OCTOBER 18 – 22, 2023

InSearchofFellini QA

San Diego Premiere: In Search of Fellini

A Magical Evening –  Film Insider Series Screening – In Search of Fellini – March 21st – ArcLight La Jolla

What do the fictional character Bart Simpson and the late Italian director Federico Fellini have in common? The answer is…Nancy Cartwright, the comedian, writer and  voice actress of Bart Simpson, whose passion for Federico Fellini’s movies inspired her first film In Search of Fellini.  A sweet and subtle “semi-autobiography,” says Cartwright, the film portrays a sheltered, young American woman whose passion to meet the great Fellini lifts her out of her secluded world and transports her to Italy in a quest to find the celebrated director.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Nancy Cartwright and Peter Kjenaas, co-writers and producers of the film, on the red carpet before the San Diego International Film Festival’s second screening at the ArcLight Cinemas in La Jolla. The energy of the crowd was in high gear as we discussed the making of the film and the launch of her production company, Spotted Cow. When asked how long it took to make the film, Cartwright laughed and said this was a 30 year labor of love, so take heart fellow filmmakers and don’t lose hope:)

The film moves unhurriedly at times, and the humor and compassion peppered throughout prevent the viewer from ever drifting away from it. That in no small part has to do with the casting. Who would ever get tired of looking at actress Knesia Solo?  Knesia Solo plays Lucy, the young woman who goes off on her own to Italy.  Maria Bello plays her mother Claire, and is probably the most recognizable of the three actors. She can be seen in the upcoming film “Late Bloomer”, alongside actors J.K. Simmons and Jane Lynch. Bello is known as a gutsy and socially conscious actress. She and actress Lynne Rakskub, who plays her sister Carrie in the film, connect so naturally that the tug and tear between the sisters felt very realistic. Rakskub had the funny lines and the dead-pan face, even through Claire’s cancer and death, levitating the film from idolatry to provocative.  In Search of Fellini blends Lucy’s reality and fantasy. The film moves between Cleveland, Ohio, Venice, Verona, Milan and Rome and Cartwright and Kjenaas were brilliant at mixing Lucy’s reality and fantasy without confusing the viewer. If you’ve ever seen any of Fellini’s movies, you’ll know that his unique blending of fantasy and baroque images with a certain bawdiness is his hallmark style.  Known as one of the most influential directors of his time, his style may not be understood by all but his movies, especially “La Strada” (“the Road”) and “La Dolce Vita” (“the sweet life”) are must sees and true masterpieces.

The In Search of Fellini screening is the second premiere of the 2017 San Diego International Film Festival’s Film Insider Series, which focuses on never before seen independent film that have garnered buzz. The first screening, held this past February, was the San Diego Premiere of HBO’s “Big Little Lies”. The new seven series drama stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley.  Film Insider Series attendees had the opportunity to see the first two episodes of the series weeks in advance and enjoyed meeting actor James Tupper (Nathan) and his wife Anne Heche.

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-Terri Stanley

Terri Stanley is the creator, producer and host of the Emmy award-winning Boston lifestyle show styleboston and former executive editor of Boston Common magazine. Since moving to the San Diego area, she freelances as a lifestyle writer and short film producer and is on the Ambassador board of the SDIFF.  You can reach her at terri@sdfilmfest.com.