Dir: Todd Verow
85 min., 16mm, 1:1.37, Color, WP
Produktion: Bangor Films, Boston. Produzent, Buch, Kamera: Todd Verow. Co-Autor, Mit-Produzent: James Dwyer. Co-Produzentin: Lisa Correia. Ausführende Produzenten: L. Diane Fortier, Robert Jason. Musik: Milo Jones, The Jose Fist, Theta Bara, Glissenette, Noel McKenna, Lisa Sirois, Herwig Maurer, Robert Jason. Schnitt: Jared Dubrino. Standphotograph: James Dwyer, Todd Verow. Koordination der Postproduktion: Kate Conroy. Kommentar: James Dwyer.
Darsteller: Bonnie Dickenson (Frances), Todd Verow (Paul), Linda Eknoian (Rita), Rita Gavelis (Kate), P.J. Marino (Brian), Castalia Jason (Frances' Schwester), Leanne Whitney (Lisa), Bill Dwyer (Bill), Eric Sapp (neurotischer Mann), Maureen Picard (Witwe), Eric Romley (John).
Uraufführung: 19.2.1997, Internationales Forum des Jungen Films.
Weltvertrieb: Bangor Films, 111 Hillside St. #3, Boston, MA. 02120 USA, Tel. (617) 734 1188.
Wed 19.02. 16:30 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Wed 19.02. 22:00 Delphi Thu 20.02. 13:00 Arsenal Fri 21.02. 22:15 Akademie der Künste Sun 23.02. 19:00 Babylon
The film's use of video and improvisation evokes and illuminates a gritty urban landscape of shifting personae, brash energy and the jump-start of a sputtering lifestyle.
(...) LITTLE SHOTS OF HAPPINESS is the first of a trilogy I had planned on making for quite some time. Upon returning from Germany and the festival I will begin pre-production on Shucking the Curve, the second film.
Reviewing my past short films allowed me to reflect on the common theme that runs through all of them: identity, and more specifically, the American persona, a psychedelic monster that has generated a popular culture of genius and mediocrity.
On this film I wanted actors and myself, no interference and no distraction. I chose Bonnie Dickenson as the lead, having worked with her on three previous films by other directors and Frisk where her acting in smaller roles always seemed to steal the scene in the best way possible. The script was limited to a story outline, a stream of consciousness voice-over and spontaneous improvisation. We filmed in and around Boston using real location. Music was provided by local bands that span three or four musical genres. The result is something I am extremely proud to share in Berlin this year.
The month I spent playing Frances in LITTLE SHOTS OF HAPPINESS was like nothing I had imagined. I arrived in Boston ready to work, my script outlined with extensive color-coded notes, every emotion and thought written down per scene. I was in good health due to exercise, healthy eating, and being an avid non-smoker and drinker. I was excited, finally a part, something I could dig my teeth into.
After the first week of shooting, I realized my notes and outlines were completely useless. We could start the scene with what was written down, but then improve our way through the meat of the scene with Todd's guidance. Each take was long and grueling. When I thought I had finally nailed it, Todd would say, "Well, we're getting there, let's try it this way." He pushed me. I have to admit I was a little bitter at first, not being used to this way of working and all. What about all my notes and preparation, my classical training? Somehow, subconsciously I realized: Oh, this part calls for more. I had to become Frances, but how?
My accomodations during the film were with a friend of my mother (there was no production money for a hotel). Her teen-aged daughter and her college-aged son befriended me. It was their summer vacation, so there was a party every night. As my character, Frances, freed herself from adult life, so did I. I started reliving my high school days, but now with the confidence and knowledge of an adult. I could not help but love the attention I received from some very energetic eighteen year old boys; who were stunned when I revealed my age to them - and then regarded me as an older sister.
By the second week of shooting I was up to a pack a day and looked with scorn on people who disapproved of smoking in restaurants. I started living out Frances' fantasies and rebellion. As she started drinking, so did I, and with complete abandon. All of a sudden, I was Frances and boy was it fun!
By the third week, my new lifestyle started taking its toll. I would show up a little tired and puffy on the set due to my excursions from the night before. Not so coincidentally, Frances had also started her downward spiral at this point of filming. Todd didn't seem to mind, I think he understood the process I was going through. Whatever is good for the movie. Plus, then he didn't feel so bad when he made me run through a fountain in broad daylight wearing only a tight black dress.
It all ended too soon. I had to say good-bye to my new best friends and cried at the airport. I didn't want to leave, I didn't want to go back to my boring adult life. My boyfriend didn't recognize me when I got home. I was into Rap music, Camel Lights and baggy jeans. I found all my twenty-something friends incredibly dull. I missed Boston, I missed Frances.
By the way, life is back to normal now. I quit smoking, my friends don't seem so bad, and I get tipsy from a glass of wine. Oh well, back to reality I guess.
Todd Verow was born on November 11, 1966 in the town of Bangor, Maine. He studied film at the American Film Institute and the Rhode Island School of Design and directing at Brown University. He has worked as cinematographer on Terminal USA, Totally F***'d Up and Mod Fuck Explosion. LITTLE SHOTS OF HAPPINESS is Verow's second feature film. His first, Frisk, screened in last year's Forum. Verow's shorts include V is for Violet, Built for endurance, Gun, The Flesh is Willing and The Death of Dottie Love. He currently resides in Boston.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.