Archive for April, 2016

Paint It Black– THE MOVIE PREMIERE

Posted in Moments of Clarity with tags , , , , , , , on 04/27/2016 by Janet Fitch

YES, it’s a movie! The world premiere of Paint It Black the Movie has been announced, and at last, I’m allowed to talk about it!  It will debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival, held June 1-9, our screening on June 3, with individual tickets going on sale May 10. What a long strange trip it’s been. Amber (Tamblyn, the director) and her writing partner Ed Dougherty reminded me that they’d started writing their screenplay in 2009.  And now it’s set to see the light of day–or at least the projector–seven years later.

What a tumble of changes it–and we–have been through since I heard that Amber Tamblyn wanted to option my novel.  The actress?  Yes, and she was poet too, something I didn’t know about her.  I just remembered Joan of Arcadia.

That first night we sat down at a tiki bar in L.A., we’d been brought together by a mutual friend, the poet Derrick Brown. Over Scorpions, talked about what a Paint It Black movie would look like. Although she’d never written a screenplay, I was impressed by her passion–I’m still impressed by it.  The book had been optioned before, a terrible experience about which the less said the better.

At the time, she was planning to star in it, and bringing someone else on to direct. But as time and the  winnowing and changes of casting and personnel went on, the learning-as-you-go, discovery and the desire to protect the vision she’d created, she did something she had never imagined doing. She decided to direct the movie instead of starring in it. She cast the amazing Alia Shawkat to play Josie Tyrell, and prepared for her directorial debut.

I was able to go to the shoot whenever, as it was often right around the corner, a very different experience than I’d had with White Oleander, a big deal Hollywood movie. On Paint it Black, they sent me the daily schedule, the where and the when, the pages they would be shooting, and I just went over when I wanted to take a break from writing– slipped in among the lights and sound guys and gaffers, got a set of headphones and quietly stood by the monitor and out of the way as I watched Amber and the actors and cinematographer make the magic happen.

She really rode that horse all the way to the end.  I saw her skill with the actors, her leadership ability with the crew. I heard about the agonies of casting, and the horrors of having to cut beautiful beautiful scenes in the editing room.  I got to see it with her and Ed in her parents’ homey apartment in Ocean Park.  Now the premiere.  As the novelist, I have the best job of all– all of the fun and  none of the headaches.  Can’t wait to see it appear in the world.

PAINT IT BLACK, Directed by Amber Tamblyn, Starring Alia Shaukat, Janet McTeer, Alfred Molina, Emily Rios, Rhys Wakefield and Nancy Kwan, Screening: June 3, 7:30 p.m. Bing Auditorium. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. May 10th at http://www.filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

 

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Paint It Black THE MOVIE News, Panel

Posted in Moments of Clarity with tags , , , , , on 04/08/2016 by Janet Fitch

I’ve just heard some terrific news about the release of Paint It Black–written and directed by the indefatigable and multitalented Amber Tamblyn,  We can’t announce the details for a few weeks , but yes, it’s going to debut, and sooner rather than later. Stay on the line.

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Recently  heard Amber speak about her experiences adapting the book on a panel at the big Associated Writing Programs Convention held this year in Los Angeles. She was great on the panel–with Graham Moore (The imitation Game), Robert Jacobs (Chocolat, Shipping News), Nick Kazan (Reversal of Fortune, for one).  She holds her own and then some.  While  Paint it Black is her first adaptation,  she alone on the panel had gone on to direct the adapted screenplay. Her perspective brought unique dimension–she’s so clear and warm and insightful.

It was downright surreal to sit in the audience listening to her talk about her experiences adapting my book!  Like being in a Charlie Kaufman movie. This is not my beautiful life…

I know what it was like for me to see the film adapted–an entire cycle of emotion–but a whole other trip to hear about Amber’s experience.  She talked about her approach to the adaptation, “It was about preserving the emotion I felt when I first read it. I knew I couldn’t do everything, I would have to pick what I wanted to emphasize, and for me, it was the relationship between the two women.  It was mesmerizing.  And how to give you that same feeling.”

And she talked about the second ‘adaptation’ of the book as it moved from screenplay to film, something I hadn’t even thought about. “Often emotionally you can accomplish something in a gesture that needed a whole scene in the script,” she said. “And then editing  is like a third adaptation.” She talked about shooting a scene between Josie and the singer Lola Lola. “It was fantastic. But in the editing room, it just didn’t fit anymore.  I tried a million ways to get it in. The editor said, ‘you know, you’re just not going to be able to save it.’ I was sure I could, but eventually, he was right. It just didn’t work anywhere.”

I know exactly what that’s like. I remember writing Ingrid’s backstory in White Oleander–about six pages. I loved that piece, but wherever I put it in, it stopped the book cold.  In film that goes 100x, because it moves so fast, there’s no room for anything that stops it–a film like this is a freight train, you have to go with it.

You’ll see.