New York International Independent Film and Video Festival - FALL - 2009
AUDIENCE E-MAILS RECEIVED
AFTER the LOS ANGELES WORLD PREMIERE
Held On August 1st 2009
At the Regency Fairfax Cinema
In the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival for Los Angeles - 2009
I want to add my praise to what must be a long waiting list.
Thank you for inviting me to the premiere of "Still the Drums." For me, the film
succeeded on many levels -- casting, acting, directing, photography, editing, etc.
For you, especially, as a true auteur, it is quite an achievement, all the more
remarkable as a first film.
My guess is that the picture will do very well in future festivals and, more important,
will do good things for your career(s) and the careers of everyone involved.
Again, congratulations. All the best, Basil.
P.S. I thought the mood created by the lighting and the photography was apparent
and appropriate. Take a look at the films shot by the great Gordon Willis.
Basil Hoffman, Actor, Acting Teacher and Author
I'm thankful for actor, Bobby Figaro, making such an effort to introduce me to you. It was nice talking to you on the phone. But, unfortunately, not as nice as seeing your incredible work on film, both, you and Bobby Figaro. Your own battle of staying in the trenches with Still The Drums for over a decade (13 years) is a note worthy testimonial of one following his own dream, and not just dreaming how it could be, if...you just did it.
Of course, the impressive intrigue of the endgame is the film you made, from your story. Talbot Perry Simons: you, as Tom, Bobby Figaro: as Mike, Richard as Al; the entire cast was mesmerizing.
The critical, pulsating, and engaging moments of your story were not exciting "feature house" movie fare, pleasing to a distributor. The way you wrote and directed these moments, resulted in a visual translation of a man's instinctive nature in the face of human purpose: truth; our truth, what is really at the end of the day, a man's truth? Even in the midst of war? This film brings it home.
It seems, these days, the higher the budget for a new film, the more stuff there is flying all over the screen; and there is the loss of story, concept, and basically interest (My eyes spend too much work, blinking.) But what you did with the budget provided by faithful agony, over, ecstasy is, an example, of truth in film-making as Art; not ambiguity to create confusion. But a fine directorial debut for you, wonderful acting by, both, you, and Bobby Figaro.
Just wanted to let you know again how impressive your accomplishment is.--It was great to see your movie. You filled the house! My friend Judith is a writer and got a degree in Filmmaking from UCLA and she said she thought your story was indeed unusual and compelling--and that you are a very good actor.
Nancy Buchannon - Faculty, School of Film/Video, Cal Arts, Valencia California
I neglected to say that I thought your acting was terrific, too--
you always were really charismatic--still are!
"Still the Drums" was simply a visceral, gripping tale of everything it means to be human. The entanglement of close friendships and combat, honor, dishonor, pride, and secrets. About shedding blood and shedding tears. Watching this movie was like reading a book that I couldn't put down.I was sitting on the edge of my seat fascinated by every turn the plot made. It is the intense moving story of something hidden and something revealed. Of how faithful comrades are tested and the effect war can have on the human psyche. Heartrending and powerful. A plus!
Julie Jenkins - Santa Monica, CA
I just returned from seeing the World Premier of “Still the Drums”. It was a riveting story told in a compelling manner. Producer, writer, director, actor, Talbot Perry Simons, made it the “audience’s movie”.
Powerfully written, acted superbly!During one scene between Talbot and Bobby Figaro, I felt as if I was watching Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, in the diner scene from the movie “Heat”!
Suffice to say; we, the audience, did not see “the ending” coming.It left everyone in the packed theatre speechless when exiting! Wow!!
I knew this movie would be well received. I think your background in stage and your commitment led to this outcome. I am not surprised. You have every reason to be proud. You did it with classsssssss!
The audience was free to experience this story because the script, actors, direction and production were so clean and flawless that the truths that this unique and daring film revealed were beautiful and unforgettable. So relevant and so real.. WOW! Talbot Perry Simons is on his way.
Congrats on last night!! I don't think you could have put one more person in that theater!! Everyone looked great on screen! The whole thing was just a great experience and I know you have put your heart and soul into this film--it showed!
Jen Kolkin, Cypress, CA
I'm really happy for you and the success of your great film!
I just wanted to drop a note to tell you how much I enjoyed “Still The Drums” at the festival last week. And to congratulate you on all the hard work I know it must have taken to bring it to life on the screen. Well done!Thanks again for a great evening!
Congratulations on getting such a fine review. I agree with the review. I thought the facial expressions were very compelling. Your film clearly was the hit during the festival - and festival director Stuart Alson, provided wonderful images of your full theater in his recent email. This is even more impressive as there were no scantily dressed young ladies in your film! Best of luck with your program.
Ephraim K. Smith, Ph. D. - President - Heritage Productions, Inc.
"Still the Drums": "A gripping and shocking drama about the anguish of war, the bonds of friendship and innocence lost".
Patricia Bolt, Writer/Producer
I viewed your film last Sat. evening. It was captivating, and time well spent. Bobby gave me your address. Not because he is a friend, I really believe that he nailed the role. Afterwards I thought of other anti war films; Johnny Get Your Gun, All Quiet On the Western Front. Being your first flick, I think your off to a flying start.
I was so fortunate to view this film at the NY Independent Film Festival over the summer. It is the most unpatriotic patriotic movie made. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will think hard about the impact war has on family, friends, and the world in general. If you are in NY over this next weekend, please support Talbot and his friends/cast mates. You will not be disappointed!
Michael Dean Shelton - Philanthropist - Los Angeles, CA
Richard Fulvio's performance was understated, consistent and excellent throughout. It is difficult for three actors to effectively carry such long and difficult scenes. This film had flashes of brilliance that reminded me of Glengarry Glen Ross. The three clear and effective acts with outstanding original music built to a stunning and exhausting climax. This film sheds light on the complexity and collateral heartbreak that accompanies all wars. I hope this film and Richard's acting gets notice and praise at this and other film festivals. Great job to all who were involved in making this film.
Ray Lantz - Upland, CA
This film caught me off guard the many twists and turns, but the thing of it is I can't seem to get it out of my mind.
"I am very impressed by the performances of the multi-generational cast in "Still the Drums." It’s a touching and moving patriotic anti-war film and I was so impressed that it was Talbot Perry Simon's writing, producing and directorial debut. In addition to all of this, he was one of the film's lead actors. The production value, soundtrack, and script were great as well. Simons is an talented artist who takes many risks to tell such an interesting story. Audiences across the country will enjoy this timely film. I was honored to conduct the red carpet interviews for the premiere of this film...
Vida Ghaffari, actress, on-camera host, and voiceover artist
"Still the Drums"-- A quiet sensitive alternative examination of a tragic time in the nation's history. Very thoughtful and timely for today. Weeks later, I find myself thinking about the questions this film raised.
Kathleen Walsh, NYC, NY
Congratulations on the premier of "Still The Drums." Truly an impressive achievement! I found the film potent, provocative, and engrossing. The story, the performances, the atmosphere, were all realized deftly, and convincingly. In a time when war still plagues us with questions of loyalty, justification, and morality, your film reminds us that the people who actually fight these wars, the soldiers, never win, and can never be compensated enough for the sacrifices and sufferings they endure for country, comrades, or themselves. And yet, far from being simply a 'war movie,' you manage to bring humor and lightness into this absurd tragedy so that we are entertained while at the same time pulled into a riveting and heart-wrenching experience. The film puts us in touch with our humanity on many levels, and the plight of your characters resonated with me, as I think it did with all who attended. Again, congratulations, and thank you.
John Hugo - North Hollywood, CA
I went to Los Angeles for the NYIIFVF film festival and premiere of my film BIRTHDAY FREE FOR ALL. As an independent filmmaker, I was interested in seeing some other films in the festival. The one that stood out more than any other was STILL THE DRUMS. There wasn't an empty seat in the theater and the movie delivered with an engaging and powerful story. I found myself wondering if this was inspired by a true story. The characters and emotion seemed so real. I am sure there a veterans out there with a story similar to this one. The cast and crew were extremely friendly and a pleasure to be around. STILL THE DRUMS is exactly the reason we make movies.
Jason Paris, Producer, Writer, Director -"Birthday Free For All" & "Auto Archeology"
Note: The United States State Department has designated award winning, character actor, acting teacher and author Basil Hoffman, as Cultural Envoy to Lebanon to teach acting and directing in Beirut at the University of Balamand's Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA), the Lebanese University (LU), Notre Dame University (NDU), and St. Joseph University's Institut D'Etudes Sceniques Audiovisuelles et Cinematographiques (IESAV).
"Still the Drums" tackles an often-neglected part of the American's role in the Vietnam War. The struggle to put culpability at the feet of our own fighting men is a difficult one. This issue is laid bare before us in the stark space of a VFW hall, with three Vietnam vets toasting their fallen childhood friend who never returned from the war. The camaraderie of these men is put to the test in a dramatic and tension-filled expose as they face buried secrets on a storm-ridden night.
This brave directorial debut by Talbot Perry Simons is a work of sheer courage, as he plunges headlong into issues of patriotism, honesty and humanity.
You may not be the same after you see "Still the Drums".
...Gary Krauss - Photographer/Videographer, New York, NY
This is some heavy stuff! I thought this movie was about something else. I love being surprised by a movie. It doesn’t happen very often, so many films a predictable. I can usually figure out what is coming and try to just enjoy the way it’s delivered. This movie completely took me by surprise. The writer and whoever made the trailer both did a great job in concealing what this movie is really about while still grabbing my attention. Bravo!Still The Drums is a great story, superbly presented. A very powerful film! Go see it!
"I found 'Still The Drums' to be a most compelling and powerful feature film. It was hard-hitting, emotional and very realistic. It is an unusual film in that it was a patriotic anti-war movie and very timely. It was a well written screenplay with excellent acting. I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it to all concerned movie-goers." Warmest regards,
Michael Nurko - TRF Production Music Libraries, Mahwah NJ
“Still The Drums” is a story of four friends who went off to war anxious to defend their country.
The experience changed them more than they could ever imagine and when they left the war behind, they couldn’t help but take its terrible secrets with them. Maybe the one friend who didn’t return was the lucky one. He didn’t have to live with the memories.
Being of this era I can relate, having friends living with such memories and secrets. Look around, you probably know someone too. This is a well written, well acted piece by a relatively unknown cast that deserves attention and applause.
Whoa! "Still the Drums" is one of the best movies I've seen all year. It's a great story with great acting. It was intense! I never saw the end coming. It completely took me by surprise. Excellent movie. I'd like to see it again.
...Stan Ostrow, Hartford, CT
The movie was great (lots of props to you). My buddy thought the movie was great too.
I hope and pray for much success for all of you...
R. John Stine - Global Wealth Services, Limerick PA
I found " Still the Drums" to be a provocative and riveting movie with some surprising and un-expected plot turns. Knowing it is a war movie I was I was pleased to find that most of the details to the storyline were laid out in a back room over a few drinks and not through a lot of violence.
It is a different kind of movie and is definitely a must see…
It did not take long to understand why the theater was sold out for the NY premier of "Still the Drums". This is an incredibly capturing film with spectacular acting and effects. From beginning to end you are compelled to watch the film as the turn of events seemingly predictable were just the opposite. A great job from concept to screen. One can only expect continued success for this film. Two thumbs up!!
In Still the Drums, Talbot Perry Simons’s heartfelt commentary on the immorality of war, three Vietnam veterans meet after the funeral of a fourth friend, whose remains have been found after 39 years and he is awarded the Medal of Honor. Without revealing the details of the plot, one can say that “heroism” is a nice, bland construct that obscures the evil that war can evoke from a person. Those who were really there can see the reality behind knee-jerk patriotism. Talbot Perry Simons and Richard Fulvio are especially convincing as the veterans who live everyday with the reality of war and for whom “heroism” is a hollow word indeed.
Most of the time I watch movies to be entertained and it’s over. Not with “Still the Drums”. I could not speak. It was awesome! Like a Hitchcock movie and how we all loved them and have never forgotten them. I felt I was intruding on a very personal secret among three friends. The acting, writing left such a vivid picture it still stays with me. It was so powerful. Today with news, TV and press, we become jaded with events, but this powerful story/movie will not be forgotten. I am sure of that. Seeing “Still the Drums” has been an eye opening experience. I keep the Dog Tags given out as a memento after the movie hanging from my rear view mirror in my car. All of my friends that I told about it want to see it and ask when it will come to theaters. I will return with them when it comes out…
Nell Bishop, Fort Myers, Florida
Still the drums is a very good movie about three close friends. Nice surprise ending! It surprised me at the right moment. I will leave it at that, I don't want to give the ending away…
James Cesaria, Staten Island, NY- Retired NYC police officer.
Congratulations too Talbot Perry Simons and Richard Fulvio for an outstanding film production 'Still the Drums'. From the start this movie caught and held my attention, sensing something dark and possibly sinister it continually led me through unknown territory all the way until the end. Not having served in that war myself this movie gave me a great appreciation of what many of our brave soldiers must have experienced and to this day maybe still harbor in their souls. After experiencing this movie I now realize that just because a soldier comes home from war, that doesn't necessarily mean that the war is over for him or that it will ever truly be over.
I am very proud and happy for Talbot Simons and Richard Fulvio and the entire production staff in their efforts for making such a fine movie.
I work as a civilian at Fort Monmouth. I was in new York and saw “Still the Drums”. It was worth every minute. The cast was awesome, the storyline was intense and it kept you on the edge of your seat. What a suspenseful finish. With the war going on right now this could actually be happening. I hope it is exposed to the theaters around our area in Jersey, so we can plan on seeing it again. Thank you to all who were involved with this movie.
Jean Rager, A CIV USA USAASC, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
A war story would usually be one of my last choices to watch for a movie, but “Still the Drums” really is a different kind of war story! It was gripping and entertaining! The acting which features just three characters is so powerful. You could hear a pin drop in the theatre during the entire feature and the applause at the end tells it all. I truly enjoyed every moment and hope everyone out there has the opportunity to experience this great film. Best of Luck.
SEE BELOW THE AUDIENCE E-MAILS THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED!
E-MAILS RECEIVED AFTER SEEING THE DVD
My Dearest Talbot, Richard & Bob,
Watching your extraordinary film "Still the Drums", brought me tremendous joy, emotional highs and new found heights in your work. I was very impressed with the moment to moment work, transitions and subtle nuances all of you provided. I watched the film twice and never once found myself anticipating anything even though I knew the story. I was so enraptured in the moment. My compliments to each of you.
Thank you for allowing my name to be a part of this fine production.
I also thank all of you for being true to your craft.
All of my love and respect,
Pat Randall, Author, Former instructor, Lee Strasberg Institute in Hollywood, Lifetime member of the Actor's Studio.
Hi Talbot, GREAT JOB TALBOT! The trailer looks great. I salute you my friend for the hard work you put in. Great Story! I read the interview about your making of the movie. It was a great way that you began the process. Talbot, I too come from the same place. I studied with Lee Strasberg personally for quiet a few years going back from the mid to late 60's. I respect your religious process of film making that is also my world...what I have experienced personally and made history with in my career. My congrats to you and the great picture that you have painted here. God bless you.
Frank Sivero - “The Godfather” - “Goodfellas”
"This is so great, Tal!!!!"
I watched your movie. Wow. you must be so proud. I can't imagine the dedication and effort it took. So moving...powerful. The stillness... beautiful work, my friend.
When a film has a single person's vision, so clear, and passion..it transcends budget, names etc. Kathy was in tears many times. Okay so was I.
Ray Abruzzo - Little Carmine - “The Sopranos”
John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia - “Goodfellas - “The Sopranos”
Hi Talbot, Sorry haven't been back sooner... Were down at school for month and when we kick back up please come and Q&A about the film...You really did a great job with the shots, movement, tension, and conflict, and the acting was great...So let's talk soon and let me know anything new about Still the drums...God Bless .
Ray Martino - Producer, Director
"Still The Drums" the movie sends a message that should be seen and heard all over the world, and especially in Asia with Vietnam being on top of the list. It sends the message that we all made mistakes in the war, but there were solders that stood up for what was humanely right. Vietnam is one nation and all people working together, making Vietnam one great nation. As a Veteran I would like the people of Vietnam to know. There were Americans, both men and women in Vietnam and in the USA, that stood up for what was right.
Thanks for getting back to me. Yes I really liked your movie, great work! It hard to tell it like it is but it has to be done! I've been real busy too trying to get the word out about the natural healing of PTSD.
I'm sure that I don't have to tell you about the need but unfortunately a lot of guys aren't ready yet and the VA is not yet willing to look outside the box...Please check out my website and let me know what you think. You can also order our documentary film, Operation Emotional Freedom from there.
I look forward to meeting you sometime, I think that we have common goals and may be able to help each other in ways we don't even know yet!
Miguel Gabriel Vazquez - MA Spiritual Psychology, EFT Adv., Reiki Master, CHT, ATP
PTSD Specialist, Shaman Apprentice - Holistic Counseling and Life Coaching Ctr
Powerful message, edge-of-your-seat, award-winning movie! This is a movie to watch!!! Great acting, great drama, great story line. One could view this as an anti-war movie, but it really is not - it is simply put, a movie which touches those touched by war, whether they personally have been in the war, or sent off a loved one to war. This is definitely a movie to add to your DVD collection!
By Larry Constantine “Industrial Designer” (Amazon Verified Purchase)
Still the Drums is a passionate and engaging first work from a doggedly creative writer-director-actor. This is a moving, character-driven contemporary drama with a surprising Vietnam-era back story that has contemporary relevance for a country that keeps getting stuck in wars that exact enormous hidden costs. The film tells the story of three Vietnam vets who have been quietly carrying the secret burden of the brutality of war for decades. The story is told simply, but creatively, unfolding in an engaging narrative that rarely stumbles. The acting, the cinematography, and the editing are all first-rate. This is no amateur production. Talbot Simons and his collaborators have created a genuine work of cinematic art worth watching more than once. You won't find this in theaters, so buy it. And recommend it to your friends.
--Larry Constantine (Lior Samson, author of “Basehert” and “The Dome”).
By Michael G. Lustig -NJ, USA (Amazon Verified Purchaser)
Still the drums is a story about childhood friends who grew up went to war and are now older reflecting back upon incidents from the Vietnam war. Of the original four friends, one was killed at war and the remaining three have a ritual where they remember him. He is gone but not forgotten since he had a significant impact on the lives of his friends. The plot is simple enough but different from mainstream cinema. I was a bit surprised how the plot unraveled. This film is well made and the characters are well cast.