Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fat Heroine Siezes the screen in Ten Stories Tall by David Garrett

Ten Stories of Questions with Writer/Director David Garrett of

When I met David Garrett (My favorite Dave of all the Dave's I know) at the 2006 NAAFA Convention and he said he lived int he city--uptown, though. And he "was into film." I thought we would be friends. That, and he had long hair, and I kinda got this thing for long hair......... and we never went out for a beer or much else made contact.

It was not until New Years in Massachusetts(again?!)2006-2007 when we finally got to talking. With some serious ass bad jokes(mostly mine--I say mostly!) and a ride back to Manhattan with some very serious cool tunes(David has amazing ecletic taste in music!)a friendship was forming.

It was not until we had a pretty amazing conversation and connection, where I revealed my thoughts that "all movies are about love," and after seeing a few homework exercises he did for Columbia Film School, and his film shorts where I straightened up, gasped, and said: "You're brilliant." With a shy grin, and some homemade American chooped suey from Chicago, we listened to each other and heard and understood the pssion for sharing our perspectives with the world--perspectives that seem to bridgethe gap between old-fashioned and modern and are firmly rooted in goodness and kindness, minutiae and miracles.

TEN STORIES TALL starring Ally Sheedy (yes, THAT Ally Sheedy), I am proud to announce is showcasing at the Brooklyn INternational Film Festival on June 6th and June 13th in Brooklyn.

I thought I would ask my good friend and filmmaker to share a few words about his current project and the light he most eloquently has shown on having a fat heroine character played by Emily Skinner. She does a fantastic job, as does the entire cast. Not a dull moment or performance!

I brought my boss to the June 6th screening and she said " It was amazing how delicately David wove everything together. He hit on everything that we see and deal with in life." She was crying; I was glad. And most of all, very proud.

Finally, I kept telling him how I wanted the recipe below, as we spent one afternoon hanging out with the Burns' who give great face in the film! might I add. I told my Aunt Meemie about it, and she thought it sounded awesome. I verify it tasted awesome, so please enjoy a few fun questions with filmmaker David Garrett and his great recipe for yummy Baked Apples With Barley-Chorizo Pilaf Time-- when you sit with friends and chat, or enjoy a great film.

Floor 1: The Basics!

1. What inspired you to write this film?

DG: New York is my hometown, and I wanted to write about it. Something like Thornton Wilder’s Our Town – a simple and poetic look at the way we live and die. I began sketching out characters and their stories in 2003, and for two years played around with it all, not really sure I was getting anywhere. Then in 2005 I lost my brother to alcohol, and for the next two years my family suffered loss after loss: my uncle and godfather, my aunt, two family friends, and finally my father in 2007. Such relentless tragedy saps our strength, and though it can inspire empathy, clarity, and an urge to give comfort, it can also inspire anger, bitterness, and even faithlessness. These losses filled my life with raw emotion, and I used the still-developing Ten Stories Tall as a vessel into which I could channel it all.

Floor 2: Keeping It Real!

2. Are any of the scenes autobiographical?

DG: No; not in the strictest sense. About 90% of it is pulled from incidents in my life, but all of it is fictionalized.

Floor 3: Decisions, decisions!

3. Which character do you feel you like the most, or feel the closest to and why? Or which one do you feel you like the least and why?

DG: Why would you ask me to choose among my children?

Floor 4: Getting it done!

4. What did you like most and least about production?

DG: I love everything about production, except delays. There’s a lot of waiting around on a film set while other departments finish their work, and that’s to be expected. However, unexpected delays, whether from negligence, stupidity, accident, or Act of God – doesn’t matter – is going to piss me off. They’re also par for the course, though, so I’m never pissed for very long. Guess I just love it all.

Floor 5: Made in New York: from the Eastside, to the Westsiiiiiiiide!

5. For those on the East Side--Do you feel that New York City acts as an additional background character in the film?

DG: It’s been said about Our Town that it details the minutiae of daily life against the backdrop of the eternal. For Ten Stories Tall, New York is that backdrop.

For those on the West Side--What were the biggest challenges of filming in the city?

DG: Traffic.

Floor 6: Going up!

6. Why did you choose to include a plus-sized heroine?

DG: This story is about familial relationships under terrible strain, and there’s not much that can put a strain on a relationship quicker than fat. I grew up (and am still) fat, and know very well how powerful fat can be, and the kind of hatred it can inspire in others. So it’s a personal choice, as well as an excellent device for dramatic conflict. Also, fat women are kinda hot.

Floor 7: A positive plus!

7. What do you hope plus-size women take away from your film?

DG: Besides just loving the movie, I hope that they can feel like a little bit of equilibrium has been restored to their daily lives, which can so often be filled with attacks on their self-esteem. I hope that they can see that the beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, and damn sexy girl that they are doesn’t have to go on a diet.

Floor 8: Would you like that gift wrapped?

8. What would you like your audience to leave the theatre with or thinking about? If you could wave a magic wand and force your audience to do one thing when they leave the theatre, what would that be?

DG: I would force the audience to return with five of their friends.

Floor 9: Reaching the Top!

9. Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt ten stories tall? If not, what do you think would make you feel that way?

DG: Oh yes. I think we’ve all had moments like that. What’s important is that we learn how to savor those moments, long after they’re gone, and how to draw upon them for strength in those times when we feel like we’re in the basement.

Floor 10: What’s next for you?

10. What is next for you?

DG: A horror film called Holy Oak. It’s set on a Georgia plantation at the end of the Civil War, and is about a Confederate matriarch haunted by her dead sons’ ghosts as she waits for her husband to return from war. The Shining meets Gone With the Wind.

...and a recipe:

Baked Apples With Barley-Chorizo Pilaf Time: About 1 1/2 hours
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound chorizo, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup barley
1 2/3 cups chicken broth, more as needed
Pinch kosher salt
3/4 cup shelled, chopped and toasted hazelnuts
4 tart, crisp apples, like Granny Smiths.
1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add chorizo and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring, until barley smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until barley is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts.

And remember, "all movies are about love." And so is life, my friends, so is life.

With love,

from the 4th floor

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing to see a diverse movie with a unique hero (or in this case a heroine. Now I really want to see the movie...and try the recipe.