Maryland film gets a break at L.A. festival

Premiere: A movie with its roots in the Eastern Shore will make its debut next month in California.

March 16, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

"Riders," the first film from Eastern Shore writer-director Doug Sadler, will get its world premiere at next month's Los Angeles Film Festival.

Sadler, 33, shot the film over a five-week span last summer at a cost of roughly $100,000. Film festival organizers in both L.A. and Austin, Texas, were interested in showing it, but Sadler chose the West Coast for his premiere. Nevertheless, it felt good to have two major festivals courting him.

"I knew we were making a good film," he says over the phone from Los Angeles, where the festival schedule was announced yesterday. "I felt very strongly about the script. I felt that we were getting very strong performances, and that everything was coming together very well."

The story of two young girls who hit the road in search of their father, "Riders" stars Bodine Alexander of Denton and Sarah Stusek of Annapolis as the sisters at the center of the story. "It's a story about courage, really, and heroism," says Sadler, "and the cost of that, and the human journey toward that."

A native of New Orleans who moved to the Eastern Shore at age 13, Sadler graduated from Easton High in 1978. He attended Tennessee's Vanderbilt University before studying writing at the American Film Institute. Before turning his attention full-time to writing and directing, he had worked for several years as an actor in the San Francisco area.

As is usually the case with first- time filmmakers, Sadler and his crew had to work on a tight budget. (All told, "Riders" cost about $225,000 to bring to the screen). He discovered that he could cut costs by shooting the movie in places he was familiar with.

"The film travels from Easton to Nashville to New Orleans," Sadler says. "Basically, we were building on where I had contacts." The film features mostly local talent, and funding was provided by 30 Easton-area businesses and individuals. "We got tremendous support from the folks in Easton and Talbot County," Sadler says. "We couldn't have made the film without it."

"Riders" gets its world premiere showing at the festival April 21, with a second screening scheduled for April 25.

Cinema Sundays

This weekend's Cinema Sundays feature at the Charles will be "About Adam," a comedy about three Irish sisters (played by Kate Hudson, Frances O'Connor and Charlotte Bradley) who all fall for the same guy, a charmer named Adam (Stuart Townsend) who prides himself on being all things to all people. Even the sisters' brother, David (Alan Maher), finds him alluring.

I'll serve as host for the film, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Complimentary coffee and bagels will be available beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Tickets cost $15 and can be bought at the door. For information, call 410-727-3464 or check out www.cinemasundays.com.

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