John Sayles, patron saint of any Indie filmmaker who knows their history, will be the center of a three-day homage by Cinefamily, running Thursday through Saturday at their theater at 611 N. Fairfax in Los Angeles.
Beginning on Thursday night, February 18 at 7:30, Sayles will introduce the film that jump started his directing career in 1979, "The Return of the Secaucus Seven." Figuring he needed a calling card to prove he could direct, Sayles took his $40,000 of savings, gathered some friends including his Williams College buddy David Strathairn and the woman who would become his life partner and frequent producer, Maggie Renzi, and made the movie in a few weeks. Since then, Sayles has written more than thirty films and directed more than twenty including "Matewan," "Lone Star" and "Silver City."
Friday night features "Brother From Another Planet" (1984) starring Sayles, Strathairn and a young Joe Morton, followed by the cult classic "Piranha," (1978) written by Sayles, directed by Joe Dante and produced by Roger Corman.
On Saturday afternoon at 2, Sayles will be conducting what is billed as an hour long Master Class, cosponsored by the Writers Guild Foundation, followed by a new restoration of his film, "City of Hope." That evening the double bill is "Lianna" and "Baby It's You," both from 1983.
Revisiting these films, and experiencing them again in a theater, one is struck by their timelessness. Sayles knows exactly where to find the veins to reveal our culture, our economy and our own, often self-imposed, limitations. If his movies remind you of other films, they are ones that you have seen since: Sayles was there first.
Sayles will be introducing all of the films and the series is classic Cinefamily, who took over the theater several years ago to present a wide variety of weird and wonderful films and programs. They aim to be the antidote to watching films alone on small screens or various devices and provide a unique communal experience for artists to interact with their fans and vice versa.