New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
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"MACBETH – THE COMEDY"
WINS AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE


New York (October 11, 2001) -- The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival announced this week that "Macbeth – The Comedy" has won the Audience Award for Best Feature at its September 2001 edition.

Produced by New Jersey based Tristan Films, "Macbeth – The Comedy" played to a sell-out audience of more than 300 people at Manhattan’s Clearview East 59th Street Cinema on September 10th.

Upon hearing the news of the award, writer and director Allison L. LiCalsi reacted, "I’m really honored and pleased for our entire cast and crew who worked so hard. I set out to make a movie that I would enjoy watching and hoped others would too. I was overwhelmed by the audience reaction at the screening. Macbeth is my first feature and to get that kind of response is really encouraging."

Renata Bialkowski, Marketing Director for the eight year old New York festival, remarked "'Macbeth – The Comedy' impressed our selection committee because it isn’t the typical work of independent filmmakers. We gave it a prime screening slot because we felt it would generate a lot of buzz. And it did."

Shot using digital video technology, the movie is a retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy with a comic twist. The script also mixes contemporary dialogue with the play’s original language, making the story accessible to a larger audience. LiCalsi explains, "When you think about it, all of Shakespeare’s tragedies are based on extremely funny situations. Anyone should be able to say, ‘If I take these steps, it will not come to good.’ Yet Shakespeare’s characters always take those steps. Which is something I find interesting about the play. And funny."

In recasting the title role as a woman, "Macbeth – The Comedy" also examines issues of gender and sexuality within the power politics of the story. Says LiCalsi, "I didn’t set out to make this an edgy piece. I just had an actress in mind who I wanted to play Macbeth. That led to some very interesting situations between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Now I can only think of Macbeth as a woman."

The movie was shot on a whirlwind 11-day schedule in January 2001, utilizing locations in Manhattan and New Jersey. Producer Patrick Murray recalls, "Even with digital video technology, shooting a 90 minute feature on such a short schedule is virtually unheard of. We had a great cast and crew who were all on the same page as the production team. And we were able to get some terrific locations." Adds Murray, "This New York screening was our first festival participation – our world premiere, in fact. So to get a major award right off the bat is great. We ended up doing what we set out to do – make a really smart, fun movie that appeals to a wide audience."


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