MUMBLECORE PRACTITIONER Frank V. Ross’ romantic drama Tiger Tale in Blue is one of five nominees for the Nov. 26 Gotham Independent Film Awards’ Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You prize for top undistributed film of the year.
It screened for a live audience for the very first time Nov. 16 in a presentation of the nominees at MoMA. Ross stars as a writer/waiter torn between his teacher wife (Rebecca Spence) and a flirtatious coworker (Megan Mercier).
“The movie is delicately scripted to give the perception of building up to some kind of climax, to the point where even when it arrives at an obvious twist, the subtlety of reactions infuse the material with surprising depth,” Eric Kohn writes in IndieWire.
PRODUCER FLOYD WEBB GOES TO SUNDANCE as a prestigious jury member for the $200,000 Focus Forward Filmmaker Competition in January. He will serve alongside award-winning cult doc maker Joe Berlinger, actress Darryl Hannah, Oscar-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple, Sundance senior programmer Caroline Liebresco, director Jose Padilha and producer/critic/writer Peter Wintonick.
The Focus Forward Films competition is open to professional quality 3-minute stories about visionaries and thinkers whose efforts and inventions could be world-changing ideas.
Webb, the organizer of the monthly Black World Cinema theater screening series at ICE, is developing a new doc: Ho Chi Minh in Harlem, about the years 1912-1918, that Nguyen Al Quoc, the North Vietnamese president-to-be spent in the US seeking support for the expulsion of French colonial occupiers from Indochina.
Webb is the director of the long-in-the-works documentary Searching for Count Dante, about notorious local martial arts instructor John Keehan.
CULT FILMMAKER HAL ASHBY (Coming Home, Shampoo, and Harold and Maude) is the subject of director Amy Cargill and producer Christine Beebe’s documentary Once I Was: The Hal Ashby Story.
“By using clips from Ashby films interwoven with interviews from principal actors, crew, family and friends, a rare audio interview with Hal describing his process, set against the music from his films, our film will present an all-encompassing look at Hal and his work,” writes Cargill.
“We will also spotlight Hal’s significant influence on contemporary filmmakers and actors, illustrating his legacy and giving cinematic credit where credit is long overdue.”
ETTA WORTHINGTON of Fernwork Productions premieres her documentary 50 at 50, Dec. 1, following her own resolution to spend her 50th year doing 50 new things, including “roller blading, having a soul retrieval, selling peanuts at Wrigley Field, jet skiing, taking a swordplay class, watching the mating dance of the sand hill crane and more,” Worthington says.
It screens 9 a.m. in the Illinois International Film Festival at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave.
Also at IFF, Mercedes Kane’s Today We Saw the Face of God, about a team of medical volunteers caught in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, screens Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 2 at noon and 6 p.m. “As the team journeys back to Gramothe, Haiti, they recount the harrowing reality of being first responders in an unprecedented medical crisis,” Kane writes.
CHRIS HEFNER hosts a Dec. 15 benefit reception for his sophomore feature The Poisoner. Meredith Miller stars as a woman who enters into a contract with a man (R.K. Shuquem) to marry him and slowly poison him over years of marriage. With Sean DeSantis as the devil. Hefner filmed over the summer.
At Kimball Arts Center, 1757 N. Kimball Ave., 7 p.m.
Proceeds pay for sound design, festival submissions, and Daniel Knox’s score. The $25 suggested donation includes drinks, snacks, entertainment and “dubious holiday photo opportunities.”