BERNARD AND HUEY
April 19, 2018, 7:00 PM
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
The Alumni Screening Series and Freestyle Releasing invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of
Bernard and Huey
Directed by SCA Alum Dan Mirvish
Written by and Academy Award–Winner Jules Feiffer
Produced by Dan Mirvish and Bernie Stern
Starring Jim Rash, David Koechner, and Sasha Alexander
Followed by a Q&A with Dan Mirvish
7:00 PM on Thursday, April 19, 2018
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. RSVPs REQUIRED.
Coming to theaters and on demand June 2018.
WINNER: Best Screenplay, Manchester International Film Festival (UK Premiere)
Best Film from the American Continent, Jaipur International Film Festival (India)
Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film, Guam International Film Festival
Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award, St. Louis International Film Festival
Official Selection: Oldenburg Film Festival (World Premiere), Slamdance Film Festival (Closing Night Film), São Paulo International Film Festival Mostra (Brazil), Festival du Nouveau Cinema (Montreal), Rome Independent Film Festival, Cork Film Festival (Ireland), Barbados Independent Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, Tucson Film Festival, Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival (Charlottesville), Cinequest Film Festival (San Jose), Oxford Film Festival (Mississippi), Omaha Film Festival, Fargo Film Festival, Annapolis Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival
About Bernard and Huey
From a script by Oscar and Pulitzer-winner Jules Feiffer (Carnal Knowledge), Bernard and Huey is a particularly timely story of two men behaving badly, and the strong women who rein them in. Roguish Huey and nebbishy Bernard are unlikely friends in late 1980s New York. Decades later, a bedraggled Huey crashes at reluctant Bernard’s upscale bachelor pad and it becomes clear how much growing up the two still need to do.
Provided courtesy of Freestyle Releasing. Runtime: 91 minutes. English. Unrated.
Only four people have had the privilege of directing a feature script written by the legendary Jules Feiffer: Alan Arkin, and the late Mike Nichols, Robert Altman and Alain Resnais. To be included in that list is a daunting prospect and one that I am truly honored to join. The fact that Jules has entrusted me with his hidden gem of a screenplay that embodies two of his most enduring characters is an even bigger honor. But I think Jules recognized that I share with him a similar world view and sense of humor. He also knows that as a producer/director, when I say I’m going to make a movie, I make it. We share a similar lack of patience for Hollywood’s traditional hurryup-and-wait approach that in this case left an amazing script languish in the Academy library for close to 30 years.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned – especially from my last film Between Us, which was an adaptation of an Off-Broadway play – it’s that if you’re going to direct a movie based on a pre-existing work, you’d better find a way to relate to it personally. With all the inevitable challenges of making the movie, you’ve got to have an emotional stake in the script or at some point you will get frustrated and abandon it. You need to make it your baby, as much as it was the original writer’s. Your cast and crew will see this, too:
They don’t want to work for a director who’s just going through the motions.
Fortunately, Bernard and Huey is very much a film I can relate to. The main characters are middle-aged men wrestling with relationships, sex, fatherhood and friendship. Hey, that’s all my friends and me! I’ve heard similar versions of many of the conversations between Bernard and Huey, usually talking to my single friends.
When I first read the script, one of the things that struck me was just how timeless the dialogue and characters were. Originally set in the mid-1980s with flashbacks to 1960, Huey’s hipster Village jivetalk rang as true for its time as it does for Williamsburg or Silverlake hipsters now. Idioms from the 60s echoed again as ironic in the 80s and post-ironic in the 2010s. And as far as the characters themselves go, the story of a womanizer with a nebbish wingman goes back to Shakespeare and Chaucer, and certainly hasn’t changed no matter how many iterations of feminism and post-feminism we’ve had in the last century.
With that in mind, I had the idea to transform the script so that the bulk of the action takes place in our current time period, with flashbacks to the mid-1980s. Part of this was purely practical: If you’re making a low-budget movie, it’s very expensive to shoot a period piece, especially one where you’re required to recreate two different periods. This way, we just need to do a few scenes set in the 80s – much easier than recreating the 60s and the 80s.
Transforming Bernard and Huey to a current time period also makes the characters more my own age. So when Huey makes references to music, theater, or art from his and Bernard’s post-collegiate romps, I know those worlds, because they were my own. For example, instead of an obsession with jazz, Huey’s formative music would have been hardcore punk. For me, I knew these characters, and I know those cultural touchstones, because I lived that life in that era. The fact that I am about the same age now as Jules’ age when he wrote the original script made me very well suited to make the movie. Jules dusted off the old script, but with the exception of a couple of music and art references, it stayed virtually the same as before.
When it comes to actually shooting the film, fortunately the script lent itself to a very visual approach. Ironically, Carnal Knowledge was a big influence on the style I used in shooting Between Us. And to a certain extent, I’ve dipped back into those visual references for Bernard and Huey.
In general, we used techniques and elements of the canonic 70s films to shoot Bernard and Huey. Specifically, DP Todd Antonio Somodevilla and I explored frame-within- frame techniques, slow push-ins and dollying, optical zooms, and making the most of Panavision’s vintage Anamorphic Primo lenses on our Arri Alexa cameras for the contemporary scenes. One key thing for Bernard and Huey was to visually distinguish the contemporary scenes from those that take place in the mid-80s. Given the inevitable limitations in production design for those period scenes, we shot those scenes on Super16 Kodak film, using Panavision Arriflex cameras and the same Panavision Anamorphic Primo lenses.
In terms of sound, for my last few films I’ve successfully adopted Robert Altman’s technique of putting individual lavalier mics on each actor and recording those onto unique audio tracks. This allows the actors to overlap dialogue freely, resulting in much more realistic performances. It really frees up the actors to simply act, and it’s a subtle thing that makes a huge impact on the audience. It also guaranteed that there was no need for ADR (or dubbing) that is always a distraction (and an expensive addition to post-production). As Altman once told me, “Why let the boom guy – the lowest paid member of the crew – decide who to listen to? That’s the director’s job.” And by mic’ing actors on individual tracks, the director can make those decisions in the relative calm of post-production.
Most of the scenes in Bernard and Huey take place in New York interiors: Bernard’s apartment, his publishing office, and various bars and restaurants. There are only a few exterior scenes. Consequently, we shot the bulk of principal photography in the Los Angeles area. We shot over 14 days in LA (including the 2 days where we shot the Super16 film flashbacks). Huey’s apartment was in my garage in Culver City, California, using many of the same props I’ve had for 30 years. The New York subway scene was also shot in my California garage with all the actors huddled around a vertical pole and just bouncing around. The shot was inspired by the opening shot of Panic in Needle Park which was actually shot on a New York subway in 1971. We then shot exterior scenes in New York with just Jim, David and Mae. This is similar to what we did on Between Us, which was also partially set in New York, and the scenes cut together seamlessly.
Why Los Angeles? For one thing, most actors live in the LA area and it’s always easier to cast actors who don’t have to leave their families for long periods of time. LA also has the deepest crew and vendor base in the world – for whatever budget we wind up shooting the film. Whether it’s finding a seasoned ASC cinematographer with a few weeks available on their schedule, or a newly-graduated USC student willing to work for free, there’s an incredibly deep base of talented film professionals in Hollywood. For me personally, I have three kids and it’s not easy to leave town for extended periods – especially for pre-production (which always starts in my garage office anyway).
About the Guest
DAN MIRVISH (Director, Producer, SCA Alum)
Dan Mirvish is a director, screenwriter, producer, author and inventor. He just directed the award-winning feature Bernard and Huey, written by Oscar/Pulitzer-winner Jules Feiffer, which has screened in 19 festivals in 5 continents before playing as the Closing Night Film at Slamdance. Dan’s prior film Between Us, an award-winning feature starring David Harbor, Julia Stiles, Taye Diggs and Melissa George, played in 23 festivals in 7 countries, and got a 50+ city theatrical release plus running on Netflix, Showtime, Starz and all digital outlets. It sold to 144 countries including Iran and North Korea. Dan was mentored by Robert Altman on his first film, Omaha (the movie), which led him to co-founding the upstart Slamdance Film Festival that runs concurrent with Sundance. His film Open House led the Academy Awards to controversially rewrite their rules on the Best Original Musical category. Mirvish wrote the critically-acclaimed book The Cheerful Subversive's Guide to Independent Filmmaking for Focal Press/Routledge, and he co-wrote the best-selling novel I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man’s (Wildly Inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) based on the fake McCain advisor who took credit for Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent. During the Kickstarter campaign for Bernard and Huey, Dan invented the MirvishScope lens system that was featured in Filmmaker Magazine, IndieWire and several photography outlets. Dan has delivered guest lectures in over 20 film schools around the world, and attended well over 50 film festivals in his career. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Dan worked as a journalist and was a speechwriter to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Steven Spielberg and George Lucas both handed Dan his diploma when he graduated from USC’s graduate film school.
About the SCA Alumni Screening Series
The School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by SCA alumni and faculty throughout 2018. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening.
Check-in & Reservations
This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring either a printed or digital confirmation of your reservation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.
All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.
Limited handicap seating is available. For guests with disabilities who require special accommodations, please contact Matthew Meier at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Accommodations Request – BERNARD AND HUEY."
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the McClintock Avenue Entrance (formerly Gate #5) or Royal Street Entrance (formerly Gate #4) on W. Jefferson Blvd. We recommend parking in the Royal Street Parking Structure (formerly PSD), at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd, with limited non-metered spaces also available north of Jefferson and throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Especially if you plan to utilize street parking, we HIGHLY recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the screening, as parking can be difficult to find and it may take time to walk to the theater from your parking space.
For a map of campus, visit: https://web-app.usc.edu/maps/map.pdf
Name: Matthew Meier