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Andrew Marc Kotatko’s short film Whoever Was Using This Bed opens the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival on Friday, September 14!

By Al Nigrin

originally published: 09/09/2018

Andrew Marc Kotatko’s short film Whoever Was Using This Bed opens the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival on Friday, September 14!

Andrew Marc Kotatko’s brilliant film Whoever Was Using This Bed 
opens the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival on Friday, September 14!

Here is an interview I did with Andrew:

Nigrin:  Your psychological dramatic short film Whoever Was Using This Bed is about a husband and wife who are woken in the dead of night by a mysterious phone call. Please tell us more about your film and what motivated you to make it?

Kotatko: Well, I'm just a huge fan of Raymond Carver's work. I had previously adapted his story "Why Don't You Dance?" into a short film called Everything Goes starring Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) and Abbie Cornish (Three Billborards Outside Ebbing, Misouri), which did very well on the festival circuit. Ray's widow, the poet Tess Gallagher, loved that film, so I thought I would try my hand at adapting another story. Whoever Was Using This Bed was a very personal story for Ray and is essentially an intimate, nocturnal dialogue between a middle-aged husband and wife about life, death and the nature of love. Given the amount of dialogue, the story wasn't an obvious choice to adapt into a short film - but the ideas in it are so compelling and universal, I was determined to bring it to the screen. It was a tough nut to crack, but I think we pulled it off.

Nigrin:  Your film has a wonderful international cast including Jean-Marc Barr, Radha Mitchell, and Jane Birkin. How were you able to get these wonderful actors to star in your film? Was it easy working with them? 



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Kotatko: They were my dream cast - and an absolute dream to work with. I actually wrote the screenplay with Radha Mitchell in mind. I loved her in Woody Allen's film Melinda and Melinda, in which she played two versions of the lead character, one tragic and one comic. Radha and I have a mutual friend, an Australian film producer, who agreed to pass my script on to her. I'm so glad she embraced the complexity of her character and was prepared to take a leap of faith and make the film with me. She really is a wonderfully clever and highly instinctive actress. I had greatly admired Jean-Marc Barr from his work with filmmakers Luc Besson and Lars von Trier. I had first seen him in Besson's The Big Blue as a teenager, which had a huge impact on me. Jean-Marc and Radha were friends and had acted together in the film Big Sur, based on Jack Kerouac's novel. They had a few scenes together in that film and shared a wonderful chemistry. Given the amount of intimacy and vulnerability in Whoever Was Using This Bed, it was a great asset to work with actors who had an existing relationship with each other. I wanted the actress playing the mysterious phone caller to have a very distinct, timeless voice - almost ghostly - as if to suggest that she may be a a presence from beyond the grave. Again, Jane Birkin was my first choice. I met with Jane while she was on tour in Australia performing the songs of Serge Gainsbourg. Very interestingly, Jane had written a play which also explored an existential drama between a married couple. I think that co-incidence may have convinced Jane to do the film - and I'm so glad she did. 

Nigrin:  Your film is pretty hermetic and seems faithful to the Raymond Carver short story of the same name. Did you try to distance yourself from the original at all?  

Kotatko: No, I just tried to give the characters a strong emotional context for their words and actions. I lived with the material for a long time before the film was made and I really pondered every aspect of the story. The one aspect of the short story that was further developed in the film was the character of the phone caller. There is a stronger sense of a relationship between the husband and the phone caller in the film, which I think greatly raises the emotional stakes at the climax.

Nigrin:  Being from Annandale in New South Wales, was your film also shot in Australia? 

Kotatko: Yes, it was shot in Paddington, Sydney in a wonderful Victorian house. The owners were incredibly generous and trusting and allowed us to paint the interiors the way we wanted to. Australian crews work very hard and everyone just jumped in to make it happen.As a director, I was blessed. It was a very exciting and rewarding experience. 

Nigrin:  Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can pass on to us?

Kotatko: Aside from the welcome challenge of making the film, one of the most memorable and moving things that happened to me was getting a response from Tess Gallagher. She described the film as being "like a wonderful strange music box whose tune haunts you, and never misses a beat. I think Ray would have been delighted with it." There isn't a filmmaker in the world who wouldn't be touched by that!

Here is a the trailer for Whoever Was Using This Bed



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Whoever Was Using This Bed will be followed by the feature Funny Story. Here is more information on this New Jersey Film Festival screening: 

Whoever Was Using This Bed - Andrew Marc Kotatko  (Annandale, NSW, Australia) Starring an internationally acclaimed cast, including Jean-Marc Barr, Radha Mitchell, and Jane Birkin, this taut, psychological drama is based on a short story by Raymond Carver. When a husband and wife are woken in the dead of night by a mysterious phone call, they find themselves drawn into an unsettling examination of their fears and desires. 2018; 25 min. 

Funny Story -Michael Gallagher (Beverly Hills, California) Funny Story is a tragicomedy about the ties that bind us. After years of being a neglectful father, a womanizing TV star decides to crash his estranged daughter’s vacation. As it confronts the destructive power of narcissism, Funny Storymoves to celebrate the healing power of forgiveness, and the joy of taking part in karaoke after a round of tequila shots. 2018; 85 min.  Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Cinema Studies Program!

Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.


Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University


71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey


$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends


Information: (848) 932-8482; 
www.njfilmfest.com

 





Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert At NJPAC
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert. Don’t miss the fourth installment of Harry Potter in Concert when NJPAC hosts the full-length film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, projected in high-definition on a giant screen, with Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle’s masterful score performed live by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm. 
Hopewell Theater To Celebrate Halloween With Fright Fest Week of Horror Films
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- For an entire week, Hopewell Theater will celebrate Halloween with, Fright Fest, a mini fest of classic Halloween horror films from October 25 - 31, 2018. The slate of films are icons of horror cinema, and will be displayed in all their gory glory on the big screen. 
​​​​​​​The Newton Theatre Presents a Silent Film Halloween With A Live Orchestra
(NEWTON, NJ) -- The Newton Theatre presents a trio of ghostly silent films paired with the original historic orchestral scores on Saturday, October 27 at 3:00pm. Travel back to the early 1900s to cheer and hiss with Buster Keaton in The Haunted House (1921), Laurel and Hardy in Habeus Corpus (1928), and Charlie Chaplin in One A.M. (1916). Between the films, enjoy the rollicking rhythms of the early 20th century as played by The Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra, featuring favorites by Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, and more! Fun for the whole family!
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival's Fall 2018 Lineup
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The 36th Bi-annual New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 will take place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from September 14 - October 26.  The festival showcases new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries through over 30 film screenings. The Festival will run on select Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. The festival is presented by Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies.
Count Basie Center For The Arts Hosts A Conversation With John Cusack & Screening of "Say Anything"
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Michael Gallagher’s terrific comedy Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
Michael Gallagher’s terrific feature Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont
“As a kid, I was always drawn to the darkness,” said filmmaker Christopher Wells.  “I’d think, ‘Why can’t monsters protect me? If I’m friends with the monsters then I don’t have anything to fear.’”
REVIEW: "Searching"
A few weeks ago the body of a 14-year-old schoolgirl was discovered around the corner from where I’m sitting writing this review. Within hours of the tragic discovery, two 13-year-old boys had been arrested. The police had their work simplified by a series of damning posts across social media which pointed to the guilt of the boys in question. Increasingly, when young people go missing or have their lives taken from them, police investigations are now focused more on trawling through the victim’s internet history in search of clues rather than the pavement pounding of old.
REVIEW: "The Children Act"
Earlier this year saw the release of On Chesil Beach, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centered around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Now we get The Children Act, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centred around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Both are scripted by the novelist himself, and both suggest McEwan should stick to the literary world.
New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 Preview
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 runs from September 14 to October 26 on the Rutgers University Campus in New Brunswick, NJ. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 will feature over 30 film screenings.  The Festival runs on select Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings. For the complete schedule visit www.NJFilmFest.com. Here is a look at the screenings for September.

From Our Magazine

The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont

The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont

“As a kid, I was always drawn to the darkness,” said filmmaker Christopher Wells.  “I’d think, ‘Why can’t monsters protect me? If I’m friends with the monsters then I don’t have anything to fear.’”


REVIEW: "Searching"

REVIEW: "Searching"

A few weeks ago the body of a 14-year-old schoolgirl was discovered around the corner from where I’m sitting writing this review. Within hours of the tragic discovery, two 13-year-old boys had been arrested. The police had their work simplified by a series of damning posts across social media which pointed to the guilt of the boys in question. Increasingly, when young people go missing or have their lives taken from them, police investigations are now focused more on trawling through the victim’s internet history in search of clues rather than the pavement pounding of old.


REVIEW: "The Children Act"

REVIEW: "The Children Act"

Earlier this year saw the release of On Chesil Beach, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centered around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Now we get The Children Act, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centred around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Both are scripted by the novelist himself, and both suggest McEwan should stick to the literary world.


REVIEW: "Skyscraper"

REVIEW: "Skyscraper"

Over the last half century, the concept of blockbuster spectacle has flipped on its head. In the 1960s, big budget spectacle meant Steve McQueen jumping over a barbed wire fence on a motorcycle without the aid of a stunt double, or Julie Andrews screaming her lungs out on a Swiss mountainside. Science fiction was relegated to Saturday morning screenings of b-movies, which parents would use to relieve themselves of their tykes while they went shopping. George Lucas  changed all that a decade later, and now sci-fi and fantasy dominates the multiplex, while the only movies featuring practical stunts are those low budget straight to VOD action movies designed to showcase the athleticism of former MMA fighters.








Event calendar
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018


MUSIC

Cafe Tacvba with special guest Ruen Brothers – Niu Gueis Tour 2018 @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Gonzo Conference" @ Donald G. Drapkin Studio at Lewis Arts complex, Princeton - 8:00pm

Joan Baez @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Record Club: Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 7:30pm


KIDS

West End Festival of the Arts- Children's Storytelling @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 4:00pm

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