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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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Michael Keaton's Directorial Debut

Actor Michael Keaton, whose 30-year career has included the outrageous ghost in BEETLEJUICE and Batman in BATMAN RETURNS, is the star and director of THE MERRY GENTLEMAN, which had its East Coast premiere last evening at the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

The film, a psychological thriller set around the Christmas Holidays in a gray and unforgiving Chicago, casts Keaton as a hit man with a conscience, whose world is crumbling and whose resolve is beginning to waver. The catalyst for this crisis of conscience is his chance encounter with a young Scottish secretary, played with great sensitivity by Kelly McDonald.

McDonald is the recipient of domestic violence at the hands of her unstable husband (played by Bobby Canavale) and finds a protector in the austere yet sensitive hit man. It seems that a redemption for the two troubled souls might be at hand, but that Hollywood happy ending is not to be. An insecure police detective (played by Tom Bastounes, who also co-produced the film and appeared at the evening screening) threatens the newly found alliance and eventually inspires the remorseful Keaton to pull away for the good of his protege. The film offers many different tones and is a heady mix of suspense, gentle romance and quiet humor -- ultimately a tale tale of forgiveness and redemption that blends a hopeful spirit with a surprisingly dark heart.

THE MERRY GENTLEMAN, which was shot on location in Chicago, was written by first time screenwriter Ron Lazzeratti. Having premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the film has gone on to play the festival circuit to much acclaim. It will be released to theaters next month in the U.S. by arthouse distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films. For more information on the film, visit the website:

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor

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