Filmwax Radio Live: Rooftop Films Edition (2014)

Join Filmwax Radio for their first ever LIVE podcast event presented by Rooftop Films. Filmwax Radio host Adam Schartoff‘s indie-focused interview series will come to you live from Videology!

To kick of the afternoon, Rooftop Films’ Dan Nuxoll will discuss highlights of the 2014 Summer Series lineup, followed by a series of interviews with up-and-coming filmmakers such as Onur Tukel (Summer of Blood), Gillian Robespierre(Obvious Child) and Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior). Meet the filmmakers and find out what you’ll see (and what NOT to miss) at Rooftop Films this year.

Filmwax Radio is a Brooklyn-based podcast that may be either accessed from Rooftop Films’ website or iTunes. The show includes myriad conversations with folks from the entire spectrum of indie films. Past guests include Todd Solondz, John Sayles, Brian De Palma, Lili Taylor, Joe Swanberg, Ken Burns and Christine Vachon.

Listen to Filmwax at or on iTunes.

Stand-up but Don’t Deliver

The setup of “Obvious Child” may remind you a bit of “Seinfeld” — a Jewish New York comedian turns the mundane into standup material. In this case, however, the comic is a young Brooklyn woman named Donna Stern as played by relative newcomer Jenny Slate. Donna’s material about abortion isn’t exactly gold though it’s an improvement over her usual set of unfunny and icky bodily function jokes. [The best joke in the entire film is actually delivered by another comic: how his dad reminds him of both Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.] She’s already lost one boyfriend due to her onstage over-sharing, her job at the anti-imperialist, non-repressive non-colonialist bookstore is about to end and her academic mom’s idea of advice comes in the form of a spreadsheet. Attention from a very nice though not-her-type straight arrow turns into a one-night stand that leads to her unplanned pregnancy.

The main business of the film—which sometimes threatens to be more cute than funny but ultimately won me over—is about Donna’s eventual thaw to the goy (a winning performance by “The Office”‘s Jake Lacy). A rom-com whose love story takes off post-abortion probably won’t make it to many pro-lifer Netflix queues but others will appreciate the delicate balance of humor and emotion in this hugely likable film. It doesn’t hurt that the film sports a great ensemble cast including Richard Kind and Polly Draper as Donna’s divorced parents, David Cross as a creepy comedy club owner, and Gaby Hoffman as her roomie. Confidently directed by Gillian Robespierre, this first feature premiered at Sundance earlier this year and is the centerpiece of the upcoming New Director’s/New Films festival at Lincoln Center. While it’s hard to see much of a future for Donna Stern, I predict big things for Slate and Robespierre. Read more