FLICKS: Backstage reflections for 2015

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

flick123115By Dave Montalbono

Compared to the previous year, 2015 has been a consistent year for the box office. As predicted, Disney dominated with their Marvel and Star Wars franchises. While not the Disney Juggernaut, Universal Pictures scored big with 50 Shades of Grey, Furious 7 and Jurassic World. However, 2015 low budget independent fare like Ex Machina produced a high profit margin for investors.

In April 2003, The Observer covered the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) for the first time. Recent Oscar winner Adrien Brody, producer Robert Evans, musician Michael Jackson and the legendary Fay Wray were in attendance at an elegant gala held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Concurrently in Houston, director/writer Richard Linklater had completed filming the first year of Boyhood, a film that took 12 years to complete. At 2015’s PBIFF, Ellar Coltrane, one of the stars of this ambitious independent film attended.

The film, which was well received at the Academy Awards, also featured Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Tired of being on the sidelines, I invested in a student short subject, Give Me Trouble starring local Blues Legend Joey Gilmore and featuring Robert “Hi Hat” Carter as the bass player. This film details a blues man’s last concert and will hopefully be entered in either the Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale Film Festivals. Gilmore and his band frequently perform in our neighborhood, so check ‘em out!

Best known for playing “Marcy Darcy” on Married with Children, Amanda Bearse found her niche behind the scenes as a television director. A Winter Park native, Ms. Bearse also appears on the soap opera All My Children and the movie Fright Night. Of the many celebrities that I have met this year, Amanda Bearse was a true class act; she asked every individual their name and was generous with her time.

I briefly met Burt Reynolds on the red carpet at PBIFF six years ago. Having just recovered from open heart surgery, Reynolds seemed timid among the paparazzi. Despite walking with a cane, Reynolds appeared “born again” at the Spooky Empire convention. He was chatting with his diverse fan base, fans of films like Deliverance or the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

Reynolds has done much for the film culture in South Florida. The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater in Jupiter has provided a valuable stepping stone for local talent. At the peak of his stardom, Reynolds was generous to Palm Beach culture and his alma mater, Florida State University.

The film business is a forward-focused culture; however, it would be wise to reflect upon those Florida pioneers who paved the way for our future. Happy New Year!

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