Cinematographer takes prize Windfall: Rodrigo Garcia is the recipient of a fellowship from the Producers Club of Maryland.

December 04, 1998|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

The Producers Club of Maryland recently announced the recipient of its second annual Producers Club of Maryland Fellowship.

Rodrigo Garcia, a cinematographer who has photographed "Mi Vida Loca" and "Four Rooms," among others, received $10,000 to help bring his directorial debut script, "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her," to fruition.

The Producers Club of Maryland, which was created by Jed Dietz in 1993 to help the Maryland Film Office promote the state as a filmmaking location, began awarding the fellowship two years ago in partnership with the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. The Institute conducts workshops for film and theater artists, as well as administering the Sundance Film Festival.

The fellowship is bestowed on writers and directors who have gone through the Sundance Institute's Filmmakers and Screenwriters Labs, where budding artists refine writing and directing skills with the help of established filmmakers. Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," Chris Eyre's "Smoke Signals" and Tamara Jenkins' "Slums of Beverly Hills" all started as projects in one of Sundance's labs.

The fellowship "came from our ongoing goal of being a partner with the film and TV industry, not just a salesperson," Dietz said. "In addition to our ongoing effort to market Maryland, like the parties and the ads in Variety and the production guide, we also want to keep devising ways to partner with the film industry in ways that are imaginative and really help the industry." Dietz added that he has long admired the Sundance lab program and hoped the fellowship would fill in a blank in the process, wherein "somebody comes out of the labs with all this artistic energy and they're ready to rock and roll, but then they stop because they don't have any money."

Last year's recipients of the Producers Club Fellowship, DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter, used the money to assemble a budget, start the casting process, pay legal fees and scout for locations for their film "Lift." The movie is scheduled to begin production next April.

The Producers Club Fellowship comes "at a very critical point in a project's development," said Michelle Satter, director of the Sundance Institute's feature-film program. "The Sundance Institute works with projects through the development stage, identifying what we consider our most distinctive projects, then through workshops, helping the filmmakers get to the most compelling version of their script. Then they're ready to go out into the world and be considered by producers and sources of money, and this fellowship happens at that moment."

"Ultimately the money can be a catalyst in terms of pushing a project into the pre-production phase," Satter continued. "And it's a phase when most filmmakers don't have any money, because they've been working on spec. Projects die at this moment."

Satter describes "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" as "six loosely related stories all touching on yearning, love and loss in women's lives." Garcia is working as director of photography on Michael Christofer's contemporary romance "Jello Shots."

Famous folk poet

Gil Scott-Heron ("The Revolution Will Not Be Televised") will perform two acoustic sets tomorrow and again on Sunday at the Heritage Shadows of the Silver Screen Museum & Cinema. Proceeds from the unplugged show will benefit the Heritage, which still needs $60,000 to become the nation's first museum and cinema devoted to African-Americans in film. Anyone lucky enough to catch Scott-Heron in recent years knows that the folk poet is still in good voice and writing urgently relevant songs (just hear him sing "Johannesburg" and you'll get a chill). Do not miss this opportunity to hear one of the country's most articulate and influential musicians up close and personal.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at several locations throughout the city. The Heritage is located at 5 W. North Ave. For information, call 410-528-8440.

'Waking Ned Devine'

Cinema Sundays at the Charles, the Film Lovers Club is winding up another successful season, with only two programs remaining. This Sunday's film will be "Waking Ned Devine," Kirk Jones' acclaimed comedy about a tiny Irish town that goes slightly mad when one of its own wins the national lottery. This week's speaker will be the author of the column you're reading, but come anyway. Doors open at 9: 45 a.m., and tickets will be on sale for $15. Bagels, cream cheese and coffee will be served, along with erudite conversation. Screenings begin around 10: 30 a.m. The final Cinema Sundays film, "Shakespeare in Love," will be shown Dec. 13.

Gabler on 'Life'

Neal Gabler, author of "Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality," will speak about the impact of entertainment on 20th-century life on Tuesday. Gabler will hold forth at 6 p.m. at the Presidential Suite of the National Museum of American History (14th and Constitution Avenue) in Washington. Tickets are $13; $9 for seniors; $10 for resident members. call 202-357-3030.

Pub Date: 12/04/98

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