Whatever Happened To A.J. Langer?

So the Sundance Channel have outdone themselves once again by showing old reruns of my favorite 90's episodic TV drama My So Called Life.  The short lived ABC series only lasted one season but it's by far one of the most critically acclaimed prime time teen dramas ever to air on network television. 

After watching reruns, I can honestly say I've seen each episode at least a dozen times,  I wondered whatever happened to my favorite character on the show?  Rayanne Graf was played by actress A.J. Langer and in the early 90's A.J. was everywhere in magazines and the minds of 15 year olds all over.  A.J. was never really a film star, more so a TV actress from shows like The Wonder Years, Coach, and Baywatch.  But who could forget the movie The People Under The Stairs?  It's arguably one of the best cult horror classics of the 90s. 

One can only imagine that if perhaps My So Called Life lasted several more seasons that perhaps A.J.'s career would have blossomed more than it has.  Of course one could argue and say, "well what about Claire Danes? She's managed to keep her career on track and stay above the fray of who's who in Hollywood?"  Angela Chase was the main character of the show and maybe it was easier for Claire than for A.J., but still...why was she such a well-kept secret? 

 A.J. Langer is a very talented actress and deserved to get some sort of notoriety for her performance as Rayanne Graf on that show.  Rayanne had so many layers that one season could not nearly get close enough to the surface of what that girl was all about and what she was going through.

Rayanne went from a girl who likes sex, booze, and drugs to a girl who was actually concealing who she really was through all of those barriers; to someone who just wanted to be normal.  She wanted to be somone who desired to be loved, respected, and belong to a group of friends.  So enough about Rayanne...what about A.J.?  What has she done?  Unfortunately her IMDB profile doesn't go beyond 2007.  So it has me concerned....where are you A.J. Langer??  Is it perhaps that I am yearning for A.J. to return or just want another good TV teen drama that actually has some substance and meaning?  Not this craptacular reality TV junk that is damning all of what is left of good television into the point of no return.  :::SIGH:::

If you're out there A.J.  just know that you are missed and TV/Film wants you back.  Will you forgive us and take us back?

The Back Alley Films Series presents: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN

Offering back to back screenings for the month of August, the Back Alley Film Series is excited to bring HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN as its second film. BAFS, presented by the Charlotte Film Society, will screen HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN on Thursday, August 25th at CAROLINA CINEMAS CROWNPOINT on 9630 Monroe RD. The film will start at 730 PM and will finish at 9 PM.

What started as a fake movie trailer competition and then fueled by a devote fan base, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN gained wide support and was turned into a feature length film. A “Grindhouse” themed trailer contest was announced in 2007 and was backed by the SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST Film festival in Austin Texas and famed director Robert Rodriquez. Filmmakers and amateurs around all scrambled at a chance to be a part of the competition including friends Jason Eisener and Rob Cotterill.

The now famous trailer was shot on a budget of $150 and completed in 6 days. Running around with a real shotgun, a blood soaked hobo and not a single film permit, its remarkable that the team got the trailer completed and off to Austin in time for the competition. After submission, the trailer earned incredible online support, with a review on Ain’t It Cool News, a star of the month award from G4 TECH TV and a huge fan base on YouTube that led the film to a “TOP TEN” clip. It was capped with Robert Rodriquez announcing that HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was the winner of the SXSW competition.

With a little help from more experienced film producers, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was on its way to becoming a feature length film. Shot it Dartmouth Nova Scotia, HOBO takes place in a dark and seedy world, its streets are full of crime, disease and its inhabitants that have surrendered to a bleak and unforgiving future.

When a train arrives to the local station, a dirty and tired Hobo (played by Rutger Hauer) jumps from one of its freight cars hoping that this will be the town where he can get a new start. What he finds is an urban hell that is ruled by city crime boss Drake and his murderous sons. The gang has no respect for life or law and order and spread havoc all over town. During his endless wandering around the city, the Hobo stands outside a pawn shop and notices a second hand lawn mower. He can’t help but dream of using this lawn mower to clean up the town, and making it a more beautiful place for him to start over. But in reality, he notices that the crime and brutality is never ending, and he is drawn to something else in the pawn shops window, a shotgun.

To make the town a place that he can feel safe in and have a successful start, the hobo turns vigilante, and tries to bring justice back to the only way he can. The action packed film will keep you on edge with Boxoffice Magazine stating that it “Gives fans everything they want” and the Washington Post announcing “Critic’s Pick. BLOODY GOOD.”

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN will be followed by NORWEGIAN NINJA on September 22nd and TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL on October 20th. The next series of films following will be announced in the fall. All screenings are $5 with a Charlotte Film Society Membership or $8 for the General Public. All screenings start at 7:30 PM and are cash only.

Back Alley Film Series presents TROLLHUNTE​R

A government conspiracy, a disgruntled hunter, a group of college kids searching for the truth and creatures from childhood stories, TROLLHUNTER, will make you wonder what is real, and what is just a fairy tale. TROLLHUNTER is the inaugural film of the new BACK ALLEY FILM SERIES presented by the Charlotte Film Society and will show for one night only in the Charlotte Region. The movie will start at 7:30 PM on Thursday, August 18th at the CAROLINA CINEMAS CROWNPOINT on 9630 Monroe Rd.

TROLLHUNTER is a “Documentary” style creature feature shot in the beautiful countryside of Norway and offers breathtaking scenes of the countries fjords and forests. From Norwegian writer/director Andre Ovredal, TROLLHUNTER tells the story of a veteran hunter who is shadowed by a group of film students and brings the audience into a world of beasts known only to Norwegians in childhood stories.

The Norwegian Government is trying to down play reports of unusual occurrences in the mountains and forests of a local village. Most incidents are sited as being an issue with the areas large bear population. But local hunters and 3 college students are finding the reports hard to believe. The students decide that investigating the story will be perfect for a project at their local College. Fueled by the reports of “bear attacks” and other hunters blaming a rumored poacher, the trio find themselves caught up in more than just a small school documentary. The story ramps up from there and the film takes its audience along for one dark and interesting ride.

TROLLHUNTER’S mock-documentary style approach to its cinematography is very similar to the style seen in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and CLOVERFIELD. This approach to filming also presented a unique challenge for the actors themselves. The cast of mostly Norwegian comedians were asked to improvise the entire movie. The director, Andre Ovredal, believed that this was the only way to make the film feel authentic, “The whole film was improvised on set…it was the only way I could really make a film that was going to have this level of documentary feeling. We couldn’t have acting; we couldn’t have direction. We couldn’t have a feeling that this had been planned.”

If the acknowledgement from the press is a way to judge the success of the improving, then the TROLLHUNTER cast nailed it. Eric Kohn of Indiewire.com posted “(TROLLHUNTER) DELIVERS A CONSTANT RUSH. Wonderfully fun and somewhat more significant than ‘Super 8.” The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER also wrote “Follows the lead of pre-eminent monster movies like Jaws and Alien… an original and highly assured fusion of B-movie lore and fairy-tale terror.”

More information can be found on the films website at http://www.trollhunterfilm.com/

TROLLHUNTER will be followed by HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN on August 25th, NORWEGIAN NINJA on September 22nd and TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL on October 20th. All screenings are $5 with a Charlotte Film Society Membership or $8 for the General Public. All screenings start at 7:30 PM and are cash only.

The Back Alley Film Series will continue to announce upcoming screenings in the months ahead. For more information about screenings, press information, movie times and ticket cost, contact Brandon Falls at 704.807.0435, pr@backalleyfilmseries.org or visit us on Facebook (@backalleyfilmseries) and Twitter (@backalleyfilm). Learn more about BAFS and upcoming screenings by visiting online at http://www.backalleyfilmseries.com/.

Griff The Invisible

Ryan Kwanten stars in this charming, quirky and totally unpredictable romantic comedy about the superhero in all of us. Griff (Kwanten), a shy and awkward office worker by day, finds escape from his ordinary life by assuming the identity of a fantastic superhero each night. Griff’s secret is jeopardized when he meets Melody (Maeve Dermody), a cute but unconventional daydreamer. She quickly becomes fascinated by his idiosyncrasies, which are equal only to her own.

In the face of mounting pressure to live in the “real world,” it’s up to Melody to rescue GRIFF THE INVISIBLE for the sake of herself, Griff and their newfound love for each other.

Griff The Invisible also stars Maeve Dermody (Beautiful Kate) & Marshall Napier

Written and Directed by Leon Ford (The Pacific)

Multiple Award-Winn​ing Film, "Punch Me" Makes Another Return Engagement To North Carolina

The multiple award-winning short drama, "Punch Me" has just garnered its 20th selection in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday, July 30, at the Triangle Black Pride Expo & Film Festival at the Marriott Hotel (Crabtree Valley). The festival kicks off at 12PM.

This marks the film's third North Carolina screening after having screened in Wilmington festivals earlier this year.

"Punch Me" stars talent from Denzel Washington's "The Great Debaters" and HBO's "The Wire".

Follow the Film on Twitter @PunchMeFilm and at www.Facebook.Com/PunchMeFilm

Ryan Reynolds Narrates and Produces Film About A Friendly Orca

THE WHALE, a new documentary about a lonely young killer whale who causes upheaval in a small town and amazement around the world when he tries to make friends with humans, will be released theatrically by Paladin, it was announced by company president, Mark Urman.

THE WHALE (http://www.thewhalemovie.com/) was directed by noted journalist Michael Parfit and veteran producer-cinematographer Suzanne Chisholm, who encountered the young orca whale, nicknamed Luna, at the height of his celebrity and spent several years chronicling his adventures both in print and on film.

Ryan Reynolds, who hails from the very region in Western Canada where the story unfolds, narrates the film and served as executive producer, along with Scarlett Johansson and Eric Desatnik. THE WHALE will play its first commercial engagements in late summer and expand in the fall.

Set on the rugged western coast of Vancouver Island, THE WHALE describes what happens when Luna, a baby orca, gets separated from his family and unexpectedly starts making contact with people along a scenic fjord called Nootka Sound . Because orcas are highly social creatures who spend their lives traveling with their pods, Luna attempts to find a surrogate family among the area residents, much to their delight. But as word spreads about Luna, people become torn between their love for the lonely young whale and fears that human contact might harm him.

Luna’s saga is seen through the eyes of the colorful characters who live and work along the Sound and who fall in love with the whale -- including a cook on an old freighter, a fisheries officer conflicted by what he thinks Luna needs and what he is told to do, a grandmother who is arrested for petting Luna, and a Native American elder whose tribe believes Luna is the reincarnation of a chief.

The film also describes how Parfit and Chisholm themselves, who first went to Nootka Sound on assignment for Smithsonian, grow so concerned about Luna’s fate that they get involved in trying to help him, crossing the traditional line between journalist and subject and becoming characters in the very story they are telling. Their efforts to find ways to safely give Luna the attention he seems so determined to get are a major part of the film's climax.

“THE WHALE is a wondrous experience,” said Urman. “It speaks volumes about our complex and ever-changing relationship with nature. Michael and Suzanne have told this story so effectively that, while it has all the power of truth, it also has all the emotion and beauty of a perfect fable.”

“We’re thrilled to be releasing THE WHALE with Paladin,” said producer Chisholm. “The team’s experience and success is extraordinary, and we could not have found a better place for this movie." Parfit adds: “Working with people like Ryan Reynolds on the narration, and Mark Urman and his team on distribution has been a great example of how collaborative film is. The fact that all of them love Luna as much as we do is wonderful.”

Parfit, an award-winning writer, director, and cinematographer, has authored four books, scripted two Imax films and has written many major articles for National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines. A heavily illustrated feature, written by Parfit, about the couple’s adventures with Luna and how they brought the story to the big screen, appears in Smithsonian's double summer issue, currently on stands. The article is also on the Smithsonian website, here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Luna-A-Whale-to-Watch.html#

Please visit THE WHALE on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewhalemovie

THE WHALE deal caps a particularly busy season for Paladin, following the highly successful release of Tom Shadyac’s “I Am,” which has grossed over $1.5 million, making it the highest grossing non-studio, non-3D documentary release of the year. The company launches the award-winning “Love Etc.” on July 1st and recently announced the fall release of Tiffany Shlain’s Sundance favorite, “Connected.” Also opening this summer for the company is Marcus Dean Fuller’s “One Fall,” and coming in autumn is Margaret Whitton’s romantic comedy, “A Bird of the Air.”

Call for Submissions for 2012 Athena Film Festival

Films have power. They create conversation. They reveal truths. They inspire. But for too many generations, Hollywood has told only half the story: too often, what is missing are the stories of women as change agents and heroes in their own right. For the second year, Barnard College, the most sought-after women’s college in the nation, will celebrate women’s leadership on screen at the Athena Film Festival which will take place from February 9-12, 2012. 

Athena aims to expand the definition of what it means to be a female leader, highlighting the many ways that women can and do make a difference. The program exhibits a wide range of films including Academy Award-nominated films, top tier features, documentaries, and shorts–including U.S. and world premieres. Festival audiences are invited engage in conversations with directors, writers, and producers that challenge convention and examine leadership with a new lens.

The Athena Film Festival will accept submissions of docmentaries, features and shorts from June 15- September 15 and is looking for films:

That will reveal the diverse narratives of women leaders from all walks of life—narratives of ambition, courage, strength and resilience.

That will showcase women leaders who help us interpret the reality of the modern world—captivating stories of truth, determination, innovation and vision.

That highlight the talents of emerging artists–films that capture a new generation’s take on what makes exemplary women leaders.

Please keep in mind that for a film to be considered it must have a female at the center of the story in a leadership position. Films directed by male and female directors are welcome. Films directed by women that are not focused in some respect on female leadership onscreen will not be considered.

If you have a film that would fulfill the mission of the Athena Film Festival, please submit the following information to athenafilmfestival@gmail.com

Please Include:

A brief synopsis of the film and any relevant links (especially to trailers)

Type of film: documentary, feature, or short.

Running time, Country of origin and language of film.

Year the film was made.

Type and date of release (if applicable.)

Names of film festivals or other venues your film has played (if applicable.)

Contact information: Name, email, phone, skype and address.

You will be contacted if the Festival would like to see a screener. Submissions need to be on DVD (in NTSC format) or available online.

Submission deadline: September 15, 2011
 (no late deadline)

Questions: athenafilmfestival@gmail.com



Festival Dates: November 10th-13th, 2011

Submission Deadline: July 29th, 2011

"Independent Film Quarterly brought you the interviews, now we bring you the Festival."


Independent Film Quarterly
9663 Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210


Independent Film Quarterly Film & New Media Festival - NYC

Submission Deadline: July 29th, 2011

Festival Location: New York City

Independent Film Quarterly Film & New Media Festival is a first of its kind where a film magazine brings together both new media and film in a competitive-festival setting. The Festival will screen a selection of short- and long-form works that exhibit strong personal visions combined with the highest standards of artistic merit and technical achievement.

The Festival aims to discover, showcase, and celebrate the work of today's up-and-comers and established professionals. In addition to features, documentaries, music videos, animations and short films, the Festival is interested in receiving new media content from artists, directors, and producers developing webisodes and web series as well as screenplays.

All qualifying projects will be judged by notable industry executives, with finalists being viewed by distributors for possible online, video, VOD, theatrical, or broadcast distribution. Top Award Winners will receive exclusive video/profile interviews in Independent Film Quarterly.


To enter, please submit your film or screenplay via www.withoutabox.com




**Call for Entries: Features, Shorts, Documentaries, Music Videos, Animations, New Media - Webseries/Webisodes, Screenplays**


Award-winning feature filmmaker Todd Bellanca's film "The Bad Penny (aka Bangkok Bound)" received the cover interview in Independent Film Quarterly's Cannes Edition. In addition, the film received its international premiere at the Cannes Film Market and was picked up and sold by ITN Distribution.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Angela Hinton's film "Animation: A Palette of Possibilities" was screened in Cannes Court Metrage and she was featured in the Cannes Edition of Independent Film Quarterly.

Award-winning Austrian filmmakers Rainer Kantz and Andreas Auinger's film "Space Tours" screened in Cannes Court Metrage and they were featured in the Cannes Edition of Independent Film Quarterly.



The Charlotte Film Society Presents the BACK ALLEY FILM SERIES which will kick off on August 18th 2011. This new monthly film series will introduce Charlotte to a collection of films that would otherwise never be exhibited in the Queen City. Screening unique and provocative films is a successful philosophy that THE CHARLOTTE FILM SOCIETY has prided itself on since its founding in 1982. The non-profit’s newest series will include new foreign and independent films, as well as re-released repertory and grind-house fare.

The BACK ALLEY FILM SERIES will screen films at CAROLINA CINEMAS CROWNPOINT on 9630 Monroe Rd.

Kicking off the series on August 18th, TROLLHUNTER is a “Documentary” style creature feature shot in the beautiful countryside of Norway. From Norwegian writer/director Andre Ovredal, TROLLHUNTER tells the story of a veteran hunter who is shadowed by a group of film students and brings the audience into a world of beasts known only to Norwegians in childhood stories. To make the film feel as documentary as possible, the cast had few rehearsals before shooting began, and was called upon to improvise the entire film.

August 25th HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN starring Rutger Hauer. In 2007, at the South by South West (SXSW) Festival in Austin Texas, legendary director Robert Rodriquez co-sponsored a “Grindhouse” style trailer contest for a fake movie. The winning trailer was HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. Fans fueled a campaign to have the trailer developed into a feature length film. Shot in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the film HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN takes place in a dark seedy world with actor Rutger Hauer taking the lead role as “The Hobo”. Trying to get a fresh start in a new city, the Hobo finds himself in an urban hell. After spotting a second hand lawn mower and wanting to make the city a safe and beautiful place, he realizes the only way to make a difference in this town is with a shotgun and two shells in its chamber.

September 22nd NORWEGIAN NINJA, a 2010 action comedy, is loosely based on the story of a Norwegian politician and diplomat Arne Treholt, who in 1985 was convicted of high treason and espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union and Iraq. In an alternative universe, Treholt leads a group of ninjas (appointed by the King) to combat the Soviets and is set in period appropriate time. Keeping much of the films details a secret, the Wall Street Journal stated “Hilarious and menacing, absurd and insightful, and an accomplished work of genre film making that authoritatively upends the cold war spy thriller.”

October means Halloween and horror films, and October 20th brings an interesting twist to the classic “college coeds vs. hillbillies” horror flick. TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL is a horror comedy that has been hitting all the high marks on the festival circuit. Winning the Midnight Audience Award at the 2010 SXSW, Tucker and Dale are two friends who head off on a vacation to the mountains and cross paths with a group of preppy college kids. When the kids mistake the guys for murderous backwoods hillbillies and the comical yet tragic misunderstandings continue, the body count rises and so does the audiences laughs. Staring Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL has been noted as “doing for killer rednecks what SHAUN OF THE DEAD did for zombies.”

The Back Alley Film Series will continue to announce upcoming screenings in the months ahead. For more information about screenings, press information, movie times and ticket cost, contact Brandon Falls at 704.807.0435, pr@backalleyfilmseries.org or visit us on Facebook (@backalleyfilmseries) and Twitter (@backalleyfilm). Currently the Series website is under construction but will soon have all series information at www.backalleyfilmseries.com.

The Charlotte Film Society is a non-profit organization that has been in screening diverse foreign, art house and independent films to the Charlotte community since 1982. The Society’s mission is to bring alternative, interesting, unique and fun films to Charlotte that would otherwise not play (or haven't played) in the area at the local multiplex. Annual memberships are $10 and you can learn more at www.charlottefilmsociety.org or via email charlottefilmsociety@gmail.com.

Michelle Garayua: An Indie Film Actor

Michelle Garayua has been working professionally as Actress for over ten years. She has toured nationally and regionally with several NC based professional theatre companies and has worked on several film projects on the west coast.

Passionate about the arts as a medium for reaching and connecting with audiences, making a difference and authentically communicating messages that challenge, encourage, and transform people's lives. Professional experience as an actress, specifically touring within the United States for the last 10 years.

Lead roles- Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Eva Heiman (in Let Your Children Tell, a Holocaust documentary), Imogene in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and more... Active, fun, engaging, authentic, charismatic, team-player, mature and professional. Experience with dance, yoga, gymnastics, accents - lots of Children's Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences. Experience with teaching, film, modeling, international travel and management