A famous Hollywood actor and an acclaimed writer visiting Leland tomorrow will not only honor local veterans with a film and a book about our nation’s war heroes, they will also conduct a workshop with drama students and creative writing students from Leland Public School.
Talking Movies to screen The Girl on the Train in May at the Directors Guild of America
March 14, 2014
"Put yourself in the hands of a talented storyteller, writer-director Larry Brand."
April 14, 2014
The Girl on the Train: Put yourself in the hands of a talented storyteller, writer-director Larry Brand, who entertainingly keep his audience off-balance, peeling away the onion-like layers of parallel tales in separate times and places.
The Girl on the Train heads south to the Palm Beach International Film Festival
March 13, 2014
When documentary filmmaker Danny Hart boards a train at Grand Central Station, he has no reason to expect anything more than a pleasant ride to upstate New York to interview the subjects for his latest project.
Traverse City Film: Coexist Comedy Film Premieres At Comedy Arts Fest
September 11, 2013
Traverse City Film: The comedy documentary The Coexist Comedy Tour, produced by Leland residents, Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter of 8180 Films, has its theatrical debut at this year’s Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival on Saturday, February 16th at 1:00 PM at the State Theatre. Reynolds, Carpenter, director Larry Brand and subject comedian John Fugelsang will be in attendance
Can I Shoot My Low Budget Indie Film in New York City?
Indie producer Rebecca Reynolds explains how her production company, 8180 Films, maximized a change in film tax credit policy.
Local film company wraps up New York City Film Shoot.
The Girl on the Train Rolls Through the East Village
Last night, Mary Help of Christians Church was ethereally illuminated as writer-director Larry Brand filmed scenes from “Girl on the Train,” a neo-noir thriller starring Henry Ian Cusick as a documentary filmmaker, Stephen Lang as a detective, and Nicki Aycox as the titular femme fatale.
Hollywood may be scraping the bottom of the barrel but once in a while it comes out with some exceptional films, like for example Christina, directed by Larry Brand, which was easily the best of the 130-odd Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) film festival which concluded recently.
Newport Beach Filmmaker Interview with Larry Brand
“To the end of Berlin and the beginning of America”
After some ill-received thrillers and a misfire with the script of Halloween: Resurrection, I’m not exactly sure why Larry Brand gravitated to writing and directing a very small, three character piece dealing with emotional turmoil at the end of WWII. I can only assume that this has been a passion project of his for some time and I applaud the newly formed Michigan-based 8180 Films for supplying the money to get this expertly acted and shot piece into theatres. Reminiscent of stage play-to-film adaptations like Oleanna, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Death and the Maiden, Brand’s Christina completely takes place in the oddly luxurious apartment of the titular German character on the night of her American G.I.’s return. The room is dark, the electricity goes out, but love is in the air as Christina and Billy ready for their journey across the Atlantic to start a new life together. It’s never that easy, though, as a police inspector soon arrives, dredging up past secrets that could risk unraveling all their plans; dark deeds hidden by a fractured mind of fear and distress, uncovering the pasts these two star-crossed lovers never thought would ever come to the surface.
The closing night feature, as well as winner of Best Film, at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, Christina shows the kind of power that can be yielded from a well-crafted story, drawing you in deeper and deeper with every peeled back layer. Berlin has fallen and destruction is all that’s left. People are still missing, buildings are destroyed, and many soldiers await their chance to go home. Fresh from a disciplinary hearing stemming from a lapse in judgment involving him and the black market trade of stockings, Billy needs to see his love even if he should remain on the base until departure in six weeks. Christina has been cleaning and cooking an Americanized meal for her lover, hoping to prove her worth and make him need her as much as she needs him. While readying the apartment, however, she makes sure to keep all her windows blacked out and her bedroom door closed, speaking softly to an unknown entity beyond the door to stay still and be quiet upon his arrival. It’s an intriguing mystery that soon becomes forgotten when her cheerful façade of love and adoration takes over, dotingly keeping her boyfriend occupied with kisses, food, and dancing—all the while making sure he does not open the bedroom door.
Jordan Belfi and Nicki Aycox play the pair, he an aspiring journalist and her learning English to sustain a life abroad and away from the horrors experienced in her country the past few years. Belfi shows some good acting range, something that his role in HBO’s “Entourage” lacks, although his part there is a favorite quasi-villainous one of mine. He is protective of Christina and willing to forgive anything that occurred in her past because the present is all that matters to him. He’s made mistakes of his own and is looking to start fresh just as much as her. Aycox, though, is revelatory as the lead here. Handling the accent and fumbling of English to perfection, you sense that perhaps her disposition is a little too sunny. When Belfi’s Billy slips and jokingly calls her a Kraut, an unseen anger flies forth with a clear-headed force that breaks through the kind demeanor, showing a glimpse of the person she has been hiding beneath. Not the only one with secrets, however, Billy also receives his moment of clarity when called a hero. All the optimism and outlook towards the future drains away, leaving a broken man that has seen death firsthand. He is no hero—yet those sentiments may not stem from the battlefield, but instead from his lack of fortitude in exposing injustice to save his own neck.
So, what seems at first to be a simple reunion to bide the time until they can leave Europe behind soon becomes an airing of transgressions, some minor and others unavoidably worse. Right when Christina is about to tell Billy of a secret child, conceived with the apparition of a childhood classmate one night when she visited her old hometown, a
Van Oostrum Shoots Christina on RED ONE™ Digital Camera
March 1, 2009
Los Angeles, CA — March 1st 2009: Hollywood-DI congratulates Director Larry Brand, and Producers, Jon C. Scheide and Kees Van Oostrum on completing their feature ‘Christina’. The movie was shot on the RED ONE digital cinema camera by Director of Photography Kees Van Oostrum, ASC, and colored and finished at Hollywood-DI’s post-production facility using Apple’s Final Cut Studio 2 software.
Newport Beach Film Festival Filmmaker's Five with Larry Brand
Today we talk with Larry Brand Director/Screenwriter of CHRISTINA, a film inspired by the true story of a young German woman who must confront a dark secret before she can start a new life in America. As the young woman prepares to leave her war-ravaged city to begin a new life in the U.S. with her G.I. fiance - standing between her and a hopeful future is a relentless police inspector, determined to prevent her from escaping the past. He pushes her to face the truth about a child, whose secret the woman has kept all this time. Before she can leave for her new life, she will be forced to confront the past she's been trying to leave behind.
Q: How did you hear about the Newport Beach Film Festival?
A: My executive producers, Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter, heard about it through our producers’ rep, Noor Ahmed, who’s a longtime fan of the festival. Noor thought it would be an excellent venue to premiere our film.
Q: Tell a little about the story of your film and the production of it.
A: Years ago, a family friend told me a story about an American GI who became involved with a young German woman just after the end of the war. As their relationship unfolded he learned, painfully, that she was not what she had appeared, and in fact stood accused of a monstrous act committed in the shadows of the greater carnage. I’d always been fascinated by World War II, but wasn’t particularly interested in doing a traditional war movie; personal, intimate crime is inherently more intriguing to me than the spectacle of battle. The story of CHRISTINA, its constantly shifting narratives, its layering of truth and half-truth, its real-time pacing and cinematic intimacy, offered a way to shrink down to human scale the unapproachable vastness of a war that took fifty million lives.
Q: Tell a little about yourself and your story in filmmaking.
A: Like most filmmakers, I loved movies as a kid, and can remember waiting for the next horror or monster flick to hit the Midway Theater in Forest Hills. Years later, when working for Roger Corman, I would recall how effective his THE PREMATURE BURIAL had been on me and my friends. But I was equally influenced by TV shows like “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” In fact, I can even see some Twilight Zone influences in CHRISTINA. Sometimes, I can almost imagine Rod Serling, standing just off the set, watching the story unfold....
Q: Your take on the performances of the lead actors, (set backs, triumphs, impressions, good surprises, etc.)
A: Nicki Aycox and Jordan Belfi seemed as if they were born to play the roles of Christina and Billy. Nicki has the ethereal quality of a living ghost, a survivor who doesn’t quite believe she’s made it into the present; Jordan captures the optimism and likeability of a WW II GI, certain the future is his for the taking.