Red Carpet Muncher 1: Ivan Bellman on a taut leash at Cannes Film Festival

Who do you think you are?

Once upon a time I wrote for Culturebot under the nefarious nom de spam of Ivan Bellman.  Ivan & I executed many a dance of death, emulating a Gonzo style of art and performance criticism that involved a sordid assortment of over and under the counter literary masturbation aids.  Due to the influence of marriage, age and a little help from my friends, I find myself much transformed, now attempting to use my powers for good.  Demonology, alchemy and counter-culture proclivities still abound although, contrary to what Mishima, Genet, Sade, Fassinder and Kathy Acker purport, stage blood is indeed enough.

The following is the first of several pieces about a recent journey to Cannes.  People have been asking so this is my attempt at showing and telling.  As per Letters from Somewhere and Tina Fey Camel Toe, some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.

Promo_X-tina

This Sunday @ NEW FEST!

X-TINA

The actual number of years that I have been working with writer, Marina Shron on the feature length screenplay X-TINA is a bit embarrassing.  In this protracted time span, the project has driven writer, director and more than one producer well past the thres- hold of sanity.  Yet, like an adroit pimp or drug dealer, it keeps us coming back for more.

Part of the problem(/appeal/addiction) is the story’s content.  The title-character (pronounced /kris-ˈtē-nə/ like X-mas) is a teenage prostitute who gets taken in by an infertile Upper East Side couple before fucking and killing them both.  The feature is also book-ended [or bracketed] by scenes of Christina’s budding relationship with her next male sponsor, Nikki, who she is attracted to because of Nikki’s man-boobs which are about b-cup.  We’re hoping to get funding from the Oxygen Network or maybe Disney.

(This last part is not true.  Uncle Walt would have us arrested as pedophiles to distract from him being a fascist.  If Ivan Bellman and myself were conjoined twins we would be joined at the spleen. The point being that this is not a commercial venture in the mass- media sense.  But, to quote John Waters via one of his celluloid avatars, “family is just a dirty word for censorship.”)

Our solution to the art vs. marketing quandary was to cull a short film out of the script.  The result was “Christina and Nikki meet in a bar and share a beer along with small tall of sex and murder.  Two disjoined lives come together for a fleeting moment to form an unfamiliar constellation.”  You don’t like it, write your own damn log line.   I’m cool if you don’t like my ideas as long as you have a better one of your own.  Go ahead.  Really!  Fire away!!!  Hey, have you ever thought of being a film producer?

Anyway, the short film version of X-TINA was shot on HD by Chris Cannucari (rhymes with Ferrrari) and stars Jim Findlay and Shauna Kelly.  I did a rough cut of the film and then got some help from a residency with Outpost back when David “Dicko” Dixon was running the show over there.  The sound sucked.  Now I know why the sound guy (never met a female sound guy) is the only one who gets paid on low-fi shoots.  Jim Dawson remixed the sound for the short and he is an audio deity to which I pay homage (in addition to a paltry sum of increasingly unstable American dollars.)

The last toot of my own directorial horn is that some of the flick is shot on Pixel Vision camera.  This is a toy camera made in the 70’s by Fischer Price.  It records on to cassette tapes (this are like vinyl records only different for you Gen Z 80’s babies.)  The result is a ghostly square image like a black and white Polaroid that would hard to replicate even with slick post-production filters.

Yup.  I’m a dork.

After being summarily rejected by several festivals (thatwedidn’tlikeanywaysothere), we were accepted into the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival. As my friend Lucius (pronounced LOO-shih-uhs), a film festival impresario, explained to me via email, “the Shorts Corner is an initiative of the Film Market – to bring young talent/new recruits to freshen up the air.”  Its fun to hear a veteran of his experience wax of the when there was just one venue and if you wanted to meet someone you just sat at the café pretending to sketch deep thoughts into your grrrunal behind your Ray-Bans and the person you sought, no matter how famous, would just show up eventually.

Now, 64 years later, the bougey boutique beach town gives way each May to the many-headed hydra of grotesque, surreal proportions that is the Film Festival.  Like a goat with six stomachs it ingests the famous, the parasites, the talent-free, the good, the bad and the ugly with no discrepancy.  The Official Selection or Grand Prix comprised of twenty or so films competing for the coveted Palme D’Or to Parallel Selections, awards given outside the Festival, there are international pavilions as well as the Marché du Film, the hyper film market in the world.  There are now seven main venues which sell-out regularly and hundreds of smaller theaters where shorts, docs, features and everything shy of (but not completely excluding) straight-up porn.

In the basement, in a corner one could find the Short Film Corner wherein the same hubbub carried on that you might find at the New York Fringe Festival.  Anti-climatic?  Oh yeah.  Worthwhile?  Ehhh… why not?

Over the course of the following installments I will be chronicling my journey to the south of France (this all having happened already which makes me a bad blogger) not that there is a such a thing as its converse);-).  American interns, illusive yacht parties, the elusive burlesque performer Julie Atlas Muz along with even a film or two are all in the cut.  Whether you want to whet your film fest desire, are dying to get beyond the velvet ropes or are just plain curious then stay tuned!

In the meantime you can come see X-tina at the New York’s GLBT NEW FEST on Sunday June 6th, 2010:

http://filmguide.newfest.org/tixSYS/2010/xslguide/eventnote?EventNumber=2012&

(I knew that the transhetronormative angle would pay off some day!  King a’ the world, Ma!  King of the world!!!)

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4 Responses to “Red Carpet Muncher 1: Ivan Bellman on a taut leash at Cannes Film Festival”
  1. Philop says:

    my info

    agentsofvenus.blogspot.com
    philristaino.weebly.com

    more sites to come

    Eeon is THE Essho!

  2. jason says:

    the short film corner is something anyone who pays the fee gets into. it’s not selection based. it is what it is.

    • I(v)an says:

      To quote Will Smith from Bad Boys II, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” And to quote my good friend Larah (as in “didja say hi to Larah?”), “I would go to Cannes if my film was being screened in a frickin’ closet.” So yeah, there is no criteria for the SFC except I think it can’t be porn meaning narrative… Like it the porn part can’t be the sole thrust (ah-hem) of the story. ‘Cuz there is a bit of porn in my flick & it got through. It’s straight porn so it didn’t go over without some disgruntlement from those who came up to me after New Fest spouting such enigmatic inquiries such as “why aren’t you not gay?” or “where are the gay parts?”

      Aside from having a first name as a last name as being a trait shared by serial killers and gay pornstars, why are you all bunged up about the selection process? I think its kind of cool that they let the fringe short scene into the Festival proper. What about this gets your panties in a twist Mr. Kyle?

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  1. […] enough, X-TINA also played a couple of times in the New Fest for which it was officially selected, Mr. Kyle! (>_<) Cartman face to you!  Why don’t put up your real identity, huh?  What do you have […]



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