Saturday, February 26, 2011

How do you celebrate the Oscars in Maplewood?

Maplewood Theater Holds Annual Oscar Talk

Guest speakers Gila Zalon and Jeff Larkin present a showing of 'Biutiful,' starring Javier Bardem.

A group of about twenty-four people gathered at Maplewood Theater last night to take part in the 3rd annual Oscar Talk, Maplewood's annual Oscar Preview Night event. This year's selection was a foreign one, a film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also directed Babel, Amores Perros, and 21 Grams.
Guest speakers tonight were Gila Zalon, independent film producer and writer, and Jeff Larkin, photographer and screenwriter.
Zalon, who has also written the screenplay for the movie 'Split Ends' along with fellow Maplewood resident Libby Christensen, took the floor promptly at 8 p.m. to present the movie. She spoke a little about 'Split Ends,' as well has her plans to produce "a $5 million movie" called 'The Rife Machine,' about a small-town cop who is trying to solve a murder-mystery while also fighting big government lobbyists. She also spoke a bit about the movie-making process.
"Most of you go out to the movies because there is somebody [in the movie] that you know," she said. "And that's what attracts you."
"But if there weren't a screenplay to start with, that star wouldn't have anything to be in. And if there weren't a producer who found the screenplay, and then went and found the director, and then put the package together and raised the money, that star would not be in the movie and you wouldn't have a movie to go to," she said.
Jeff Larkin then took the floor and talked a bit about the screenwriting of Biutiful, its characters, the structural elements that play an important role, such as a ticking clock, and the job of the screenwriter.
"If you become disengaged during the movie," he says, "you have to ask yourself, what could the screenwriter – not the director, not the actors, the screenwriter – done differently?"
After the showing, coffee and desserts were served, and guests were encouraged to have their own discussion about the film and cast their votes for this years' Oscar Nominees. A ballot will be picked at random – that voter wins two free movie passes and concessions. Participants must cast their vote by February 26th.
The Maplewood Theater was "dressed" for the occasion with gold Oscar statue cutouts, created by Maplewood Theater's own staff, affixed to the lobby wall, alongside lists of the 83rd Oscar Nominations.
"We've had the Titanic on this wall, we've had The Little Mermaid Swimming on this wall," said Susan Rinaldi, Maplewood Theater general manager. "This is the most amazing wall," she said lovingly, motioning to the wall. "In my opinion, in the entire theater, this is the most amazing place."
Originally scheduled for a different date, the Oscar Preview Night was moved to tonight in order to avoid conflicting with another, unrelated "Oscar Night" event taking place at the South Orange Library.
Scheduling otherwise went ahead as planned, with the two-and-a-half hour movie showing beginning at around 8:30 p.m.
A portion of each of tonight's $15 tickets will be donated to charity.

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