Support Your Local Filmmaker!
Once upon a time, a time not too long ago, an artist by the name of Levy Stonehill was born in the city of Palm Springs. This child would eventually grow up to be a talented screenwriter, and in his mid 20’s he would then discover his second gift of being a talented director. In 2009, Stonehill, was presented his biggest artistic challenge. He was to write and direct his first short film. Through determination, passion, cleverness, and fate, Stonehill successfully produced his masterpiece… Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy Birthday to Me stars Rene Heger, RonNell Weaver, Daisuke Suzuki, Emily Rosman, Erin Carroll, Corinne Griswold, Patti Carroll, Dan Carroll. Written, directed and produced by Levy Stonehill.
The plot reads… “After years of being shunned by the art world and not gaining desired recognition for his masterpiece series of abstract art, Murray Goldstein once joked that he might as well glue rhinestones on his own casket. On September 15th in the year 2000, Murray makes a startling birthday wish to summon “The Hand of God” to help accomplish the posthumous art legacy he well deserves.” – (via Happy Birthday to Me’s Facebook page).
In the summer of 2010, Stonehill attempted to take his dream a step further by submitting his film to the local Palm Springs Short Film Festival. A film festival that he grew up attending every Summer and was so influenced by. He had high hopes in seeing his film projected on the large screen for all of his family, friends, fans and himself to enjoy and admire.
In his many attempts in submitting his film to the festival, the film was shot down. Stonehill felt shunned from the Film Festival circut, very similar to the way his character, Murray Goldstein, was shunned from his art world.
An elaborate and ongoing story that Stonehill couldn’t have ever predicted to have written… a true story of life mimicking art and/or art mimicking life. But, not to the very end. Stonehill wouldn’t go down like that. No, sir…
Coming from experience, as writing the demise of Murray Goldstein, Stonehill knew giving in to his battle as an artist would only lead to failure… death of an artist. And Stonehill wasn’t about to go out like Murray. Instead, Levy Stonehill decided to fight against the struggle.
Stonehill took it upon himself to call out all of his friends, his family and his fans to support him in attempting the not-so-impossible of getting his film properly accepted in to the Palm Springs Short Film Fest.
He is now currently reaching out through telephone, email, and Facebook to secure that he will sell $100 tickets to his film to make it happen.
The days are getting closer, the nights are getting longer…
So, please, take the time now to support your local filmaker and read the passage below provided by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television.
We don’t want a real life Murray Goldstein…
 
A statement written by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television:
“Levy Stonehill is a 27 year old local filmmaker born and raised here in Palm Springs. He recently produced a screenplay “The Humdrummer,” which was shot locally and is currently in post-production in Los Angeles. Several months ago he wrote and directed his first short film entitled, “Happy Birthday To Me.” It’s about an egotistical artist named Murray who’s been shunned by the art world. Never gaining the desired recognition for his masterpiece series of abstract art, he’d often joke, “I might as well glue rhinestones on my very own casket.” On September 15th in the year 2000, Murray makes a startling birthday wish to summon “The Hand of God” to help accomplish the posthumous art legacy he well deserves.

The film was rehearsed for an entire month on stage at the world famous Stella Adler theatre on the hollywood walk of fame. With classically trained actors such as Rene Heger (In Enemy Hands), Daisuke Suzuki (American Dad), and Ronnell Weaver (Tyler Perry’s: Madea’s Big Happy Family.) It was Stonehill’s goal to shoot the entire film untraditionally, to make it look captured realistically on home video. The story unravels in layers as old family videos tend to do. For example one minute you’re watching a birthday party, the next’s a bar mitzvah years later… When that footage ends, it’s back to the birthday party. This was often the case up until digital came along. Stonehill used this formula as his story device. To foreshadow, and to give climax. What’s even more remarkable is that the film boasts one 20 minute long one take scene. An homage to the classics and the theatre!

This year, it seems as though the Palm Springs Short Film festival no longer has a local filmmaker block. This needs to be changed! Film festivals have become “corporate,” making it almost impossible for the “little guy” to break through. If you don’t have an agent, manager, or a shoe in… you’re often times left spending $50-100 on submission fees which you had no chance on winning back in the first place.

Recently, Stonehill started a campaign on facebook to prove he can sell over 100 tickets to his showing, if formally accepted at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Since money is obviously what they truly care about, he plans on giving them their cake…. As long as he can eat it too. This local’s not taking no for an answer.

Any kind of help or publicity regarding his dilemma would be greatly appreciated. Please give the “little guy” a voice and support local creativity and cinema. Make the festival aware that he and other local filmmakers alike have an audience. They need to make an exception.”

*all photos taken from happy Birthday To Me’s Facebook page
 
For more information on Levy Stonehill and Happy Birthday To Me, please visit:
 
Happy Birthday To Me’s IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1567236/
 
Happy Birthday To Me’s Facebook page:

 

 
Levy Stonehill’s IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3529418/

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