Newport Beach Film Festival News and Notes
|Randy Parsons, France bound.|
"I had no idea that he was making guitars for Jack White, so I stopped by his shop and told him I wanted to shoot a short film about his work," Aldrich reports. "Luckily for me, he said yes."
|Jones in Freedom Writers.|
Her Freedom Writers Foundation keeps her popping around the country to help train teachers and students, but Gruwell has attended some hearings in the murder case, including sentencing last month.
"It was such a tragedy," she says before confiding, "I feel a little bit guilty."
She explained she and others lobbied the filmmakers to hire real kids, not child actors, to reflect the diversity of her classrooms at Wilson High in Long Beach.
"It was unheard of, but they wanted to go out and interview thouands of kids," Gruwell recalled. "They did not want a star from a Disney show or a dancer from a high school musical. Armand was one of those real kids they cast. He had a feel-good story, coming from a gang-infested area and pulling himself up by his bootstraps."
Gruwell has noticed all kinds of circles during the Freedom Writers experience, such as her coming from Newport Beach, working in Long Beach and then bringing her students back to Newport's Lido Theatre to see films like Hoop Dreams and Schindler's List--and now again to the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Sadly, another such circle was played out when Jones was gunned down in Orange County, outside an Anaheim restaurant to be exact.
"To be shot on the night they were celebrating that he just wrapped a movie is a tragedy," she says.
|Archival footage in A Fierce Green Fire shows the Sierra Club's beginnings.|
Kitchell reports that $50,000 is needed for rights to film and music in the current cut. He's talking to the likes of Ashley Judd, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey and Leonardo DeCaprio about narration. His new ending will involve Kenyan Ikal Angelei, who just received the Goldman Prize; China's Dai Qing, who led opposition to the Three Gorges dam; Sarah Hodgdon, conservation director of the Sierra Club; David Braun and Iris Marie Bloom, anti-fracking activists; and Polly Higgins, the British barrister who's leading a campaign to make "ecocide" an international crime.
The veteran filmmaker is seeking donations "and a lot of buzz." Visit indiegogo.com/finish-a-fierce-green-fire to find out more. And if you haven't seen it, see A Fierce Green Fire screens again at 5 p.m. Thursday at Triangle Square.
"People are loving the film," Kitchell writes. "Distribution is lining up. Important allies are joining us from philanthropic and environmental circles. It's looking like a big success and an important film that can do a lot of good. All we need to do is get it done!"