Friday, May 8, 2009

The Seventh Python opens The Pacific Palisades Film Festival next Thursday, May 14th!

The excitement is building for the screening of the award-winning The Seventh Python at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival next Thursday night, May 14th. The nonfiction comedic musical biopic of legendary satirist Neil Innes was hailed last week by the local Palisadian-Post as "riotously entertaining." (And I second that!)

This week, the paper focuses on the film's producers, our pals at Frozen Pictures. Some highlights from Michael Aushenker's article:

Monty Python's Innes Doc Opens Film Fest

Call Neil Innes the missing link of the legendary six-man British comedy troupe Monty Python. Or perhaps Shemp to their Three Stooges. You'll also call him funny, outrageous, even musically inclined. The enigmatic Innes is the subject of a documentary, 'The Seventh Python,' which opens the Sixth Annual Pacific Palisades Film Festival on May 14.

'Neil's a great songwriter, a great comedian, and a great philosopher,' says 'Seventh''s director/co-producer, Burt Kearns. 'And all this while rejecting the star-making machinery, which is quite relevant today.'

With the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band in 1968, Innes recorded 'I'm The Urban Spaceman,' the group's only hit, which was produced by Paul McCartney.

'Neil appeared in The Beatles film 'Magical Mystery Tour,'' Kearns continues. 'He appeared in the last season of Monty Python's 'Flying Circus.' They did a parody of the Beatles called The Rutles. It was brought to 'Saturday Night Live' by Eric Idle in the late 1970s. The Rutles took on a life of its own.' Indeed, when 'Spamalot' arrives in L.A. in July, the Python musical will contain Innes' ditties ('Brave Sir Robin').

'Our film is a crowd-pleaser, with lots of laughs and songs,' Kearns says.

'How it came together, that's a movie unto itself,' says 'Seventh' producer Brett Hudson.

Kearns has lived in Pacific Palisades since 2000... and the documentary has other local ties. Supervising producer Alison Holloway lives here (conveniently, Kearns' wife) and associate producer Joachim 'J.B.' Blunck, an Emmy-winning producer/director and former Palisadian, now resides in Malibu, where producer/musician Hudson (one of the original Hudson Brothers and an uncle of actress Kate Hudson) also lives. And, Kearns notes, 'My son Sam is a production assistant on the film.'

...Kearns met Hudson in the late '90s while working on Miramax's 'The Best Money Can Buy'...

Kearns and Hudson formed Frozen Pictures, producing documentary-style programming, including 'All the President's Movies' for Bravo, Showtime's 'My First Time,' and 'Adults Only: The Secret History of the Other Hollywood,' which, after Court TV tried to bury it with a Sunday-night airing, pulled in the highest ratings for original programming in the channel's history.

'What Burt and I like to do,' Hudson says, 'is not give our point of view. We lay the truth out and let viewers decide.'

In 2006, Frozen released the Burt Reynolds comedy 'Cloud Nine.'

Kearns got the idea for 'Seventh Python' while working on a doc called 'Death of a Beatle.'

'I went to London and traced John Lennon's life,' he says. 'The person I wanted to interview was the guy who played John Lennon in The Rutles.'

'As a musician, I listen to his melodies, his harmonics,' Hudson says. 'He's very clever. The guy had fame in front of him on a silver platter and he rejected it. Given my background, I find that unique.'

Kearns credits associate Bonnie Rose for playing a key role: 'Bonnie had brought him to Hollywood in 2002. We thought he'd be a good documentary subject.

'I don't like what tabloid television gave birth to, this whole culture of stalking celebrities. The film with Neil is an antidote to that, the way he could influence culture and not be a part of it.'

...'It's not archival-looking black-and-white footage,' Kearns says. 'You're seeing the Pythons today.'

Last summer, 'Seventh Python' debuted at American Cinematheque's Mods and Rockers festival, and has since screened in Chicago, New Jersey, and at the Las Vegas Film Festival, where it won a Golden Ace Award.

Up next for Frozen: documentaries on Latin rocker Chris Montez, and on John Lennon's seven-month 'lost weekend' (in Los Angeles) with mistress May Pang. Last year, Hudson conquered throat cancer, and this inspired 'The Klinik,' about his journey to Germany to get cured. This is also in development, as is the pair's scripted comedy, 'Live From The Gaza Strip.'

For now, all eyes are on 'Seventh''s Palisades premiere.

'This is literally a homecoming,' Kearns says. 'To be invited to the festival is in itself a great honor. And then to be opening it!'

'The Seventh Python' screens with Jennifer Clary's short, 'The Christmas Conspiracy,' at 7 p.m., Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Rd.


The producers of The Seventh Python have dedicated the evening to the late Dom DeLuise.

Every ticketholder gets a free The Seventh Python poster!

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