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Mark Covino – Five Questions

Mark Christopher Covino appeared at the Lake Placid Film Forum in June 2013, riding a nearly year-long wave of film festivals, a string of awards in his wake. His documentary film, A Band Called Death, was garnering critical awards and the winning the love of fans all over the world. Shortly after the June Film Forum, ABCD came out on Netflix, and was now a part of everyday life.

Clearly Covino, co-director of the film, had made it to the inner-circle of success.

Film Forum coordinator T.J. Brearton recently caught up with Mark Covino to see what colors the walls of his new mansion were, and how many limousines he employed to drive himself and his entourage around the streets of Burlington, Vermont, where he lives (or “summers,” depending).

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TJB: So, you’ve co-directed a hit documentary and are rich and famous and have no need to ever worry about money or work again. Tell us about that.

MC: I now poop in a solid gold toilet bowl and use $100 bills as toilet paper.

Fact of the matter is, neither (co-director) Jeff nor I have made a single penny from A Band Called Death… yet. Does that suck? Yeah, a little. He went through a divorce and we’re both in pretty bad debt. But what ABCD lacked in remuneration it made up for in exposure. Through festivals alone we’ve been able to make a ton of connections. I have so many business cards I don’t know what to do with them all! Also, I and my team were able to run a successful Kickstarter campaign for my latest doc, The Crest. This wouldn’t have been possible without ABCD. Jeff and I are even getting phone calls now from big production companies wanting to collaborate with us. So, it ain’t all bad…

TJB: Where are things at with The Crest?

MC: There was a bit of a delay in post-production in The Crest due to work and traveling around with ABCD. BUT! Things are finally picking up again. The plan is to have a rough cut by springtime. However, there’s still some more filming to be done. One of the things we’re trying to plan right now is a second trip to Ireland for B-Roll, a few more important interviews that we weren’t able to get the first time around, PLUS, a surprise ending to the film that I’m really psyched about.

TJB: Any plans to work on another documentary in the near or far future?

covino3MC: After The Crest I think I’m done with documentaries. There’s just no money in them. When I make a film, whether it be a doc or a narrative, I put all my energy and time into it, blowing off paid work. I also get emotionally connected with my subjects, and that’s draining. I can’t do another four years of that.

I recently almost got myself into making another feature length doc, but after three weeks of shooting I decided I shouldn’t put myself through this again, not unless I have the proper funding.

TJB: Do you still keep in touch with the brothers from A Band Called Death? Any plans to reunite with them? How are they doing?

MC: The guys from the band are doing good. Touring more than ever. Actually, they’re in Paris right now doing a gig, so things couldn’t be better. I do try to see them as much as I can, they’re only a fifteen minute drive from my house.
THAT said, Dannis, the drummer – who we see in our film working as a janitor at St Michael’s College to support his family – was recently laid off from work due to a union dispute. So, the guys are still struggling. It’s not like these gigs are raking in the dollars.

TJB: One last question. Europe is experiencing unprecedented storms, the United States is hitting record-low temperatures; the globe seems to be in climate-chaos. What are your plans for surviving the end of the world?

MC: Lots of porn…

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Photos courtesy of Mark Covino.  Related Articles: Where Do We Go From Here? The Mark Covino Article

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LPFF Audience Choice Favorite “Tee’d Off” Wins at FilmFestivalFlix

This past December, Writer/Producer/Actor Chris Federico wins at FilmFestivalFlix, a progressive, artist-friendly festival granting filmmakers a broad opening for their work.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street, a review by Kathleen Carroll

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Martin Scorsese has always been attracted to men who behave badly. So it’s hardly surprising that his newest blast of a movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is a gleefully sordid tale about a real life stockbroker who firmly believes that greed is good in that it pays well enough to buy such upper class perks as a Long Island mansion, a sea going yacht, and an endless supply of beautiful women and expensive drugs.
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The stockbroker-turned-motivational speaker (this after he was ordered to serve time for his crimes against his clients) who is the centerpiece of this volatile movie is Jordan Belfort.  Belfort began his dubious career by rounding up a group of Long Island schlubs who deal strictly with penny stocks until he transforms them into a highly motivated force of brokers who never take no for an answer.  
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Belfort is played with a certain amount of rakish charm by Leonardo Di Caprio who admittedly gives the most dynamic performance of his career. But the one performance that ultimately sticks in the mind is an amusing, all too brief turn by Matthew McConaughey who is electrifying as an ever-so-slick wizard of Wall Street.
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Still, after three hours of hyper scenes one feels numb from sheer exhaustion. In one scene, Belfort, after knocking back quaaludes, drags his limp body into his car, doing what looks like an homage to the loose-jointed screen antics of Jerry Lewis. He then proceeds to drive his 3 year old daughter, who remains unbuckled, through a garage door, a cringe-worthy scene if ever there was one. Ultimately it feels as if the viewer has just been taken for a fast and furious roller coaster ride for no real purpose.
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Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll Reunites with Robert Redford

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At the recent NY Film Critics Awards, Adirondack Film Society Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll had quite a reunion with film mogul Robert Redford.  His first words to Kathleen were, simply “The New York Daily News.”  A film critic for 30 years, Kathleen did a number of interviews with Redford, including, possibly, his very first press interview.  The two friends talked for several minutes and Nathan Farb snapped the picture shown above.

This NYTimes article has more on the evening’s events.

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“World’s Best Shorts” Returns to LPCA

The Asbury Short Concert has been around for 32 years!  In the early days of the Lake Placid Film Forum, the shorts were a vital component of the program, showcasing laugh-out-loud comedies, landmark filmmaking moments, inspiring and entertaining fare.  Now Asbury is it’s own show – a “concert” with a host, music, filled with general merriment and, of course – the world’s best shorts!

You can visit the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for tickets.

Asbury 2014

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In Memoriam: Jeff Barker, Beloved Theatre Organist

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With regret, we share news of the passing of Jeff Barker, beloved – and renowned – theatre organist and devoted friend of the Adirondack Film Society and the Palace Theatre.  Jeff passed away suddenly on December 31, 2013.

A native of Manchester, England, Jeff began piano lessons at age 5. He later attended the Manchester School of Music, majoring in piano. While still in his teens, his interest shifted to the Theatre Pipe Organ, and he joined the Theatre Organ Club and the Cinema Organ Society in England. He soon found himself playing “Organ Interludes” at such places as the “Carleton” in Salford, and the prestigious “Odeon” (formerly the “Paramount”) in Manchester City Center.

In the mid 1960’s Jeff came to the U.S. to play a summer season on the 3/14 Wurlitzer organ that was then installed at the Surf City Hotel on the Jersey Shore. He decided to stay in America, and subsequently became a U.S. citizen.

Over the course of his career, Jeff played most of the important instruments of his trade in the U.S. and England, and was a featured organist at three American Theatre Organist Society conventions. He also played for the Theatre Organ Society International at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, Virginia.

Jeff served as house organist at theatres operated by Nelson Page in the New York Metropolitan Area for over 16 years. Many appreciative movie audiences had heard him play the 3/12 Kimball and the 2/6 Moller Lobby Organ at the now-closed Galaxy Theatre in Guttenberg, N.J., and the 2/11 Wurlitzer at the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, N.Y. He also played before the Big Screen Classics Movies shown at the Lafayette.

Since 1999, Jeff played the Robert-Morton Theatre Pipe organ at the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid, N.Y., and was also the crew chief for the restoration of the Palace’s organ.

Jeff and his work are synonymous with the Adirondack Film Society, the non-profit organization that has produced events throughout the North Country and at the Palace Theatre for 15 years.  Jeff was at the organ when the AFS launched its first official event in October 1999.  The successful event provided a strong start for the inaugural Lake Placid Film Forum in June 2000.  Every October since, Jeff has been at the organ for silent film events produced by the AFS.  On Halloween night this past October, 2013, Jeff was truly at his best as he introduced the film, played accompaniment on the organ, and even handled the Q&A afterward; he was the whole show, and the audience was immensely appreciative of his efforts and abilities.

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An additional, little-known talent Jeff possessed was an artistic ability with a paint brush. In fact, it was Jeff who restored much of the decorative paint and gilding when Nelson Page took over operation of the Lafayette Theatre.  For this, his organ playing, and for many other reasons, he will be greatly missed.

 

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Thanks to the Garden State Theatre Organ Society for providing much of the information in this article.

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New York Loves Film – Roadshow at North Country Universities

 
For Immediate Release: November 21, 2013

Contact:

ESD Press Office | pressoffice@esd.ny.gov | (800) 260-7313
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION HOLDS
NEW YORK LOVES FILM ROADSHOW AT NORTH COUNTRY UNIVERSITIES
 
The Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development held New York Loves Film workshops at St. Lawrence University and SUNY Potsdam yesterday in a focused effort to support a future generation of New York filmmakers. The workshops featured 60-minute face-to-face conversations with film students, senior faculty and New York State government representatives discussing film production practices and resources across the state.
“The latest effort by Governor Cuomo and the entire team to promote film and television in New York State, the New York Loves Film Road show was met with interest and enthusiasm by local filmmakers in Woodstock in October and will be offered in all ten regions of the state moving forward,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “The workshops’ one-on-one approach, where filmmakers meet with state representatives to learn about film production in the state, is a testament to our commitment to the industry and its growth.”
“Workshops at the Universities send the message to aspiring filmmakers that there are programs and policies in place that support their efforts to realize their projects in New York State,” said Gigi Semone, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development. “From the tax credit, to location scouting assists to liasing with various State agencies, these students were unaware of the range of resources the Governor’s film office makes available to them.”
The more than two dozen workshop attendees came to the table with a range of questions and ambitions, many of whom aspire to stay in New York State as they pursue their careers in the industry.
“The success of the New York State tax credit program is good for the economic health of the state, of which we are a part. But it is promising in another way, one closer to the work that we do. More film production in New York means increasing numbers of jobs in all areas of the business, and that’s good for students being trained by the many excellent film and media studies programs in this state, including, in a modest way, St. Lawrence University. People think of California as the nexus of serious film programs but what you are seeing on your workshop tour is that New York is increasingly involved in preparing talented and skilled professionals that an expanding film industry will need,” said St. Lawrence University professor Richard Jenseth.
“One of the most valuable things to come out of the workshop was the idea of an active collaboration between film students at the North Country schools to build dynamic working relationships on their projects, much as we currently do on the exhibition side with the cooperative Cinema 10 organization for showing of locally made and other independent films. Also we talked about engaging more actively with regional film festivals like the Lake Placid Film Forum. Further, the Governor’s film team brought a new sense of enthusiasm and possible shared identity with other film enthusiasts in the area. The students were pretty impressed that the state is available to help them with their projects,” said SUNY Potsdam Associate Professor Victoria Levitt
“I got a lot out of this workshop, not just in terms of information but in the feeling of encouragement and support from the state film office people,” said senior student Dylan Rattigan. “They made it clear they are there to help us as individuals with our film projects and as a North Country film region working together. They definitely gave me feedback about pursuing a career in film.”
This is the eighth Roadshow workshop to be held since the program’s inception, with six additional planned before year’s end.
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I Love NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.
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