LB Film Fest
By Alisha Gomez
Amidst the chaos,
the Long Beach Film Festival continued with its opening night
last Friday. Before it began, everyone took a moment of silence
and prayer, followed by voluntary donations to the American
The festival premiered
with "Seven Girlfriends," starring Tim Daly ("Wings"),
Olivia D'Abo (Wayne's World 2"), Laura Leighton ( "Melrose
Place"), Mimi Rogers ("The Geena Davis Show")
and Ayre Gross ("Gone in Sixty Seconds").
Director Paul Lazarus,
known for his work on TV shows like "Melrose Place"
and "Grounded For Life," appeared at the special
showing, along with actors Laura Leighton, Adilah Barnes,
Katy Selver-stone, and nine-month pregnant Melora Hardin.
Hardin's due date was last Sunday, but she still showed up,
glowing and full of smiles.
Lazarus's first feature film, was written together with Scott
Gregg. Before the open discussion began, Lazarus clearly stated
that the film was not autobiographical.
The movie is about
Jesse (Tim Daly), who is in his thirties and at a crisis point
in his life where he cannot maintain a serious relationship
with a woman.
While his ex-girlfriend,
Anabeth, phones him about getting married, she dies on the
road while talking to him. Jesse, in shock, then decides that
something is wrong with his life when his current girlfriend,
Hannah (Oliva D' Abo) tells Jesse that he does not know how
to be in a relationship. Jesse thinks that the answer to his
relationship problems can be found by contacting all his ex-girlfriends
and asking them, "Why did you break up with me?"
Jesse's adventure then begins with embarrassing moments and
plenty of laughter.
Although a low-budget
film, Lazarus said that he did not want to announce to everyone
that the feature was a low-budget film in case it would affect
people's opinions of the film.
want anyone to come out of the film and say that it was pretty
good for a low-budget film," Lazarus said.
Many wondered how
Lazarus got so many talented actors to work with him on the
Leighton, who plays
Anabeth, was eager to work with Lazarus on the project.
a number of readings and most of us had a chance to get involved
with the project -- Paul's enthusiasm was great," Leighton
A live performance
by Melora Hardin, who plays Laura, a friend of Jesse's ex-girlfriend
Lisa, was a reason for his strong interest in the project.
"I loved that
I could sing and act on a film," Hardin said. "It
is also great for any woman to play a good female part."
Hardin sang one
song live, and played the piano as well, but the piano playing
was done at a different time than in joint with her singing.
It took the cast
and crew 27 days to shoot the film in 23 different locations.
There are many shots in Utah and Los Angeles. Griffith Park
was one of the many sites used for scenes.
"We were originally
going to shoot in Chicago and go to the North-East,"
Lazarus said. "We didn't get enough money so we thought,
'why not use a location we are already in?' "
The cast and crew
used every resource possible to complete this project.
in San Francisco, there was this man's apartment on a corner
from where we were going to shoot," Hardin said. "He
let us use his apartment as a dressing room. So there were
Tim and I putting each other's make-up on in this man's apartment."
the film, there were many great shots of Jesse just driving
with nothing but the countryside as his view.
driving scenes we just couldn't cheat any of those locations
by filming them in LA," Lazarus said.
Lazarus said that
he had been playing around with his idea for the film for
two years before he decided to go forward on the project.
It took another three years to get the film together.
"It was very
difficult to make it feel like Jessie was not just going to
one woman after another," Lazarus said. "We had
to pull a lot of tricks in the film. We tried to make you
feel like you know where you are in the film. Then pull the
rug out under you."
was finished about a year ago and had a difficult time gaining
distribution. It has appeared in several film festivals, received
rave reviews and won several awards.
The Long Beach
International Film Festival will continue through Sept. 23.
For more information, check out www.longbeachfilmfestival.com.