Art Eddy III

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Fans watched David Lowery’s newest film “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” underneath the stars at Queens Farm and enjoyed Bulleit cocktails

Rooftop Films and AT&T presented a sneak preview of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” on Thursday, August 15 a day ahead of its August 16 release by IFC Films. David Lowery’s hypnotic, dream-like second feature stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, walking away with rave reviews and the Cinematography Award in the U.S. Dramatic Category. Rooftop is committed to bringing bigger, more enhanced events to New York audiences and this very special screening exemplifies Rooftop’s curatorial ambitions. Audience members watched the tragic rural romance “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” under the stars and amongst the farm animals at the Queens County Farm Museum in Glen Oaks, Queens.

“We have admired David Lowery’s poetic sensibility from the moment we first encountered his work” said Dan Nuxoll, Program Director for Rooftop Films. “His films possess a mysteriously powerful emotional undercurrent that sweeps you into a realm of deeper feelings. When he applied for a grant from the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund, we were blown away by his proposal for “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and we knew that it would soon become a rich and moving work of art. We couldn’t be more proud to have played a small part in helping him to complete such a masterful feature film.”

AT&T has been the Presenting Sponsor of the Rooftop Films Summer Series and the AT&T Rooftop Films Feature Film Grant since 2012, and in that time they have provided crucial support to Rooftop Films and the independent film community in New York. Prior to the screening, Rooftop will announce the winner of the AT&T Rooftop Films Feature Film Grant. The grant is awarded to a filmmaker who has previously screened with Rooftop Films and provides that filmmaker with $10,000 to help him or her produce an upcoming feature film. Previous winners of Rooftop Filmmakers Fund grants have included Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Lucy Walker (The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom) and many other groundbreaking and successful independent films.

In 2011, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” received the Rooftop Films & Edgeworx Post-Production Grant. Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. For this grant, Edgeworx provided 2 weeks of post-production services to Lowery’s film. Rooftop screened Lowery’s short films, A Catalogue of Anticipations and Pioneer, and the feature film St. Nick.

Inspired by the film, specialty cocktails were served including the Texas Tumbler and Bulleit Saint. Bulleit Bourbon has partnered with Rooftop Films to help up-and-coming filmmakers create content that pushes the boundaries of the modern frontier. Their creative entrepreneurial spirit mirrors brand Founder Tom Bulleit’s own story of following his life-long dream to start Bulleit Distilling Co.

“As a team of film lovers, Bulleit Bourbon is happy to congratulate all the film makers who are being featured this summer,” said, Tom Bulleit. “Their work is truly inspiring and we are proud to join them on this trip to the frontier of film.”

Here are recipes for the two Bulleit Bourbon cocktails.

The Texas Tumbler

1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

4 oz. Tonic water

1 lemon wedge

Serve on the rocks and garnish with a lemon wedge

The Bulleit Saint

1 oz. Bulleit Rye

.5 oz. sweet vermouth

3 dashes bitters

Strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry.

“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” begins with a trancelike fugue, as two lovers fight in a sunset field, coo to each other in a parked pickup, and are suddenly thrust into a farmhouse gunfight. A jail term for him, a baby for her, years of aching separation, an escape and then the stately story begins. Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) is on a quest to reunite with Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). In early scenes with a friend who offers a hiding place, Muldoon is vague about whether he’s going to fetch Ruth. But a confrontation with his criminal mentor (Keith Carradine) lights the fuse. There’s something in Muldoon’s eyes, a look into the distance and future, something in his movements that reveal a controlled flame of desire. Seeing that, his journey feels inevitable, fated, yet desperate and fraught.

Another man, the local sheriff once shot by Ruth, is moving steadily in, played with stunning naïve charm by a thickly-mustachioed Ben Foster. The weight of domesticity and threat of danger is perhaps more than the romantic desperado adventures Muldoon once thought he wanted. “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” represents a form of near-magical realism, so vivid and intense as to seem dreamlike. The romance is whispered in the past; the violence happens so fast you’re bleeding before you know someone fired. And so what Muldoon wants remains perhaps unclear — as unclear as real life — until his dying day.

Josh Blacker talks about his role in “Elysium”

Josh Blacker is no stranger to the sci-fi genre. He has appeared in many great films and TV shows like “Supernatural,” “Stargate: Atlantis,” and “Fringe.” Now Josh landed a major role in the summer blockbuster film “Elysium,” playing the role of the character named “Crowe.”

Josh is an avid athlete, being fiercely competitive on the squash courts, and holding belts in three different martial arts. I was able to chat with Josh on his role as Crowe and what he looks to do in the future.

Art Eddy: So you are in the summer blockbuster “Elysium”. Tell me about your character and a bit about the film.

Josh Blacker: “Elysium” is a sci-fi action movie set in 2154.  Earth is a lost cause and the ultra-rich have built a massive space station called Elysium where they live in pristine mansions, well away from the grime and crime of Earth.  My character is a South African mercenary called ‘Crowe’.  He’s an old school professional soldier that works with Kruger (Sharlto Copley) and Drake (Brandon Auret).  They are hired to protect Elysium from any manner of problems, including illegal aliens. Crowe is rough, tough and both physically and mentally intimidating.

AE: Did you have to work with a lot of green screens since it was a science fiction film? If so how was that?

JB: Working with Neill is great because he really wants to have his movies based in as much reality as possible.  That includes the sets.  Most of our sets were built on various sound stages in Vancouver.  The only real green screen work that was done was in the environments that couldn’t be built in a sound stage, due to the sheer size and complexity of them.  For example, the space ship we fly around in was built down to the tiniest detail.  But, when you see the ship flying and landing and crashing, there was a degree of green screen involved.

AE: What was it like to work with big names in the business like Matt Damon and Jodie Foster?

JB: In a word: unbelievable.  I’ve admired and respected both Matt and Jodie for years. Matt is as down to earth of an actor and person as there is.  He’s welcoming, collaborative, and incredibly funny.  It’s easy to see why he’s such a bankable leading man.  Jodie is a genius; to watch her work is mesmerizing.  She was an absolute pleasure to work with; dedicated, focused and generous.  And, she’s also got a great sense of humor!

AE: You are no stranger to the genre of science fiction with all the great films and TV shows like “V,” “Fringe,” and “SGU Stargate University.” I take it that you are somewhat into that genre.

JB: I don’t really think of the projects I work on in terms of genre. I just like to work on good stories and sci-fi is a genre that allows for some terrific story telling.  The universes you can create in sci-fi give you freedom to tell some unconventional stories and free you from the constraints of traditional drama and period pieces.  Ultimately, I want to tell fascinating stories that viewers can connect with.

AE: Which show that you worked on in the past is the closet to “Elysium?”

JB: “Elysium”, and Neill’s vision, is such a unique project.  I can’t think of anything that comes close to the breadth and depth of story and character that Neill has created.  I’d say it’s an amalgamation of many of the projects I’ve worked on – the Us vs. Them of “V”, the desperation of wanting to be somewhere else highlighted in “SG:U” and the complexity and intrigue of “Fringe”.

AE: I am intrigued about your project “Focus” where you wrote and acted in. Tell me about that film.

JB: Focus is a feature length comedy I co-wrote with my producing partner, Christopher Young.  It’s a workplace comedy about a guy who has one day to save his job, defeat his enemies, and not get dumped by his girlfriend.  I’d say it’s a cross between “Office Space” and “Trading Places”.  We are in the process of shopping it around to various distributors and festivals.  You can find out more at the official site

AE: Was it easier to act in a film that you wrote?

JB: In some respects it was easier in that I knew the character inside and out.  And, of course, if a line didn’t work or a scene needed a change, I could change things up without offending anyone!  However, it was definitely more challenging trying to keep the character and my choices fresh because we had worked so closely on the script for so long.

AE: What is the next project that you are working on?

JB: I continue to audition and consider various projects in Vancouver, Toronto and LA.  At the same time, I’m working my producing partner on a new script, which is a feature length drama that deals with soldiers coming back from war and the emotional, psychological and physical barriers they encounter.  It’s a fascinating project that is near and dear to my heart.  We hope to get funding and start shooting in the summer of 2014.