Welcome to the Larry411.com Guest Columnists! April 27, 2013
In my travels to the best film festivals in…
On Thursday, June 12, 2014 I attended the gala World Premiere of The Ever After at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The sold-out screening was held at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE. The film was a selection in the LA Muse section.
The Ever After is fellow Philadelphian Mark Webber's third feature as a director. I was fortunate to have attended the World Premieres of his previous two movies, as well. Explicit Ills, which he wrote, directed, and produced, debuted at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival (see my review and interview with Webber) and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature along with two jury awards for Best Cinematography. In 2012 Webber had no less than three pictures at the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote, directed, stars in, and was Executive Producer on The End of Love. He also starred in Save the Date (see my review and Q&A photos) and For a Good Time, Call... (see my review and Q&A photos). In addition, I covered the festival premieres of The Hottest State (Toronto 2006) along with Weapons and The Good Life (Sundance 2007). Webber has close to 40 films under his belt as an actor, as well, at the tender age of 33.
For The Ever After he brought back cinematographer Patrice Lucien Cochet, who shot his previous films Explicit Ills and The End of Love. Webber's real-life wife Teresa Palmer also stars in The Ever After, which the two co-wrote and produced, as well.
Webber's casting coup de grace has to be enlisting the talents of Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, perhaps the most prolific actress in the world. She's certainly the Queen of the Indie, with a mindboggling resume including close to 75 feature films and TV movies, over a dozen shorts, and more than 175 television episodes. All this and she's only 53. Leo did 25 movies just between 2006-2008...that's an average of over eight a year. She continues to work at a feverish pace, with two movies out this year, four in post-production, and several in the pipeline, all while working on a new Fox television series. She's received dozens of honors for her efforts, including a Best Actress Oscar nomination and Film Independent Spirit Award win for Frozen River (2008) and a long-awaited, very well-deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar win in 2011 for her role as Alice Ward in David O. Russell's The Fighter, which also earned her a Golden Globe.
Melissa Leo also has the distinction of being in more premieres I've attended (14) than any other individual. It would be difficult for a film festival journalist to avoid Ms. Leo's work, and I've been quite blessed to have met this lovely woman numerous times over the years. There have been several festivals I've attended which included two or even three of her films. Screenings I've attended, many of which she did as well, include Stephanie Daley (Williamstown 2006), Black Irish (Hamptons 2007 and Avignon/NY 2007), The Cake Eaters (Fort Lauderdale 2007), Dear Lemon Lima (LAFF 2009), True Adolescents (SXSW 2009), Welcome to the Rileys and The Dry Land (Sundance 2010), Conviction (Toronto 2010), Red State (Sundance 2011), Francine (SXSW 2012), Charlie Countryman (Sundance 2013), and Prisoners (Toronto 2013). Needless to say, many of these films made my Top Picks lists from those respective festivals and earned slots on my year-end Top Picks.
Needless to say, I had high hopes going into the screening (something I generally try to avoid) but this was not a problem whatsoever. I was simply blown away by The Ever After, largely due to literally stunning, jaw-dropping performances from Teresa Palmer and Mark Webber. Hyperbole fails me. It's shocking, moving, powerful...co-writers Palmer and Webber pack so much in. The movie is truly blessed by the presence of Oscar winner Melissa Leo, as well...a goddess on Earth, and playing one here. It's always a joy to see this woman work. The icing on this cinematic cake is the music of Moby and Daniel Ahearn, whose original score packs a hauntingly powerful wallop.
The Ever After is raw, visceral, and hard to watch at times, full of "did I just see that?" moments. Yes, you did. This is what independent film once was and can be again, pushing the envelope of audience expectations. Look for The Ever After at a theater near you very soon.
For a synopsis see the festival's official page.
Writer/director/star Mark Webber led an entertaining and informative Q&A following the screening, joined by star/co-writer/producer Teresa Palmer and star Joshua Leonard, along with composers Moby and Daniel Ahearn.
Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:
NOTE: I selected The Ever After as one of my Top Picks from the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival.
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In my travels to the best film festivals in…