Sunday night residents of Palm Desert were exciting to see a screening of the Academy Award nominated film “The Kids are All Right” and a Q&A session with the film’s Oscar-nominated writer Stuart Blumberg at the Cinémas Palme D’Or. Viewing of the film was pleasing to the audience, as applause broke out at the conclusion of the film.
Stuart Blumberg, nominated for Best Original Screenplay along with Co-writer/director Lisa Cholodenko in “Kids are All Right” for the 2011 Academy Awards, joined theater co-owner Steve Mason for a conversation which included questions from the audience.
“The Kids are All Right,” an independent film that has found mainstream success, at first had difficulty coming to the screen. In 2004, Stuart Blumberg spotted Lisa Cholodenko at a coffee house. Lisa told him that she was toying with the idea of story of Lesbian parents whose children wanted to meet their sperm donor father. This struck a chord with Stuart, because he had been a sperm donor in the past and had wondered what his reaction would be if he was approached by children brought about from his donation. From this chance meeting the two filmmakers decided to write a screenplay.
Meeting in New York and Los Angeles, Lisa and Stuart developed a plot outline and character development for the script which took about two months. When it came to writing the script, Lisa and Stuart acting out scenarios with the planned characters to come up with the incredibly well-crafted dialogue scenes.
But is appears the writing process may have been the easiest task to bring “The Kids are All Right to fruition.” The film was first attempted in 2005 and was set to star Julianne Moore and Robin Wright-Penn. But the process fell apart and the film was not completed.
Once Annette Bening agreed to play “Nic,” the project found new life. Lisa and Stuart re-wrote key scenes including the defining moment when Annette sings the Joni Mitchell song “Blue,” at one moment during a dinner scene. Mark Ruffalo signed on only a month before shooting and took to the first day of shooting without any rehearsal time.
“The Kids are All Right” had a budget near four and a half million dollars, the actors were all paid scale for their work and the entire filming was completed in a rapid twenty three days.
Blumberg commented “we just wanted to convey the message that human relationships are messy but that that is not necessarily a bad thing.” He continued “It’s like the Chris Rock joke ‘Gay People should have the right to be just as miserable as the rest of us married folk.’”
When “The Kids are All Right” screened at The Sundance Film Festival in early 2010, Stuart knew within five minutes of the film’s viewing, it might inevitably bring him an Academy Award Nomination – as it has done.
Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko will go head to head with writers from “The King’s Speech,” “Inception,” “Another Year” and “The Fighter” to see who will win the coveted Oscar at the 83rd Academy Awards this Sunday, February 27.
Next up for Stuart Blumberg is preparing for the filming of his new project “Thanks for Sharing” – a film about a twelve step-program for sex addicts starring Mark Ruffalo. And he is planning a film entitled “Bar Mitzvah Disco” which will be a musical set in the 1970’s.
Please click here for my review of the “The Kids are All Right:” Review
“The Cinémas Palme d’Or exhibits the widest selection of art, independent, foreign, documentary, experimental, and classic film in the region. The sophisticated, discerning film fans that reside in the desert deserve to see the best that film has to offer…without driving to Los Angeles,” Cinémas Palme D’Or’s mission statement
Cinémas Palme D’Or is located:
Westfield Palm Desert
72840 Highway 111
Palm Desert, CA 92260
For more information about the Cinémas Palme d’Or,see www.thepalme.com
Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones, no texting, don’t talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don’t forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
Enjoy this report? Want to get the THE BUZZ sent directly to you each week? Just click on the “Subscribe” button above. Thank you!
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com