March 25, 2011
Many congratulations to Amber who was just named the new face for Guess!
She’s a gorgeous, smart, fun and all around brilliant woman.
February 26, 2011
Be sure to check out Amber Heard’s new film, “Drive Angry -3D”. Starring Nicholas Cage, it’s a wild ride and she’s getting great reviews. www.driveangry3d.com
We’re just back from the Sedona International Film Festival and the Geography of Hope Film Festival. All screenings were sold out and we got a great response from the audiences. Both festivals wrap this weekend, so if you’re any where near Sedona, AZ or Point Reyes, CA , I hope you have a chance to go. Great festivals, good people and gorgeous scenery.
And lastly, here’s an interview done during the Mill Valley Film Festival with yours truly:
November 26, 2010
Great Review from www.wearemoviegeeks.com!
Review by Dana Jung
Using a river as a metaphor for life is nothing new. Many books and films (think A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT) have made use of this strong and compelling image. The winding path of water, sometimes running fast with rapids, other times eddying into quiet pools and lagoons, teaming with a variety of river life, and so on. The potential for symbolism is endless. The new film THE RIVER WHY can safely be added to this long list. Beginning as a slow and thoughtful hodgepodge of philosophical ideas, the movie ultimately becomes a sweet-natured love story.
Zach Gilford (TVs FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) is Gus, a young man living under the double weight of his father’s minor but overbearing fame as a fisherman & author, and his mother’s constant bickering with his father. When they argue, he says, “it’s not who’s getting the last word, but who’s getting the next word. One day, he decides he’s had enough and leaves to live in his own place by the river, so he can do what he loves: fish. What starts out as an ode to angling, though, soon begins taking detours into the philosophy of religion and life, tossing off lines like, “The way that goes ahead often looks as if it went back.” But after meandering along in its first half like a slow current, this RIVER hits its stride in the second half as the banks narrow, and we even get some rapids (sorry, too much?) as the romance carries the movie to its emotionally satisfying conclusion.
Director Matthew Leutwyler (THE OH IN OHIO, another nice love story driven by offbeat characterization) effectively intercuts the lure and beauty of nature with the fine performances of his excellent cast. Gilford is funny and appealing as the awkward Gus. Veterans William Hurt and Kathleen Quinlan are simply wonderful as his parents, creating memorable characters from small parts that could have easily tipped into caricature. William Devane provides some much-needed humor as a grizzled journalist and fishing enthusiast who befriends Gus. And Amber Heard (literally miles away from her roles in ZOMBIELAND and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS) shines in perhaps the most pivotal role in the film, as the girl of Gus’s dreams. This talented young actress has shown such range in her performances, stardom has to be just around the corner.
Although it may take some patience on the part of the viewer, THE RIVER WHY, like a sunny afternoon spent fishing in a shady pool, will eventually yield its own small rewards.
November 11, 2010
The St. Louis International Film Festival opens tonight. It’s a great fest.
The River Why is screening there on Saturday, November 20 at 4:15 pm, at the Tivoli.
Saw a review by Alice Telios, of PLAYBACK:stl.com, today:
“(Director Matthew) Leutwyler may be able to turn any city slicker into a lover of the outdoors.”
City slicker, or not – be sure to check it out!
November 2, 2010
Check out this great article about Zach and “The River Why” at:
July 16, 2010
July 15, 2010:
The Alaska International Film Festival announced “The River Why” won the Best Narrative Feature award. Zach Gilford won the Best Actor award for his lead role as “Gus”.
Here’s the scoop from earthtimes.org
The honor of Best Narrative Feature was given to “The River Why”, directed by Matthew Leutwyler (USA). Based on the novel of the same title, this coming-of-age story is about Gus Orviston, who leaves his eccentric parents in the city for what he thinks is fly-fishing bliss along the banks of a wild river. It quickly turns into a journey of self-discovery and the meaning of life. Most of all, it is a love story: the love of a man for the wilderness and for the beautiful woman who comes to share it with him.
The honor of Best Actor was given to Zach Gilford in “The River Why” directed by Matthew Leutwyler (USA). Gilford gives an outstanding performance playing protagonist Gus Orviston in this coming-of-age story about discovering love in his connection with nature and his relationship with a beautiful woman.
May 10, 2010
There will always be many interpretations of great works of art and literature, the best (and simplest) example being “Romeo and Juliet” in tights and flowing gowns re-interpreted as “Westside Story” in jeans. But I especially like how Jam-Tex encourages the broadest appreciation of the experience.
Music, Culture, and History
The River Why
Last week I got to see the world premier of the film The River Why at the Dallas International Film Festival. The movie is based on the book The River Why by David James Duncan. Duncan is a famed environmental and philosophical fiction writer that weaves fantastic narratives about fishing, religion, and baseball. Duncan should be a staple of American literature. Not only is the River Why an amazing read, but so is the heart-wrenching The Brothers K, an excellent work set in the Vietnam War era.
For the most part, it is common knowledge that the book is always better than the movie. This is the case for The River Why, but that does not mean the filmmakers failed. Quite the contrary, the movie version of The River Why is really good. The film captured many of the philosophical underpinnings of the book. The book leaves the natural world to one’s imagination. Whereas the movie brings the wonderful nature of an Oregon river basin alive. My advice would be to read the book and see the movie.
Kristi: I agree. Read the book. See the movie. In whatever order you prefer.
April 13, 2010
Amber Heard as Eddy on set for "The River Why".
Great news! Amber Heard, who plays “Eddy” in The River Why, received the Dallas Shining Start Award on April 10, 2010 at the Dallas International Film Festival. According to IMDb:
Heard’s “Shining Star” was created with an eye toward celebrating actors, filmmakers, and film artists who have delivered exceptional performances or works on film in their brief careers as well as exhibiting the potential for greater achievements to come. “We couldn’t have found a better person to receive the inaugural DALLAS Shining Star Award,” said DALLAS IFF Artistic Director James Faust. “Amber has put together an incredible string of films in a few short years and is obviously just getting warmed up. We know that we’ll be able to proudly say we were among the first to officially recognize what was on the horizon for Amber Heard.“
Click here if you’d like to see some raw footage of Ms. Heard accepting her award.
Amber is a rising star who plays the lead role (and title character) in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Ms. Heard is the female lead in Pineapple Express (opposite Seth Rogen and James Franco), The Informers (with Billy Bob Thornton and Wynona Ryder) and The River Why (with Zach Gilford). She is currently starring with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diaries and with Nicholas Cage in Angry Driver.
April 5, 2010
April 5, 2010–The Easter Bunny delivered some “egg-cellent” news yesterday! Our first write up by the Ashland Mail Tribune.
Journalist Bill Varble wrote:
It’s heartening to see the overall quality of the work being done by independent filmmakers around the world. That quality will be on display in our little corner of the world, as the annual Ashland Independent Film Festival gets under way Thursday.
The big little indie fest this year again boasts some extraordinary films among its 81 entries. And almost everything is at least worth seeing. Contrast this with a typical week’s crop of Hollywood commercial fare, which often leaves you scratching for a movie worth seeing.
Here are some thumbnail reflections…
“The River Why,” feature, 101 minutes
Producer Kristi Denton Cohen waited 20 years to make a beautiful film based on David James Duncan’s iconic coming-of-age fishing novel set in Oregon, and the wait was worth it. Gus Orviston, 20, leaves his fishing, bickering parents’ home to live in a cabin on the river and order his life so that he can fish 141/2 hours a day.
Gotta be bliss, right? Wrong. He’s soon frustrated and lost. But the right guides turn up at just the right moments as Gus moves toward awareness.
This is lovely, understated filmmaking. Director Matthew Leutwyler wisely lets his camera and his actors, including the eye-popping Wilson River near Portland, (this is one of those stories in which the environment is a character) tell the story. When it looks this easy, you know it was hard work indeed.
Although the cinematography is stunning, the producer says it’s still a work in progress, and she allowed it to be shown as a thank-you to Oregon. The final version will reportedly be yet more beautiful.
To read the rest of Varble’s reviews, please click here.
Also appearing at the Ashland Independent Film Festival is “Greenlit”, the behind-the-scenes documentary of The River Why‘s attempt to “green” the film production. The 12:00 noon April 10th showing of “Greenlit” will be followed by a panel discussion including “Greenlit” director Bailey and “River Why” green consultant Lauren Selman. Bill Vabler suggests “The ideal would be to see ‘[The] River Why,’ then see ‘Greenlit,’ then stay for the discussion.” We agree, Bill!
You can catch The River Why at 12:00noon on April 9th and 6:00pm April 10th. Get your tickets here.
The Ashland Independent Film Festival runs Thursday, April 8, through Monday, April 12, at the Varsity Theatre and other Ashland locations with 81 films, plus parties, awards and special events. Most showings are $10. See www.ashlandfilm.org for more information.
UPDATE: While you’re at the AIFF, here are a few other events you may enjoy:
- “Reel Women” Panel with Producer Kristi Denton Cohen: 10:30am, April 10, 2010.
- “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” Panel, following the screening of “Greenlit“, which documents The River Why’s attempt to “green” its film production: Screening starts at 12:00noon, April 10, 2010
Both events listed here: http://www.ashlandfilm.org/FilmBlocks.asp?Date=4/10/2010&clicktime=23:14:29