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A touch of Hollywood comes to Folsom with indie film premiere

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Don Chaddock, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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Folsom isn’t usually a town synonymous with movie premieres, but this month the town joins the ranks of New York, Los Angeles and Boston. On March 30, and running through the fist week of April, “Losing Control” premieres at CinemaWest Palladio 16 theatre in Folsom. Show times are 11:30 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. First-time feature filmmaker Valerie Weiss wrote and directed the independent romantic comedy. “Losing Control” is the first film to come out of the Catalyst Workshop at the American Film Institute (AFI) — a U.S. Department of Defense-backed program designed to help scientists translate their work into stories for film, television and new media. Weiss was accepted into AFI’s first Catalyst Workshop class in 2005 and used the opportunity to develop her script and blend the practical elements of science with the art of storytelling. According to House Lights Media, the film’s marketing company and distributor, it is “the only movie ever shot on the Harvard campus.” Considering Weiss was once a Ph.D. candidate at the school, it’s no wonder the film received support from the institution of higher learning. Weiss took a moment by phone recently to speak with the Telegraph. She said she loves 1980s romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally.” “The biggest influence on this film would be ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,’” she said. “I love director Pedro Almodovar’s zaniness and absurdity and crazy things happen in that movie as if they were 100 percent real.” She said showing the movie in towns off the normal path for major premieres, such as Folsom, just makes sense. “I think it’s great,” Weiss said. “Our movie has played in about 30 film festivals across the country and we’ve played in the big cities. Audiences in smaller cities are freer with their reactions. In cities like that, people are real people and they just have fun watching the movie.” She said the idea came to her while she was working on her Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School. “I have a crazy background because I used to be a scientist. Movie making is like trial and error. I came up with this idea at graduate school at Harvard,” she said. “Anything that made me laugh, I took notes on. … I wanted to take my experiences and share them because not everyone gets to see that world.” Many of the characters in the movie are inspired by real people from her days at Harvard, according to Weiss. “I wrote this movie based on what really touched me as my time as a scientist,” she said. “I reverse engineered it, if you will, and put anecdotes into the movie.” She said aspiring filmmakers should hone their skills. “If they write, they should write constantly and develop their craft. These days, if you want to make a movie, you have tools at your fingertips. You can edit a movie right on your computer,” she said. “Learn your instrument. There’s no excuse. You can’t say you don’t have your instrument because you do. It’s really critical people start treating it like a craft.” The movie is billed as “a quirky, smart comedy about a female scientist who wants empirical proof that her boyfriend is ‘the One.’” “I feel a lot of what my generation senses is that with all the technology and education that exists, we con control our lives more easily that people in the past could and so they should turn out the way we want them to,” she said. “For me, doing science or making movies has always been about a passion to know how things work.” The film’s cast includes Ben Weber (Sex and the City, ER, Six Feet Under); Kathleen Robertson (Boss, Scary Movie; Hollywoodland, Beverly Hills 90210); Miranda Kent (Campus Ladies, Matumbo Goldberg); Reid Scott (Veep, The Big C, My Boys); Bitsie Tulloch (The Artist, Grimm); Lin Shaye (Goin South, Kingpin, Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary) and John Billingsley (Out of Time, White Oleander, Star Trek: Enterprise). Learn more at losingcontrolmovie.com. Advance tickets may be purchased at http://cinemawest.com/pal.html. * * * KNOW AND GO What: “Losing Control” When: 11:30 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m., March 30-April 5 Where: CinemaWest Palladio 16 theater, Folsom Tickets: http://cinemawest.com/pal.html Info: losingcontrolmovie.com