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‘April’ showered with applause

Helmer's personal pic filled with tributes

Director Peter Hedges’ filmed effort “to put a group of people together that wouldn’t normally be together” received much audience praise as “Pieces of April” screened Wednesday night to an invitation-only crowd at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood, part of the Variety Screening Series.

The director and stars: Derek Luke, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson and Katie Holmes held a Q&A session after the film. Event was moderated by film reviewer and historian Pete Hammond.

Writing and filming “Pieces,” about a wayward daughter’s attempt to create what could be a last Thanksgiving meal with her family and terminally ill mother, was a cathartic experience for Hedges.

“The film was a very personal project for me . . . a tribute to my mom,” said Hedges, whose mother died from cancer. Pic also honored to the helmer’s stepmom who, like another character in the film, had Alzheimer’s disease.

Thesps were asked about their relationships with their first-time director. Platt and Clarkson expressed no regrets about their decision to sign up.

“I was willing to take the risk . . . He’s collaborative and yet he knows exactly what he wants,” Platt said.

The small budget (“half a mil”) and short shooting schedule (16 days) gave the actors intense lessons about their characters, and a few other topics, too. Holmes was asked if she’d ever attempted to prepare a turkey.

“No, and after this movie, I don’t think I ever will.”

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