Sneak Peek

Well folks I hope everyone is well. We are making progress on art work and typesetting for the up coming Neo-Noir novel: When The Luck Runs Dry. The project is nearing a completion date in mid February, with a launch date tentatively set for March 17, 2021. Due to the pandemic the launch may have to be a virtual event, depending on the Co-Vid situation here in Canada. I am working on the social media sites related to the book, which you can find in the About and Contact menus above. Otherwise I am slowly writing away at the sequel novel: Fallen Angels, and I had a nice workshop with the #QuebecWritersFederation on the weekend that helped move that along. So here is a small excerpt from the upcoming book and if you are chomping at the bit to read it, you can watch the 2012 film version on I Tunes in North America here: https://factoryfilmstudio.com/portfolio-item/lucky-7/

Excerpt:

I step out of the cab into the now brisk air, and the cab driver helps me gather my things from the trunk. He lays them on the sidewalk while I light another cigarette. He reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out a business card and hands it to me. –
Taxi Driver: “Anytime you need a lift, here’s my number. Big tippers like you don’t come around very often!”
He chuckles and slides back into his taxi, pulling away into the darkened night, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
The sign from Farleys’ is lit from the side swinging slightly in the wind. But another light is glowing now from the downstairs storefront, a neon red and violet glow from an illuminated cross in the window. Strange to see. This was and old hardware store last, I remember-—Millers’?
Now as I look up, I see a new sign: The Church of The Universal Prophet. Jesus. You can thank the tax-free status of churches for all these store-front operations. Usually run by some crackpot or another—or some Mafia clan doing some old school money laundering. I try and peer through the drawn shades, but the view is obscured. Yet my ears can make out the sounds of an electric church organ filtering out onto the street. Sounds like an old school Protestant hymn from way back. Well, to my untrained ear at least.
But duty calls, and I turn toward the doorway to the right of the building and open the door. Farley’s is a strange old building, and the main oddity of it is that the pub is located on the upper floor. Many an inebriated patron has taken a tumble down this flight of stairs over the years, but no casualties so far—that I know of, that is. Other than a few livers, but those are a self-inflicted wound.
As I open the door, I hear the organ music from the church being overpowered by some Irish folk rock emanating from upstairs. The Irish—the Blacks of Europe. “No Dogs or Irishmen need apply, etc.” No longer: once shunned like the Italians in throughout North America, now everyone runs out to drink green beer and knows all the words to every song by U2. Kind of funny really. And the music only gets louder as I ascend the stairs.
I round the corner at the top of the stairs and enter a time capsule. The music and lights and pool tables and bar stools: they are all just as I remember them. The two guys tending bar are familiar as well, except a few years older. They’re my brothers, Allan and Brian, and the barfly at the end of the bar—he is still here as well: Alex Quigley. It was Quigley who first notices me standing silhouetted in the doorway, as I drop by duffel bag to the floor.
Quigley: “Well. If it isn’t Lucky 7; like Lazarus back from the dead!”
Lucky 7. That was nickname bestowed on me at a young age, being the 7th kid in a brood of 8. The only one younger than me was Frankie. I was deemed to be the one to bring good fortune upon the family, being the 7th born, but the only luck I seem to have brought was bad. Or so it may seem up to now anyways.
And, just now, my luck seems to not be taking too much of a positive spin either, as my brothers catch sight of me and advance from behind the bar with a mix of shock and anger in their eyes. Allan stands back while Brian advances forward blocking my path.
Brian: “Jesus Fucking Christ.”
Not the best wording for a conversation starter I think, but before I can reply, a flash of fist rises from below and a powerful pain shocks my jaw. And then the lights go out. For me anyways. Some homecoming.

Photo Credit: Sabrina Armani

Read it Soon-Watch It Now

Watch Here: https://factoryfilmstudio.com/portfolio-item/lucky-7/

As we near the publication in Spring 2021 of: When The Luck Runs Dry, here is some information on the 2011 feature film version of the story. It’s available now to stream or purchase on iTunes in Canada and the USA though Factory Film Studios! If you can’t wait to read it, you can watch it in the meantime:)

Here a little description and info on the neo-noir film:

Given up for dead, Patrick Farley (Lucky 7) returns home to pay a gambling debt to the mob but finds he’s been framed for murder. His luck’s run dry so he makes his own, and it becomes a dangerous game filled with sex, drugs, violence and betrayal. Can he hold on to the beauty he also finds waiting for him here in the heart of this broken down city, and follow its path back home?

Nominated for Best Screenplay -2007 Queen’s International Film Festival
Audience Choice Award -Hamilton Film Festival 2011
Official Screening Shanghai International Film Festival 2012-Focus Canada
EFM Berlinale 2013-Market Screening
Official Selection -BNFF 2014
Showcase Selection-Lucerne International Film Festival 2014

Some Press: http://playbackonline.ca/2012/06/08/canadians-showcase-20-films-at-shanghai-international-film-festival/

Follow us on FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LUCKY-7/36607157098?ref=stream

December 2020 Update

Hey folks! I hope everyone is well and surviving as best they can in these strange times. I am relocated back to Dundas, Ontario for the Winter. Walking in snow and ice is an issue for me, so Montreal isn’t the ideal place in the colder months for personal mobility.

Things are moving along slowly but surely with the final stages of work on: When The Luck Runs Dry. I am hoping for a March 2021 release, but with the pandemic situation that is a bit fluid at the moment.

Here is a small synopsis of the novel:

Given up for dead, Patrick Farley returns home to pay a gambling debt to the mob but finds he’s been framed for murder. His luck’s run dry, so he makes his own; and it becomes a dangerous game filled with sex, drugs, violence and betrayal. Can he hold on to the beauty he also finds waiting for him here in the heart of this broken down city, and follow its path back home?

Currently Laura Boyle is working on the interior design and typesetting of the manuscript. She’s done many cool book and cover designs including for Dundurn Press. London artist Jeremy Bruneel is currently working on cover art work. He has a unique style which he hopes to meld with a retro pulp detective novel look. You can take a peek at some of work on his Wixsite: https://jeremybruneel.wixsite.com/illustration

Speaking of taking a look at things, When The Luck Runs Dry is based on my script and 2011 feature film : Lucky 7. The film was selected for the 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival, and went on to North American distribution wth Factory Film Studios. You can rent or purchase it in North America on I Tunes so take a look : https://factoryfilmstudio.com/portfolio-item/lucky-7/

I’ll be updating again early in January with more news, and a little feature on my cousin Bob Hayes. He is a retired Wolf Researcher turned writer and he has just published his 4th book. Till then take care and think good thoughts.

Stephen

Photo Credit- Sabrina Armani

Neo-Noir news from Montreal

Hey folks it’s been a while since I’ve posted but there have been a lot of recent developments here at the former home of CineRadioWaves.

I relocated in June 2019 , at least for most of the year , to Montreal QC. As a result I have ended my long-running radio programme at CFMU-FM. However you can still find me on alternate Wednesday mornings from 9-11 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal. I host a show( offsite for now due to this dam pandemic) called Fallen Angels Radio.

While my film blogging has dropped off, I have been busy with some writing, completing a of new couple scripts. I also became involved in the Quebec Writes Federation and took some inspiration from a workshop with David Homel ; and spent the pandemic months working on the first draft of a novel.

It is titled: When The Luck Runs Dry. The next few months are finishing off the interior design and cover art elements of the book. A hopeful publishing date is Spring 2021.

So stay tuned for that, and I have just started work on a follow-up novel: Fallen Angels.

The site is a bit of a work in progress but some relevant social media links are on our home page, and a link for the 2012 film Lucky 7 (the up-coming book is based on my original screenplay for the film).

More news soon!

Cinema Fever takes hold on Sherman Ave. North in Hamilton

After a long drought it now seems Hamilton has not just one, but two repertory cinemas in the lower city.  This March saw the rebirth of two of Hamiltons  movie palaces to their former glories: The Westdale Cinema and the Playhouse Cinema.

John and Wendy Tutt have a long history with repertory cinemas. In Waterloo ON in 1985, when your humble writer was just entering Film Studies at U of W, Tutt took a gamble and opened the Princess Cinema at the back of an almost derelict Kent Hotel in Uptown Waterloo, ON.

http---media.zuza.com-3-6-3611fa4e-d353-4791-8367-a18e0e72f8c8-B821427278Z.1_20131026101618_000_GGB13LNLO.2_Gallery

The Kent (Heuther) Hotel in Uptown Waterloo

The  cinema blossomed through the  years, and also was an early anchor in the revitalization of the entire hotel building complex through the years. It now contains a brew pub, pool hall, cafe, jazz club, bar, and deli.

27636161422_91f95ae38e_b

The Original Princess Cinema in Waterloo

Later, the Tutt’s took their success down the street, and  purchased an old furniture store on King Street in Uptown Waterloo. Here they had a chance to build & retrofit from scratch a twin screen cinema, w cafe, restaurant and wi-fi lounge, which opened in 2005.

Princess-Twin-cinema-Alexandra-Guizzetti1

The Princess Twin-opened in 2005

In the Fall of 2017, I received a call from Terrance Odette, a local filmmaker about a “For Sale” sign he had seen on Sherman Ave. N. in Hamilton. I knew the real estate agent of the listing,so put them in touch. The property in question, was an old vaudeville hall/cinema from 1914 . It had been used by a church group for many years, and was now sitting vacant.

large

The Playhouse Cinema circa 1970

After a few visits, and a thorough inspection, the Tutt’s took another gamble on a down on its luck building and neighbourhood. They purchased the property on Sherman Ave. in the Winter of 2018, and  recent business school graduate and cinema buff Jacob Tutt came on board to help  handle the task of much needed renovations; and to become the General Manager upon the cinema’s opening in Spring 2019.

Playhouse___Super_Portrait

John & Wendy Tutt w filmmaker Terrance Odette

 

B88264951Z.1_20180711194325_000_G918A447.3-0_Super_Portrait

Jacob, Wendy, andJohn Tutt

The renovations tuned into much toil and trouble, but with the help of the local trades the Tutt’s were able to honour the legacy and design of this wonderful building ,while bringing it into the modern era.

B88264951Z.1_20180711194325_000_G918A44E.3-0_Super_Portrait

Renos under way @ the Playhouse – Fall 2018

With excellent acoustics, a renovated theatre fly system, and a retractable cinema screen (is this the only one in Canada? ); The Playhouse is primed not just for film but as a new concert and theatre venue as well.

But film is at the heart of The Playhouse, and that was very much on display with the sold-out opening night screening of Cinema Paradiso on Friday March 1, 2019.

IMG_20190301_181257

Opening Night @ The Playhouse-A soon to sold out theatre opens it’s doors on March 1-2019

With a full printed monthly schedule, and membership card in hand, I enjoyed every aspect on this “new” cinema. From the excellent accessible seating and washrooms, to the snack bar (soon to be licensed), to the comfortable seats, layout, and projection image; it was a great night to revel in the joy on cinema.

Plus, it was a great occasion to catch up with some old friends and maybe meet some new ones. I even had the chance to see Jan Uhde ,my Film Professor from the University of Waterloo, which was really cool.

And it was nice to see the old Westdale Theatre manager Geoff Tressider as part of the new staff at The Playhouse. He spent many years keeping independent cinema screening alive in Hamilton-and hat’s off to him for that!

IMG_20190301_182657

Reno Relief Detail @ The Playhouse Cinema

If you want more information on the cinema and their current schedule go to: https://playhousecinema.ca

Plus here are a couple links to some interviews with Jacob on 93.3 CFMU-FM

http://cfmu.ca/episodes/13542-soundtrack-episode-for-2019-03-06

Episode 262 (Mar. 15/19)

262-mar15-19.-2

General Manager Jacob Tutt at CFMU Radio

See you at the  the movies!

 

Back In The Saddle

 

img_20190220_104017_164-1

Hey folks, it has been a while since I have been blogging, but it is time to return to it on a more regular basis . I’m working on some blogs now for he next few weeks, so stay tuned. I am also sprucing up the site ,and updating my bio and contact info. Currently, I continue to host Soundtrack on CFMU 93.3 Wednesday’s  from 10:00-12:00 EST; although there may be a change of station and city later in the year.I will keep you posted on that. Otherwise film festival wise; last October I attended some screenings at the Festival De Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. Hopefully I will be attending this years Fantasia Film Festival in July and blogging about some of the cool screenings there. Also there is a graphic novel project in the works based on a recent script I penned called Diggers...so there are a lot if things happening ,and coming down the pipe. I will be ack soon with some new blog material. Tschuss.

2018-Update

It has been a  while since I blogged, and it has been a busy year w film screenings, writing, and travel. In July, I spent a few days at the  Fantasia Film Festival 2017- and the 2018  edition is back again in 3 months time. Recently I attended the Toronto Silent Film Festival and also hosted a screening of my film Lucky 7 at The Royal Cinema in Toronto. I spent Dec-Feb in Europe, and even though I didn’t get to any festivals per se I did see some films at various interesting cinemas in Berlin, Wroclaw, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux. I was also able to check out the Toulouse Cinematheque & the Lumiere Museum in Lyon-which still has a portion of the worlds first film studio. Very cool place. Otherwise, I have been spending some time writing; a new script is in the can plus some preliminary musings on a couple other idea…and radio wise the show on CFMU is still going strong and I acquired a lot of great vinyl in Europe-much to the distress of my pocket book:) Anyways cheers for now and I hope too be back at the blogging on a more frequent basis:)

20180119_18453120180119_18291820180102_17200320170830_101341

20180406_18361420180416_175902

FMF 2017

I was lucky enough to be at the official kickoff of the 10th annual Festiwal Muzyki Filmowej W Krakowie ; and then attend the full festival which ran from May 17-23.

Held yearly in beautiful Krakow,Poland- this is a festival for film music lovers as well as industry and artistic people involved in the ever-changing and growing field of film music.

With an excellent staff and volunteer team and the generous support of RMF Classic , this is a great place to immerse yourself in the world of sounds from the cinema and to get  insightfull commentary from the big names in film scoring ;as well as many up and coming composers.

Featuring a full slate of workshops in addition to talks and concerts this is a go to mecca for the film music enthusiast.

Definitely check out their website for video, pics, information, and a very cool link to listen to the new compilation CD released on Varese Sarabande: FMF 2017

Press Conference-Host:Magdalena Wojewoda-in attendance were:Robert Piaskowski,  Abel Kornzeniowski,Trevor Morris, and Robert Townson.

IMG_0443

Interview w: Jan AP Kaczmarek: go straight to the audio link for an interview w the composer about his music career and the Transatlantyk Festival:

FMF Interview 17-05-117

IMG_0462

PANEL: Independent Critics in Film Music
Host: Ray Bennet
Participants: Eleni Mitsiaki, Jonathan Broxton, Peter F. Ebbinghaus

IMG_0468

Opening Night Concert w Abel Korzeniowski- a sold out concert hall at the ICC enjoys a fantastic concert featuring the composers film and television music.

abel_korzeniowski

Some Q and A time w Trevor Morris: head to the audio link for a lengthy conversation w composer Morris about his music for film, TV, and video games:

FMF Interview-20-05-17

IMG_0470

Q and A w Klaus Doldinger and Jean-Michel Bernard- the audio is poor,but a great talk by the composers as well as a cool impromptu jam at the end-audio link is here:  Doldinger + Bernard talk film music and jam some jazz near the end

IMG_0474

IMG_0487

Thoughtful words from Giorgio Moroder- hiatus since the mid-90’s-spent time doing art, photography,a piano concert, and he renovated  car-recently he has been back doing DJ work and has scored a series called: Queen Of The South-started doing film music in the 70’s after he was bought to the attention of Alan Parker, this was after he produced Donna Summers: I Need Love.-He scored Parker’s hit film Midnight Express, winning an Oscar for Best original Score in 1977-he talked a bit about the film Metropolis and his struggle to modernize it w new music and a restored print-by the time they could track all the footage down it had been 2 years and the result already seemed dated when it was finally released-it was the first digital sound presentation-says he is not a great keyboard player-never toured much-started as the first DJ in Germany in 1969 and has now come full circle to do live DJ shows(including the outdoor one in Krakow at FMF)-it is fun he says-he says he must have mixed over 1 thousand songs in the studio over the years-says the new digital technology is great-for 2k you can have a good set-up w a laptop-” it’s a democracy of music now”-talked about his hits written for Top Gun-said they recorded a demo w The Motels lead singer which ended up being re-recorded w Berlin for the big hit “Take My Breath Away”-talked about Scarface-now a cult classic-very high expectations when it was produced-Moroder did the Main Theme and 5 songs-cast and crew screening ended in complete silence-the critics hated it & helped kill it-when it came out on video it was a great success especially in the African-American community-big cult movie-Jay Z wanted to redo the songs w some rap and Beyonce-Universal wanted to but DePalma said no-so an album inspired by Scarface came out-Moroder would write more music for it and re-record some stuff if he could-he said 30 out of 100 songs he did were “good” and 10 did well at the charts…to see pictures of his performance at FMF 2017 go to the FMF website at: FMF 2017

IMG_0496

All Is Film Music + Titanic shows pack the house at Tauron Arena-  there is a lot of interest in film music here in Poland as is evidenced by two packed houses at the 17,000 seat Tauron Arena in Krakow

IMG_0522IMG_0530IMG_0513

Standing room only to hear Howard Shore: Shore says he lives in a wooded area in the countryside and this setting really helped him connect with the Lord Of The Rings storyline-this is where he writes and he records mostly in Europe-he starts writing with a pencil and paper then he progresses to digital technology-he studied clarinet and leaned the importance of writing with a pencil-says he doesn’t compose on a computer-he says he writes “away from the film”- he views it once, then writes roughly 45 mins of music after improvising and dreaming about the film-writes more about the “idea” of the film and not so much about the images-writing from the heart-then come orchestration- In Silence Of The Lambs he concentrated his writing on the character played by Jodi Foster rather than the monster character of Anthony Hopkins-In 86  he scored The Fly for David Cronenberg w no electronics-afterwards he started  developing his “Opera Technique with Electronics”– for Signs Of Life (89) he used electonic sound with mechanical and underwater sounds and noise and these played the music he had written-this unsettleded the score when mixed with the orchestrated recording- he talked about the challenge of the 13 minute main title sequence for Hugo (2011)-and mentioned a recent film Denial (2016) shot in Poland- Lord Of The RingsPeter Jackson flew him over to see what they were doing-everything was made by hand for the film-it was a huge challenge for him-he was 9,000 miles away and NZ still only had 56k dial-up internet service-logistical nightmare w over 4 hours of music- he doest have a “team”-he orchestrates, writes, and conducts-wrote for 230 musicians+orchestra+choir+vocalists-he developed a “technique” to control all this-so he took 1 year for each LOR score to write, orchestrate, produce and develop extended versions-he wrote 12 hours of music which took 3 years and 9 months all in…longest production in film history as the films were all shot together and then The Hobbit began..a great talk by Howard Shore!!

IMG_0512

IMG_0439

Goeast-2017-2

More great films here at the goEast FF ,which has wrapped up now with the awards having been given out a few days ago. Here is a little more about some of the films I was able to check out…

The Citizen– d. Ronald Vranik ( Hungary-2016)

Director Vranik returns to the festival after screening his film Transmision here in 2009. This time around he weaves a very human story centring around a African migrant in Budapest ,who struggles to make himself a part of Hungarian society. He comes into the circle of an illegal Iranian immigrant named: Shirin ,as well as a married Hungarian woman: Maria. This trio of characters become intwined in a fluid relationship involving love and loss,as well as racism ,and responsibility.

I found the film had a strong new- realist influence, as the director studies the socio-economic,race, and immigration issues prevalent in modern Hungary. But he never loses sight of the very human story unfolding before us.

Using a cast including a former economist from Africa and a designer from Iran the film grounds itself in an authenticity that again has echoes of the Italian new-realist movement.

A strong  feature here from Popfilm in Hungary….

IMG_0283

Exiled-d. Davis Simanis ( Latvia-2016)

This is the story of a German army doctor sent to Latvia in 1917 in the midst of WW I. He does so to report on back on the conditions of the facilitiy looking after wounded soldiers in a dilapidated old manor house.

While sporadic fighting takes place in the surrounding area, the doctor finds that the injured are suffering from unknown illness’ and trauma from the horrors of the war; and he seems incapable of healing them. All he can really provide for them is comfort and compassion and his time doesn’t seems fruitless. That is until he rescues a young boy left alone in the forest, and finds that perhaps he can help him find his way back to civilization.

Wonderfully played by Ulrich Matthes, this film is loosely  based on the the story of Ovids exile. It is a tough, unrelenting movie, based in historical research on WW I, which was the first large scale mechanized war ;and as a result the first war to unleash a wave of mental and emotional suffering on this magnitude.

IMG_0300

Filthy-d. Tereza Nvotova (Czech/Slovakia-2016)

Filthy is a gritty new film from first time director Nvotova. A graduation work for FAMU, this is an impressive film dealing with the topics of sexual abuse, mental illness, and coming of age.

After being victimized by a family friend and raped, our main character finds herself housed in a mental institution as she tries to cope with the trauma of the event.

Shot in the largest mental institution in Slovakia, a facility little changed since the Communisti Era, the director uses actors and real patients in the wards to give the movie the definite realist edge, and to ground it in the context of modern Slovak society.

Th story deals with  difficult and serious subject, but we never lose sight of the drama and encapsulation of tthe resiliency of human courage.

An impressive first film from Nvotova, and  one would hope for more good things to come from her in the future.

IMG_0348

Marina, Mabuse, and Moritori-d. Kathryn Andersen (Germany 2016)

Artur Brauner and his film studio are the subject if this new documentary from director Andersen.

Brauer survived the Holocast in Poland and made it to West Berlin in 1946. Always having been interested in cinema, he convinced his grandmother to sell her fur coat and with this money financed his first film: Moritori.

Shot in the ruins of Berlin, in near impossible conditions, Braurer created a solid drama about the persecution of Jews in WW II. Unfortunately the film was unsuccessful at the cinemas, so Braurer produced a more commercial film next, which proved to be a big success.

With the proceeds from this film, Brauer purchased an old poison  gas factory in Spandau mand here he set up his CCC Studios.

These studios were to pump out up to 18 feature films a year in the 1950s, and Brauer was credited with singlehandedly keeping the Berlin film scene alive after most of the talent had fled following the war.

The studio would go on to produce over 700 films, including  over 250 made by Brauner himself. Although concentrating on commercial fare the studio did make 24 films through the years dealing with the Holocast. These include Wadjas: A Love Story In Germany and the award wining film : Europa Europa.

Now in his 90s Brauner has handed most of the duties of the studio to his daughter ( and director of this film), Kathryn Andersen.

A very cool look at at the father of ” creative producing” ….

IMG_0347

 

A Hole In The Head-d. Robert Kirchhoff (Czech/Slovak-2016)

A documentary styled as an auteur film. This is an apt description of a new film by director Kirchhoff which is the latest in a series of works that include the award winning film : Normalization.

Here the director  has made a film that explores the neglected issue of the persecution of the Roma people’s , and their suffering at the hands of the Nazis during WW II.

Individual stories and remembrances are used to create a film more about the memories of the atrocities of the Roma Holocast, than a researcher-led traditional documentary telling of the story.

This style helps connect the film to its diverse characters knowledge of the past, and to their present day situations; including  their hopes for a recognition of their suffering…..

IMG_0285