Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fourth Annual Algonquin Film Festival

I received the following information via email from Donna Dudick (writer/director of The Mommy Track), and I am dutifully passing it along...

Fourth Annual Algonquin Film Festival Features Original "RetroFilm!" Program

From: Donna Dudick
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 13:57:22 -0500
Subject: Algonquin Film Festival

Pass the word!

The Algonquin Film Festival of Bucks County has added a new location to its line-up for its fourth annual show. The film festival, which offers yearly film exhibition, seminars and workshops to aspiring filmmakers and cinephiles in and around Bucks County, will be held Sat., March 25th and Sunday March 26th, at the Delaware Valley College, 700 East Butler Pike, Doylestown PA.

In past years, the Algonquin Film Festival has hosted presentations by the following industry professionals: Director Susan Seidelman ("Desperately Seeking Susan,"), playwright Christopher Durang ("Beyond Therapy"), "Finding Neverland" music editor Christopher Kennedy, Oscar-winning composer Joseph Renzetti ("The Buddy Holly Story"), screenwriter Mark Rosenthal ("Mona Lisa Smile", "Jewel of the Nile,") Casting Director Mike Lemon ( "The Sixth Sense", "Signs" ) and Oscar winners Ted Tally (screenwriter, "The Silence of the Lambs") , Oscar-winning actresses Patricia Neal ("Hud") and Celeste Holm ("Gentleman's Agreement") Oscar-winning producer Tammy Stedman and producer Jonathan Estrin ("Cagney and Lacy"), as well as October Films acquisitions executive Eugene Haynes and others.

This year, the Algonquin Film Festival will host a presentation by scriptwriter and Bucks County resident William Mastrosimone, whose teleplay, "Into the West," was produced by Steven Spielberg for a mini-series starring Gary Busey and Josh Brolin in 2005. Mastrosimone also penned the play "Extremities," which was made into a film starring Farrah Fawcett, James Russo and Alfre Woodard, in 1986, and "Sinatra," a mini series produced for television in 1992.

The festival will also feature "Retrofilm!," screenings of rare, one-of-a-kind film owned by a special collector. Film historian Lou DiCrescenzo, a Bucks County native, has been collecting out-of-print film and film memorabilia for the past several decades. The "Retrofilm!" program will screen film from DiCrescenzo's collection, which dates back to film's infancy in the late nineteenth century.

Len Guercio, an adjunct professor in film at Temple University, and a filmmaker, is currently making a documentary about DiCrescenzo. Guercio decided to produce a documentary about DiCrescenzo when he realized the lengths that DiCrescenzo would go to collect his film. "Lou really cares about film and wants people to know what their cinematic heritage is," Guercio said in an interview. "He works to preserve the heritage of film in relative anonymity, not for his own glory, but for the benefit of others."

DiCrescenzo has traveled extensively in furtherance of his passion for collecting lost film. For instance, he owns Natalie Wood's own 35 millimeter print of "West Side Story" which he acquired from her estate. "Lou is an avid collector and a film enthusiast, and what's special about him is that he is willing to share his film collection with the world," Guercio said, noting that DiCrescenzo rents four, temperature-controlled warehouses to store all of his stuff. "Lou recognizes that he is in a rare position as a historian because he owns so many film prints that you will never see in the theater or on television," Guercio said.

As part of the "Retrofilm!" program, the Algonquin Film Festival will create something of an historical event of its own. On March 25th, it will screen the original 13 minute footage of the San Francisco 1906 earthquake, shot by Thomas Edison himself. DiCrescenzo will project the print on a circa 1906 hand-cranked projector while film composer John Avarese conducts his own original score, commissioned by the Algonquin Film Festival, to complement the silent film. Avarese has been studying piano since the age of five, and at age seven, was performing with classical music ensembles. He has composed more than 1300 commissioned scores for film, and he currently owns and operates JAV productions.

Tickets will be available at the door. Purchases may be made by cash, check or money order. Students will be admitted free of charge with student identification. Program tickets are otherwise $24.00 for each day or $40.00 for the two day festival. Seniors will receive a 50% discount. Contact the Algonquin Film Festival at (267) 981-1139, or at www.algonquinfilmfestival.com . The email address is info@alfgest.com.

Algonquin Film Festival

You now know as much as I do about this whole thing. So if you have questions ... direct them to Donna or her organization.

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