Sutherland Discusses The Perfect Wedding

One of the biggest hits with film audiences at the festival this year was the locally-shot The Perfect Wedding, and one of the top name stars of that film was here for the world premiere. Kristine Sutherland, best known for her roles in Honey I Shrunk The Kids and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show, told us about the shoot and the message of the film.

What drew you to this project?

Ed passed the script along to my agent. I read it and thought it was a wonderful story. I was very attracted to the character of Meryl. She has her life all in order and then suddenly circumstances shift and she’s lost and struggling to control the uncontrollable.

How was Sarasota as a place to shoot a film?

Shooting in Sarasota was such a gift. How could you not love staying on one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States and shooting in a home that looked out onto that stunning bay? Many of the crew and most of the actors were young and full of enthusiasm and I enjoyed the family aspect of the shoot enormously. The community of Sarasota was completely welcoming, which made the experience such a pleasure.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you think the social significance of the film is? I know Ed Gaffney was very interested in having a story which portrayed gays without being filled with jokes about them being gay?

I am very proud to be in this film and the way it portrays gay relationships. I love the fact that the humor in this film doesn’t come out of the fact that Paul and Gavin are gay, but rather comes out of the situations in which they find themselves.

Alzhemer’s played a role in several of our films at SFF this year, including Robot and Frank and, of course, A Perfect Wedding. Do you think this film will have a special meaning for families dealing with that issue?

I truly hope that this film will have meaning for families struggling with Alzheimer’s. Actors Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker are close friends who are caring magnificently for Jill’s mom, who suffers from dementia. Michael wrote a wonderful book called Family Meals about their experience. I have seen firsthand how meaningful their story has been for so many people and it certainly increased my awareness of this tragic disease. It is shocking that by 2050, 65 million people are expected to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

We protect ourselves by thinking that these insurmountable problems will happen to someone else and not to us. In the film, Meryl and Richard are just trying to absorb the news of a future that they hadn’t planned for. Their love story was particularly rich for me, as I myself have been with my husband for thirty plus years. It was a powerful emotional journey to imagine myself in her shoes.

Historical Ending Creates Lasting Impression

“There really is a ray of hope even in the darkest of circumstance”

filmmaker; Matt Ornstein


After thirty years and one hundred and thirty flights, NASA’s space program coming to an end raised concern for filmmaker Matt Ornstein. His interest in science was inspired by NASA’s space program, “I wanted to be an astronaut as child,” said Orstein “with the ending of the program who is going to continue to inspire future generations?

The outcome of his concern is Atlantis, which took seven days to shoot and several long post-production hours. Working together with NASA for footage and research was an easier process than you might imagine. Submit a script to the programs film expert and if they like you, it’s smooth sailing. Orstein says the most difficult challenge was film format. “The footage is in every format created over the past 15 years. Our crew searched high and low to find facilities that could convert the tapes for us.”

The short version of Atlantis shown at Sarasota Film Festival starts off as a documentary but quickly turns into a love story. I asked Ornstein, why not keep it as a documentary? “With historical films, putting a face on them can help you feel emotion. With the ending of the space program, that’s sad in itself.” He goes on to say “Giving people something to be hopeful about is better than leaving them with no hope. There really is a ray of hope even in the darkest of circumstance.”

The debut took place at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the director now is doing the festival circuit. Ornstein hopes Atlantis will show in schools, providing a history lesson that will inspire future generations to explore the world of science like it did for him.

 “After serving the world for 30 years, the space shuttle has found its place in history,” said Christopher Ferguson, the astronaut who commanded Atlantis’ final mission, by radio to mission control. “Wheels Stop.” The ship came to a stop at 5:58 a.m EDT, on July 21, 2011.

Virtual Offerman

Attending different screenings of Somebody Up There Likes Me meant talk with different stars for viewers who stuck around for Q&A after the film. And while it was no surprise to see female lead Jess Weixler after the Sunday April 22 screening, nobody expected a conversation with Nick Offerman, the top-line star of the film who is best known as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation.

No, Offerman wasn’t at the festival in person. Rather, he happened to call up director Bob Byington on a fluke while the director was at the Saturday April 21 screening. “He was asking where the good barbeque places were in Austin,” explained Byington.

The happenstance meant Offerman was unexpectedly available for Q&A, where fans asked about the nature of the dry and sometimes ridiculous dialogue. That in turn led to ribbing between Byington and Offerman about who bore responsibility for the humor in the film.

“I think Bob does a good job of writing things that will sound funny if I speak them,” explained Offerman. “I try to speak them honestly, and sometimes he giggles.”


The Day We’ve All Been Waiting For

One of the most well attended red carpets by fans and media alike, The Day drew an excited crowd to the Hollywood 20 as SUVs pulled up to deliver the film’s director, Douglas Aarniokoski, WWE superstars Kelly Kelly and Rey Mysterio, lead actress Ashley Bell, and finally Dominic Monaghan. The latter stepped his way down the carpet at a slower pace than the rest, interrupted left and right for autographs and photo ops, proving the age old adage “one does not simply walk down the red carpet!”

As soon as the stars made it inside, I too scurried into the theatre to see The Day. Will post a full review tomorrow!