Sunday, August 05, 2001


Local 'Vanishing' appears at prestigious Urbanworld fest

        Cincinnati was represented at the fifth annual Urbanworld Film Festival in New York this week by director Alphonzo Wesson's documentary about the founder of the Black Family Reunion.

        We Are Not Vanishing details the accomplishments of Dr. Dorothy Height through interviews with Maya Angelou and Dick Gregory, among other other celebrities.

        “The first screening was fantastic,” producer Joe O'Flynn said. “It was really great to be in the audience, because when the credits came up and it said "Narrated by Bill Cosby,' there was a gasp.”

        The project was a labor of love for Mr. Wesson, a former commercial director for Procter & Gamble who recently founded his own production company. “To send it off where it's going to be judged by people from HBO and so forth, it shows it wasn't just an internal love affair with the piece. Other people see the merit in it, too,” he said.

        Mr. Wesson credited P&G for backing the film financially, and praised the contributions of Mr. O'Flynn and writer-editor Lance Moody.

        Mr. Wesson flew to the festival, which opened Wednesday and closes today, from Chicago where he has been shooting film for MTV's next season of The Real World.

        The Urbanworld festival has grown into a leading showcase for films by and about African-Americans. Participants in panels and workshops this year include Ruby Dee, Phylicia Rashad,and Rosie Perez, and filmmakers John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood),Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), Diana Williams (Our Song) and Malcolm Lee (The Best Man).

        Also showing at the festival as a work in progress is Jacked, from Ohio State University graduate Timothy Wayne Folsome and producers William and Kevin Hightower of Columbus, the same team behind the 1998 thriller An Invited Guest.

        How big?: Giant-screen film fans may have been confused by a recent Enquirer story that referred to Imax screens as 10 times the size of those in conventional theaters.

        Not so. The Imax Corp. calculates the image-capturing area of its 70mm film frame as roughly 10 times that of regular 35mm film. The theater screen at, for instance, the soon-to-open Firstar Imax Theater at Newport on the Levee, is about twice as wide and three times as high as a 40-foot-by-20-foot conventional screen.

        First-time features: On the heels of Saturday's public debut of Matthew J. Freudenberg's locally made feature, A Generation Lost, at Anderson High School, another homegrown movie has reached the finish line.

        Avenging Disco Vampires, a campy zero-budget thriller created on a non-existent budget by Daniel Frazier and several Northern Kentucky University classmates, has been completed. After a private screening for cast and crew this month, the movie will be pitched to distributors. A public screening is planned for the fall.

        For a peek behind the scenes, visit

        Web alert: Dedicated movie buffs have long relied on the Internet Movie Database — — for comprehensive online information about new, old and yet-to-be-made films, from production credits to box-office returns.

        Now, a group of California film school graduates have launched an even more microscopic site, one that breaks movies down into key scenes at the Movie Scene,

        The site organizes movies by basic categories — cast, director, writer, genre, year, etc. — then adds descriptions of important moments. Users are invited to write their own reviews, rate and discuss the best scenes, as in a current discussion about Planet of the Apes. (The apes' mass attack on the escaping humans is the top vote-getter right now.)

        The site also classifies movies according to its elements, so users can, for instance, search for all movies involving falsely accused heroes or mistaken identities, for example.
       Contact Margaret A. McGurk by phone: 768-8517; fax: 768-8330; e-mail


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