comments

Media Life: Del Oro, Colfax grads boost Placer County’s movie cred

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
-A +A

 

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life. 

 

 

Former Auburnite Gareth Smith and his wife, Jenny Lee, have co-directed a short film on a girl in Sierra Leone and the challenges she has to get a good education.

And the work uses some of the film techniques that the two wowed movie audiences with in the opening titles sequence for “Juno.”

The Smith & Lee Designs short subject is being combined with nine others on the same theme that have been shot in different countries. Moves are now afoot to give Auburn audiences one of the first glimpses at the finished product.

The film is called “Girl Rising” and the Regal Auburn Stadium 10 movie house in Auburn is onboard with a screening at 7:30 p.m. March 12 if a critical mass of 100 tickets can be presold at the gathr.us Website.

“Girl Rising” is being put together by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins and a partnership that includes Intel and CNN Films. It’s billed as a cinematic look at the power of education to change a girl – and the world.

Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchette and Salma Hayek provide voice performances for the film, which also features original music from Academy Award winner Rachel Portman, in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.

“One girl with courage is a revolution,” is a message “Girl Rising” is attempting to pass on to moviegoers and Smith and Lee will be part of the team providing a colorful, evocative experience on the screen.

Smith and Lee are planning to attend the local screening and be available for a short question-and-answer session afterward. Smith grew up on the outskirts of Auburn and is a Del Oro High School graduate.

The two have worked together to create titles sequences for several films, including “Up in the Air” and “Thank You for Smoking” as well as “Juno.”

 

Sundance success

Colfax High is also getting some serious representation in the film world these days, thanks to the good work of 1996 graduate Matt Medlin, a former Weimar resident.

Medlin played a key role in the production of new feature film “The Spectacular Now,” which turned out to be one of the hits at the recent Sundance Film Festival.

Medlin was line producer on the movie – a position that puts him in charge of much of the logistics in the day-to-day production, including keeping the film within its budget.

The film, starring Kyle Chandler (“Super 8”) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“A Good Day to Die Hard”), won a Special Jury Award for acting. And proud dad Mike Medlin informs us that, on the strength of its showing at the Utah fest, it was purchased for release and should be out this summer.

A Sundance moment is nothing new for Medlin. He’s had six films in the last four years at Sundance, including 2010’s “Obselidia,” which won Alfred P. Sloan Award for the best use of science in a film.

And Medlin’s star continues to rise. Two films he’s recently worked on – “Electric Slide,” with Chloe Sevigny, and “Sunlight Jr.,” starring Naomi Watts, are soon to be released. The latest news is that he’s off to New York City to work with director Martin Scorsese on a new project.

 

Summer lineup sizzles

Thunder Valley Casino Resort, a scoot down Interstate 80 from Auburn and then a right turn to Lincoln on Highway 65, continues to amaze with the acts it brings in for its summer concert series.

Soon to be in its fourth year, the series will start selling tickets Saturday to the general public for and Franki Valli and the The Four Seasons (June 1), Jeff Dunham (June 21), Chicago (Aug. 3) and Bill Engvall (Aug. 10).

Thunder Valley is also offering season ticket passes this year.

 

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life.