Robert Bella (I) - News Poster


Why Are These Movies Opening On The Same Day?

Why Are These Movies Opening On The Same Day?
New York -- Scheduling the release of a summer movie isn't exactly a science. It clearly isn't an art, either. It's more akin to a contact sport:

Seize the advantageous position, sustain as little damage as possible, and score.

All of which makes this weekend's opening of both "Red 2"

and "R.I.P.D." a little like sacking your own quarterback. Both films are action-thrillers. Both are about over-age law enforcers (in "R.I.P.D.," some are so old, they're dead). And both make a virtue of their, shall we say, mature stars.

Those stars include Bruce Willis (58), Anthony Hopkins (75), John Malkovich (59) and Helen Mirren (67) in "Red 2" and Jeff Bridges (63) and Kevin Bacon (55) in "R.I.P.D.," which, by the way, stands for "Rest in Peace Department."

It may not make a huge difference at the box office, but both films also feature the less-than-prolific Mary-Louise Parker, who has a solid base among discriminating male
See full article at Huffington Post »

Palm Springs ShortFest to Honor Gus Van Sant! Check Out Complete Forums Schedule!

The Palm Springs ShortFest has announced that highly-acclaimed writer/director Gus Van Sant will be presented with the ShortFest Spirit of Short Film Award as part of a special Directing Master Class presentation celebrating his work in film. A selection of his short films will be shown on Saturday, June 23rd at 2:30 p.m. with a discussion headed by Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. Van Sant, who earned Oscar nominations for "Good Will Hunting" and "Milk," was previously honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2009 when he received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.

I personally salute the Palm Springs ShortFest. It is such a grassroots effort that honor the diversity and talent of many striving filmmakers. And most of the films shown move on to win Oscars such as "Freeheld" which won Best Documentary Short in 2008.

The Palm Springs ShortFest happens on June 19th to the 25th. For more details,
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »

4 More Sundance Films That Deserve a 'Colin Fitz' Miracle

4 More Sundance Films That Deserve a 'Colin Fitz' Miracle
It's an honor to have your movie play at the Sundance Film Festival. It's a thrill when it not only plays but plays to great critical and popular acclaim. It's a dream come true when you meet with studio representatives to discuss theatrical distribution. And it's a bitter, soul-crushing disappointment when the deals don't pan out and the film is never heard from again.

That's what happened to Robert Bella's Colin Fitz, a 1997 Sundance hit that won praise from critics as diverse as Roger Ebert and Harry Knowles. The film, a comedy about a dead rock star's devoted fans, looked like it would be the next Sundance Cinderella story. But while distributors were interested, none could offer Bella a sale price that would actually cover what it had cost him -- and his creditors -- to make it. So the film sat in a storage unit while Bella worked
See full article at Cinematical »

Legendary Film ‘Colin Fitz Lives!’ to Finally Get Release

The legendary indie film “Colin Fitz Lives!” about two bumbling security guards posted at the grave of Colin Fitz, a dead rock star with fans obsessive enough to make Justin Bieber blush will finally get a proper release.

What, never heard of it? Indie film buffs certainly have. Way back in 1997 this low-budget comedy with relatively big names like William H. Macy, Martha Plimpton and John C. McGinley anchoring the cast enjoyed a lot of buzz at Sundance and was considered a lock to get a high dollar distribution deal.

But that never happened.

Director Robert Bella was offered plenty of distribution deals, but he had sunk $50,000 of his own money into the project, was able to raise $100,000 more and maxed out 20 credit cards to render a 35mm print for screenings at Sundance. This ambition left him saddled with a $250,000 debt, which he quickly realized would not be covered by any of his offers,
See full article at The Moving Arts Journal »

Colin Fitz Comes Back from the Dead: A Tale of Indie Resurrection

Colin Fitz Comes Back from the Dead: A Tale of Indie Resurrection
Director Robert Bella went thousands of dollars into debt to get his debut film Colin Fitz, an absurdist comedy about a dead rock legend starring William H. Macy, into Sundance in 1997. He then spent the next 13 years getting himself and the film--which earned good reviews--out of hock. At one low point, when he got sick of sleeping on friends' couches, he moved into his own storage space. Now that Bella, a successful post-production supervisor, owns all the bits and pieces of his film, IFC Films is finally releasing the retitled Colin Fitz Lives!--on VOD on August 4 via Sundance Selects. Bella will happily attend the La premiere (complete with Q & A with Macy) on August 5 at the Cinematheque (tickets here). Bella tells his own riveting story at indieWIRE and Kcrw's The Business. The trailer is below.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

First Person | "Colin Fitz" Director Robert Bella: From Sundance To Hell And Back Again

First Person |
In 1997, Sundance Film Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore wrote, "'Colin Fitz' is the kind of independent filmmaking that shows how much can be done with very little and underscores the endearing qualities of well-written dialogue and comic inspiration." The movie’s been called by the press and its fans, “The Best Film Never Released.” So - what happened? Filmmaker Robert Bella offers a first person perspective on "Colin Fitz," a film that ...
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance releases 'Colin Fitz Lives!' on VOD

Sundance Selects has picked up comedy "Colin Fitz Lives!" which will find release on VOD in August. William H. Macy, Martha Plimpton, John C. McGinley, Matt McGrath and Mary McCormack star. Robert Bella directs "Fitz" which screened at 1997's Sundance Film Festival. Since then, the film has seen festivals including the Austin Film Festival, where it took top feature prize. Tom Morrissey-written story tells of two security guards who are hired to watch over the grave of a dead rock legend. Sundance Selects will send out a new cut of "Fitz" with unseen footage and new music recordings.
See full article at »

Thirteen Year Old Festival Fave Gets a Pickup

Sundance Selects has picked up comedy “Colin Fitz Lives!” for VOD release next month. Helmed by Robert Bella, “Fitz” screened in competish at Sundance in 1997 and has since been seen in fests including the Austin Film Fest, where the pic scored the top feature prize. William H. Macy, Martha Plimpton, John C. McGinley (”Scrubs”), Matt McGrath and Mary McCormack (”In Plain Sight”) are among the thesps in the cast. Penned by Tom Morrissey, story follows two security guards hired to stand watch over the grave of a dead rock legend. Sundance Selects, one of IFC’s three release platforms, will put out a new cut of “Fitz” that includes previously unseen footage and new music recordings. “Fitz” hits Sundance Selects, which is available in some 40 million homes, Aug. 4.
See full article at FilmNewsBriefs »

'Colin Fitz Lives!' goes to Sundance Select

'Colin Fitz Lives!' goes to Sundance Select
Sundance Selects has acquired Robert Bella's black comedy "Colin Fitz Lives!," starring William H. Macy, which it will distribute as a VOD offering Aug. 4.

Written by Tom Morrissey, it centers on two eccentric security guards hired to guard the grave of a dead rock legend, the eponymous Colin Fitz.  The cast also includes Martha Plimpton, Matt McGrath, John C. McGinley and Mary McCormack.

"Colin" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was named best feature film at the Austin Film Festival. A re-mastered cut screens Thursday in San Francisco as the closing night film of the 2010 Lol-sf Film Festival.  Its Los Angeles bow will be hosted by the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre on Aug. 5.

Sundance Selects acquisition executive Arianna Bocco brokered the deal with Bella, who recently re-worked the film after buying back the rights from his investors.  
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Film review: 'Colin Fitz'

Film review: 'Colin Fitz'
Like many an independent feature, "Colin Fitz" sports an impressive cast, displays some real wit and originality, and ultimately has very little reason for being. Robert Bella's debut film would have made a perfectly entertaining one-act play (and probably was at one point).

The title character is a legendary deceased rock star -- the legend goes that he committed suicide by eating bad clams -- whose gravesite invites unusual occurrences every year on the anniversary of his death. To forestall further such problems, Fitz's widow hires two hapless security guards to stand watch over the grave all night. The resulting clash of personalities, as well as a series of increasingly bizarre visitations, form the heart of the dialogue-heavy film.

One of the guards is Grady (Andy Fowle), a beer-drinking regular guy with opinions on everything. He proclaims that Neil Young's recording of "Rockin' in the Free World" brought about the fall of communism and that years from now a religion will spring up based upon the lyrics of John Lennon. His counterpart is Paul (Matt McGrath), a sensitive young man unimpressed with the trappings of security work and appalled by the behavior of the rock star's acolytes. Their boss, hilariously played by William H. Macy, is a self-important rent-a-cop with a fondness for cupcakes.

Among the visitors are the rocker's widow (Julianne Phillips), who decides that Paul has her late husband's spirit inside him.

Bella at least has the good sense to provide a nicely low-key air to the proceedings, and the deadpan comic performances by the mostly talented cast are another plus.


Producers: Robert Bella, Thomas Mangan IV, Baby Shark Inc.

Director: Robert Bella

Screenplay: Tom Morrissey

Director of photography: Henry Cline

Editor: Susan Graef

Music: Pat Irwin


Cast: Matt McGrath, William H. Macy, Andy Fowle, Julianne Phillips, Martha Plimpton, John C. McGinley, Mary McCormack

Running time -- 87 minutes

No MPAA rating

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