January 2006

Last updated on January 10, 2006. Please check back later for additions.


Cinema Lounge
The Best of 2005
Glory Road: An Interview with Actor Josh Lucas JUST ADDED!
Fateless: An Interview with Director Lajos Koltai
Transamerica: Q&A with Director Duncan Tucker
Adam's Rib
Hostel: An Interview with Director Eli Roth
In Memorium: John Suozzo
Hostel: Audience Q&A
We Need to Hear From You
Calendar of Events

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Cinema Lounge

The Cinema Lounge meets next on Monday, January 9, 2006. It's that time of year again--time to Outguess Oscar. Oscar comes out of his hole to select the best in film. Join us as we try to predict who the nominees will be for 2005. We'll cover Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. This is a fun, participative session for everyone.

Join us January 9, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 555 12th Street, NW near the Metro Center subway stop.

The Best of 2005

The Washington DC Film Society announces the 5th annual vote for the Best of 2005. It's YOUR chance to tell us what you think are the best films, performances and director of 2005. This is not an Oscar opinion poll. These are what you think are the best movies of 2005.

Cast Your Ballot and Win
Yes, win! All ballots will be entered in a drawing to win great prizes such as tickets to the 14th Annual Movie Award Party, CDs, DVDs, videos, gift certificates and more. Ten people will win.

The voting booth closes January 28, 2006. See the
Best of 2005 page for the e-mail address to send your choices, the voting rules, and a list of films released in 2005. Drawing winners will be notified on Friday, February 3, 2006.

Happy voting and the best of luck!

Glory Road: An Interview with Actor Josh Lucas

By Amani Roberts, DC Film Society Member

Question: What happened to your arm? [He had a cast on his hand]
Josh Lucas: While filming Poseidon, we were inside of a boat that was sinking and took a fall and got hit by a water cannon. Almost tore my entire finger off. So I had some surgery and got two pins inserted and lucky for me the pain is being numbed very heavily!

Q: Tell us about your role and the movie.
JL: I play Don Haskins who was the coach of the Texas Western Basketball team in 1965/1966. I had the opportunity/challenge/pressure of portraying a man (Don Haskins) who many people know and know the story of his life. Also, many people don’t know the story of his life. I had this man whispering over my shoulder during many days of the filming giving me feedback about the story, what took place and how he reacted. We were trying to recreate the story, the time, the extraordinary event that he forced to take place. In the process of this event, he went through a very difficult thing. Violence was threatened against him, his wife, family, and his entire team. In addition, strife began to divide the team, specifically between the black players and the white players. Midway through the season, the team started to fall apart. Black players felt like they were all alone. The white players were like, “but we are all a team together”. Coach Haskins was a young, white coach who kept pushing them hard for the entire season because he wanted them to get to a point where they blocked out all of the negativity and just concentrated on purely basketball. That was an extraordinary challenge.

Q: How much time did you spend interacting with Coach Haskins?
JL: I watched him coach the actual actors for a couple of days. He used dialogue that was later put into the actual film based on how I heard him coach. I took notes. I recorded him. I had one of his assistant coaches with me the entire time. Pat Riley (Hall of Fame NBA Player, Coach and General Manager who currently is the head coach of the Miami Heat) was there for many, many weeks during the filming. Tim Floyd (former NBA and NCAA head coach) was there as well. Coach Haskins was there as well giving me feedback after takes and offering pointers as to how I could improve my portrayal of himself and the coaching job he did.

Q: As an actor, what is it like having the real people watching you filming them?
JL: It is not easy, and yet it is absolutely what I wanted. I could have demanded that people leave. But as difficult and challenging as it was, it was the thing the separated this movie having more integrity than it would have had otherwise. I literally had people coming up to me every take and telling me … “Haskins wouldn’t call a time out like that…” or “Haskins would yell at the refs like that…” These were very little details that were put throughout the film. At times I would say, “Get away from me. I am trying to make a movie here.” There were moments in the movie that I know ended up being one of the more honest and touching moments of the film in which Haskins wasn’t around the filming. It is a true story and it is definitely a moment where he breaks character and probably wouldn’t like the way the scene unfolds.

Q: Which moment was this?
JL: In the overtime towards the end of the movie where he sort of lost control and broke character (the intense, stare you down, in your face all the time character) and he is like, “We have overtime, we have overtime (in an excited voice).” That is what made his character so interesting and fun to portray. He would harass and terrify his players almost to the point where it was like a stand up comedian that the crowd was rolling in laughter. Then he would return to the same intense, in your face character.

Q: Talk to us about Pat Riley and whether or not he maintained the same racist views as Adolph Rupp was rumored to hold.
JL: In no way was Riley was a racist. There are questions about whether or not Rupp was racist in fact. Some people will be very angry after they view the movie because of the way Rupp was portrayed. During that season, Rupp (whom Haskins idolized) did something that angered Haskins very much. He made some very derogatory comments about the black athlete and it made Haskins so upset that it made up his mind to only play the black players in the final game. Although Haskins will never admit this was done for political reasons, he had two players hurt, yet he still chose to play only the black players in this game. The choice was made to make a point to Rupp and the world in a sense, that it was wrong that black players were looked at that they couldn’t be leaders on the court and not intelligent enough to manage the game. It is incredible to look at where we were less than 40 years ago and where the game is now. Riley was an advisor for the entire University of Kentucky section of the movie. He said that it was clear during warm-ups and from the time they walked on the court for the game that Kentucky was in trouble. It came down to the fact that Texas Western was playing for something so much bigger than Kentucky was playing for. I get no sense that Riley has any racial issues. In fact, Riley has talked about how when he was a young coach in the NBA, and black players (whom he was trying to recruit) would come into his office and say, “It was because of that game (the final game between Texas Western and University of Kentucky), that I am here playing basketball.” Riley says he is shocked by how often players would reference that game as a motivating factor for many basketball players in the world. He is amazed that a game that he lost and tried desperately to forget, has continued to be a topic for so many years and an event that lit the fire for so many of his players.

Q: What did you know of this story before you were approached for this movie?
JL: Honestly, I knew nothing. I don’t think that is very common. I was not a big NCAA basketball fan. I wasn’t before but now I have fallen for the sport now. This is what led to an increased amount of pressure filming this movie. Many people knew Haskins later in life. At this point in his life in which the movie is based on, he was a young developing coach, with three young children living in a men’s dorm, no money, a wife and it was a second thought that he was the coach.

Q: Why did you decide to do this role?
JL: It chose me … It has been and in many ways probably will be one of the most important roles in my career because it is a true story, a David & Goliath story about a man overcoming massive odds and in the process really having an incredible positive impact on the world. That to me that is the ultimate thing that film can bring and do it in a way that is wildly entertaining and exciting to watch to me that is “film heaven” and to be a part of this of this movie … from the moment I read it I was like, “Can I please get this job???”

Q: What is next for you?
JL: I am in the part of my life where I want to take some personal time off. I really want to promote this movie. Make sure that the word gets out and people really come and see this movie. It is a really important story that everyone needs to be aware of. And then I also want to take some time for myself and heal my hand (laughs).

Q: What do you hope people take away from this movie?
JL: The historical sense of the movie. The fact that 40 years ago black athletes were not allowed to play or start as a core in the NCAA is an extraordinary thing. Even more important is one man and a group of men’s ability to fight against all odds and do it with integrity. One of the things I like about this (true) story is that the players (black and white) were very close. I think there is a beautiful moment in the movie where there is a discussion between the players when they were talking about what they wanted to be called--black or colored or Negro. That to me is a moment that is important. That are incredible basketball moments that transcend cinema. That to me is when you get into something very special.

Glory Road opens in the DC area on January 13.

Fateless: An Interview with Director Lajos Koltai

By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member

Fateless is based on the 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz's semi-autobiographical novel. Fateless was the Closing Night film at last month's Washington Jewish Film Festival and the next day director Lajos Koltai told me, "This is not a Holocaust film. It is about a boy becoming a man; follow the human being. And he is quite a young man. The film starts with him coming down the street. He is already a sympathetic boy. You like him and want to know what is happening the next minute. The next day. The next month.

"It is the story of a human being. You see him after the Holocaust. You never see how victims get home. His point of view is really what he knows and what he sees. We see through a small gap. Gyuri Köves (Marcell Nagy) is forced to understand his world. That is his technique of surviving. From the moment the policeman forces him off the bus he is fateless. The title. He does not control his destiny. It is not his fate, someone is going to force him into new situations."

"I talked with people who have never seen a Holocaust film. It's difficult to make such a film without making it sentimental. If you go too much to the sentimental side, people don't want to see that. I depended upon Kertesz, the only one who knows how to do that for the screenplay. He is 77, lives now in Berlin and writing a new book. He told me, 'This is my book and I want you to do it'."

"This book is the most important Hungarian work. It is easy to say that everyone was behind the project. Every Hungarian actor wanted to be in it even though it is essentially visual, not much dialogue. We found such fantastic faces. One important actor told me, 'I want to be there even if you only show my back'."

At the Nobel Prize award ceremony, writer Torgny Lindgren commented on this book by saying, "The realities that are the subject of Imre Kertesz's literary production and form its background cannot be understood or described by any of us who have not experienced them. The bestial, systematic evil of Nazism and the bureaucratic, misanthropic stupidity of the socialist one-party state are hardly comprehensible to minds that been shaped in civilized societies... It has been argued that Fateless is the hub and center of Kertesz's literary production. That may be correct: this ostensibly simple, naked and mundanely unassuming account of a young boy's life and sufferings in Auschwitz, Zeitz and Buchenwald possesses a weightiness and irrefutability that puts in not only at the core of one man's literary production but also of contemporary European prose."

I asked Koltai about changing careers from highly respected cinematographer (he has worked with Istvan Szabo on such films as the Oscar winning Mephisto and last year's Being Julia) to directing film. "I was waiting for the right moment as this is such an important part of Hungarian literature," he said. "A lot of people said they wanted to see my vision about the film. The author gave it to me. I read it as cinema but it was more. I saw images and I had a dangerous feeling that I saw a film inside but nobody has asked me to do it. I talked with the producer about linearity. You can't jump in and out of time, you have to do it from beginning to end. The language of the film is visual. If I am not behind the camera, I am directing it through the camera. I made the set ups and gave it the look I wanted."

About casting the young star, Koltai said, "He was 12 years old when I found him. He was one of four thousand. They gave me photos of three thousand and another thousand later on. I made a small test of Nagy and later when I was looking at the tapes again, his test came up and I said 'He is the boy. He is the one.' I talked with his parents and they signed him. No more hesitation. One question in my head was that he is too beautiful. The first thing he loses is his hair, his most beautiful part. Even after filming, I still talk with him. I am like a parent. We began each day with a history lesson. I see him taking it all in. We believe and trust each other. We had a financial break in the middle of filming. We ran out of money and had to stop for three and one half months. I was concerned about how he might change in three or four months. He gets taller and bonier. By the time he leaves Buchenwald you see a different person."

"Kertesz lived this story. He made me a great script, everything in there was important. I was free to make the film but every time I made a change I called him. He would ask, 'Is it better for the film? Then change it.' He left me free. Kertesz knows the difference between a book and a film. He wanted a good film." At the end of the film, Koves makes a revealing statement, "They only ask about the violence, no one talks about he happiness." Koltai returns to the boy's point of view, "At the end of the day, waiting for his food, you see some of the boyishness in him. Talking with his friends, bargaining for food, is a big part of his day. He sees how his friends change. Sometimes the sunshine is there, just setting. It is nicely framed. The film is not about the brutality. It is about a young boy's journey. When he returns home he is asked at the end, 'Did you see the gas chambers?' Some people today are just finding out about it." The film ends with Koves returning, still young, but now a man. It may be a journey film but it is a journey through the hell of concentration camps.

As the film is based on Kertesz's semi-autobiographical novel I wanted to know more about the author and his journey from concentration camp to author. Koltai told me that "when he returned he started to work in a factory. It was a very poor life. He started going to cafe houses telling his stories, it was there he found his first wife. In the 1960s he started to write. The book came out in Hungary in 1975. Nobody wanted this beautiful writing. George Spiro, a highly respected critic was the first to write about it. He told his readers, "This is a great book and you should read it." This brought it to a larger and international audience. I remarked on the irony of Kertesz living now in Berlin and was told that he had said, "Why not live in Berlin where people know me?" He is loved there. He is reluctant to come to the United States where no one knows him.

And what is in the director's future? "The film opens in LA in January and I will be there. I have an agent in LA and have been given a new script to direct. I wanted to find a film that is close to my heart and soul. I will be making another Hungarian film, based on another Hungarian classic from 1907. It is an everyman story about two boys. The right script is not ready. That is for the future. It takes a long time to find the right actors, to get script ready. How can I make an American film, that would be a joke. It has to be a Hungarian film."

Transamerica: Q&A with Director Duncan Tucker

By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member

Landmark's E Street Cinema hosted a screening of Transamerica with director Duncan Tucker; DCFS Director Michael Kyrioglou led the Q&A after the film.

Before the film, Tucker said, "This is a real indy film. Everyone said it was not castable. My mom mortgaged her house. My father mortgaged his house. They said it needed a good closing song. I won't spoil the surprise but I asked a friend to do the closing number."

Michael Kyrioglou: How did you get Felicity Huffman to star?
Duncan Tucker: I offered her the role when we got the $2.50 together to make the film. She said she had a TV pilot in 14 weeks. Damn TV pilots. [This was the pilot for Desperate Housewives and Huffman won an Emmy for her role as Lynette.]

MK: The film itself and the subject is really interesting.
DT: The subject of the film is family and growing up and going home. The home is your heart. I thought of my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings. That is also a journey film. I wanted to make a film about a quiet Frodo. A woman I knew said what was under her skirt was not what I thought was under there. Talk about a boy growing up. I took 2 1/2 years to write and work it out. Then made the offer to Felicity through channels and she accepted.

MK: I could not tell if her future was in her.
DT: Glad you could not tell. W.H. Auden said the more ways you can interpret it the better it is.

MK: Is Bree turning into her mother?
DT: The mother, Fionnula Flanagan is so real to me. I had written certain mannerisms but Flanagan made it real. Bree and her mother run out the same way.

MK: The little ways they control everything along the way.
DT: Bree had to hide her anatomy to match her gender. Her crying is not a defeat. In the moment she is channeling her mother.

MK: Tell us about William H Macy.
DT: When he was on the set, I grabbed him and wanted everything in his head. He only became Executive Producer when I showed him the rough cuts and he loved it. When he asked what he can do to help, I made him Executive Producer. He has been a big help in getting distribution. [For those who don't know he and Huffman are married.]

MK: Were you always a writer?
DT: A writer? For me that was like squeezing blood out of a stone. Had no stones to write about. Asked myself, 'What do you really like?"

MK: Did you take this film to festivals?
DT: Weinstein got involved and wanted to release it during Oscar season. I have been on the road selling this. Have not seen my dog in two weeks. He is in the film, abusing himself. Took the film to Berlin, Variety loved it. Went on to screen it at TriBeCa.

Question: I work with LGBTQ kids and I want to thank you. I will recommend this to them.
DT: Thank you. This film is not going to have a big advertising budget. Only way is will get an audience is by word of mouth.

MK: A lot of alt life films are out now, Brokeback Mountain, Breakfast on Pluto, characters in Rent. Does that help?
DT: It can't hurt. This is not a "feel good" movie.

MK: I was struck in the stomach when the son hit Felicity. Did you set out to use humor in a positive way?
DT: Can't write without it. Funny things happen because it is true.

MK: How did she prepare for this role?
DT: She worked her butt off. I had 8 weeks to find the locations and book people. She had 8 weeks to get her character. She met with transgender women and she self consciously played female. She was prepared up the yazoo. You could not see the technique. She was not afraid to throw herself off the cliff.

MK: Have you heard from the transgender community?
DT: We just ran the film at a fundraiser. They loved it.

MK: The casting is phenomenal.
DT: Graham Greene is wonderful. I saw Kevin Zegars in another film and hated him for being so beautiful.

MK: The scene where he figured out Felicity was his father is very moving.
DT: Denial is a powerful tool. How could you not know it a transgender? She is really a woman playing a man playing a woman. In my head I know Toby did not know.

After the film, Tucker said, "Everyone knows who sang at the end. I wanted to bookend the opening and closing music and got Dolly to sing an African chant. I was in seventh heaven when she agreed. There is a lot of talk about an Oscar nomination for Dolly."

Adam's Rib

By Adam Spector, DC Film Society Member

As 2005 comes to a close, I offer some thoughts on early Oscar picks, the new Bond, music biopics, and the novel way a studio plans to get audiences back. Check it out in my new
Adam's Rib column: Random Thoughts: 2005 Wrap-up.

Hostel: An Interview with Director Eli Roth and Actress Barbara Nedeljakova

By Jim Shippey, DC Film Society Member

When I went to the Toronto International Film Festival this year, like every year, I make it a point to attend the midnight screenings, so I can see what is out there in the genre world of internal film making. This past September, the closing night film was the second film by semi-maverick film maker Eli Roth. His first film, Cabin Fever premiered at Toronto three years ago and went on to become a hit. With this next film, I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was intrigued about him switching locales to Eastern Europe.

Fast forward to a blustery Georgetown morning where I found myself standing in the foyer of their hotel room as director Eli Roth and Hostel femme fatale Barbara Nedeljakova were quickly changing into their promotional shirts for the film. Once they were comfortable on the sofa, we sat down to discuss his latest work:

Jim Shippey: Welcome to Washington!
Eli Roth: Thanks.

JS: So where have you been before this stop?
ER: Chicago and Dallas, plus LA.

JS: OK and this (Hostel) is your second film.
ER: Yes.

JS: So, first off, why did you choose to do a second horror film?
ER: I love horror films. With Cabin Fever it was to me like ‘I always wanted to make a horror film and now, oh my God, I got a camera’ and I was just throwing everything I could into it, trying everything. So to me, [Cabin Fever] was really an experimental film. In it I was trying shots from other films, like here’s my Texas Chainsaw Massacre shot, there’s my Evil Dead shot, etc. In doing that you stop and decide to find your own style to shoot. How do you do that? Well, after Cabin Fever I was offered a lot of studio films, but I just turned them down. A lot of teen horror and comedies, that kind of stuff. They would come to me and talk about how kids really liked Cabin Fever even though the studio guys didn’t get it, but they thought I would be perfect for their teen vehicles.

I was realizing what constraints I would have to work with under the studio system, and I didn’t want to have to deal with that, to fight all this way just to take orders from a creative executive who has never made a film in his life, who doesn’t know these kinds of films or even understands them! So, I wanted to make another film where I had total control.

I had this other idea that I wanted to develop. I was not doing much with it when I saw James Wan’s Saw. I remembered being down in Australia promoting Cabin Fever when I met on the street by (Saw’s) Leigh Whannell, who told me about the film there were making. Anyway, I was thinking ‘good for those guys!’ and it got me thinking ‘why don’t I learn from the mistakes I made on Cabin Fever and make, what I think, is a better film.’ One that is more tonally consistent. I don’t see that as a flaw in Cabin Fever, but I know that some people had a problem with that. So I decided I want to make a more traditional, straight down the middle horror film, a slow burn sort of horror film. Doing it as a lower-end, pick up sort of film allowed me to have that total control I wanted.

JS: OK, I admit I was a bit confused by the press notes on Hostel. Was this your original idea, or was it brought to you, which?
ER: Everything, ultimately, you know where your own ideas come from, but the idea started with a conversation I had with Harry Knowles about the most disturbing, sickest thing you can find on the internet. Harry sent me a link to a site in Thailand where, for $10,000 you can walk into a room a put a bullet into someone’s head, just to know what it feels like. It did appear to be real, but even if it wasn’t, someone had the idea in his head in order to create the site, so I’m sure someone is already doing it.

So I was talking with (producer) Chris Briggs and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake’s producer Mike Fleiss about making the film in Europe, and Chris mentioned that he did a lot of backpacking in Europe, and so did I. We talked about making a film about backpackers, but I wasn’t sure about how to do it. About a year later it hit me how to do Hostel. It’s about Americans in Europe, lured to this hostel in Eastern Europe on the promise of beautiful girls and then get trapped in a system like that website mentions in Thailand. I burned out the script shortly thereafter.

JS: You filmed Cabin Fever in North Carolina. Talk about the differences in filming in Europe as opposed to the US.
ER: The first difference is that there are no [film workers’] unions in the entire Czech Republic. With Cabin Fever, it was a horrible shoot because we had no money. We had no distribution set up, no safety net in place. You were feeling that people’s personal fortunes were going to be lost if this didn’t work. We got to a point with it that we were in so deep we couldn’t afford to stop. In the middle of filming Cabin Fever these Teamster guys, members if IASTSE came down and went to the hotel room of every crew member. They threatened them to sign their union card or else they would be kicked out or denied future membership. They then came to us and told us we owed them health and back pay, which took another half of a million dollars from us. Then when Cabin Fever opened up and was huge, they sued us for more money! We told them just because it was in theatres doesn’t mean we have any money then; we weren’t getting paid for another year. Really [after all that] Cabin Fever ended up being a horrible experience.

Did I want to go through that again? Fuck that! I mean, I went out of my way to raise private money to go to an impoverished area of North Carolina to shoot there and help their economy, and they [the union] make me out to be the bad guy? Like I did something wrong, something horrible? All I did was bring industry to this area and give some people jobs, and they want to punish you for it. All right, fuck it! Fuck you! I’m going to the Czech Republic. I will probably shoot all of my movies there, because I had an incredible experience there. I loved the people there, I loved working there, I loved living there, and meeting great people like Barbara there.

The crews were so cool. I worked with a crew that had just worked on Doom and Hellboy. They were a dream to work with. I love the lifestyle there, and your dollar goes a lot farther as well. It [Hostel] looks like a $40 million film because we shot there. We were able to do all sorts of things we would never be able to do in the States. In Hostel we have a scene where we have a group of kids just tearing up a car. We gave them some crowbars and sat up three cameras and told them to go nuts. You couldn’t get away with that in the States, there’s no way! We shot in [dilapidated] factory in the film, and again, there is no way we would be allowed to shoot in something similar in the States. They don’t have a ‘safety person’ coming in telling us how dangerous the place is, that a wall is about to fall down, that the air could be poisonous because they are all so scared [in the States] of being sued. You don’t have that fear there. Their attitude is ‘just fucking do it!’

The other thing was that Sony / Screen Gems came in on the first day and made us a generous offer to distribute it, even before we started filming, based on the strength of the script. Then once they saw the dailies they were able to bring in Lion’s Gate. The dailies were so violent, they realized there was no way they could put [Hostel] out as a Sony film. So they all agreed that this was much more of a Lion’s Gate sort of film.

JS: Barbara, I see you have only had a few previous film credits. Have they all been filmed over in the Czech Republic?
Barbara Nedeljakova: Yes, all of them.

JS: Now that you are over in the States, are you looking to work in any US productions?
BN: I am hoping to have some opportunities. I am thinking about moving to Los Angeles. I hope this [appearing in Hostel] is going to be a step up.

JS: In Hostel, you do two things I feel are very, very difficult for actresses. One, there is your nudity, two is appearing without makeup. How did you approach that?
BN: Nudity was the most difficult thing for me. Appearing without clothes was the most terrifying for me. As for appearing without makeup.
ER: Do you mean the scene in the pub were they all look drugged out? Dude that was four hours of makeup!

JS: Ah, OK, maybe I should say unflattering or anti-makeup!
ER: So Barbara, how was it appearing disgusting?
BN: Oh, it helped the role and it helped me get more into this part. When you are made up like that, it’s easier than when made up sexy, because then you worry about everything, how you look, what you eat, so on. No, those scenes were great!
ER: It’s interesting. When we were shooting Cabin Fever Jordan Ladd [Karen] told me when we were doing the scenes where she has the virus makeup on that she was so relieved not having to look beautiful. It was very relaxing. With Barbara, like in the spa scene, that is really here with very little makeup. With the pub scene, it was ‘more dark shadows on the eyes.’ We made her nails look bad, her teeth all fucked up. Someone - Tarantino - told me when he saw an earlier cut of the film how he just loved the girls when you first meet them, but then by the end you want to fucking kill them! That’s what I love about Barbara: she is an actress who is really willing to bear her soul out there.

We had over 300 actresses come in to audition for the role [of Natalya], and no one came close to nailing it like Barbara. There are a lot of scenes, graphic scenes in the film, but the one scene where Natalya is in the cab, fucking with Jay Hernandez [playing Paxton] is my favorite.

JS: You have brought Hostel around to several festivals, including Sitges. How was it received there?
ER: Fantastic! Just like the midnight showing at Toronto, people were going nuts over it. Things like laughing when the guy has sex in the shower and takes his camera gets responses everywhere. Scares are universal, too. We got a standing ovation from a packed, 1100 seat theatre there. Quentin was there, Greg Nicotero was there. The screening ended at 3 AM and still people were there cheering, applauding, giving us awards. After that we went to a bar and partied. They knew what to expect from Hostel, Sitges was really great.

We also had a great response in Iceland. The Icelandic Minister of Culture was there, along with a whole bunch of erudite, over 40 people there. They loved the references to Iceland, and they saw the film as a comment on human character. It was amazing.

JS: After seeing the film myself in Toronto I was struck how well the film fits within the structure and motif of a revenge film. Was this something you were conscious of as you wrote the script or during filming?
ER: Film making is organic. You start with an idea and you film it, so with a scene like in the TCSM when the sheriff is run over, you are just thinking 'escape'. When I had finally cut together Hostel and watched it with an audience, I realized that this can come off as a revenge film. I wasn't conscious of that, it wasn't the original ending, but it evolved into that. That's the film finding it's rhythm. That's cool.

JS: So what is your final word on Hostel?
ER: I really want to bring back R-rated horror films. This film is packed with all sorts of things you haven't been seeing in recent horror films. The producers and I took pay cuts because we all wanted to see this film get made. We thought of we could help keep the costs down, we would be able to make the baddest, most violent, disturbing, and smart horror film. No one else, no studio, were going to make anything like this. I was so lucky to have the support of people like Chris Biggs, Mike Fleiss, Quentin, Daniel Frisch, Scott Spiegel, Philip Bailey, and Boaz Yakin, all experienced genre film makers. We believe we have made something really special here. Don't hesitate to check out Hostel!

In Memorium: John Suozzo

By Annette Graham, DC Film Society Member

Storyboard is sorry to report that John Suozzo, a long-time DC Film Society gold member and a regular contributor to Storyboard died last month from cancer. John was an enthusiastic supporter of the DCFS who could usually be found first in line at screenings.

An adventurous film buff with wide-ranging interests, John would see just about anything: American and foreign films, old and new films, silents and sound, features, documentaries, and shorts. You could run into him at other local film events--at the Freer, Gallery, Goethe Institute, AFI, etc. We never got him to join us in Toronto, but would go to the Philadelphia Film Festival and of course he always attended FilmfestDC and other local film festivals such as the Washington-Italia, the New German films, the Latin American festival, Arabian Sights, and the EU Film Festival. Like most serious buffs, he also tracked his films in a computer spreadsheet. I always could depend on John to help fill in the holes in my own less meticulous list; not only did he supply the missing info, but usually included one or more links and even a picture or two.

John contributed 26 Q&As to the Storyboard from July 2004 to November 2005, and during this time developed quite a knack for it, turning the sometimes rambling spoken comments of the speakers and audience into readable prose. He always went the extra mile, patiently looking up the correct spelling of names and checking other facts referenced in the discussions. We often had spirited back-and-forth e-mails about some of the finer details in question and felt like detectives solving a case when we scored a definitive answer.

John was a native of New Jersey but had lived in the Washington area for the past 19 years, in "Rocketville", as he called it. His family would like to recognize his devotion to film by requesting that donations of any size be made to the film program at the Freer Gallery of Art, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 707, Washington, DC, 20013-7012.

Hostel: Q&A with Director Eli Roth

Every seat was filled at Landmark's E Street Cinema on November 29 for director Eli Roth's new film Hostel. Afterwards he and actress Barbara Nedeljakova took questions from the audience. DC Film Society's director Michael Kyrioglou moderated.

Question: Where did you get the idea?
Eli Roth: I was talking with Harry Knowles [of Ain't It Cool News] about sites on the internet that are really sick and disturbing. He had found a Thai site where supposedly you can shoot someone in the head for $10,000. Reportedly it is covered by life insurance policies with the money going to the victims' families. I wanted to make a documentary but it was too difficult. We started the movie in Amsterdam where guys look at the girls as if they were x-rated Disneyland rides. I've been in Europe backpacking and hostelling and was going to make a movie about backpackers incorporating some of my personal experiences. There are stories of girls from Odessa being trafficked through Slovakia. They answer ads to become cocktail waitresses and are forced into prostitution; if the girls refuse they are killed. It's run by the Russian mafia and the police don't do anything. The idea is that everything flips on them: they pay the hookers and later others pay to kill them.

Q: Barbara, how did you get involved?
Barbara Nedeljakova: I came in and auditioned for the part.
ER: The three Americans were cast in the U.S. but most of the actors are from Prague. Barbara is Slovakian. She had a mystery and sweetness about her.
Q: Barbara, will you do more horror films?
BN: Yes; I am moving to L.A. I did theater before.

Q: How did Quentin Tarantino get involved?
ER: Quentin Tarantino saw Cabin Fever [Eli Roth's first film] and we became friends, watched 1980s horror films together and started talking. I had different opportunities after Cabin Fever but the scripts weren't good. I told him about my idea and he said, "That's the sickest idea I've ever heard! You've gotta fucking do it!" I went home and started writing and he loved it right from the beginning. He helped with editing and writing but didn't come for the shoot. He's so nice and supportive and he's a creative soundboard.
BN: He's really friendly--nice and crazy.
ER: Danny DeVito got Pulp Fiction made. He protected Tarantino and legitimized him.

Q: What influenced you in this film?
ER: Audition, The Vanishing, and The Wicker Man. In fact Takashi Miike [director of Audition] has a cameo in the film. He's the Japanese man.

Q: Did you have an alternate ending?
ER: There were two. In one, Paxton gets the guy's daughter away from him. The language of the film is violence so I was doing a psychological switch. I like this ending [the current one] better; the audience claps.

Q: Most of the actors are not well known except Rick Hoffman.
ER: He read the script and said, "You want a guy like Christopher Walken." Bangs his head with the gun. "I just wanted to feel it." So, he was great; he's totally nuts.

Q: What was the hardest thing in making the movie?
ER: The production was so great I didn't want to leave the beautiful city of Prague. The hardest thing was the torture scenes. I felt horrible putting them through that. It was so painful for people to see.

Q: Weren't the kids kind of extreme?
ER: I like the idea that everyone has a price; that the kids killed for gum. I had seen a Romanian documentary (Children Underground) about kids that go around in violent packs.

Q: How did you get an R rating?
ER: It wasn't a problem. I was surprised to get that--the eyeball scene, the kids beating, no problem.

Q: Has it been shown in Prague yet?
ER: Not yet.

Q: Cabin Fever was made for $1.5 million. How much did you spend on Hostel?
ER: I can't say but shooting in Prague is cheap. You can make a $4 million movie look like a $15 million movie.

Hostel will be unleashed on theaters January 6.

We Need to Hear From YOU

We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival—and for the first time the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

Calendar of Events


American Film Institute Silver Theater
The Louis Malle retrospective concludes in January with Viva Maria! (1965) and The Thief of Paris (1967). A series of films written by Ernest Lehman continues with North by Northwest (1959), Family Plot (1976), West Side Story (1961), Sabrina (1954), The King and I (1956), Hello Dolly! (1969), The Sweet Smell of Success (1957), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Puppeteer Jim Henson's company marks its 50th anniversary. See some of his best-loved films, Labyrinth (1986) shown with experimental short films and The Dark Crystal (1982) shown with Time Piece (1965). An extensive retrospective of films by David Cronenberg begins in January. See the website for details.

Freer Gallery of Art
The Freer's 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival features five recent films from Iran and one animated program. On January 6 at 7:00pm and January 8 at 2:00pm is The Unwanted Woman (Tahmineh Milani, 2004) and on January 20 at 7:00pm and January 22 at 2:00pm is Iron Island (Mohammed Rasoulof, 2005) with three more feature films in February. On January 29 at 2:00pm is Babak and Friends--A First Norooz (2004), a short animated video; the producers will be present to talk about animation techniques.

National Gallery of Art
James Benning will be at the Gallery in January to introduce two of his recent works, 13 Lakes (2004) on January 14 at 3:00pm and Ten Skies (2004) on January 15 at 4:30pm. Each screening will be followed by a discussion with Benning and lecturer on experimental film Scott MacDonald.

"Orson Welles in Spain" is a three-part program of two Welles films partly made in Spain and the American premiere of a documentary about Welles' love affair with Spain. On January 28 at 12:30pm is F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1973) followed by Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1966) at 2:30pm. On January 29 at 4:30pm is the documentary The Well (Kristian Petri, 2005). Note that this film was discussed in the October Storyboard in the story "The Magnificent Welles" at Locarno.

Selections from Montreal's International Festival of Films on Art will be shown on January 7 at 1:00pm, January 14 at 12:30pm and January 15 at 12:30pm. Other art films in January are William Eggleston in the Real World (Michael Almereyda, 2005) on January 5 at 12:30pm, January 6 at 2:30pm and January 7 and 8 at 4:30pm. William Eggleston's only film Stranded in Canton (1974) is on January 21 at 2:00pm. Spring Night Summer Night (Joseph L. Anderson and Franklin Miller, 1967), an early independent film is on January 21 at 3:30pm. Two new documentaries Frames (Henry Corta and Charlene Rule, 2004) and Zizek (Astra Taylor, 2005) will be shown on January 22 at 4:30pm. Graham Weinbren, the subject of the first documentary and the directors of both will be present for discussion.

National Museum of African Art
On January 22 at 12:30pm is This Old Pyramid (1992) which puts Egyptian pyramid construction theories to the test. On January 29 at 12:30pm is Seni's Children a documentary art film about a Sengalese potter.

National Museum of the American Indian
On January 13 and 14 at noon are two documentaries from Mexico, Our People (Jose Garcia Ortiz, 2003) about daily live in a Zapotec village and The Soap Tree (Maria Santiago Ruiz, 2000), about the use of the environment-friendly "soap tree" bark used to wash clothes.

The National Postal Museum
On January 11 and 21 at 1:00pm is Dear Frankie (2004) and on January 11 and 21 at 3:00pm is 84 Charing Cross Road (1987), both videos shown in honor of Universal Letter Writing Week.

Films on the Hill
On January 11 is Ernst Lubitsch's The Marriage Circle (1924), an early film displaying the famed "Lubitsch Touch" which was left out of the recent Lubitsch series at the AFI. On January 18 is Laughter (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1930), an early sophisticated comedy with Fredric March. On January 20 is Charlie Chan in Paris (Louis Seiler, 1935) with Warner Oland as the Chinese detective, shown with The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930). All films begin at 7:00pm.

Washington Jewish Community Center
On January 23 at 7:30pm is Looking for the Lost Voice (Tzipi Trope, 2005), a video documentary about the aftermath of a suicide bus bombing in Israel. On January 31 at 7:30pm is The Definition of Insanity (Robert Margolis and Frank Matter, 2005), a comic mockumentary about an obsessive struggling actor.

Goethe Institute
The series "Young and German" concludes in January with Am I Sexy? (Katinka Feistl, 2004) on January 3 at 6:30pm and Karamuk (Suelbiye Guenar, 2002) on January 9 at 6:30pm. A new series runs in conjunction with the "14th Annual New Films From Germany" Festival (see below) offering additional films by four directors in the New Films series. On January 30 at 6:30pm is Grill Point (Andreas Dresen, 2002). More in February.

National Archives
On January 20 at 7:00pm is February One (2004), a documentary about the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins that revitalized the civil rights movement. Producer Dr. Steven Channing will introduce the film and answer audience questions. On January 27 at noon is Hoxie: The First Stand (David Appleby, 2003), a documentary about the voluntary desegregation of schools in a small Arkansas town.

National Museum of Natural History
On January 20 at noon is Proteus (2004), an animated film based almost entirely on the images of 19th century artists and illustrators.

The Avalon
On January 8 at 8:00pm as part of the monthly Asian Cinevisions series is Joint Security Area (Park Chan-Wook, 2000), a box office record breaker in Korea and winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. This mystery thriller follows a fatal shootout in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The Weinberg Center
On January 20 at 8:00pm is the silent classic The Black Pirate (1926) starring Douglas Fairbanks. Ray Brubacher will accompany on the mighty Wurlitzer organ. Call 301-228-2828.


The 14th Annual New Films from Germany, Switzerland and Austria
From January 20-26 at Landmark's E Street Cinema is the 14th annual festival of new films from Germany. Films include One Day in Europe, KussKuss, Barefoot, Willenbrock, Oktoberfest, Let the Cat Out of the Bag, Ghosts, Welcome Home, Kebab Connection. Please refer to the website for the complete schedule. Additional films by directors in this series can be seen at the Goethe Institute in January and February.


Directing Workshop for Women
The AFI's Directing Workshop for Women is designed specifically for women who are working in the arts and ready to pursue narrative directing. The workshop takes place from May 8-May 26, 2006. The application deadline is January 13. See the website for more information.

Previous Storyboards

December, 2005
November, 2005
October, 2005
September, 2005
August, 2005
July, 2005
June, 2005
May, 2005
April, 2005
March, 2005
February, 2005
January, 2005
December, 2004
November, 2004

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