Interview: Nitehawk Shorts Festival Winner Saj Pothiawala

vegas2-770x433

The top prize for the 2016 Nitehawk Shorts Festival went to the very short that opened the festival: the odd, wistful and funny VEGAS directed by New York filmmaker Saj Pothiawala. We caught up with Saj, still caught in the glow of his win, at the Shorts Fest after party and talked the late night inspiration for the short, modern dating, loneliness and his plans for his prize post-production package from Heard City and Nice Shoes

Nitehawk: Tell us about your short.
Saj Pothiawala: It’s called Vegas and it’s about a man who gets stood up on an online date, and on his way home he encounters an eccentric prostitute at a bus stop, and he makes the decision to solicit her.

NH: I mean she’s more than eccentric, she’s a cosplay prostitute.
SP: Yeah, she’s a cosplay prostitute.

NH: What made you want to make her a cosplay prostitute? Was it like a commentary on nerd culture or was it based on something that actually happened?
SP: I think any time you pick a unique theme or take on something, because everyone has seen a movie about a prostitute before, if you pick something that’s a little bit more unique, then you by necessity have to figure out what those implications are.
(more…)

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , ,

Q&A: THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION w/ director Penelope Spheeris

On Thursday, November 3, our music-in-film series, Music Driven, invited the great filmmaker Penelope Spheeris to the theater to talk her breakthrough documentary: The Decline of Western Civilization. Chatting it up with Nitehawk programmer John Woods, Spheeris discusses her troubled childhood, the punk-ness of safe-spaces and her pioneering work as a woman grinding in the film industry.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , ,

Q&A: The Cast of THE GREASY STRANGLER

On Monday, October 3, 2016, Nitehawk hosted the three stars of one of 2016’s most bizarre, and definitely greasiest, films: THE GREASY STRANGLER: Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo & Michael St. Michaels where they talk about the film’s music, greasing up, prosthetics and bikini waxes.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged ,

Q&A: AMERICAN HONEY w/ producers Julia Oh and Lars Knudson

On Thursday, September 29 2016, Nitehawk hosted a special advanced screening of AMERICAN HONEY with the film’s producers Julia Oh and Lars Knudson in house to talk with our Senior Film Programmer, Caryn Coleman. Together, they discuss casting the film, defying audience expectations, and soundtrack as character. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Q&A: DESERT CATHEDRAL w/ writer/director Travis Gutierrez Senger & actor Lee Tergesen

On Wednesday, September 21 2016, writer/director Travis Gutierrez Sengar came in for a special Local Color screening of his new found-footage film DESERT CATHEDRAL. Along with the film’s lead, Lee Tergesen, and moderated by film programmer Tilson Allen-Merry, the three discuss the real life basis of the story.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Lo-Res: What’s Playing, Week of September 23, 2016

Daytime Schedule

hqdefault-3Vertigo (1958) – Maybe you’ve heard of it.

hqdefault-2Ramones Shock Treatment – Gimme-gimme shock treatment Gimme-gimme shock treatment Gimme-gimme shock treatment I wanna-wanna shock treatment

1239269576_2Max Fleischer’s Superman (1941) – Well animated Golden-era Superman cartoon that’s kind of racist sometimes. Grandparents, right?

ohgod12-jpegOh God You Devil (1984) – George Burns is God. George Burns is Satan. (more…)

Posted in Uncategorized |

Q&A: Director Elizabeth Wood and the Cast of WHITE GIRL

On Friday, September 3, director Elizabeth Wood joined us for the opening night of her debut film WHITE GIRL. Moderated by Filmwax Radio host Adam Schartoff, Wood brought along the film’s principal cast.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , ,

Q&A: Director John G. Avildsen Talks THE KARATE KID & Being The Best Around (Nothing’s Gonna Ever Keep Him Down)

On Thursday, July 7, Nitehawk invited Oscar winning director John G. Avildsen back to the theater to talk Cobra Kai and co. with Nitehawk film programmer John Woods.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged ,

Q&A: Director Bruce Weber & Cinematographer Jeff Preiss on Their Chet Baker Documentary LET’S GET LOST

On Thursday, July 30 Nitehawk’s Music Driven series and Mass Appeal hosted legendary photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber and cinematographer Jeff Preiss for a special 35mm screening of their Chet Baker documentary LET’S GET LOST. Led by Mass Appeal’s Bucky Turco the two talk about their connection with Chet’s music and working with a subject who is, well, kind of scary.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Q&A: Director Angela Boatwright Talks LOS PUNKS & L.A.’s Raucous Backyard Punk Scene

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Nitehawk’s Music Driven series and Mass Appeal screened LOS PUNKS, a documentary on the Los Angeles backyard punk scene. The film’s director, Angela Boatright, came out to talk about the film with Nitehawk programmer John Woods, and together the two talked teenage energy, the director’s punk roots, and documenting a culture as an outsider.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , , , ,

Q&A: Nicolas Winding Refn Unleashes His Inner 16-Year-Old Girl in THE NEON DEMON

For Nitehawk’s fifth anniversary on June 21, we were proud to host one of our favorite directors, Danish genre provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn, for a Q&A following his new film THE NEON DEMON. Speaking with Nitehawk film programmer John Woods, Refn discussed Elle Fanning channeling his inner 16-year-old girl, meeting Paul Verhoeven, and editing to maximize the camp quality of the film. “This is a comedy,” he says, “it’s supposed to be funny.” Cue awkward chuckles from the crowd.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , ,

Q&A: FAULTS w/ Writer/Director Riley Stearns & Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead

On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, husband and wife filmmaking team of writer/director Riley Stearn & actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead stopped by for Nitehawk for a special screening of their cult-deprogramming film FAULTS. In the Q&A, the two discuss audiences fascination with cults, the kind of research they did to produce the film (lots of news stories on lady sociopaths), and how being married affects their working relationship.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , , ,

Q&A: RIVER’S EDGE w/ Director Tim Hunter


On Thursday, May 5, 2016, director Tim Hunter joined Nitehawk film programmer John Woods to discuss RIVER’S EDGE following a sold out 35mm screening of the film. Throughout the chat, the two talk on the real teenage murder and cover-up that inspired the film; landing the likes of Dennis Hopper, Crispin Glover, and Keanu Reeves for a cheapo indie (“God watches over independent films”); and how his experience filming his previous film, Over the Edge, lent credibility to the youth culture featured in River’s Edge.

Posted in Q&A's | Tagged , , ,

EAVESDROPPING ON WEIMAR (an excerpt)

Grand-Hotel

On June 2, Nitehawk’s books on screen series, Booze & Books, celebrates the new edition of Vicki Baum’s Grand Hotel, published by New York Review Books, with a 35mm screening of the film classic starring Greto Garbo, John Barrymore, and Joan Crawford (amongst many others). The new publication, which will officially be available on June 7 but we’ll have it for sale earlier at our screening, features an introduction by Noah Isenberg. Just yesterday, NYRB put an excerpt of Noah’s introduction which we’re happy to provide a little taste of here…

EAVESDROPPING ON WEIMAR
Noah Isenberg

In the preface to her posthumously published memoirs, It Was All Quite Different, written in 1960, the last year of her life, Viennese-born writer Vicki Baum begins with a reckoning of sorts:

You can live down any number of failures, but you can’t live down a great success. For thirty years I’ve been a walking example of this truism. People are apt to forgive and forget a flop because they care little about things that aren’t in the papers or on television, and a book that fails dies silently enough. But a success, moth-eaten as it may be, will pop up among old movies or as a hideous musical or in a new film version, or in a Japanese, a Hebrew, a Hindu translation—and there you are.

The success to which Baum is referring is her international best seller Grand Hotel. In the novel, Baum brought her readers into a complex, multi-perspectival world—in this case a luxurious, pulsating, yet vaguely tragic first-class hotel—in which they can eavesdrop on the conversations, and on the lives, of the finely observed people that she presents. Readers became so attached to the characters that when the novel was initially serialized in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, whose circulation at the time topped two million, they wrote letters of protest after a certain unnamed character (no spoilers here) gets killed off late in the story. Originally published as Menschen im Hotel in Berlin in 1929, the book was quickly adapted to the stage, co-written by Baum, where it opened in January 1930 to rave reviews and an extended run at the Theater am Nollendorfplatz under the direction of Max Reinhardt and his star pupil Gustaf Gründgens (who played the leather-clad gangster boss in Fritz Lang’s M the following year).

When Grand Hotel was published in the United Kingdom in 1930, it earned a new round of impassioned accolades from both critics (“brilliant” and “especially poignant to the present day”) and the public. After an English-language stage adaptation made a major splash on Broadway, Doubleday released the American edition in early February 1931. It spent several weeks at the top of the Publishers Weekly bestseller list and sold 95,000 copies in the first six months. Baum soon relocated to Hollywood, where she assisted in adapting her story to the screen at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; the credit sequence of the film features her prominent byline beneath the title. In 1932, she attended the glitzy premiere in Times Square, escorted by none other than Noël Coward. Directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Greta Garbo, the Barrymore brothers, and Joan Crawford, the film earned the studio the Oscar for Best Picture that year.

Read the rest of Noah Isenberg’s excerpted introduction to GRAND HOTEL here.
Buy tickets to the June 2 screening of THE GRAND HOTEL at 7pm here.

Posted in Essays | Tagged , , , ,