Exerpt from the review Indie Memphis Film Festival 2004
Most of the films were decently attended, but the response to the debut of hometown feature A Cowboy’s Silver Lining was absolutely amazing. It was the first film to sell out at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in the seven years the festival has been in existence. Director Bevan Bell was very grateful to see so many people come out to support his film.
The film is a miracle in itself. Filmed with absolutely no budget, the filmmaker pulls off a surprisingly well made drama / comedy / thriller. The story follows a hit man whose past is haunted by the death of his girlfriend. Influences on Bell’s filmmaking are pretty obvious from Quentin Tarantino to Christopher Nolan to Guy Ritchie. What’s impressive is the way that Bevan Bell pulls this film off with strong visuals and solid acting. He is looking to send it around the festival circuit and I sincerely hope that the response in other locations is as positive as the warm welcome his film received in Memphis.
I attended the award ceremony immediately following and was surprised that none of the films that I saw at the festival received awards. I had certainly hoped that at least A Cowboy’s Silver Lining would walk away with best hometown feature. Exiting the ceremony, I heard someone comment to Bevan Bell that at least his film sold out. That was certainly something that no one else there could claim. It was great to see someone receive such gracious support for all of his hard work.
A SILVER COWBOY'S LINING
Our own Shane McDermott starred as henchman Milton in the Rusted Sun Film “A Cowboy’s Silver Lining.” Shane has known the film’s creator, director, and star, Beven Bell, for years and they used to make videos for their morning announcements in school followed by “stupid movies” into their twenties. They are shooting to release the film during the Indie Memphis Film Festival. The only bad thing about acting in the film?“I had to wear a suit and tie. I hate ties. Hate.” Hopefully the members of the club can attend the film’s release. You can also see the film's trailer by clicking the image below.
Shane McDermott (suit, far left) on the set of "A Cowboy's Silver Lining."
Thursday September 30th, 2004
Rusted Sun Soon to Have a "Silver Lining"
By Jason Santo
Sep 22, 2004, 08:21
Over labor day weekend, the Memphis, Tennessee-based moviemakers of Rusted Sun Films completed production on their feature-length movie A Cowboy's Silver Lining which had been in production since March, 2004. Written by star Bevan B. Bell and produced by Rusted Sun Films founders Brad Alsobrook and Anthony Howald, A Cowboy's Silver Lining is described as a film-noir mixture of gangs, murder, and bi-polar disorders that follows a hitman struggling to put the pieces of his shattered past together while his latest contractor decides it's the hitman's time to "retire." Shot on digital video and also starring Bo Bell, Brady Bell and Shaun Green, the movie will be out soon, but for now you can see a trailer and check out some behind the scenes stills at www.rustedsunfilms.com.
Movies with local roots
Collaborations suggest nurturing environment for local filmmakers
By John Beifuss
October 22, 2004
Film fans who see the "homegrown" features and shorts that will be screened today through Thursday at Muvico's Peabody Place 22 for the Indie Memphis Film Festival are likely to notice that some names and faces appear again and again.
Skilled comic actor Talbot Fields, for instance, is a memorable supporting character in two similarly eccentric features, "Six Days in the Life of Mims" and "Automusik Can Do No Wrong." He also produced the latter film, a must-see "mockumentary" about the Devo-meets-Kraftwerk Memphis art-rock band, Automusik.
Bevan B. Bell co-directed, shot, edited and stars as a troubled contract
killer in the Tarantino-influenced feature "A Cowboy's Silver Lining," produced by Rusted Sun Films. (The company won the prize for best local narrative short at last year's Indie Memphis fest for "The Visitor," a ghost story.) Bell also shot this year's "Almost Made," a humorous feature about would-be "wise guys" directed by John Boyd West, the son of actor and Elvis crony Red West.
And the fingerprints of Midtown's MeDia Co-op are everywhere, particularly those of Co-op co-founder Brandon Hutchinson, who contributed shorts and documentaries to the festival. Hutchinson shot what may be Indie Memphis's single most accomplished, mysterious and original entry, Tommy Foster's 14-minute "This Must Be My Lucky Day," in which a man in a cowboy hat and a second-rate Nudie suit motors a boatload of discarded, slightly damaged and eerily expressive children's rocking horses past cypress knees and lily pads in some sort of symbolic gesture of self-liberation.
These collaborations suggest that the Mid-South is continuing to nurture a healthy, generous and mutually supportive film scene, in which artists are colleagues rather than rivals. Maybe that's what Indie Memphis means by its slogan: "The Soul of Southern Film."
"My hope is that the programming and quality of the cinema gets better every year," said Indie Memphis program director Will O'Loughlen, a filmmaker himself.
This year's Indie Memphis festival includes more than 80 films, almost half of which were locally produced. These films will compete for "Hometowner" awards in the categories of Documentary, Narrative Feature and Narrative Short.
Awards also will be presented in the "Main" competition, devoted to movies produced outside of the Mid-South.
Many local and national filmmakers will be in attendance, to discuss their work with festivalgoers.
An initiative of Delta Axis, a Memphis-based visual arts organization, Indie Memphis also will host several panel discussions and workshops.
Tickets to individual films are $6. A pass good for entrance to all events except the Schmidt workshop is $60. A "six-pack" of tickets may be purchased for $25.
CHRIS HERRINGTON & Chris Davis | 10/22/2004
Entering year number seven, the Indie Memphis Film Festival is still a baby on the festival circuit, but it seems to be planting some roots. This year's festival marks the third consecutive year using Muvico's Peabody Place Theaters and the second year since expanding to a week-long schedule. What organizers find most notable about this year's festival, dubbed, as always, "The Soul of Southern Film," is the sharp uptick in local entries.
"One thing that's standing out this year is the proportion of local films, including features," says Indie Memphis' Les Edwards. More than half of the festival's 70-plus films have a Shelby County connection.
Another Indie Memphis organizer, Emily Trenholm, notes that "local filmmakers who made shorts last year are stepping up with bigger projects." A key example is Rusted Sun Films, which submitted the short film The Visitor last year and returns this year with an ambitious feature, the genre thriller A Cowboy's Silver Lining.
All but a couple of the films scheduled fit the festival's Southern theme, meaning they're made by Southern filmmakers or deal with Southern subjects. Subjects include bluegrass and barbecue, race and politics, football and capital punishment, poke sallet and crystal meth. The festival opens with Death & Texas, a star-studded mockumentary that attacks American hypocrisy as it's manifested in football fever and the death penalty. The closing-night film, screening out of competition, is When Hair Came to Memphis, director and University of Memphis professor Craig Leake's look at the controversy surrounding then Memphis State's 1971 production of the Broadway musical.
One exception to the Southern rule is End of the Century, the widely acclaimed documentary about the Ramones, America's definitive punk band, which holds the annual midnight movie slot previously filled by skateboard documentary Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator and the Wilco rock-doc I'm Trying To Break Your Heart. The other exception is Rick Schmidt's 1988, which is being shown because the author and filmmaker will be at the festival. Schmidt, author of the classic how-to Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices and the new follow-up, Extreme DV at Used Car Prices, has been a key influence on the growth of the American independent film scene over the past decade or so and will be at the festival all week to conduct a filmmaking workshop.
The Indie Memphis Film Festival runs Friday, October 22nd, through Thursday, October 28th, with all screenings at Muvico's Peabody Place Theatres. Full festival passes cost $60 and a six-film pass goes for $25. Tickets for individual screenings are $5. Tickets and passes can be purchased at the Muvico box office or at the Indie Memphis table inside Peabody Place during the festival.
What follows is a critical guide to this year's festival, including a countdown of some of the festival's most worthwhile selections.
After submitting the supernatural thriller The Visitor for last year's Indie Memphis festival, the crew from local production company Rusted Sun Films makes an impressive leap with A Cowboy's Silver Lining (7 p.m., Saturday, October 23rd). This accomplished and professional-looking digital video feature is a big step up in terms of technique and storytelling for the no-budget locals. Bevan B. Bell co-directs, co-produces, edits, shoots, and stars in this genre thriller about a contract killer coming to grips with a traumatic past. With the film's temporal twists and mix of hard-boiled violence with comedic undertones, Quentin Tarantino is an obvious influence. What holds the film back a little is familiar content -- a collection of tropes and effects common to the genre. What saves it is that it's all very well executed.
www.godesoto.com (The DeSoto Times)
HERNANDO — It all started with “Super
Fuzz” for a small town boy turned big-city filmmaker.
The circa 1981 super-hero comedy kept Hernando High School graduate Bevan Bell spellbound for hours during his adolescence.
“When I was eight I was babysat by HBO,” he said. “I watched ‘Super Fuzz’ a lot because it was in constant rotation and I remember thinking I wanted to be a filmmaker ... I’m not sure if the two have anything to do with each other.”
Bell never fantasized about being a fireman or policeman, he said. He was more fascinated by the characters in the “muddled” stories his father would tell.
“I never really got the point of those stories,” he said. “When he was done I was think, what was the point of that, but I really liked those characters and those stories.”
Several years later, Bell incorporated some part of those characters in a story of his own.
Unlike his father’s Dick Tracy-like characters, the characters in Bell’s story were more gritty and little darker. He named them Easy Milton, Grace the Face and Mac Money Marcus.
It took Bell years to write the story that became a script and ultimately a feature-length film that will be shown on the silver screen for the first time this weekend in Memphis.
TRIAL AND FAILURE
A few months after graduating from high school, Bell and a close friend tried to turn a series of short stories they had written into a movie.
“It was a month or two after graduating from Hernando (high school) that I really got into the whole independent film thing,” he said. “Unfortunately when we first tried it we failed. It was our first run at manning a film camera which is quite a different creature from a video camera; things just went wrong.”
Bell’s friend decided film wasn’t his life’s calling but urged him to continue on with it, informally giving him the rights to the story.
It would take him nine years and several rewrites of the virgin movie script before actually getting it onto 16 mm stock.
As time went on Bell, keeping his dream in tow, matured a little and left Hernando for Memphis. He took classes in the art of television while working to pay the bills and refining the script that had been with him since high school.
He landed a job with a local television news station while writing his final draft of the film, “A Cowboy’s Silver Lining.”
“I was focused on keeping it up to date and planning for it to be filmed with no budget,” he said. “Then I started looking for acting roles just because I thought it would be a good way to get things started.”
Bell was given the lead role in short film called “The Visitor.” He also helped with production, something he knew a little about from his day job a the TV station.
After filming on “The Visitor” wrapped, he gave his script to the movie’s cast and crew and things started to happen.
“They liked it and we decided to do it,” he said. “When I knew it was going to happen, the point was always to get it into the (Memphis) Indie Film Festival.”
JUST MAKING THE CUT
Shooting on “A Cowboy’s Silver Lining” began in March. The film festival begins Oct. 23. Bell had some worries that he would have it edited and ready for a viewing by the festival’s panel in time. Even if he did, it was no guarantee it would be picked up and shown at the festival.
“I always felt that if we could get it done by the festival we would be doing pretty good,” he said.
But there were some snares along the way — the lead actress needed surgery, someone broke into the warehouse killing the power. They were using it to shoot much of the film. And, there was a slight money problem.
“I don’t know what the budget on this film was,” he said. “Good thing we had a few electrical geniuses working with us. They made a lot of the equipment I couldn’t afford to buy.”
Anthony Howald, who co-directed the film, rigged a steady-cam and a boom mic.
Shooting on “A Cowboy’s Silver Lining” finally wrapped a few weeks ago.
It was picked up by the festival and will premiere at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Muvico Theater in downtown Memphis.
It’s a film about a contract killer, Bell, trying to deal with his past. He’s being forced out of his chosen profession by his most recent contractor. During his journey he finds things aren’t they way he thought they were.
Bell, recovering from the influenza, is currently working on the “Making Of...” portion of the movie’s DVD.
He’s ready for Saturday, or at least he thinks he is.
“I always get a little nervous with things like this,” he said. “It’ll be the first time any of the cast and crew have seen the movie.”
He’s still at the television station because it still pays the bills. He’s not prepared to be called the next Quinten Tarantino or anything like that but he is looking at another script.
“It’s not my script,” he said. “But I’ve gotten a few from people who want me to direct their work. As a writer I’m capable but I like directing.”
Tracy Adams/Times Staff
exerpt from www.absolutely.nu
Indie Memphis and the official site for A Cowboy's Silver Lining, which made history last night by being the first film to sell out a theatre in the festival's seven years. Bevan Bell, who wrote/produced/directed/starred in the film, is a regular fixture at work (along with his girlfriend Christine, whose out-of-town friend Gabe has a crush on me since the sleepover party) and we played host to the premier showing's afterparty last night. Oh, and there's a quick cameo from my boss as "the bartender." Pretty fancy, huh.