Two Musical Films About Love and Jobs to Screen in Half Moon Bay

The Coastside Film Society presents a short love story by Pacifica resident and recent high school graduate Rikki Condos and a 1933 feature with a message about how to deal with a jobless recovery.

This Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church Sanctuary, the Coastside Film Society will screen two musicals about love and jobs.

The first is a short that will screen at the beginning of the night. It's a music video, "Taylor, the Latte Boy" (4 min.), produced by Rikki Condos and her classmates for a filmmaking class at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica.

Condos just graduated from Terra Nova and next year is headed to Southern Oregon University to study theatre technology, focusing on stage management, costume design, and production management.

The film class she took at Terra Nova is taught by Scot Schneider, who's offered the class at least once a year every year for more than a decade. About 75 kids signed up for the class this year.

"During the class we watch a lot of films and discuss a whole host of film making techniques," Condos said. "We are also expected to team up with other students to make three short films. I made a musical, a documentary and a narrative — each with a different group of kids."

Everybody in the class is expected to pitch at least one idea for a movie they want to make. Condo pitched the idea of making a music video based upon  Kristin Chenoweth's song "Taylor, the Latté Boy" — a story of unrequited love in a coffee shop.

"I think the song is great and felt it provided a storyline that would work well on film. My friend Renee Johnson wanted to play the female lead. Because the song has a sort of a Broadway feel to it, I figured most of my classmates would not know it. So we played the song during our pitch, explained the story we were going for, got the green light from our teacher and collected four other students to work with us,"  said Condo.

The song tells the story of a girl who has crush on the guy who makes her coffee. 

Condo admits that casting the guy was a challenge: "We debated whether or not the guy should respond to the girl's flirtations or be creeped out by them. We went for creeped out, feeling it would make the video more interesting. I  knew I wanted a guy who would be seen as out  of her league but might still work at a coffee shop."

Another classmate, Zach Zorndorf, seemed perfect for the role and with Schneider's help "we bribed him into doing the project by offering him extra credit to take the role," said Condo.

The team shot the video at Pacific Java and Rockaway Beach. 

"The folks at Pacific Java were fine with us shooting as long as we didn't disturb the customers," said Condo.

They shot for about two hours the first day, assembled the footage into a rough cut and then presented it to their class. They got some good feedback.

"Things like, make the female lead a little more flirtatious," said Condo. "So we went back and reshot a few scenes to make it better."

Condos said she learned a lot about making the film.

"One thing was that filmmaking is much easier when you shoot from a script," she said.

One of the other projects she worked on was a documentary about the making of a play in her high school.

"There we shot without knowing what footage we were going to use and how it would all fit together. Editing it all together was much harder on the documentary than with Taylor. The same was true with the narrative I worked on," she said.

The other movie screening Friday night is a feature, "Gold Diggers of 1933" (96 min), which was recommended to the Coastside Film Society by a panel of economists as a parable of how smart people should respond to a jobless recovery.

An 80-year-old Busby Berkeley musical extravaganza that can teach us how to weather the curent financial storm? We had to check it out.   

As Erich Kuersten of the Film Experience blog wrote: "Gold Diggers is as savvy and hip a denouncement of the status quo as hard times can produce."

The movie opens with Ginger Rogers leading hundreds of showgirls dancing their hearts out while wearing only strategically placed gold coins and singing one of the shows big hits — “We're in the Money” — sometimes in Pig Latin. Yes, it is zany, but serious folks also believe that deep currents run underneath all this kaleidoscopic glitter.

John Greco of Twenty Four Frames calls the opening "ironic and iconic ... a brilliant start to what is probably the grittiest musical ever made."

The grit begins when the sheriff arrives to shut the rehearsal down and seize the property and costumes — including the coins keeping Ginger modest — to pay off the show’s debtors. Plenty more goes wrong; after all, "it's the depression, dearie."

This opening scene sets up the tone for the rest of the story. The three leads (played by Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondel and Aline MacMahon) are show girls forced to share a tiny apartment with a single bed and one good auditon dress. Of course there is a madcap struggle to come up with enough money to bring the show to life. 

Along the way there are a few mistaken identites, madcap love affairs and lots of outrageously lavish musical numbers.

This a movie that is light-hearted, sexy and witty — but also has an underlying dark undertone and richly drawn characters that gave it enough gravitas to earn it a place in the National Film Registry.

Parents be warned, "Gold Diggers" was produced before the film code of standards took effect.Chorus girls are shown in various states of dress and undress and the dialog can be risqué in a 1930s sort of way.


Friday, June 22, at 7:30 P.M., Community United Methodist Church Sanctuary,  777 Miramontes, (corner of Johnston), Half Moon Bay. $8 donation. More info about the program at: www.HMBFilm.org.

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Jean Slanger June 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM
See it, you'll like it.
Joe Devlin June 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM
A short film made by local high school kids screens tonight as part of the Coastside Film Society's Film Night.


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