Film festival season is once again in full swing. Side by side to the SXSW Film and Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the Stonzek Theater in Lake Worth, Florida is running from March 18 through March 20 its 6th annual L-Dub Film Festival, where local and international filmmakers will showcase their work in the confines of the Stonzek Theater, the sole arthouse venue in the area.
Among the vast innovative features, shorts, docs, music videos and student films, perhaps the most anticipated screening was Israel Horovitz’s “My Old Lady”, starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. The film screened to a full house at the Stonzek , with Horovitz taking the time to speak to the audience and the press in a lively Q&A.
The film, based on Horovitz’s play of the same name , and which now has a complete stage and screenplay companion book, depicts the story of Mathias, an exasperated and wary American that inherits an apartment in Paris from his father, with whom he has never been close. Much to his surprise, the apartment comes with an unexpected and unwelcome tenant, elderly Mathilde who lives there alongside her daughter Chloe.
Horovitz recalls that he clearly had Maggie Smith in mind for the role of Mathilde, and was surprised beyond words when Smith read the script for My Old Lady among twenty-three others that she received since the finale of the long-running British drama, Downton Abbey. Horovitz remembers Maggie Smith asking him: “Do you know why I chose to do your film over the 23 others that I was offered? Because I don’t have to die in the end”, Smith said conclusively.
Horovitz also recalls as a strange sort of sign that when he was asked who he had in mind for the role of Mathias, he immediately answered Kevin Klein. “As I said this, I turned around, and Kevin Kline was walking through the door”. He laughs as he remembers this.” I thought that someone was definitely playing a joke on me.”
The playwright also shared with the audience that his cinematographer Michel Amathieu was the genius behind the aesthetically beautiful shots of Paris and the interior of Mathias’ apartment. “When you’re making a film, your cinematographer is really your anchor”, Horovitz said. “I mean, when we were doing some of the shots with Maggie (Smith) inside the apartment, he really had the best ideas of how to shoot around her so the scene wouldn’t feel claustrophobic or cramped, ideas that I certainly wouldn’t have thought of.”
L-Dub offers interesting options for every indie cinephile, and further opportunities to meet and participate in Q&A’s with several of the filmmakers, writers and actors that are taking part in the festival. “This year, we have submissions from all over the world”, said Charlie Birnbaum, L-Dub’s festival director and manager of the Stonzek Theater. “We are really fortunate to have so many options that people will certainly enjoy.”