Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa was where The Dutch Book Premiered.


On March 25th I drove to Tampa to see the World Premiere screening of The Dutch Book at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. I did some early storyboards for the director James Repici. I had also just finished painting the movie poster, so I was quite invested in the film. I got to Tampa quite early to do this sketch and get a bite to eat before the film screening.

The story is about Will (Adam Lopez), whose father Billy (Richard Edison), who was once an all star shortstop,  becomes indebted to a dangerous bookie (Keith David). Will launches a scheme to pay off the dept. When a rival bookie, Mel, (Frederico Castelluccio) gets suspicious and an unstable salesman Cal, (Christian Monzon) grows desperate, the whole con is exposed. With everyone jockeying for the loot, Will has to con them all resulting in an explosive conclusion of betrayal and a new beginning.

I had watched the film multiple times to get familiar with the cast as I painted the movie poster. In the movie theater, I recognized the actors who were dressed in their Sunday best for the World Premiere screening. Most of them played desperate thugs in the film but here they looked like movie stars. I sat in the row behind them.  It was fun to see how excited the actors were to see the final edit. The film was being tweaked and refined right up until the screening.

A Dutch Book is a bet that can't go wrong. Knowing that a jockey (J. Benedict Larmore) would have to throw the race, Will bet on every other horse in the field to win. One of those horses would result in a winning bet. Will resisted the urge to bet on the long shot for an even bigger payout but his long time friend couldn't resist. Will is presented as a level headed thinker who gets away with the perfect crime but I suspect that ultimately he isn't escaping his criminal past. He will want to seek the big payout of a sure bet wherever he goes.

After the screening, there was a brief question and answer session with the director and cast. James Repici wrote the screenplay four years ago. On the day that they finished shooting, he got into the Columbia undergrad program. The film is mostly about wanting to leave current circumstances. Adam Lopez and Kristen May, who played Nikki, came from the same circle of actors. They both moved to LA after the film was shot. The next film James plans to direct will take place in Tampa Florida. I recognized many Orlando locations in The Dutch Book, like the Jai Alai Fronton and the Jack Kerouac house. Adam who is the film's lead character was raised in Orlando. Richard Edson was brought in on the film because James met his agent in an airport. Once one big name actor gets on board it gets easier to land other actors. All of Richards scenes were shot first before he had a chance to have second thoughts. Two other big name actors backed out ten days before shooting resulting in a last minute scramble to fill the rolls.

For me, it was exciting to see my name in the credits as a storyboard artist and now my poster is on IMDB to promote the film. The Dutch Book was the winner of the Grand Jury Selection at the Gasperilla International Film Festival,  it was accepted in the San Antonio Film Festival, and  it is an official selection of the Central Florida Film Festival. Mark Your Calendar! The film will screen on Saturday September 5th from 4:10pm to 5:30pm in theater 3 in the West Orange Theater, 1575 Maguire Road Ocoee FL. There are tickets for the entire festival and one day passes.

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