Wednesday, October 08, 2014

October's Films and Filmmakers

Holy October! It's hard to believe that we are already one month into this year's tour. With a new month brings three fabulous new films and filmmakers. We welcome Mona Lisa Is Missing, Valentine Road, and Stay Then Go to the circuit. Read on for more about these films, and make sure to check out the entire lineup of the 2014-2015 Southern Circuit Film Schedule.

Joe Medeiros is a writer/filmmaker and is considered the leading expert on the theft of the Mona Lisa. Medeiros’ award-winning documentary Mona Lisa Is Missing has been screened at museums and theaters across the US, and at film festivals in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. The film had its television premiere in January in France, Germany, Switzerland and Israel. Medeiros began his career as an advertising copywriter. In 1988, he began working as a joke writer for Jay Leno and remained with Leno for 22 years, with 14 as head writer of the The Tonight Show. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 40 years, film producer Justine Mestichelli Medeiros. They have two children in the entertainment industry.

How did an unassuming housepainter from Italy pull off “the greatest little-known art heist in modern time?” Was his motivation more than money? In Mona Lisa Is Missing, Writer-director Joe Medeiros traces the path of Vincenzo Peruggia, charged with the 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa from The Louvre, and follows the story of a daughter mourning the father she never knew and a country recovering from old wounds. Combining historical photographs, animation and interviews with Peruggia’s descendants, Medeiros answers why and how the man called “Macaroni” by his French co-workers absconded with and kept the legendary painting for two years. This riveting, often humorous documentary portrays a man struggling to find his way in the world and make his family proud. Most touching are the scenes of Peruggia’s 84-year-old daughter, Celestina, who grew up on stories about her father and longed for the truth.

Oct 07: Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
Oct 08: Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Oct 09: Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, AL
Oct 12: Winder Cultural Arts Center, Winder, GA

Marta Cunningham is an accomplished actor turned first-time filmmaker. At the age of 14, Cunningham danced with the company at The Peninsula Ballet Theater. She was awarded the prestigious Baker Scholarship at Georgetown University, where she studied English Literature. She then moved to Los Angeles where she worked as an actress, writer, dancer, and choreographer before focusing on directing and producing. A native of Northern California, she was so moved by the story of Lawrence King’s murder that she became embedded in Oxnard and soon began filming those whose lives were touched by the tragedy. The result would be Valentine Road, a feature length documentary that was selected to compete in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and premiered on HBO in October of 2013.

At the height of the bullying scandal that rocked the U.S. in 2008, a 15-year-old boy named Larry King asked another boy to be his valentine in a suburban schoolyard in California. The next day Larry was dead, shot in cold blood by his 14-year-old crush Brandon McInerney. At turns shocking, devastating, and outrageous, Valentine Road bores deeply into the homophobia, sexism, racism, and class-struggle that affect everyday American life – and reveals an American justice system that is utterly unprepared to deal with the realities of teenage crime and punishment. Directed by first-time feature documentarian Marta Cunningham, Valentine Road is an unforgettable exposé of society’s pervasive and deadly intolerance of young people who don’t conform to its gender “norms.” World premiered at Sundance 2013, this film will both break your heart and fire you up into action.

Oct 15: Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA
Oct 16: Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC
Oct 18: Creative City Collaborative, Pompano Beach, FL
Oct 20: East Tennessee State University, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, Johnson City, TN
Oct 22: Indie Memphis, Memphis, TN
Oct 23: Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Shelli Ainsworth is a Minnesota-based artist whose work in experimental theater and film has earned her national recognition. Ainsworth began her artistic career as a playwright working in experimental theater. With an extensive background as a playwright, director and multi-media artist, she was a frequent collaborator with the acclaimed Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis. Ainsworth’s short narrative films have been seen in festivals and museums in the United States and Europe. Stay Then Go is her first feature and is an official selection of numerous prestigious film festivals including Provincetown Film Festival, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the Duluth/Superior Film Festival. While Ainsworth lives and works in Minneapolis, she has an affinity for the American South, particularly the central and coastal regions of Mississippi, where her father’s family lived and worked for many generations. Ainsworth has three children.

As Stay Then Go begins, Marion (Janel Moloney, The West Wing) awaits her only son Eddie (rising British star Matt Kane, The Last of Robin Hood) in the Emergency Room after a rollerblading tumble. Marion has always taken charge with Eddie, been there to protect him no matter what. But today, as a series of unusual events keep her frustratingly isolated from him, she is left alone to try to comprehend the twists and turns that brought her to this juncture.

Oct 16: Robinson Film Center, Shreveport, LA
Oct 17: Union College, Barbourville, KY
Oct 18: The Tennessee Valley Art Association/Ritz Theatre, Sheffield, AL
Oct 21: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
Oct 23: Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison, GA
Oct 24: City of Hapeville, Hapeville, GA