What not to miss at B.I.F.F.

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Screenplays, anyone?

When Mark Shaffer asked if he could interview me for the Lowcountry Weekly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It sounded innocent enough. One of my screenplays was selected as a finalist in the Beaufort International Film Festival and this year, BIFF is honoring writers by having Shakespeare actors stage a table-read of their work. (Thursday, February 17th, 7:30pm, wine-and-cheese, all at the Lady’s Island Cinema. I can’t wait)

But it turns out publicity comes with a price. I had to get Gary to take a new photo of me, one that actually relates to screenwriting. And Mark roped me into blogging about the film festival for the LCW’s new blog: FilmFix. Actually, it works out great, since many of you have been asking for recommendations about which films to see. There are 34 films this year and Gary and I got to screen them, plus the hundreds that didn’t make the cut. They’re all good, but some might not jump off the printed schedule and grab your attention. When they should. Like the confusingly named “Ich bin eine Terroristin.”

It’s one of my absolute favorites and it premieres right before the table read on Thursday night. So here’s what I wrote about it for LCW:

“It surprised me that I fell so in love with the independent feature “Ich bin eine Terroristin.” Despite the title it’s a French film, with English subtitles. Watching a film so enchanting you can barely stand taking your eyes off the young actress to read clunky words at the bottom of the screen is torture. Especially for someone who loves hearing how words on a page sound when they’re spoken. In a dark theatre. 

I wish I spoke French. I know how hard translation work is. I’ve had to direct the translation of my own commercial films into thirteen languages and trust me, even the experts argue and bash heads over getting it exactly right. Which is why I’m astounded by “Ich bin eine Terroristin.” I didn’t nit pick. I didn’t second guess a single frame. I was there, in the story, mesmerized from word go.
Whoever cast the young heroine of the film, Violetta, deserves much of the credit. She’s a thirteen-year-old free spirit whose pedestrian parents are so self-involved that she creates her own ancestor worship of a famous far-left, Polish anti-war activist named  Rosa Luxemburg.
Because her idol Rosa emigrated to Germany, Violetta decides she needs to run away from her boring French suburban life and head for Germany herself.  By train — a visual thread through the film that gives it a dreamy, lyrical feel. She finds Rosa’s grave, but that’s not enough.  She tracks down the members of The Party – reinvigorating the old Communist codgers with her devoted enthusiasm. It’s the sheer rebellion of adventure that is, to a thirteen-year-old, terrorism. And to viewers, a taste of what film festivals are all about.”

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