• 10/20/03

    Man Bites Shorts

    Series of Fast and Funny Commando Strikes on the Masculine Mind From Six Talented New Filmmakers with a Decidedly Unique Point of View

    Premieres Nationally on "Independent Lens,” ITVS's Acclaimed Series on PBS Tuesday, December 30 at 10 P.M. (check local listings)

    Contact: Mary Lugo 770/623-8190 lugo@negia.net Cara White 843/881-1480 carapub@aol.com Randall Cole 415/356-8383 x254 Randall_Cole@itvs.org

    (San Francisco, CA)—A night of hilarious, off-the-wall, delightful and just plain weird short films, MAN BITES SHORTS offers six delicious vignettes on modern manhood. They're about important guy things like getting dumped. Making a fool of yourself. Biking 70 miles to see your girl. Arguing about basketball. And losing your mind. MAN BITES SHORTS will air nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Don Cheadle, on Tuesday, December 30 at 10 P.M. (check local listings).

    Although most audiences don't see them often, at the beginning of the 20th century all films were short, limited to a single reel of 10 minutes. Time and technology changed that, but shorts survived. It's where most filmmakers start. It's a form that allows people to experiment with storytelling and technique. And short film is ripe for comedy, capturing a single idea or character with the force of a good joke. Says Lois Vossen, series producer of Independent Lens, "MAN BITES SHORTS gives us an opportunity to bring a large national audience to some really intriguing, offbeat work that doesn't fall into the traditional 30 or 60 minute TV mold. These films are so different and yet, after we screened them, we just couldn't seem to get them out of our minds, even days later. These are the work of exciting young filmmakers and it's great to be able to take work that's really out there and bring it into people's living rooms."

    MAN BITES SHORTS – The Lineup

    David Munro's Compulsory Breathing (24 minutes) A funny thing happened to Cecil on the way to his suicide—he saved a woman's life. Cecil is a hapless beat boxer deserted by his wife on the eve of their anniversary. When he goes to purchase his means of demise, he is accosted by a forlorn street urchin who is too broke to buy her own gun but wants to borrow his when he's finished. Equal parts comedy, tragedy and virtuoso vocal percussion.

    Martha Pinson's Don't Nobody Love the Game More than Me (10 minutes) Four slightly over-the-hill men finish a basketball game on their neighborhood court and a debate develops over who loves the game the most. It becomes a meditation on pride, dedication and basketball—the relationships are amusing, the dialogue musical, the debate Socratic.

    Paul Sullivan's Sergi (2 minutes) Sergi tells the brief and comic story of an unusual nonconformist who muses on his vague origins, releases balloons in Central park and struggles with his true identity.

    Mark Pellington's Dilly Dally (3 minutes) An excerpt from United States of Poetry, Dilly Dally is a poem about homes, current and past, written and performed by Everton Sylvester. Sylvester is the author of Backyard in Bed-Stuy (2002). He teaches at the City University of New York and is the lead poet for the band Brooklyn Funk Essentials.

    Tom Putnam's Tom Hits His Head (11 minutes) This comedic short chronicles a not-so-funny time in the filmmaker's own life. Yes, he hits his head and spends the next six months afraid to leave his house. He gets dizzy for no reason, panics on the freeway, spends a fortune on eBay, sees the Devil in his bathtub and thinks he's the Anti-christ. In short, Tom needs help.

    Tom Schroeder's Bike Ride (7 minutes) "Pretty wonderful. Using Thurber-like pen and ink, Schroeder illustrates the real-life audio testimony of a lovesick fool who rode his bike for five hours to visit a woman he thought loved him back. Drawn in thick, sensuously rounded white lines set against a black background, this is the most inventive seven minutes of film in many a moon.” —Chuck Wilson, LA Weekly

    About the Filmmakers

    David Munro (Compulsary Breathing) David Munro is a filmmaker "on the verge” according to Filmmaker Magazine. Critics called his first film Bullethead "haunting,” "visionary,” "a tour de force,” and "one of the best short films of the past 10 years.” First Love, Second Planet, Munro's second film, was the recipient of an NEA Regional Arts Grant and, like Bullethead, garnered prizes at numerous festivals, including best student film in the nation at the Kodak/UFVA Fest. Filmmaker Magazine subsequently named David "one of 25 new indie faces.” Munro's first screenplay, Life for Beginners, was a quarterfinalist in the prestigious Nicholl Screenwriting Competition. Interest in Life led to Munro's relationship with Minnie Driver, for whom he developed a screenplay based on the life of maverick 50s country singer Charline Arthur. His first feature, Full-Grown Men, is currently in development and slated to shoot in late 2003. David and his partner Xandra Castleton have incorporated their ventures as Grottofilms LLC, with offices in the San Francisco Writers Grotto.

    Martha Pinson (Don't Nobody Love the Game More Than Me) Martha Pinson is a director, screenwriter and film technician who lives in New York City. In 1999-2000 Pinson produced and directed Bob Rogers' 10-character comedy, Small Potatoes, in its six-week New York premiere at the John Houseman Studio on Theatre Row. In 1998, she directed the drama Acts of Faith by Stephen E. Mantin at Chain Lightning in New York, to excellent reviews. Film and TV credits include second unit director on Just the Ticket. She has also been directing consultant to Richard Wenk, Darren Star and Tom Cavanagh, and continuity supervisor for many major directors including Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Milos Forman, Oliver Stone, Iain Softley and Brian de Palma. She is currently working with Martin Scorsese as his script supervisor on The Aviator. Pinson is developing a film based on Craig Edwards' one-man show The Man in Room 306, a fictional account of Dr. Martin Luther King's last evening, and a mini series entitled Around the Way, written by Steve Mantin, about life on the Lower East Side. Martha has written numerous original screenplays and adaptations working in various genres. She co-authored with novelist Sonja Greenlee an adaptation of her sweeping, dramatic novel, Daytona. She and Ms. Greenlee also collaborated on The Loophole, the story of the nude Macbeth, a First Amendment Comedy. She has a BA with honors from Vassar College.

    Paul Sullivan (Sergi) Paul Sullivan is a New York-based stand-up comic and filmmaker. He has produced and directed 11 short films and documentaries that have appeared in over 40 international film festivals. Paul graduated from the NYU film school and has been a producer of such television shows as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central and Dog Days on Animal Planet. He is currently at work on his first feature film, First Time Caller.

    Mark Pellington (Dilly Dally)
    Mark Pellington is the director of feature films The Mothman Prophecies and Arlington Road. He is an acclaimed director of commercials of and music videos including recent clips for Bruce Springsteen and The Flaming Lips.

    Tom Putnam (Tom Hits His Head) Tom Putnam has directed and co-written two feature films, most recently the blaxploitation parody Shafted, starring Morgan Rusler, Gary Coleman and Angelle Brooks. He has also won a number of screenwriting awards, including the Jeffrey Jones Award and second place in the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Competition. He recently compiled a short film parody of the Charlie's Angels TV series for Toshiba North America. To date, the sales presentation has received six National Communicator Awards, two Summit Creative Awards and an Axiem Award. Tom Hits His Head has played at over 20 film festivals and was the Winner of the Spirit of Slamdance Award earlier this year.

    Tom Schroder (Bike Ride) Tom Schroeder served his apprenticeship working in commercial animation for Gav Gnatovich and Reelworks. Since 1990, he has also been producing his own traditional
    cel-animated films. Bike Ride has played at over 60 festivals internationally, won seven awards and will soon be distributed on The Best of ResFest Vol. II. He teaches animation at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

    About Independent Lens

    Independent Lens is a weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history, which prompted Nancy Franklin in The New Yorker to write "Watching Independent Lens...is like going into an independent bookstore—you don't always find what you were looking for but you often find something you didn't even know you wanted.” Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites, and national publicity and community outreach campaigns. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/independent lens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS.

    About ITVS

    Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting www.itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People

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