Docs, donors spice up N.Y. event
NEW YORK — Some of Gotham’s most colorful personalities are turning up on the bigscreen this week at the 20th annual Independent Feature Film Market, which runs through Friday at the Angelika Film Center.
Radio Man, a figure familiar to industryites because he is a fixture at New York film shoots and premieres, is the subject of a documentary unspooling at the market.
Boom box buff
Radio Man, who arrives at the market on a bicycle, gets his nickname from wearing a boom box on a string around his neck. His life is chronicled in “Radio Man (Not a Music Video),” which was directed, edited and produced by Pipo Maypo.
The eccentric subject of the film earns a living by asking stars to autograph photos that he sells. The hanger-on’s persistence has landed him speaking roles in “Ransom,” “Picture Perfect” and “Godzilla.”
Sylvester Stallone, Eric Clapton, Michael Douglas, Christina Ricci and other celebs make cameo appearances in the documentary.
New York City police commissioner Howard Safir dons in-line skates in “It’s All Good,” David Hoffman’s documentary about the popularity of the sport generally known as Rollerblading, especially among teens. The doc examines the personalities behind America’s fastest-growing sport, including Chris Edwards and Arlo Eisenberg.
Hoffman’s previous credits include “King Murray,” which won the Semaine de la Critique award at the Cannes Film Festival, and the PBS documentary “Making Sense of the ’60s.”
Struggling indie filmmakers thrive on rags-to-riches tales, and this year’s market has already provided another story destined to become legend. Director Josh Aronson was $5,000 richer Saturday night after a woman overheard him discussing his work-in-progress, “Sound and Fury,” in the lobby of the Angelika.
The woman felt that Aronson’s docu about the battle within the deaf community between those who favor speech and those who advocate sign language was so important that she offered to contribute to the project.
Aronson was shocked when the donation turned out to be a check for $5,000. “You spend weeks filling out grant proposals with no results and then something like this happens. It’s amazing,” Aronson told Daily Variety.
The irony is that Aronson’s benefactor, who prefers to remain anonymous, has no involvement in the IFFM. She was in the Angelika lobby hanging out with friends.
Staffers at Roger Weisberg’s Public Policy Productions, which is producing “Sound and Fury,” are now teasing Aronson by telling him that he is expected to bring home $5,000 from the IFFM each day.
One of the more unusual films at the IFFM this year is “Aphrodisiac” starring James Urbaniak (“Henry Fool”). Produced and directed by Madeline Schwartzman, the comedy is about the search for Jesus Christ’s foreskin.
According to Schwartzman, no less than a dozen churches in Medieval Europe claimed to possess the holy relic, believed to be an aphrodisiac. “It was even bigger than the Shroud of Turin,” she said, referring to the myth, of course, not the foreskin.
Religion also plays a leading role in Rob Pileckis’ “Dear Saint Anthony.” Starring Pileckis, Sara H. Martin and Tim Philbin, pic is a romantic comedy about an angelic messenger sent to answer the prayers of a woman who has lost her library card. In the Catholic religion, St. Anthony is considered to be the patron saint of lost objects.
In the first days of the IFFM, audiences have responded favorably to Joseph Lovett’s “The Accident,” which is a memoir filmed over 25 years; Paul Griffin’s “The LaMastas,” which is billed as “Forrest Gump” meets “Goodfellas”; and Dean Pollack’s “Show & Tell,” about an aspiring actress who confronts her rapist on a tabloid TV show. Pic stars Ellen Goldwasser, Neill Barry and Susan Sullivan.
“Tell” is being represented by producers rep Patrick Lynn, who helped Joe Carnahan find finishing funds for “Blood Guts Bullets & Octane” at last year’s IFFM. The dark comedy, which was later acquired by Lions Gate Films, was well received during its opening night screening Friday at the IFFM.
IFP executive director Michelle Byrd said the decision to begin this year’s IFFM on a Friday rather than having the traditional Sunday kickoff has been a success.