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The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993 by entertainment impresario Stuart Alson and showcases independent films in real theatres in New York City and LA.
Passionate about exposing the films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, NYIIFVF is a unique platform for emerging and established filmmakers to network and screen their work in the hope of getting exposure and a distribution deal.
Past festivals have included the work of Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Eva Herzigova, Guy Pearce, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Rod Steiger, Sean Lennon, Tippi Hedren, Willem Dafoe and Vin Diesel. Indie guru Abel Ferrara famously quoted in MovieMaker, "This festival is the real deal: Everybody else just talks about doing it, these guys just do it!”

 


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Frankie D: An Interview with Rosemary Edelman

By Nicole Holland

Writer/Director/Producer Rosemary Edelman’s film lineage dates back to Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her father, Louis F. Edelman, produced some of the well-known classics: I’ll See You in My Dreams (Doris Day), Operation Pacific (John Wayne), The Big Trees (Kirk Douglas), The West Point Story (James Cagney, Doris Day), Once Upon a Time (Cary Grant), You Were Never Lovelier (Fred Astair, Rita Hayworth) and The Barbara Stanwyck Show. In addition, he wrote The Big Valley and I’ll See You in My Dreams. Rosemary followed in her father’s footsteps with her first venture as writer and producer of Side by Side starring Danny Thomas, Sid Ceaser, Milton Berle and Morey Amsterdam.

Rosemary credits her father and her late acting teacher Sandy Meisner, whom she studied acting with in NYC, as influential figures in her life.

Carrying her father’s legacy (White Heat, produced by Louis F. Edelman, was apart of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival’s Cannes Classics), Rosemary Edelman makes her 2009 Cannes debut with her feature film directorial debut Frankie D, which screens on May 15th, 2009 at 11:30am, Palais B.

Frankie D can accurately be described as Urban America’s answer to Slumdog Millionare. The film stars Todd Bridges, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Aaron Meeks and tells the story of an upscale carpenter who gets ripped off by two street kids, and instead of throwing them in jail, when he realizes how horrific their life is, he takes them as his, because he was these kids. Frankie D garnered three awards at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival: Best Family Feature, Best Director of a Feature Film and Best Actor in a Feature Film (Todd Bridges). Frankie D will be apart of the 2009 Cannes Film Market, courtesy of ITN Distribution’s line-up.

IFQ: Your film Frankie D premiered at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Tell me about your experience at the festival.

Rosemary Edelman: Having Frankie D play both in LA and NYC was an incredible experience because I grew up in both places. My parents came from New York, so that was always my second home, and I studied with Sandy Meisner there.  In L.A., you could hear the audience liking it. My Editor, Brian Gary, sat behind two rows of kids who went bananas, either singing the songs or doing the dialogue. You could hear the rest of the audience enjoying it. In New York, the theatre was loaded; the audience hardly made a sound during the screening, but when I exited to go outside, I was surrounded not only by friends, but by many people I didn’t know. They were tugging on me and telling me how much they enjoyed it. I was 45 minutes late to dinner. My dad taught me that the audience tells you if the movie works or not.

IFQ: Why did you choose to independently create and produce Frankie D?

RE: My mentor, Frank De Felitta (who wrote the book and movie, Audrey Rose) read Frankie D and liked it so much that he ordered me to make it a short first. The short version played at the N.Y. Film Market, won two awards at the Brooklyn Film Festival and won in San Francisco. Ultimately, I took the money that I had invested from Side by Side (a big TV movie that I was paid to write and received producer credit) and I used it to make Frankie D.

IFQ: How did the concept of Frankie D evolve?

RE: Frankie D wrote itself when I sat down on my couch one day; the story came spilling out. It caused me to spend six months in the ghetto with an ex-pimp and six months hanging out with carpenters so it would be real.

IFQ: What are your personal thoughts on the main character Frankie D and his relationship with the kids Tyrone and Tiffany?

RE: The main character, Frankie D, was those kids, therefore he relates to them. He wants them to have what he didn’t have…love. It’s all about love.

IFQ: How did you get Todd Bridges on board, not only as an actor, but as co-producer as well?

RE: I got Todd on board because I met him when his niece, Penny Bridges, played the little girl in the short version of Frankie D. She was incredible.

IFQ: How did you get Michael Goi (Vice President of the Cinematographers Guild) on board as Director of Photography?

RE: Mike Goi shot the short version of Frankie D. He very much likes it and he’s a wonderful cinematographer.

IFQ: Your film is like Urban America’s answer to Slumdog Millionaire. Can you tell me your thoughts on this?

RE: I’m thrilled that Frankie D is being likened to an urban Slumdog. I’m flattered as others are saying the same thing, as you are rooting for the kids in both movies. I would love Frankie D to be distributed by whoever replaced Peter Rice at Fox Searchlight. The first time Frankie D was screened was at SAG by Marcia Smith, President of SAG Foundation. Marcia loved it, the audience loved it and my editor, Brian Gary’s friend, who is the Principal of El Monte High School downtown, liked it so much that he called the Superintendent of Schools and got permission to run Frankie D for the 8th grade at 8.A.M. in the school auditorium. I watched the kids go bananas; they loved it. After the movie, one kid said to me, “Can I say something to you?” I said, “Of course.” He said, “Thank you for making them good kids. Everyone else makes them bad.”

IFQ: What is your overall objective for the film?

RE: My overall objective for Frankie D is for it to play in theatres. I’ve seen and heard it play for an audience five times, plus even the people who watched it at the AFM. Both kids and grownups, male and female loved it.  

IFQ: Any upcoming projects?

RE: I have several new movie scripts ready: one is a wonderful romantic comedy and another is a comedy about kids who are about to graduate from Beverly High School. The scripts live on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. Irwin Blacker, who was Head of Writing at USC, taught me this. He said that if there was ever a fire, the scripts wouldn’t burn. There are two movies I look forward to start writing when Frankie D gets on. One is a comedy and one is a book I have permission to do.

Going back to Mr. Blacker, I only attended his class for about three months and then he announced that he had a bad heart and had to stop teaching. He then tapped me and said, “You, you’re coming with me.” He taught me during lunches at delicatessens, where he ate all the wrong food, like pastrami sandwiches. So, of course, he didn’t live much longer. USC gave him a tribute. After all kinds of famous people spoke about him, he took the stage and simply said, “Thank You. George Lucas was my first student; Rosemary Edelman was my last.” Then he sat down. Once Blacker died, Frank De Felitta took over as my mentor. Hence the title: Frankie D.

 

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The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993. NYIIFVF has been recognized by the film and entertainment industry as one of the leading film events on the independent festival circuit. The festival hosts film, music and art events in the two entertainment capitals of the United States: New York and Los Angeles.


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