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Redstone’s red-carpet revelry

Comm Ave Walk of Fame
By NEELY STEINBERG  |  February 6, 2008

080208_filmfest_main
ON LOCATION: shooting Fratelli Breaks in 18 days.

Boston University is rolling out the red carpet again . . . literally. The school’s Redstone Film Festival, an annual extravaganza mimicking Hollywood award shows (minus the Botoxed faces and saccharine E! correspondents), is set to take place Wednesday, February 13, at 7 pm, in the Tsai Performance Center. Sponsored by Boston native and National Amusements theater-chain mogul Sumner Redstone, the festival is considered the BU Film and Television Department’s signature event, providing a showcase for work by the school’s student filmmakers.

This year’s field of entrants has been narrowed to six finalists. Their selected short films will be screened (and the winners revealed) on the night of the event to an audience of more than 500.

The Redstone victors (chosen by a trio of local film gurus) will win some money and build valuable momentum for placing their films in other festivals, explains Scott Thompson, assistant professor of screenwriting and the festival’s coordinator. “It’s a sort of calling card for our students,” said Thompson, who promises an unforgettable event finale that “will have people talking on Commonwealth Avenue.”

Past Redstone winners (and finalists) — director Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury), producer Richard Gladstein (Finding Neverland, The Cider House Rules), and screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (Beautiful Girls, Con Air) — have gone on to become some of Boston’s most successful filmmakers.

Carter Blanchard, a BU alumnus and now an LA-based screenwriter, placed second at the festival in 1988. His entry, Frigid & Impotent, became one of his career bona fides: after developing the screenplay into a feature-length version, he sold it to New Line. While the film had several A-listers attached — Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, and Will Ferrell — it never found wings, but Blanchard still credits the project as helping to launch his career.

“I met a lot of great, extremely talented, and successful people because of this script,” said Blanchard. “[The Redstone festival] gave me more confidence in myself as a storyteller and helped give me the courage to move to LA and give it a shot.”

Fratelli Breaks, a student film by ’07 BU grad Alex Scigliano (who’s currently working in film and TV in New York), tells the story of two brothers who play each other for $10,000 in nine-ball billiards on the anniversary of their father’s murder. For Scigliano, directing and producing the project was at once an arduous and rewarding experience. “We shot [the film] with a four-man crew, including me and my brother, who also acted in it, and filmed for 18 days, in Allston, East Boston, the North End, Winthrop, Logan Airport, and Weehawken and Hoboken, New Jersey, with two 24-hour straight shoots,” he recalls. “I lost 20 pounds, almost failed out of school, and lost my job as a bartender at the Armani Cafe on Newbury Street. It was the most fun I’ve ever had.”

The Redstone Film Festival, will begin at 6:15 pm on February 13 at BU’s Tsai Performance Center, 685 Comm Ave. Tickets, which are free, will be available at the Tsai Center Box Office starting at noon on the day of the festival. There is a limit of two tickets per person and seating is limited. For more information, visit this site.

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