The latest independent feature to come out of Idaho's filmmaking scene is part psychological drama, part teen angst exploration and part incisive comedy. But here's where it really stands out from the local sceneit's also a kid's movie.
Tangerine and Lolly, produced by Totally New Faces Productions, is the story of two young sisters with four years between them, who find themselves drifting apart as the older sister enters high school. Tangerine, the older sister, begins to make new friends and follow new interests while spending increasingly less time with her younger sister Lolly. To cope with her newfound loneliness, as well as to show Tangerine what she is capable of, Lolly begins work on an idea the two had often discussedlaunching a tabloid-like journal covering all the gossip and juicy happenings at each of their schools. The success of the journal leads to numerous complications and situations that threaten to drive the sisters even further apart, and the result is a film that kids and their entire families should enjoy.
"You can take your grandma to this movie," explains producer, writer and co-director Dave Turner. A showbusiness veteran with some 60 years in the movie and television industry, the 74-year-old Turner is also known locally for the program Bits and Pieces, a children's variety show that airs on TVTV every Monday and Friday at 6 p.m. It was through this public access show that Turner came into contact with most of the talent featured both in front of and behind the camera for Tangerine and Lolly.
Sharing the directorial reins with Turner is Jesse Cordtz, a 24-year-old film enthusiast who also teaches courses in animation at Boise State. Just last year, Cordtz came in second place in a nationwide animation competition, and was offered an internship at Miramax Films. "I declined because it was unpaid and I knew I'd need money if I was living in Los Angeles," explains Cordtz. "So instead, I stayed here and made a film."
A true sense of community spirit colors every aspect of the film. Cooperation from Boise Parks and Recreation allowed access to locations throughout the city, and a local Wal-Mart helped out by contributing supplies to the filmmakers. The production crew on the film was mainly comprised of members of the Boise State film club, Dead Eight, an organization Cordtz was president of for two years. Boise State helped by providing the cameras, editing facilities and other needed production equipment. The two lead actresses playing Tangerine and Lolly are Boise sisters Sara and Kelsie Jenkins, who were discovered through the Bits and Pieces program. Sara, who plays Tangerine, was a regular participant in the show for about a year, and her younger sister Kelsie, although not as closely involved with that program, proved to be so natural a performer that, according to Cordtz, it made perfect sense to cast her.
After its run at the Flicks, the film will be sent to an organization called Kids First, which will in turn enter the film in more than 70 family oriented film festivals worldwide. "We're not doing this to get rich or make lots of money," Turner points out, adding that any net proceeds the film makes will be donated to the Idaho Food Bank.
With the production schedule extending over a year and a half and spanning two summers, not all cast and crew members stayed with the project for the duration.
The dedication of the two lead actors and the two main production members paid off, however. After serving as director of photography for the first six months of production, Cordtz found himself gradually assuming more and more responsibility on the project. In addition to ultimately sharing the directing chores with Turner, he also edited the film, using the winter between the summer shoots to accomplish much of this.
"We work well together," Cordtz says of his experience with Turner. "He's been in this industry a long time, and he's got every kind of story you can imagine and an answer for everything."
"It's about the kids," Turner says, stressing the amount of hard work and dedication everyone gave.
As for their next project, Turner is currently at work on a script titled The Rich Sisters, which deals with two girls' attempts to help their mother run for state Senate, and although geared for a slightly older audience than Tangerine, it will still be family friendly. "Most films you hear about being shot in this area try to be all hard-edged," Cordtz says, and explains that their films are definitely safe for everybody.
As for Saturday's premiere, "Everybody is invited," Turner offers. Pointing out the lack of film production studios in our area, Turner hopes their film may inspire others as well. "The best film school you can ever go to is experience," he says, and with Tangerine and Lolly complete and the next project due to start shooting in June, the story of Totally New Faces Productions is already an inspirational one.
Tangerine and Lolly debuts Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m. at The Flicks Theater. The premiere will be followed by a luncheon, during which the filmmakers and stars will meet and greet the crowd. See Boise Weekly's Movie Times on page 33 for additional screening times.
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