Dollar Baby Film Festival in Argentina

In 2006 there was for the first and last time (so far) an Dollar Baby Film Festival in Argentina.

Review Festival by Ariel Bosi

Last June (2006) I received an email from Bernd Lautenslager, a friend of mine who lives in the Netherlands and is the responsible and webmaster of Stephen King Short Movies. This wasn’t the funny thing, since I’ve been talking with him since 2002. The funny thing is that the email was a forward from a guy from Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, who was organizing the 3rd International Independent film festival, and he was planning to screen Dollar Babies as part of it. I sent him an email without thinking twice and offered him my help. From that moment I was in charge of contacting the directors of Dollar Babies. I started my task by looking for info and starting sending emails and letters. Two weeks after that first email I received in my house the first Dollar Baby. The James Renner‘s version of “All That You Loved Will Be Carried Away“. Three days after I received many copies of the excelent version made by Scott Albanese, called “All That You Love“. From that moment on I received Dollar Babies almost once a week. Some were really outstanding, some were really good and some were good, but all had something in common: “Blood and guts”. Or if you wanna see it more poetic: all were done with love and a great effort.

Even when we had an excelent response from the directors (More than 30 were contacted, only 4 never replied) (by the way…It was really sad to see the attitude of the argentinian “Film College, Escuela superior de cinematografĂ­a, Buenos Aires”. The first argentinian Dollar Baby was made there by a student and they didn’t even replied our emails or phonecalls), I didn’t contact the producer and main actress of one of the most acclaimed Dollar Babies. I’m talking of Julie Sands and her “Stephen King’s Gotham Cafe“, which can’t be watched throught internet. So I suggest the organizer to contact her. When a month later he told me that not only the dollar baby was going to be screened, but we also were going to see Julie live, well…what can I say? We don’t have that chance everyday! This couldn’t get better!

Another good news took place when Rodolfo Weisskirch confirmed that he was going to finish his dollar baby for the festival. We were going to be able to watch an argentinian Dollar Baby!

Julie Sands & Ariel Bosi (2006)

A day after the begining of the festival I went to the theater where the first of four screening was going to take place. Besides the fact that it was really nice to meet Julie Sands and watch the Dollar Babies in big screen for the first time, the lack of organization made that first screening not so good…or at least not what I expected. But again….watching eight Dollar Babies in big screen was a really outstanding experience.

The highest points:

– “Suffer the little children“, made by Bernardo Villela and produced by Mark Miller. A horror story with an excelent adaptation, great performances, fx and music/sound. A really professional work here!

– “Home delivery“, the animated version made by Elio Quiroga was another of the highest points. I liked this movie a lot more than the story!

– “Minimum overdrive” (a parody of Maximum overdrive). Excelent parody made by Liam Engle. Very funny, OUTSTANDING CAMERA AND DIRECTION!

– “Paranoid“. Directed by Jay Holben. Can a poem be adapted? Jay Holben not only did it, but he did one of the best jobs we saw during the whole festival. A completely balanced short movie with an enviroment worthy of hollywood!

– “Suppr“. A french adaptation of “Word processor of the gods”, directed by Nicolas Heurtel. An outstanding adaptation of one of the greatest short stories written by Stephen King.

– Of course: “Stephen King’s Gotham Cafe“. This is the most professional movie. Besides the excelent camera, sound, music, performances, fx, enviroment, Dark Tower references, it has cameos by Mick Garris and Stephen King himself! (he’s Steve’s lawyer’s voice).

The “redemption” came at night. We were able to watch “Stephen King’s Gotham Cafe” in 35mm in the excelent Colon Theater and after it we had a Q&A with Julie Sands. she kindly answered all the questions (well…she didn’t answer one: If she was planning to adapt another King story! “I can’t reply that now” was her answer….so we’ll have to wait and see. 🙂 )

On the next day we had an excelent screening. Gotham cafe was screened again with an excelent response from the audience, and another Q&A took place after it. Then “El sueño de Harvey“, Rodolfo‘s dollar baby debuted on the big screen, with an excelent response from the public. The most acclaimed ones besides these two were “All that you love” (Scott Albanese‘s version. Excelent filming! Great balance as well!), “Umney’s last case” (whose director is Rodney Altman. The audience agreed that this was a much better version than TNT’s ones!), one of the first Dollar Babies ever made, “The last rung on the ladder“, an excelent adaptation of a very dark and sad tale, directed by James Cole and Dan Thron; and the outstanding version made by James Gonis of “The lawnmower man“. The screenings finished with another amazing version of “All that you loved will be carried away“, this one made by James Renner (a very funny thing happened during this screening…I can swear the main character’s voice is almost identical to Tom Hanks’s one!)

Sadly the third screening took place on a week day and I was unable to attend due to work’s schedule, but a friend of mine took note of the events that happened here. The most acclaimed on that day were “Autopsy Room 4“, a very good adaptation made by Steve Zakman, “The man in the black suit” (really good adaptation of an awarded horror story, directed by Nicholas Mariani), a very good version of “Here there be tygers” (adapted by James Cochrane), the outstanding and oppresive “Night surf” (Peter Sullivan), an amazing adaptation of “Rainy Season” (a really tought story to adapt! Congratulations!), directed by Nick Wauters, and a very special Dollar Baby made by a 14 years old guy from France. Giulianno Dinnoca’s “I am the doorway”. The last two screened were a very good version of “All that you loved will be carried away“, made by Anthony Kaneaster and Brian Berkowitz‘s “Sorry, right number“, who did an outstanding job directing this twisted tale.

The last screening couldn’t have been better! Almost 40 persons were left outside due to full occupation. The highlights of this day were “Lovecraft’s Pillow“, a very curious and professional adaptation of an idea of Stephen King, filmed and directed by Mark Steensland, “The walking ghost” a black and white free version of “The Gunslinger” (excelent filming, sound and enviroment!) and the acclaimed Dave Brock‘s “The road virus heads north“, which took again the glory of being better than the TNT version; and the really great adaptation of “I know what you need“, directed by Shawn Lealos.

Starting this month we’ll review every dollar baby screened more deeply. Today’s turn is for the most awarded one: Stephen King’s Gotham Cafe.

Now…what can I say about the festival? It was a real pleasure to be part of it! I had the chance to talk with all the directors and review the short movies. I’m so grateful to all of them for being so nice with me and helping me the way they did. I met Julie Sands, a really kind, lovely (and beautiful!) woman, who shared some details of the direction and kindly replied all my questions (I’m very sorry if I bothered you too much, Julie!). And I spent a wonderfull weekend with some friends in “La Feliz” (that’s the way we call the city: “The happy one”). The beach, this time, was completely unknown by me.

I would like to finish my review thanking the people that helped me during this festival.

Bernd Lautenslager, from Pal, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be writting this at this very moment! THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!

– Directors Bernardo Villela, James Renner, Liam Engle, Nick Wauters, Dave Brock, Elio Quiroga, Sarah Sterchele, James Cole & Dan Thron, Doveed Linder, Nicholas Mariani, Anthony Kaneaster, Shawn Lealos, Rodney Altman, Giuliano Dinocca, Mikhail Titov, Jay Holben, Peter Sullivan, Nicolas Heurtel, James Cochrane, Frank Darabont, Jack Sawyer, Mark Montalto and Brian Berkowitz, for their support, help and confidence with the festival.

– Producer Mark Miller (“Suffer the little children”), for being so helpful and patient with me. The press kit we received just can’t be better!

– Director Scott Albanese, for giving us his support and sharing his excelent movie with many Stephen King’s fans.

– Director James Gonis, for sending us his excelent dollar baby along with a great presentation.

– Director Rodolfo Weisskirch, for doing his really best and being a man of word. He promised me he’d finish the Dollar Baby before the festival. Rodolfo, the result just is an amazing short movie! Congratulations!

– Julie Sands. Meeting you was an outstading experience. Thank you for being so kind and charming. You know that you’ve done the greatest job.

– Hans Ake-Lilja, from Thank you very much for helping me to spread the news about the festival and for your constant support!

– Stephen King. NOTHING OF ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT FOR NEW FILMMAKERS AND DIRECTORS. The “Dollar Baby” deal is the greatest support they could ever receive.

– Argentinian “Film College, Escuela superior de cinematografĂ­a, Buenos Aires”. For the great help provided. The screening of “Llamadas” was possible thanks to you. Oh…wait…we didn’t screen it? I wonder why that happened…

– RAR, Asterisco, Sebas, Emiliano y Diego, for sharing the weekend with me and make it a wonderful one!

– And thanks to Ceci, my girlfriend, who joined me and spent the weekend with me in one of the most busy months of the year. Like she always says “Am I patient or not?!”
 The full list of short movies screened during these days were:

– Here There Be Tygers (James Cochrane)
– All That You Love (James Renner)
– Minimum Overdrive (Liam Engle)
– Rainy Season (Nick Wauters)
– The Road Virus Heads North (Dave Brock)
– Home Delivery (Elio Quiroga)
– The Lawnmower Man (James Gonis)
– Suffer the Little Children (Bernardo Villela)
– Luckey Quarter (Robert Cochrane)
– The Walking Ghost (Sarah Sterchele)
– Strawberry Spring (Doveed Linder)
– The Man in the Black Suit (Nicholas Mariani)
– All That You Love (Scott Albanese)
– I am the Doorway (Giulianno Dinocca)
– I Know What You Need (Shawn Lealos)
– Umney’s Last Case (Rodney Altman)
– Last Rung of the Ladder (James Cole & Dan Thron)
– Paranoid (Jay Holben)
– Night Surf (Peter Sullivan)
– Lovecraft’s Pillow (Mark Steensland)
– Autopsy Room 4 (Steve Zakman)
– Srajenie (Mikhail Titov)

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