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Phone Sex 'Easier with Practice' + 'North by Northwest': AFI FEST

Brian Geraghty in Easier with Practice
Brian Geraghty in Easier with Practice

Kyle Patrick Alvarez's feature-film debut Easier with Practice, CineVegas Grand Jury Award winner and Best International Feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival, will screen at the AFI FEST 2009 on Wed., November 4, at 10 p.m.

Easier with Practice tells the story of a writer (Brian Geraghty of The Hurt Locker) who, in a desperate attempt to promote his still-unpublished novel, hits the road with his younger brother (Kel O'Neill) on a self-planned book tour. Things don't go very well at first, but when out of the blue a sexy female voice calls the writer at his ordinary motel room – to ask what he's wearing, no less – everything changes. The phoning couple eventually move from voice-induced masturbation to emotional intimacy, but complications arise when the writer decides he wants to match face to voice.

Also in the Easier with Practice cast: Marguerite Moreau, Jeanette Brox, Jenna Gavigan, Katie Aselton.

Brian Geraghty, Kel O'Neill in Easier with Practice

A former assistant to Warren Beatty, Alvarez, 26, decided on the topic for his first film after reading Davy Rothbart's article “What are you wearing?” in the August 2006 issue of GQ magazine.

Here's Kyle Patrick Alvarez as quoted in the film's press release:

“What ultimately inspired me was the possibility to make a film that dealt frankly and honestly with a man's complicated sexuality. When I say sexuality I mean something far more personal even than gender preference, rather comfortability with one's self. I think the male ego is a tricky thing and one that is normally dealt with superficially in modern media. In general, men are not portrayed as emotionally weak or uncertain, especially in regards to their sexuality. I thought this story would be an opportunity to have a lead male character who had a lot of fears of maturing, especially when thrown into situations that are sexually threatening to him …

“I was also excited about making a movie that featured its lead character in every frame of the film. I knew the film would require a sincerity and delicate pace; I had to allow the audience to commit wholly to Davy's experience, and not be able to see beyond that, in order for the conclusion to be satisfying in what is essentially a one-sided love story. …

“In the Web 2.0 era, technology has so quickly changed the way people interact. Even 6 years ago the thought of meeting someone on the Internet concerned people, nowadays it's common practice. While Davy's relationship with Nicole doesn't involve the Internet, I had those intense web-based relationships in mind when I started writing the script. … Ultimately, my intention was to make a film that challenged people's perceptions about intimacy and sexuality without ever being confrontational or didactic.”

Something's Gonna Live by Daniel Raim
Cary Grant in North by Northwest
Cary Grant in North by Northwest

Among the highlights of AFI FEST 2009 is the Nov. 2 screening of AFI Conservatory Alumnus Daniel Raim's documentary Something's Gonna Live, which profiles several behind-the-scenes Hollywood veterans – most of whom have already passed away – including production designers Robert F. Boyle (who turned 100 this past Oct. 10), Henry Bumstead (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting), Harold Michelson (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Mommie Dearest, Dick Tracy), and Albert Nozaki (When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds, The Ten Commandments), in addition to cinematographers Conrad L. Hall (In Cold Blood, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Road to Perdition) and Haskell Wexler (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, In the Heat of the Night).

Both Robert F. Boyle and Haskell Wexler are expected to attend the World Premiere screening of Something's Gonna Live.

Raim's previous documentary, by the way, was the Oscar-nominated The Man on Lincoln's Nose (2000), which focuses on Boyle's work as production designer, including his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock on several films. Among these is North by Northwest (1959), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Appropriately enough, this Hitchcock classic about a man, a wheat field, and a dot in the sky that turns out to be a plane will also be screened on Monday, Nov. 2. Leading lady Eva Marie Saint and bad guy Martin Landau are scheduled to take part in a q&a moderated by Academy Award-winning filmmaker William Friedkin.

North by Northwest is supposed to be the first Hitchcock film to be released on Blu-ray.


         
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3 Comments to Phone Sex 'Easier with Practice' + 'North by Northwest': AFI FEST

  1. adamant

    In my opinion, an even more striking debut than Alejandro González Iñárritu's Amores Perros .

  2. Jill

    What amazing lives and stories these men must have had!! To have been a fly on the wall…

  3. Megan Mills

    What is the rumor about the new Star Trek TV show coming out? My brother has been talking about it all day, can't be true, right?
    Megan Mills