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The New York International Independent Film & Video Festival

is in full swing.  There are great movies to be seen and a great spirit to match.  Festival Founder, Executive Director, and CEO Stuart Alson has created another fantastic festival. 
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His amiable and adept team have outdone themselves.  Program Director/Film Committee Chief Nicole Holland has assembled an incredible lineup of more than 200 movies, seminars, parties, receptions and other networking opportunities with distributors and worldwide press.  Along with my Award winning Producer Brother, Actors Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Jonathan Marten, we dove into the deep end and drank of its waters.  Mmmmnnn, tastey!
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Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc at the Telephone Bar and Grill.  (Sleep is not an option!)

Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc and Director of Publicity Briege McGaritty hosted a networking luncheon at the Telephone Bar and Grill on Second Avenue full of laughter as well as serious shop talk. 

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Ethan and Briege making plans at NYIIFV Festival 2006

Ms. McGaritty has been called every name she can think of over the years.  “I’ve been called Brie, even Breast (by one fellow whose Freudian slip was showing), but don’t call Briege Brittish.  She’s an Irish Rose through and through!

Marketing Wiz Valerie Nicholas, a former vegan, is sinking her teeth into film success (and the chicken wings!).   Valerie, who prefers her comedy on the edge, was on her best behavior — almost.  Years ago she started out with Champion Cigars, went to work for the Cyber Boxing Zone, and has parlayed that into a film career — this night having exhibited “Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”
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“I get all European media,” says Briege as she, Jonathan, and Valerie Nicholas discuss the division of the World Press.

The  house was packed with luminaries, including the former Heavyweight Champion himself.  Holmes, who has been greatly overlooked is finely receiving the respect that has been due. 
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Ethan and Former Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes at the openning of
“Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”  I’m wearing my mouthpiece — just in case.

Writer/Producer Evan Grant brought all the mishpucha to celebrate his six-year-long journey to the big screen. Executive Producer (and writer of Cinerella Man) Mike DeLisa had his family in on the celebration as well. 
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Ethan with “Cinderella Man” Mike DeLisa

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“You may be my friend, but I’ll drop you in 10!”  Clowning with Executive Producer Mike DeLisa, who responds, “Don’t give me that jive — I’ll take you in five!”  The smart money’s on DeLisa.

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From right:  Writer-Director-Producer Evan Grant, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Writer Thomas Hausen, and Little (litterally)
Ol’ Ethan

Legendary trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas lent his talents on screen as well as in person.  For all of Atlas’ accomplishments, and training of champions, he remains humble.  
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Teddy Atlas — a class act — all the way. 

He pays tribute to his late father with the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, awarding scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations.

HBO’s 30-year veteran of all things boxing  Larry Merchant was was on hand as well as Pulitzer Prize Nominee Thomas Hauser, who has been at work creating a romantic comedy!
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Larry — you were robbed!  There was no way you didn’t win the decision!  What’s next for Team Merchant?

“The NYIIFV Festival is a great stepping stone,” Valerie explained.  “It has great resources and opportunities for film makers.”  Last year Mike Delisa’s “The Superfight Marciano vs. Ali” won the Festival’s Screen Craft Award. Since the Star Circle Pictures business card  made it into her “Elvis” card case, and not the plain card case —  I know we’re going to be a success!  You rock Valerie…literally!
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Three Icons.  Elvis, Star Circle Pictures, and the hand of a Media Goddess…not necessarily in that order!

Marea Productions and Cannes 2006 selection “El Barrio” Director Melissa Eidson was kindness incarnate.  As my bloodsugar dropped — she slid a plate of fries in my direction!  Many thanks Melissa. 
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El Barrio Director Melissa Eidson is an artist with compassion as deep as her talent.  Her empathy for the human condition is the heart of “Barrio.”

The journey of “Barrio” began in Harlem, where Edison tought and learned from her young students.  She brought her teaching credentials to a Brooklyn school.  The way the public perceived it, “the next stop for a lot of these kids was Riker’s Island,” Eidson said.  “We had these kids doing Shakespeare!” 

After this, was a blur of events and activity including a stay with a cool uncle — a drinking, Priest-philosopher in San Miguel — a tip toTahiti to relax and write poetry, and a baby.

All these experiences and more went into the creation of El Barrio, a story of strength, endurance and ingenuity as seen through the eyes of the people of Mexico City.

“I  have an affinity for these people,”  Eidson  says, “I feel alive with them — they are survivors.”

All photos by Jonathan Marten — even the ones he’s in!  What can I say, he’s amzing.  Okay, I took those, but you were wondering how he did it for a second — weren’t you?  More tomorrow, including the Premiere of Star Circle Pictures’  SAMARITAN.  Good night — I mean good morning!  E.