3““, .


‘I knew in that instant that the bee would make the perfect backdrop for a great big American story - the kind of story I wanted to tell. One full of drama and laughter and pathos and intelligence.‘ It's 1997 and Spellbound director Jeffrey Blitz had just graduated from the University of Southern California‘s film school with a handful of fiction shorts to his name, including

Wonderland. starring George Segal.

Nearly six years later, at the 2003 Oscars, Spellbound narrowly lost out to Michael Moore‘s shambolic Bowling for Columbine for the Best Documentary Feature award. The story of those intervening years is one of maxed-out credit cards, exhaustive research, practical setbacks and seat-of-the-pants filmmaking.

Blitz and his co-producer, Sean Welch, selected a dozen spellers from a variety of regional, socio- economic, racial, religious and class backgrounds. Eight made the final cut. One was knocked out in his regional heat and the parents of

another got cold feet and withdrew from the project. But others, like Angela and her Mexican family, proved to be a storyteller's gift. Angela’s father, Texas ranch hand Ubaldo, is an illegal immigrant who still does not speak English. We the audience sense that for this perky, self-motivated girl, language is her passport to

acceptance as an American.

‘When Angela won her regional heat, Sean and I burst into tears,‘ admits Blitz. ‘In part because we cared so much about Angela, and we sensed how important her victory was for her. But also, in part, because we knew we had the cornerstone of our documentary. I don‘t

Jeff Blitz the director of Spellbound

just assimilated that into her own approach to life. There’s an old-fashioned, populist message here: that no matter where you begin, hard work can advance you. And I think these kids prove it. They test themselves by tackling something really massive; conquering, in a sense, the English Ianguage.‘

In the case of Spellbound, the phrase ‘word-of-mouth

(Nigel Floyd)

hit‘ is more than a dodgy pun. Rapturous audience reactions and enthusiastic recommendations have kept the film in American cinemas for 20 weeks. Do I have to spell it out? See this film. Tell your friends.

think Angela’s parents ever sat her down and talked to Sher/bound opens at the Fxlrr‘hobse. i drriburgl: and Gil.

her about cultural markers of success, but I think she

ornt cron INll ner v. ELI ROTH

When l:|r Roth first pitched a flesh eatrng \rr‘us rnoyre project erght years ago. Scream obsessed execs weren't .nterested rn such a \'rs<:era| horror. They wanted more -ronrc. rn joke\ thrrlls lhen lovwket scarelests such as lire Sixth Sense and The film l'u'rtch lire/err: rnoxed the genre even further away from blood and

24 THE LIST i—‘t‘ 3.“.


guts. Not even sleazy undeo ;:ornpanres were nterested. because there was no monster to but on the box cover. Yet last month, [Jon's Gate opened Cabin Fever on more than 2000 screens rn the US. flesh eatrrrg horror had rrsen from the grave. and rt was far front brarn dead.

'I love xornbre rnovres rake George Romero's 'ihe /‘\v'rgl.‘t of the l. ung; Dead] enthuses the handsome

Eli Roth's Cabin Fever

,Jr? fr ’0 Oct. See "e'xrez'. nage 2:3.

young lilr Roth “Your best frrer‘d gets brtter‘ and now {.rou're gorng to have to krlr hrnr. or he's going to kill you and eat your flesh. wanted to ofa‘, ‘.'.’|lll that (I()l‘.‘.’(}ll'.l()ll. but nov. the flesh rs eatrng itself. And thrs Unit; the krds who don't have the flesh eat:ng disease are the monsters. because of the \.'.‘£i‘), they treat the.' Nested fr'rends' Another «0‘, lliildtfllfjl: was Joh" Carpenter's lhe flung, in which a polar research learn rs destroyed by their paranord fears about who rnrght be playing host to an alien creature. ‘That xv'tole frlrn '3', about the d~srntegratror1 of the tearer relatrorrshrbsf Roth (:xplztsns. 'l lone YY‘.()‘.'I(}SS ‘.‘."l€2.’(3 an rsolated grout; .s trapped somewhere arid the“. turn or‘ each other."

So Roth takes a set of stock horror character's. rnfects the'n w tn a .‘lesn eating rus. then challenges the aadrence to guess how the; mil react. 'F-or me the .‘rhoie rnowe rs about sett:r‘g .rr: people's expectatrons and then fuckrng ‘.'."t". thern, made a conscious dec saw to fool peooe .nto thznkrng the, know what's going on. but then to :t wood and surp'rse the hell out ;‘ fh€l7‘_' 'NIgC‘? 901.0

Cab/c Fewer rs On general release tron: Fr. 70 Oct. See review page 27.


l .Qt‘fs. .‘:ar“er.’2. actor"

. Almodévar

Kika is opening the Guild's

Tlll l[)lNllt IRON l ll M (Ellll l).

:s :3,‘ tears .: .t and s almrt to start rts [Kith sease.“ If "‘a, see": a strange ‘.'.’()l|(l .tt e‘rtrsfrl but for a were 5130 members get a (,‘r'ltfltlt: 3.?“ trlf'zs presented over 2.1 tureeks and a further ll irrdat night screenings Merrrben; are also entrtled to all Ei\.‘Lil|£li)lC concessions for a year along '.'.'rth therrted socral epents an the EFG's own clubrocrns and bar The new season krcks off Brllr, erder's Sunset Bowen/an: and Alrnode'ar's Krka on the 5th of October at 53pm Mer'rbershrp

fOrrns detarls and programme brochures are avalable onlrne and In the Frlrnhouse foyer. For further info \Wv".‘l.0dlllbllfgflllllllgUlld corn or 0131 623 8027.

THERE'S STILL TIME TO GET your entries in for the Channel 4 IDEASFACTORY: Real Documentary Filmmaking Competition. The deadline has been extended to Mon 6th Oct. To enter, visit www.channel4. com/ideasfactoryscotland and submit your 200 word idea for a short documentary. Winners receive a trip to the Sheffield International Documentary Festival, filmmaking masterclasses from renowned experts including Nick Broomfield and Mark Cousins, and the chance to make your own film to be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. For more details, visit the website or email jason@

lN GLASGOV‘V. GOING GLOBAL rs a new resource for schools. produced by Glasgow City CounCrl and the GFT. one of Scottrsh Screens supported Cinemas The pack COHSISlS of thrw short animated films made by groups of young aSylrrm seekers and local ‘yOung peOpIe from three Glasgow schools. All schools in Glasgow have been much wrth a free cop,l of the 60mg Global pack. But rf you are rnterested ‘,'0u can purchase a copy from the (EFT Or contact the EducatrOn Offrcer at Gl—‘T on 0141 332 653:3.