As the Cincinnati Film Festival (CFF) kicks off Thursday, September 5 at the 20th Century Theater, keep out a close eye. You will recognize local names, places and even local music among a strong field of over 100 films from 6 different continents. In only its fourth year, the CFF is attracting exciting programming for full length feature films, documentaries and short films. This year alone the festival will play host to filmmakers traveling from India, Australia and China.
Much excitement in the opening days of the festival is focused on homegrown talent. The opening night reception and awards will feature a screening of the locally shot and produced romantic comedy, “A Strange Brand of Happy”. This is the fifth film from area based Rebel Pilgrim Productions and features Oscar winning actress Shirley Jones and her husband of 36 years, Marty Ingels. Starring in the film is Cincinnati based actor Joe Boyd and Australian actress and Grammy Award winning singer, Rebecca St. James. “A Strange Brand of Happy” was filmed here and included much of Cincinnati’s rich production talent among its crew. The much anticipated film will open at Theaters the following week, but those attending the reception and awards can catch the world premiere of the film at this red carpet event.
Cincinnati band, Ellery are featured in the movie's soundtrack! We had a chance to chat with the band about the process.
CincyMusic.com: What was the process in getting your music in the movie, “A Strange Brand of Happy”?
Ellery: In the Fall of 2009, we played a series of house shows, including one in Cincinnati. The song "Where It's Going," which was brand new, caught the ear of Brad Wise, who was writing this movie. He talked with me afterwards about the possibility of using it, which was lovely. The song was just then coming to life for us, so it was great to imagine it bringing life to something else.
CM: Have you watched the film yet? Are you happy with the placement?
E: We've seen only a few scenes from the film; they were gracious enough to allow us to see how the song would be used. It felt right; we're looking forward to seeing the work in full.
CM: What is next for Ellery? Tour dates, album releases etc…
E: We've accumulated a hefty stack of songs since our last record - fun, melancholy, hilarious, biting... a couple of them not at all what one would expect from Ellery. And we want so much for the tunes to get out and live their lives in the wide world!
So we've made some recording attempts over the last couple years, taking our time, feeling out what this next project wants to be. And after each attempt, we've tucked the work away and set about replotting. I guess we've given ourselves permission to experiment, and to be wrong. This is new to us. A sign above my piano says, "Dare to Suck." I swear that sign makes all kinds of good things happen. But recently, there's a magic around the work we're doing; we're getting our sea legs in our new writing world. We'll release something soon. Meanwhile, we're playing a few intimate shows, Justin's making great work for several inspiring projects, and Tasha's writing like a madwoman: blogs, research, poems. Ellery's story took a wild turn a few years ago, and we've been redefining what it means for us to be writers, musicians, creators. A frightening, sometimes grueling learning curve - but these have been the most productive years of our lives so far. Even our older songs have gotten out more than they ever had before; we love that "A Strange Brand of Happy" has become another home for our music. And a lovely Cincinnati connection.
Tickets for the opening night film are $15 and can be purchased at cincyticket.com. Those attending the awards will enjoy a screening of the film prior to the awards. Director Brad Wise and filmmaker Joe Boyd will be on hand for the post-film Q&A session.