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StaleMate comes up a winner at Staten Island Film Festival, Fly-By-Night takes flight

by Mark Burger

Even in a summer movie reason overrun by big-budget blockbusters, every so often an independent film gets the chance to shine. So it is with Lovinder S. Gill’s StaleMate, a totally homegrown independent that was recently named Best Picture at the 2011 Staten Island Film Festival.

Filmed entirely on location by the Gillder Frontier, the film was written and directed by Gill and produced by Gill and Geoff Thompson, with a principal cast including Josh Randall (TV’s “Scrubs,” “Men in Trees” and “Raising the Bar”), Sheetal Sheth (Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, The Trouble With Romance, TV’s “Nip/Tuck” and “The Singles’ Table”) and Winston- Salem’s Burgess Jenkins (Remember the Titans, The Reaping, In/Significant Others).

Filmed entirely in and around Winston- Salem, the film — a modern-day re-interpretation of Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 classic L’Avventura, as envisioned by Gill — Sheth plays Kayleigh, a career woman who unexpectedly finds herself romantically torn between long-time boyfriend Richard (Jenkins) and an easy-going co-worker, Arthur (Randall).

Together, Richard and Arthur would be the perfect man, but is Kayleigh the perfect girl for either of them? She tries to determine who’s right for her, all the while coming to terms with who she is and what her needs are. StaleMate combines drama and romance, with just a hint of comedy thrown into the mix.

“StaleMate is a no-apologies art film,” observed Jenkins in an exclusive YES! Weekly interview. “It gives an honest look at real life and real relationships. Love it or hate it, the movie always leaves people talking.

“Working with Josh and Sheetal was a pleasure,” he added. “Both of them are what I would call devoted ‘craft actors.’ The work is about the moments between us more than it is trying to project something to the audience just for the sake of it — which is so often the case with many actors I’ve worked with. I think everyone saw the possibility in the script, and winning Staten Island (Best Picture award) is evidence of that faith. I’m proud of what we accomplished.”

For more information about the film, visit the Gillder Frontier’s official website at www.gillerder.com.

After a successful trial run, the Fly-By- Night Theatre Company is ready to take flight with a full season of live offerings this year, beginning in July with its production of Tommy Trull and Chris Tilling’s Silent Pictures, which opens July 13 at the Broach Theater, located at 520 S. Elm St. in Greensboro.

Set during the heyday of the jazz era in Hollywood, Silent Pictures is a musical comedy about a talented artist whose obsession with creativity masks a pained soul. His pursuit of artistic success helps him not only to overcome his troubles, but also to encourage others to do likewise. An early version of Silent Pictures was presented to great acclaim at the last Greensboro Fringe Festival.

The mission of the Fly-By-Night Theatre Company, founded by Rachel Downey and Laurel Ullman, is to develop and produce new works of theater, dance and film, particularly those created by artists in the region, and to introduce these new works to the masses.

Showtimes for Silent Pictures are 8 p.m. July 13 through July 15, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. July 16 and 17. Tickets are $10, available in advance or at the door. For ticket reservations, call 336.202.5311 or visit www.flybynighttheatre.com.

Movies are about to get bigger in Winston- Salem, with the opening of the new Grand IMAX Theatre at Southern Theatres’ Grand 18, located on University Parkway in Winston-Salem.

With a seating capacity of 375 and a 59’ x 33’ screen, the theater is equipped to show films in both regular and 3-D formats.

The new IMAX screen will open this week. For more information, visit www.thegrandtheatre.com/IMAX.

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