Preceded by the short film, A WHOLE NEW DAY
Screening 7:00 pm Sunday, Sharonville Fine Arts Center
Columbus Day is part of a six-segment anthology created in the late 90s by documentarian and television writer/director James Sadwith and cinema auteur Robert Altman. Each segment comprised a separate story and featured a strong cast; the connecting element was a pearl-handled 45 caliber pistol that passed into the lives of those in each segment, hence the series title of Gun.
Emmy-winner Sadwith wrote and directed Columbus Day, starring James Gandolfini, Rosanna Arquette, Peter Horton and Chaim Girafi. The story has two main threads which intersect in connection with the handgun.
In pre-9/11 New York City, A Kurdish assassin (Chaim Girafi) is stalking the Turkish Consul, who is about to fly from LaGuardia to Dulles in Washington, D.C. Walter Difideli (James Gandolfini) is part of the airport security team when the assassin makes a thwarted play for his target with pistol in-hand.
In the ensuing chase, the assassin tosses his gun in a trash cart, is captured and subsequently released because the weapon cannot be found. Later, an airport maintenance worker finds the gun and sells it to Walter, who gives it to his wife Lilly (Rosanna Arquette) for "protection" as he has started working the night shift.
Already stifled because Walter won't let her get a job, Lilly is bored and feeling trapped as Walter now spends most of his time at work. She encounters a neighbor, a writer named Jack Keyes (Peter Horton), who makes a pass in the laundry room. An affair commences and between bouts of illicit love-making, Lilly helps Jack compose and edit a short story.
In the meantime, the assassin had used his pistol in a previous killing and wants it back before it links him to the murder. He discovered where Walter and Lilly reside and is spotted looking in their kitchen window. Alerted and vigilant, Walter keeps the gun within easy reach.
Eventually Jack reveals his predatory nature by refusing to credit Lilly when he submits their joint work to various publications. Lilly takes revenge by erasing the story contents from Jack's laptop and taking the only hard copy.
After a series of events, withheld here to avoid spoiling, the gun ends up in a pawnshop.
His most recent project was A Smile as Big as the Moon, 2012, a Hallmark movie based on the true story of Michigan teacher Mike Kersjes' quest to take his special ed students to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
We appreciate your kindness Jim in sharing your work with the CWC film community, many thanks!
A WHOLE NEW DAY
A Whole New Day is a 19 minute short film shot in three days in 1999. Director William Garcia and James Gandolfini were old friends, having worked together at a bistro "back in the day." Gandolfini and the rest of the cast worked gratis to help get this film made and it was the only project he took on during the The Sopranos off-season that year.
This is a tragi-comic tale of a man whose drinking problem is way out of control. Gandolfini delivers a carefully nuanced performance as Vincent, an alcoholic who wakes up one morning to find his entire apartment has been cleaned out by his wife Carol (Kathrine Narducci), understandably at the end of her rope, looking after the baby (Gabriel Garcia) and coping with her often-absent husband.
Disorientated and distressed, Vincent calls on a fellow-drinking buddy Jimmy (Ned Eisenberg), who proceeds to assist him in his predicament. As he sits on the floor in the empty apartment, a stranger walks in. Angela (Delilah Cotto) is there to meet a rental agent about taking the apartment. Now totally bewildered, Vincent attempts to find his wife, hoping for reconciliation, but finds himself in a somewhat bizarre yet comical situation.
A Whole New Day offers a glimpse into the dark world of a problem drinker deep in denial. The storyline is straightforward, and offers a poignant portrayal of a man in desperate need of help.
In the 1990s Bill Garcia created the documentary A Day at a Time which won the Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival in Indiana. A few years later he wrote and directed A Whole New Day. Since then he's been active in the industrial and commercial film community and has joined the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he teaches filmmaking with a focus on short film development.
Thank you Bill for sharing your work with the CWC audience in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky!
INTERVIEW WITH GARCIA, GANDOLFINI & NARDUCCI
'The Sopranos' Gandolfini stars in new short film
Thursday, February 24, 2000, Frazier Moore, Associated Press
NEW YORK -- ''We had to go shoot a scene out on a boat yesterday,'' James Gandolfini is saying. It's the final scene for this season's ''The Sopranos,'' the HBO hit in which he stars as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano. ''So we're all out on a boat, throwing up,'' he continues. ''And it was freezing and we had to pretend it was July. It was nice.'' He's very deadpan. ''It was crazy. It was nuts.''
But he isn't here to talk about ''The Sopranos.'' Gandolfini is starring in a new film, a short film titled ''A Whole New Day,'' which premieres Wednesday on Cinemax as the latest of that network's ''Max Shorts'' presentations.
At a Greenwich Village restaurant Monday he has joined Katherine Narducci, who plays his excitable wife, and William Garcia, the film's director-writer.
''Jim and I talked about doing something together for a long time,'' says Garcia, who, up to now, has concentrated on making documentaries. ''I wrote this for him.''
''And what did he write?'' Gandolfini hurrumphs, looking put out. ''A drunken lunatic!''
''Were you a little insulted?'' asks Narducci, goading her co-star.
''It wasn't ABOUT him,'' Garcia protests with a laugh. ''It was FOR him.''
''It was my fault,'' Gandolfini sighs. ''I gave him Bukowski to read.''
There is clearly a bit of the lowdown-booze-and-smokes ethos of writer Charles Bukowski in ''A Whole New Day.'' Also a bit of O. Henry: The film ends with a sly twist when Vincent, the working-class slob waking up from his bender, discovers he has made a big mistake (a funny mistake that shouldn't be leaked here).
''Bukowski was definitely an inspiration,'' Garcia agrees. ''But I realized after the film was done that one of my uncles actually did what Vincent does, when I was a kid.''
''This guy I was living with in college did it,'' says Gandolfini, laughing. ''He was a mess.''
The 19-minute film was shot in three days a year ago in a bare apartment in Manhattan's Washington Heights section.
''I did a short, 'cause that's what I could get done,'' explains Garcia, who sees the film as a stepping stone to features. He financed it himself, from the family savings. ''We were gonna get a car and we put that off. God bless my wife!'' He also called in favors from his friends, especially Gandolfini, who, like the other players (Ned Eisenberg, Delilah Cotto and baby Gabriel Garcia, as well as ''Sopranos'' cast member Narducci), worked for nothing.
It was the only acting project Gandolfini took on after ''The Sopranos'' wrapped last season. '
'I was exhausted,'' he says. ''My wife was pregnant. I had to find us a new place to live. And there was all of this other stuff,'' an oblique reference to the stardom that blindsided him. ''I felt like I was run over by a truck.''
Gandolfini met Garcia a decade ago when they worked at a now-defunct bistro on Manhattan's Union Square.
''I used to tend bar,'' Gandolfini says. ''Billy used to talk.''
''It was a great time, wasn't it?''
''I had a ball,'' says Gandolfini, ''until the waitresses got together and compared notes.''
''You went out with all the waitresses?!'' Narducci explodes.
''Not all at once,'' Gandolfini replies with a naughty look. ''But in a short period of time.''
''So you were always a ladies' man.''
''Yeah,'' Garcia jumps in. ''I couldn't believe it! Now I think, 'OK, he's famous.' But then I'm thinking, 'What do they SEE in him?'''
''They like sweaty fat guys,'' Gandolfini explains.
''You wanna hear something funny?'' says Narducci, who then describes a recent visit to a ''Sopranos'' chat room on the Internet, where the discussion turned to Gandolfini's charms.
''One girl wrote, 'He's the man! You guys don't realize it, but we love chubby bald guys.'
''Then someone else said, 'You know what, guys?' -- he's telling the rest of the room -- 'We're all killing ourselves for nothing.'''
Gandolfini laughs heartily at that. ''Let yourself go!'' he roars. ''Forget about the hair plugs!''
''TV is a good training ground,'' he says. ''You learn how to prepare quickly.