Sunday, March 25, 2001

Film notes

N.Ky. Symphony to accompany 'Ben Hur'

        The Northern Kentucky Symphony will honor the Passover and Easter seasons with a presentation of the monumental 1925 silent film, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, April 7 and 8 at Greaves Concert Hall, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights.

        The full orchestra will accompany the classic screen epic with an original score written in 1986 by Carl Davis for British television.

        The British company that commissioned the score will lend the symphony its restored 35mm master print, including rare Technicolor sequences, because the copy originally earmarked for the NKS event was damaged, according to symphony director James Cassidy.

        “We are trying to do something that takes the orchestra into a different place, something that will be more inclusive of a different audience,” Mr. Cassidy said.

        The film runs 141 minutes and will be presented with an intermission at both performances, 8 p.m. April 7, and 3 p.m. April 8. Tickets are $15 and $10. Parking is free. Reservations: (859) 431-6216.

        Appalachian film fest: Appalachian culture is the focus of a traveling film festival bound for Cincinnati in April from the Appalshop media arts center of Whitesburg, Ky.

        The film program is part of “Voices from Home: A Celebration of Community Culture and Arts,” April 18-22, encompassing film, music, still photography and theater at locations around Cincinnati.

        The event kicks off with a special screening of The Ralph Stanley Story, 7:30 p.m. April 18 at the Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, including a question-answer session with director Herb E. Smith. For ticket information, call 784-1744.

        On April 22, the Appalachian Film Festival will present a slate of documentaries, including the award-winning The Will to Read: Estel Sizemore's Story, produced by the Cincinnati-based Voyageur Media Group, and Elizabeth Barret's Stranger With A Camera from Appalshop, along with workshops and discussions.

        Also on the program are Neighborhood Images: Hopes, Dreams, Voices from the Urban Appalachian Council Lower Price Hill youth group and Cratis Williams: Living the Divided Life from the Media Working Group. The festival will run from 12:30 p.m. to about 10 p.m. at the Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave.

        The “Voices From Home” project also stops in Berkeley, Calif., Knoxville, Tenn., San Antonio, Texas, Anchorage, Alaska, and Bronx, N.Y.

        Call 251-0202, or visit

        In production: Cameras began rolling this weekend on Tattered Angel, the local independent film from Cincinnatus Productions.

        Sadly for star-gazers, leading lady Lynda Carter did not take part in the shooting at United Jewish Cemetery on Montgomery Road in Evanston.

        “We needed to start there first to get cemetery shots with all the trees dead,” director Will Benson said.

        “We're going to continue shooting (for) a series of weekends” before Ms. Carter arrives, said writer Duffy Hudson. A borrowed home in Norwood is being used for several scenes that require complicated set-up, said Mr. Hudson, “and we can't displace this family completely.”

        Ms. Carter will come to town when the production is ready to shoot all of her scenes, he said, possibly in May.

        “I've been pulling my hair out,” Mr. Duffy said about preparations for filming. “But then I thought, "Hey, wait, I'm pulling my hair out about the shoot.' I'm so happy to have this set of details to work out, as opposed to the hunt for money, because this is what we're doing it for.”

        Festival bound: Cincinnati commercial director and filmmaker Alphonzo Wesson is saddling up for the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival April 20-29.

        The Texas event has chosen his autobiographical short film, Open the Sky,for exhibition in its 2001 program. Even better, said Mr. Wesson, organizers called to alert him that his film is a contender for a prize.

        “They said the judges loved it,” Mr. Wesson said. “I'll be there.”

        The short previous screened at the Hollywood Black Film Festival.

        "Scout's Honor' screening: A benefit showing is set in Dayton, Ohio, for Scout's Honor, the documentary that won an audience-favorite award and a First Amendment prize at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January.

        The movie, directed by Tom Shepard and edited by James Klein of the Wright State University film faculty, focuses on the reaction to the Boy Scouts' policy banning gay leaders.

        Dayton's chapter of Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians is sponsoring the screening on April 26, at the Dayton Marriott. A cocktail party is slated for 6:45 p.m., with the screening at 7:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Order from the Neon Movies, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton, OH 45402, (937) 222-8452,, or from Q! Gifts, 1904 N. Main St., Dayton, OH 45405, (937) 274-4400.

        Kaufman at the Wexner: Director Philip Kaufman will visit the Wexner Center in Columbus April 14, fresh from the Academy Awards where his most recent film Quills was nominated for three Oscars.

        Mr. Kaufman will speak in person with critic Terrence Rafferty at 7 p.m. in the center's Film/Video Theater. Tickets are $7, and $5 for center member, students and seniors.

        The visit coincides with the center's retrospective screenings of Mr. Kaufman's films, including The Right Stuff (April 6), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (April 7), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (April 8); Quills (April 13), Rising Sun and The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (both on April 20), Henry & June (April 21) and The White Dawn and Goldstein, (both April 22). Admission is $2-$5, and some screenings are free.

        For directions, screening schedule and tickets, call (614) 292-3535 or visit

        Booking brouhaha: Greater Cincinnati filmgoers are getting accustomed to a practice virtually unheard of elsewhere — watching first-run movies in theaters usually devoted to second-run films.

        Say It Isn't So is the latest film to show up (at first-run prices) on the bill of Super Saver Cinemas at Forest Fair and Eastgate and the Danbarry Dollar Savers at Turfway Park and Western Hills.

        A few weeks ago, the same pattern applied to Monkeybone. And it looks like it's about to happen again to Someone Like You, due for release on Friday.

        What those films have in common — along with advance buzz that tags them as money-losers — is their parent studio, Twentieth Century Fox.

        Fox is less than beloved by Viacom, the parent company of National Amusements, owners of the Showcase Cinema chain. Viacom also owns Paramount Pictures, which battled with Fox over their partnership agreement on the mega-hit Titanic.

        No one is saying whether that is why the two companies clash to this day. But for reasons neither side has ever explained, Showcase Cinemas avoids booking any Fox movie that promises less-than-stellar returns.

        They don't reject everything; for instance, Fox releases of Cast Away, Men of Honor and X-Men all found homes on local Showcase Cinema screens. But box-office stinkers like Firestorm and Where The Heart Is had to take advantage of the impromptu alternative circuit that Fox patched together.

        Other Fox titles may end up shuffled off to second-run houses this year, but it's a good bet they won't include such high-profile attractions as Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge, just chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival, or Tim Burton's big-dollar remake of Planet of the Apes.

        Contact Margaret A. McGurk at 768-8517; fax, 768-8330; e-mail, Cincinnati.Com keyword: McGurk


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