Thursday, December 22, 2005

Finding Home

Mental note: Look out for this one

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (ANS) -- Former child star and award-winning producer Victoria Paige Meyerink and her husband, award-winning director Lawrence David Foldes are traveling the country city-by-city promoting their new film "Finding Home," as it opens in several new markets each month. (Pictured:
Finding Home's producer Victoria Paige Meyerink is a former child star, having co-starred legends like Rock Hudson, Clint Walker and Danny Kaye. Victoria is pictured with co-star Elvis Presley in the 1968 film Speedway).

Meyerink played the role of "Ellie Esterlake" opposite Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra in MGM's Speedway (1968). She also co-starred with Rock Hudson, Clint Walker and opposite Danny Kaye on his popular CBS variety series, and was a regular on such popular series as Green Acres, My Three Sons and Family Affair.

According to details released to the media by Brian Mayes of the Nashville Publicity Group, Meyerink was in 1998 diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a nonmalignant brain tumor. They dropped everything to research the ailment.

Mayes told ASSIST News Service (ANS): "Shunning traditional surgery that would have most likely caused partial paralysis and other devastating effects, Meyerink eventually was treated successfully with a new form of therapy involving a gamma knife, a device that can deliver radiation doses with pinpoint accuracy to deep- seated tumors within the brain."

He continued: "The medical crisis caused the filmmaking couple to ponder their cinematic legacy with renewed intensity. They wanted to leave behind something meaningful that would touch people's lives and have a lasting impact. The journey led them to make FINDING HOME -- the story of a young, big-city workaholic who re-evaluates her life and investigates her past after inheriting a picturesque island inn from her grandmother in Maine."

Mayes says the message is simple: "Love is the ultimate forgiveness."

FINDING HOME stars Academy Award® winner Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), Academy Award® nominee Geneviève Bujold (Anne Of The Thousand Days), Academy Award® nominee Justin Henry (Kramer vs. Kramer, Sixteen Candles), Academy Award® nominee Jason Miller (The Exorcist), Johnny Messner (Anacondas, Hostage, Tears of the Sun), Emmy Award nominee Sherri Saum (One Life to Live, Beggars & Choosers) and Lisa Brenner of Mel Gibson’s The Patriot. Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Michael Cimino and Arthur Hiller personally consulted on the project. (Pictured: Cover of
Finding Home from Clear Star Pictures, now playing in select cities around the country).

Mayes said that FINDING HOME has garnered numerous awards on the festival circuit including 5 Best Picture awards, Best Director and Best Actress awards at the Monaco Int’l. Film Festival, and named "Best of the Festival" at both the Sarasota and Nashville Film Festivals.

"The picture was also honored with the Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Song Awards at the Rome Int’l. Film Festival, as well as the Excellence in Producing Award at the Montréal World Film Festival," he said.

"Many churches around the country are finding the film valuable as a discussion topic and lesson tool in Bible study programs, and we are having a tremendous response from pastors and religious leaders. One Nashville-based pastor said last week that every mother should take their daughter to see this film," said Mayes.

Mayes said that Foldes' critically acclaimed, award-winning motion picture FINDING HOME is gaining national attention.

"Shot with Christian funding, FINDING HOME is currently in regional release around the U.S., expanding to Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis and Little Rock in September."

Details in a press release e-mailed to ANS state that FINDING HOME is "a powerful story of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption.

"The film tells the story of a young woman who must unravel the mysteries of her family's troubled past when she returns to her grandmother's remote island inn where she is forced to re-evaluate her own life and values.

"Filmed at spectacular locations on Deer Isle, Maine, the story addresses important social and psychological issues such as sexual responsibility, the importance of family, and making the right choices in life. Many churches around the country are finding the film valuable as a discussion topic and lesson tool in Bible study programs."

MOVIEGUIDE® film critic Ted Baehr says FINDING HOME is "a well-crafted, evocative moive."

Baehr commented: "Strong moral points are made throughout and the Bible is quoted in a magnificent way. The movie works extremely well and is highly entertaining. MOVIEGUIDE® urges audiences, especially young people, to see this movie for its entertaining, profound insights."

The film stars Academy Award® winner Louise Fletcher, best known for her role as Nurse Ratched opposite Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Geneviève Bujold, and Justin Henry, the Academy Award® nominated child star of Kramer vs. Kramer and star of John Hughes' Sixteen Candles.

The cast also includes Lisa Brenner of Mel Gibson's The Patriot, Johnny Messner (Anacondas, Tears of the Sun) and Emmy Award nominee Sherri Saum (One Life to Live, Beggars & Choosers), and Academy Award® nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller (The Exorcist) in his final role. Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Michael Cimino and Arthur Hiller personally consulted on this heartfelt drama.

Mayes says FINDING HOME is the culmination of a five-year odyssey for award-winning director Lawrence David Foldes and award-winning producer Victoria Paige Meyerink who invested their entire life savings in finishing the picture.

The husband and wife team erected a full service temporary movie studio on Deer Isle, and faced the challenges of marine filming and 14-foot tidal shifts. They also had to extend the New England "fall color" from Labor Day until Christmas. The project originated at The Int’l. Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine where Foldes and Meyerink, faculty members for over fifteen years, were approached by a student with the original storyline. Foldes and co-writer Grafton Harper then wrote the screenplay, spending over a year researching the field of traumatic and repressed memories with the medical community’s top experts and their patients.
(Pictured: The award-winning husband/wife filmmaking team of Lawrence David Foldes (Director) and Victoria Paige Meyerink (Producer) on Deer Isle, Maine, the location of their latest feature film Finding Home).

Meyerink gained international fame at age four when she co-starred for four seasons with Danny Kaye on his CBS variety series. She also co-starred with Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra in MGM’s Speedway as well as Brainstorm with Anne Francis, Seconds with Rock Hudson, and Night of the Grizzly with Clint Walker and Martha Hyer. On television she was a regular on the popular series Green Acres, My Three Sons and Family Affair. Foldes gained industry prominence with the highly successful cult classic Malibu High which he produced at age 18, making him the youngest professional filmmaker in history.

FINDING HOME marks the 20th anniversary of filmmaking duo Foldes and Meyerink and is a personal triumph for producer and former child star Meyerink, who battled a brain tumor and created a controversial new radiation treatment during the film’s production.

Mayes commented: "The drama and challenges the filmmakers faced on the rocky cliffs of Felsted, a famous inn and property on Deer Isle originally designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (designer of New York City’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park), were exponentially increased by Meyerink’s medical ordeal."

He said that after producing four successful features with Foldes, Meyerink was diagnosed in 1998 with an acoustic neuroma, a deep-seated brain tumor that, if surgically removed, would have left her deaf in one ear with the possibility of facial paralysis, imbalance, and other serious side effects.

He added: "She was determined to find a better treatment, so she and her husband took matters into their own hands. After consulting over forty doctors on both coasts and in Europe and interviewing hundreds of patients, Meyerink convinced Dr. Georg Noren, a prominent physician at the New England Gamma Knife Center at Rhode Island Hospital, to attempt a new protocol involving two different forms of radiation treatment. Dr. Noren believed the treatment could be successful and he and Meyerink created what is known as Fractionated Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (FGK), and Meyerink became the first patient in the world to undergo the new treatment. It worked.

"Since then, Dr. Noren has successfully treated over fifty patients and the procedure is about to be implemented in other countries. A portion of the film’s proceeds are being donated to fund further research at the New England Gamma Knife Center at Rhode Island Hospital."

Mayes said the film, which came about at the most turbulent time in the filmmakers' lives, is a major shift in the careers of Foldes and Meyerink, whose previous credits also include actioners Young Warriors and Nightforce, and comedic festival favorite Prima Donnas.

"This change in the filmmaker's focus was brought on by the life-altering challenges they encountered with Meyerink's illness and their realization of the preciousness and frailty of life.

"I could not have made this picture six or seven years ago," says Foldes.

"Victoria’s illness and her resiliency in the face of such adversity forced us to confront our mortality and allowed me to mature as a filmmaker. We began to think about the legacy that we would leave behind as filmmakers. Did we want to be known for a shelf full of action movies at Blockbuster? Or could we use our talents to create something meaningful that would enhance the lives of audiences for generations."

"We felt that we could do something more than simply babysit audiences and sell popcorn," adds Meyerink. "We have the ability to use the powerful medium of film to have a positive impact on peoples' lives.”

FINDING HOME opened in Nashville and Knoxville on September 9, and plays in Memphis and Little Rock on September 16. Castle Hill Productions, the film's New York based distributor, will continue releasing the film throughout the rest of the country in the fall.

Said Mayes: "It's in limited release now around the U.S. It opened in Nashville and Knoxville, and Little Rock and Memphis open this Friday. Atlanta, L.A., Seattle, New York and others are coming this fall."

"Foldes and Meyerink are traveling to each city, and appearing at select screenings to introduce the film and answer questions from the audience. Their grassroots approach in marketing this film has proven highly successful, resulting in extended stays and frequent sell-outs coast to coast," said Mayes.

Critics have called FINDING HOME "Stunning," "Heartfelt" and "Impeccably crafted," predicting a potential Oscar nomination for Geneviève Bujold.

Mayes said that Rex Reed of the New York Observer hails the film as "Exhilarating!" and calls it "Honest and relevant, intense and riveting, a cause for rejoicing."

"One of life's great pleasures for a film critic is the serendipitous jolt of happening upon a new work at a film festival that reaffirms the love of making movies. Lawrence David Foldes' impressive memory drama FINDING HOME is such an experience," says film critic Jake Jacobson of Westwood One/CBS Radio.
More information visit: or contact: Brian Mayes (615) 417-8149;

Brian Mayes
Nashville Publicity Group
Post Office Box 291705
Nashville, Tennessee 37229
(615) 417-8149 phone
(615) 523-1831 fax
** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.

ASSIST News Service is brought to you free of charge and is supported by friends like yourself. If you would like to make a donation (tax-deductible in the US) to help us continue this service around the world, you can do so by logging onto our website -- -- and making the donation by credit card or by sending a check to ASSIST, PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126.
If this story has been forwarded to you, click here for your own subscription to Assist News.
If you no longer wish to receive Assist News via e-mail, click here to unsubscribe.

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.10.21/96 - Release Date: 10/09/2005

The film industry | The lesson of King Kong |

The film industry | The lesson of King Kong |

Notable points:

1. This is the first time I have heard Peter Jackson described as "compact". He really is incredibly compact now, but not back in the Lord of the Rings days! More power to him, it's my turn next ;)

2. The biggest take-out of this article is that Hollywood is spending more on individual movies rather than making more movies. Whether this is smart is another thing... is this a war of attrition, where they have to spend that much? It sure doesn't sound like good business - putting all your eggs in one basket.

Hollywood New Wave

Hollywood New Wave

When I started this blog, I just wanted to learn about the artsy side of the film business. I guess I was businessed out. But it only takes reading a few interviews with writers, directors, actors and producers to see that the movie business faces huge changes, and you can either be the ostrich in the sand, or take advantage of changes.

There are some exciting changes ahead, and this list of people is a great introduction to some of them. Just as the music industry is slipping from CDs to the supremacy of the iPod and its imitators, the movie industry is going from the theatre to DVD to - what exactly? We don't know yet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wednesday: Story ch 14: The Principle of Antagonism

The principle of antagonism is, apparently, the most important and least understood part of story.

"A protagonist and his story can only be as intellectually fascinating and emotionally compelling as the forces of antagonism make them."


McKee goes on, "The more powerful and complex the forces of antagonism opposing the character, the more completely realised character and story must become."

As Janet Roach said in the workshop I attended earlier this year, antagonist doesn't always mean the bad guy. It's just whatever's in opposition to your main character, and it needs to be real.

It could be an argument. For instance in Shallow Hal, a movie I recently saw, there's no real antagonist as such, except for the paradigm that Jack Black's character is escaping.

In this chapter, McKee goes through contrary and contradictory values.

For example, the value at stake in the film is justice. The contrary to justice is unfairness - negative but not illegal behaviour.

But the contradictory to justice is injustice - breaking the law.

Then we get to the Negation of the Negation - tyranny, where injustice poses as justice.

"A story that progresses to the limit of human experience in depth and breadth of conflict must move through a pattern that includes the contrary, the contradictory and the Negation of the Negation."

It's all about reaching the end of the line.

"Fine writers have always understood that opposite values are not the limit of human experience ... If a story does not reach the negation of the negation, it may strike the audience as satisfying - but never brilliant, never sublime.

All other factors of talent, craft and knowledge being equal, greatness is found in the writer's treatment of the negative side."

My thoughts

Having watched a lot of Star Trek recently, I can see how bad stories can be when the antagonists - usually actual bad guys in Star Trek's case - aren't smart enough, or convincing enough.

In a matching of wits scenario, your bad guy needs to be very smart, so your protagonist is pushed harder, further.

In a conflict of ideologies, your antagonist needs to be just as convincing as your protagonist view. This relates back to the issue of a dilemma.

Okay, more later.

Sawdust Tuesday

Missed out on blogging yesterday because I spent most of the day at Mum's place, excavating the garage. Well, excavating might be the wrong word but that place has been so neglected, so long that it calls for an extreme term.

We did amazing feats of creativity and handiness: moving the old kitchen bench out, and reinserting it the other way around. Patching a hole in the fibrolite wall. Sweeping the floor. All fairly normal things, but for Chronic Fatigue sufferers like my mum and I, and given the amount of time since that garage has received attention, it was a massive day.

Favourite moment of the day: when I was busy in the sun assembling the workbench/vice mum bought from Supa Cheap Autos months ago, and she was improvising a patch for the odd-shaped hole in the wall.

I don't know what it was but it was a wonderful moment. We were using our God-given skills, working with our hands, the weather was great, and around us were the memories - relics, even - of ancestors who had been similarly handy (probably much more handy!).

There was dad, whose space the garage was when he was still alive. Maybe that's one reason Mum hasn't really ventured into the garage. Don't know.

There was grandad - Mum's dad - who could make or fix just about anything. His "day job" was maintaining factory sewing machines, but into his 70s he was learning new skills, and loving it.

Granddad had built a food safe in the days before chilly bins for when the family went on holiday. By "safe" I don't mean there's a combination lock on it or anything - it was just a simple wooden box, painted green, with holes in the lid and wire netting.

That safe was still there in the garage, with its wire-netting door intact, although the hinges were gone and the wood was ready to crumble to powder. The safe lasted just long enough to carry a whole bunch of rotten wood and paper over to the rapidly growing compost pile. It sits there now, waiting for the elements to finish the powerful work they had already begun many years ago.

Sawdust Tuesday - a great day!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Write Up

Write Up - Summer 2005-6 : The Online Magazine of the New Zealand Writers Guild

Some good stuff in here as soon as I get my username and password! The cover article is good, though.

The Writing Experiment, Chapter 10: Tongues, talk & technologies

At last this academic book is starting to talk my language. This chapter is all about words written for performance rather than the page or screen.

I actually started reading this chapter on the 14th of November, so forgive me if this post is a tad muddled. Why on earth did my Australia trip throw me out of routine so much? Anyway...

The term "performance writing" covers a heck of a lot, from completely improvised works through to stuff that's performed exactly as it's written.

A super-brief historical overview: sonic poetry/writing was preceded by "sound poetry" in the early experiments of dadaists or futurists. It became more prominent in the sound poetry movement of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Sometimes it's known as the Text-Sound movement.

Great quote: "A sound poem coheres through sound rather than semantics." See why I just love this academic language?

The great thing about this chapter is that you don't just read about performance pieces, you get to hear some at the special website that goes with the book.

Listen to some of them, you'll hear that some of them are more about the sounds made than making sense. In non-academic circles, good examples are the poems of Spike Milligan (on the ning nang nong where the cows go bong) and John Lennon's early poems (one of them was called a Spaniard in the Works which I thought was a fantastic title).

Then there's mixed media: "Performance can form a site for intersections between the verbal, visual, sonic and gestural, which result in a mixed-media (or intermedia) event."

I like that image, that performance creates a space where all these other things can meet.

Mixed media, in this setting, contrasts with drama thusly:

In drama, character and plot are more important than language and its relationship with the visual, sonic and gestural.

In intermedia, however, "the juxtaposition of words with visual images or gestures is highly interactive and constantly changing."

Smith (the author) calls this "semiotic exchange: a continuous modification by and of the different elements."

Possibilities for intermedia include:
  • Words & letters as visual objects
  • Text & Images
  • Words & Gestures (Do the gestures reinforce or contradict the words? You can have some fun with this)
  • Text & objects
  • Music & sound

Improvising means literally "writing in performance".

Jack Kerouac wrote his novels continuously and without revision.

"Improvisation is often confused with spontaneity, but it is in fact a skill which has to be learnt. Improvisers do not revise, but they draw on methods of working which they have acquired over a long period of time."

Some improvising strategies (referent-based):
  • Word pool exercise from chapter one
  • Word association (ditto) - we have magnetic poetry to help us with this
  • Multi-track recording - do a dialogue with yourself
  • Change dynamic, accentuation and volume of your voice. Don't be too worried about meaning, just experiment.
  • Study other improvisers like David Antin or Spalding Gray.
  • Improvise with others
A good quote: "Don't be too burdened by the pressure to make sense."

Listen to yourself while you're improvising. You may find when you listen that the text is more interesting than it seemed when you were actually inventing it!

Performance scores

Not a script, but a score to give performers parameters, or as this book says "trigger & constraint"

E.g. Jackson Mac Low has this thing where performers must interact with all sounds, even atmospheric or audience sounds, to create pleasant sound pictures.

Other examples, the theatrical work of Kenneth Koch, where he writes no dialogue, only instructions.

The rest of the chapter dealt with audience interaction, and gender and ethnicity (of course!) and how technology and performance can challenge assumptions about these areas.

My thoughts

Sometimes I struggle with the academic literary world's seeming obsession with meaningless, but as I listen to some of my favourite bands (Crowded House and REM come to mind) their lyrics don't make much sense much of the time. What makes sense is the emotion, largely carried through their music and the way they sing the lyrics.

So, meaning sometimes comes out of somewhere else than the writer's intention, or carefully chosen words. And that's what I'm supposed to be learning, I guess! ;)

About improvisation - some bits that really stand out to me from films have been improvised.

Raging Bull - Jake's tirade to his neighbour who complains was completely ad-libbed. But because Scorcese takes a very improvisational approach to his films, it didn't stick out like a sore thumb, the whole film had a realness about it.

Citizen Kane, on the other hand, has a scene where Joseph Cotton's character flubs his line, says "I must have drunk too much" and carries on. It's a nice moment of realism but was in fact a real-life blooper that they had to leave in because of time constraints. It really works, but it also stands out from the theatricality of the rest of the film.

The scene with Jack Black and Tony Robbins in the elevator in Shallow Hal was brilliantly done, and I could tell that it was improvised. I don't know how I could tell, but sometimes you just can't write stuff like that. Also, Tony Robbins is not an actor, so I knew he probably wasn't going off a script.

Banana hands... hehe ... my favourite scene in the whole movie. Jack Black and Jason Alexander are also great together, improvising up the wazoo, and not competing with each other.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
was great too ... the director's style allowed the actors to inhabit the characters as much as possible, which I think is remarkable. They weren't worried about hitting certain marks etc, they could just be their character in the setting. Which means that the director and production team would have had to work extra hard. Great results, though.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog

Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog

For future reference (this guy doesn't have an RSS feed on his blog).

(Actually, neither do I)

The Kong is dead - long live the epic video game - Film - Entertainment

The Kong is dead - long live the epic video game - Film - Entertainment

For future reference. This man knows what he's talking about :)

Custody the Movie

Eric, from the Hollywood Writers Group, has this blog for his movie. Consider this post my mental note to have a look through it.