The other day, one of my reporter friends mentioned to me that she was going to the 2010 Willifest Film Festival. She asked me if I was going.
“Was I going?” I eagerly replied.
“I”m all over that already” I then boasted.
And I am.
The Williamsburg Film Festival, (www.willifest.com) fondly known as Willifest will begin on Sept 23 and run until the 26th in one of the hippest and stylish places in Brooklyn. The newly establish film festival will bring together hundreds of film professionals and thousands of movie fans over the course of three days in the famous town full of artists and some of the most creative people you will ever meet.
The festival will feature the works of some of the most talented directors, producers, writers and actors from NY showcasing their short films and documentaries. It with also feature special Q&A with the directors, industry executives and producers after specific screenings. If it’s anything like their recent press party, you are NOT GOING to want to miss this exciting film festival folks!
Co-Founded by talented veteran filmmaker Michael Helman and film/TV/music producer Robin Adams, The Williamsburg Film Festival was established so that accomplished and up and coming artistic filmmakers from NY can showcase their films to a live audience while meeting industry professionals and networking with their peers.
One of the most successful and eminent filmmaker to attach his name and films to the festival this year is the resplendent Morgan Spurlock.
Spurlock, whose 2004 Academy Award nominated film “Super Size Me” is still one of the most famous and most watched documentaries of all time, is one of the nicest, humorous and talented filmmakers I have ever met. Spurlock spoke exclusively to The Ravi Report about his involvement in the Williamsburg Film Festival this year. I caught up with Spurlock and his team of amazing producers at one of the hottest & sexiest places in NY, the ping-pong social club SPIN New York. (www.spingalactic.com).
“This festival became a great showcase for what I think has become a NY platform for films for NY based filmmakers and I am surprised by the amount of talent I see in NYC.” said the NY based director.
” I came from West Virginia to NYC to find my way into this business and I want to help people get their movies seen,” added the award-winning screenwriter.
The acclaimed filmmaker gained nationwide fame with his documentary creating ripples through the fast food industry by showing the world what a diet of McDonald’s fast food can do to you and your body. The success of the film made Spurlock one of the most sought after filmmakers in Hollywood and NY.
Spurlock is executive producer of the opening night film “Pool Party” which is directed by long time friend, the talented and beautiful Beth Aala. The film tells the story of how one of the largest abandoned pools in NY became a venue for bands and musicians. The buzz on this film is pretty intense.
“Morgan is one person that loves to take chances” said Aala. The director also believes that due to Spurlock’s ability to work well with people and his ability to be trusting in new producers and directors, the masterful documentary filmmaker is revered by many of his peers.
“For Morgan, it’s aways been about quality and story and it shows in his work or whatever project he gets involved in” stated Aala,
Then for a split second during my interview, Spurlock became the reporter (Spurlock is an excellent journalist by the way who was voted by Time magazine in 2007 as one of the top 10 “Best Journalists of The World”) and I became the listener.
“What do you expect from your film. What do you hope for?” the filmmaker asked Aala.
“My hope is that an audience is going to experience this film and appreciate the changes and music in Williamsburg. I knew it back in the day (1999) and it is completely different from it is now” said Aala.
Spurlock is also the executive producer (the guy never rests!) of another incredible and engrossing film called “The Entrepreneur” based on the life of Malcom Bricklin, the gentleman responsible for bringing Suburus to America in the 1960s and for importing Yugos. The film is director by Bricklin’s son, the gifted filmmaker and co-owner of SPIN New York, Jonathan Bricklin.
” I asked if he (Spurlock) could help me finish the film and he said yes. I think its his great vibe and the fact that he is very approachable, really made this happen.” said Brickin Jr.
Spurlock said he took to the film because of one main thing the premise.
“Jonathan related the story and I saw so many similarities with it in my own life. I also grew up with a dad who was an entrepreneur who did not rest until he became successful so I could so related to this film in so many ways” stated the filmmaker.
This is Bricklin Jr. first documentary.
“As a filmmaker, just screening a film for live audience is satisfying but when Morgan came into this project, that was pretty much it for me. To be endorsed by a great filmmaker who is so creative that was a great satisfaction for me in making this film” stated the NY based filmmaker.
Bricklin also says that Spurlock fully understands both the creative and business process which is rare in a highly successful filmmaker.
Spurlock says his love for documentaries began in college when he saw the documentary “Brother’s Keeper” (1992), the story about the murder trial of Dilbert Ward. Spurlock says that film directed by Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky really impacted his life in terms of following his decision into making documentaries.
“There is a great way to tell engrossing stories through non-fiction film making that does exist through narrative filmmaking” pointed out the director who also believes that documentaries have grown to a place where they have become popular and accepting and that now is the chance to make more docs that will eventually become mainstream.
Spurlock’s next film will be an adaptation of the book “Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J Dubner due out in October. Spurlock will be working with four other directors includng Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki.
With his sense of filmmaking and passion for telling realistic stories, I had to ask the talented filmmaker about what his thoughts were on making a documentary on Bollywood.
” I would love to head to Mumbai to make a documentary. That would be amazing.” said the director.
“He should be a consultant to Bollywood films” chimed in Bricklin.
“They would welcome him with open arms” smiled Aala.
Indeed they would.
The journey continues…..