigan, recently completed post-production and will be released in the winter of 2014.

Gil also made his TV directorial debut in 2007 with an episode of the NBC comedy, Joey,starring Emmy winner Matt LeBlanc.

**** NEWS NOTE: Gil will be attending the Milwaukee Film Festival Premiere of ‘The Surface’ shot entirely in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. The movie stars Sean Astin, Chris Mulkey and Mimi Rogers.  Tickets are on sale now for the Thursday October 9th Premiere at the Oriental Theater on Farwell Avenue.

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site