The stars were shining bright at the 5th Macon Film Festival, MaGa. Just like the bright lights of the beautiful Cox Capitol Theater.
My good friends Jeff, Steve-the fashionado Traveller and I, were greeted by the powerhouse that is Mr. SoChi, Terrell Sandefur. We caught up with him for a minute and then entered the theater to grab our seats and a cocktail.
Terrell maneuvered seamlessly through the evening as he wore many hats: publicist, event planner, very gracious host, actor and dad. Before premiering STUCK! Terrell introduced actress Illeana Douglas and her doggie Godfrey who travels with her, so very LA, love it! She was friendly and funny as she interacted with the audience and soon after, STUCK! filmmaker/director and genius Steve Balderson took the stage. He said hello, gave us a big smile, but really saved his comments for the Q&A which followed the screening.
Wow! STUCK! was amazing. There were subtle hints of John Waters and Tarantino throughout, though the film stood solidly on its own. Balderson masterfully intertwines modern spins and details- so many that a second viewing would not be a bad idea- in this classic film noir about women in prison. The cast, Karen Black, Susan Traylor, Mink Stole, Jane Wiedlin, Starina Johnson, Stacy Cunningham and Pleasant Geham delivered strong performances, each gifted with compelling characters. There were many parts to STUCK! that were humorous, dark, brilliant and disturbing, but the one that resonated with thick tension and awkwardness among the audience was a steamy sex/masturbation scene between two of the main characters. Its not so much what you saw, but rather a combination of clever screenwriting, direction and impeccable timing. Later, I spoke with Steve Balderson about filming that scene and he agreed with my observation but added that the other contributing element to the scene’s power and allure was the caliber of acting. There were many layers to the story plot, its characters were complex and all the metaphors and symbolism throughout the film made STUCK! a very sophisticated work of art.
The screening premiere finished with a Q&A with Steve Balderson and members of the cast. Terrell, wearing yet another hat, moderator, knew when it was time to end the panel discussion and PARTY! Right before I left the Cox Capitol Theater, Terrell grabbed me for an introduction with special celebrity guest, Illeana Douglas, so glad he did. Illeana and I talked about anything but movies or Hollywood. I think that was refreshing for her.
As Jeff, Steve and I made our way into the SoChi Gallery our first stop was the bar where raspberry “MaGatinis” were the specialty cocktail. It wasn’t long before we were swapping stories with the absolutely amazing Karen Black and Starina Johnson who played Daisy, the lead role. Karen was fabulous in every way. She was so funny, delightful and completely unpretentious, even in her diamond bracelet once worn by Marilyn Monroe.
As the night unfolded, Jeff, Steve and I nearly closed down the party at 3am along with Terrell, Priscilla Esser, Steve Balderson and most of the cast.
All that is left to say (Atlanta readers hear this) being STUCK! in Macon was pretty damn good.