FRIDAY, JULY 27: Bermudian screenwriter and producer Andrew Stoneham’s latest short film is hitting the big time after landing eight awards at international film festivals.
His bittersweet “anti-romantic” comedy Coffee and Pie premiered at the Bermuda International Film Festival in 2011 and has been sky-rocketing ever since.
The film was directed by Douglas Horn, who has written and directed the feature films Entry Level and The No-Sit List, while established independent film actress Amy Seimetz also stars in the film.
Set in a diner, the off-beat film tells of female characters June and October who are breaking up. The manipulative June is ruthless in her moral high ground while the more mature October feels used and upset. Among the gongs were Best Lesbian and Gay Bi-sexual, Transgender Comedy Film at the 4th Sene Film, Music and Arts Festival, and Best Short Film, Audience Choice Award at the 13th Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Fesival.
The film was screened at the Seattle International Film Festival which, like BIFF, is an Oscar qualifier in addition to being the largest film festival in North America.
Coffee and Pie will also be screening at the Lincoln Centre in New York as part of NewFest. The film was made possible by local sponsors Bermuda Arts Council, BMDS Charitable Trust and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Mr Stoneham said he is considering a distribution deal so that anybody can have access to the film.The Bermuda Sun caught up with Stoneham.
Are you suprised by the success of the film?
We are still going pretty strong — we have a few more screenings to come up and waiting to hear from more film festivals. Usually a short film’s life is about year on the festival circuit so it is quite shocking! It is totally my most successful film — I like to call it a ‘little film that could…’
What were the winning qualities do you think?
On the whole I think the characters are relatable and it’s not an obvious comedy — it is that awkward situational comedy.
People find the humour is in the truth of the situation I feel like they recognize certain quirks about their own personality.
My one of the actresses Amy Seimetz is doing pretty well for herself, having her in there definitely helped because she has a following in the “indie” film world.
I think it appeals because it is not stereotypical. You don’t really see lesbian characters being portrayed in the media and that’s why it does particularly well in those festivals.
They were originally written as straight characters in the first draft I just changed the names. It appeals because it is an authentic portrayal of a person rather than using their orientation to tell the story — it’s something different.
Are the characters based on anyone you know?
All my characters have a bit of my own personality traits. Things are more based on ideals — if you sit down and look at the film you realise why the character represents the more free-loving spirit in people. At college age if things get boring you just move on. The other character is a bit more mature in the relationship she wants to settle down and love wholeheartedly.
How does it feel to have won these awards?
It feels really good.
I’m always surprised because you never expect it but you just put it out there and you hope for the best. Getting into festivals is really good and people are connecting with it all over the world.
How can people see it?
We have a few screenings coming up overseas but we are looking into the option of a distribution deal with Veam — they are launching a new entertainment app for iPads and
For more information visit: www.facebook.com/coffeeandpiefilm