night and day sweatshops

Making Things.

10.09.2005

High Life review in The Montreal Gazette

You cant read this article online unless you have a subscription to the paper, so here is the lovely text written by John Griffen. Thanks John!

Pop Applies to Movies Too
Saturday October 1, 2005
The Gazette, Motreal
By John Griffin

What, you may fairly ask yourself, are movies doing in Pop Montreal?
The Short answer is - screening in public places for your viewing enjoyment this weekend. The long answer is - fulfilling youth culture’s commitment/compulsion to self-expression through the production of generationally relevant art.

Lila Yomtoob is a 31-year old native Chicagoan who has lived in New York since the age of 18 and is currently testing out San Francisco as a potential place to call home.

When she called at the crack of dawn pacific time this week, I felt like I already know her. The familiarity came from a barrage of e-mails, ingenious D.I.Y. press kits (love the buttons) and a DVD/videocasette combo pack of material surrounding her rocking 72 minute digital fiction feature High Life.

Yomtoob’s move can lazily be called a Big Chill for the nervous noughts – a crew of late twentysomethings converge in a Brooklyn loft one day to backhandedly investigate their lives, relationships and potential for survival in the world.

The Beauty of the $5,000 film, apart from the acting edginess, great score, ,humour, pathos and bathroom bathos, is the fact that it got made. To modify a Frank Zappa line that he had taken from Varese, the modern day artist refuses to die; and Yomtoob never let little things like money or the film industry come between her and her vision.

She workshopped High Life with her talented cast – Michael Wiener, Sharon Eisman, Sam Marks, James Ford, Priscilla Holbrook, Doug Paulson, Max Faugno and Sunah Biltsted – for three months in her own Brooklyn loft. When it came time to shoot, everyone was familiar enough with their backstories and their physical location- her place is the main set, to run with the story in a volatile improvisational format.

The result feels real. Who among us has never wondered about out place in society while frantically partying like there’s no future at all? Who has never panicked under the deadline pressure to produce?

Perhaps only Yomtoob, who put her own quarter life crisis into the film, then got so busy with the four-day shoot, three months of post production and continuing effortst o have her baby seen that she has little time to wonder about anything but the ongoing process of creation. High Life screened at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival in February, scored a door opening rave-review in industry bible Variety, piqued the interest of the Pop Montreal people and found a home here. She and actors Wiener and Eisman will be around after todays 5pm screening of High Life at Le Cabinet, 3810 St. Laurent Blvd to talk about it all.

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