Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2011 YoungCuts Film Festival Selection: Dead Grass, Dry Roots

2011 YoungCuts Film Festival Selection
Dead Grass, Dry Roots

The YoungCuts Film Festival is pleased to announce that it has selected Gabe Hohreiter's short film Dead Grass, Dry Roots as one of our Top 100 International Short Films for 2011. The film is also shortlisted for consideration as Best USA Film.

Dead Grass, Dry Roots Poster


The Official Final Deadline of the YoungCuts Film Festival was June 15th. While we will only announce our full selection of our Top 100 around July 15th and while there is still an opportunity for films that we haven't received yet to trickle in after the deadline, we thought that we would begin announcing some of the films that we know will be included in our Top 100.

These won't be announced in any kind of order and they should not be interpreted as any kind of ranking, just that we have all the material for this particular film and that we do consider it one of the Top 100 short films by filmmakers 25 and under that we have seen (and will see) out of more than a thousand films that we have screened from more than 30 countries.


Two Riders Bearing Strange Fruit

Dead Grass, Dry Roots
Gabe Hohreiter

Produced by John Negropontes 
Directed by Gabe Hohreiter
Written by Anayat Fahkraie 

According to the official synopsis of this film, "a peaceful cattle rancher must overcome his cowardice".

No offense intended to the filmmakers, but that's crazy talk.

James Hicock is no coward. He is the furthest thing from a coward. He is a man of deep moral principles caught in a trap with no way out that doesn't involve surrendering a part of his soul in the process.

You know a sign of a great film? When you start arguing with the people that created it because you believe that understand their film better than they do. Great films (like this one) inspire great passion.


A Man Dirty to His Sole

Runtime: 24 min
Completion: November 2010
Country of Origin: USA (California)
Tagline: He lost a son once. He won't lose another.
Synopsis: A peaceful cattle rancher must overcome his cowardice in order to save the life of a young man condemned to hang.


In the Dark, A Man Must Choose Carefully

Filmmaker Statement:A measured western narrative, Dead Grass Dry Roots examines the classic dichotomy between man’s law and natural justice, and the position of modern values within the context of the violent mythology of the west.  Manipulating the conventions established within the history of the genre, the film explores the effect of giving over to baser instincts through James’s tragic pathos.  Amid galloping horses, gunfire and murder, Dead Grass Dry Roots takes the audience into the heart of a man’s despair.


Director Gabe Hohreiter directs Ted Larkin (Coe)

Director (Gabe Hohreiter) Bio: As a University of Florida TV Production undergraduate, Gabe answered the calling to make movies by directing spec commercials for Chipotle Mexican Grill, documentaries for the UF Colleges of Engineering and Architecture, as well as his own no-budget short films.  Gabe sharpened his filmmaking and development skills during his first year as an AFI directing fellow, and eagerly accepted the opportunity to direct his thesis film, and addition to the western genre, Dead Grass, Dry Roots.  Gabe is currently in development on 2 feature films, and hosts Fox Movie Channel’s Life After Film School.

Filmmaker Age: 25


Anayat Fahkraie

Screenwriter (Anayat Fahkraie) Bio: Anayat, a Utah native, holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah in Screenwriting and Film Production. During his undergraduate he served as cartoonist and film columnist for the Daily Chronicle, parlaying that skill to become a contributor for National Lampoon’s Online Magazine only a short year later. As a Screenwriting Fellow in the American Film Institute Conservatory, Anayat received the Jack Oakie Memorial Award for comedy writing. Having completed three short films at AFI he has also penned feature material and an original TV pilot.


John Negropontes

Producer (John Negropontes) Bio: John was born and raised in Olds, Alberta, a small town on the prairies of western Canada. Eventually, John moved to the big city to seek his fortunes and attend the University of Alberta, earning a BA in Economics with a minor in Film Studies. An avid filmmaker from an early age, John co-founded the U of A Society for Creative Filmmaking, as well as the Alberta Student Film Festival in 2006. To date, John has produced numerous short films and a handful of features, and is currently actively developing a variety of projects.

John presented his films Whiskey Jack and Super 8 during the 2005 YoungCuts Film Festival.  


Cinematographer Yueni Zander frames a shot.

Cinematographer (Yueni Zander) Bio: Yueni, a native of Berlin, Germany, has been working as a Local 600 camera assistant in New York City and Los Angeles for the past 6 years.  Her credits include feature films [Burn After Reading, I am Legend], television shows [Chappelle’s Show, Life] and commercials.  As a cinematographer and camera operator she flourished during her first year as a fellow, shooting several AFI shorts. Outside of AFI she is currently working on a feature documentary.

She is being honoured with an Emerging Cinematographer Award for her work on Dead Grass, Dry Roots.


Marlena Feehery

Production Designer (Marlena Feehery) Bio: Mars earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Production from Tulane University in New Orleans with a concentration in costume design. During undergraduate studies, she designed and directed her own short films at both the American University of Paris and New York Film Academy, as well as assisting on local features in New Orleans. During her first year at AFI, Mars has designed three short films, assisted on six others, and served as assistant art director and art director on two features. She is originally from Columbus, Texas. 


Simon Carmody

Film Editor (Simon Carmody) Bio: Born in Sydney, Australia, Simon Carmody spent his early career as an advertising photographer before moving to New Orleans; where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of New Orleans, Department of Film, Theater and Communication Arts. Recruited by renowned New Orleans filmmakers, Glen Pitre and Michelle Benoit, Simon edited several major projects, including the award winning, post-Katrina feature length documentary, AMERICAN CREOLE. Wanting to fully explore his potential as a storyteller, Simon entered the American Film Institute in the Fall of 2008.


Hans Howes (James) entertains the crew with stories.

Cast Bios

Hans Howes

Hans Howe: On Feb. 18, 1943, the Mother Ship deposited its prize pod in Syracuse, NY. This choice capsule grew to be an all-around athlete, an aero space illustrator, singer and an actor. In acting for over 30 years, Hans has been afforded the opportunity to co-star with Chris Cooper, Robert Duvall and Jeff Bridges. His proudest achievement?  The part of Mr. Bandy, appearing with Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece, There Will Be Blood.  
But now he is honored to have been given the opportunity to work on Dead Grass, Dry Roots with a new breed of topnotch film makers who are destined to astound the world.

Chris Collard

Chris Collard began acting in public theater while growing up in New England, as well as drawing and playing the trumpet. While attending the Minneapolis College of Art And Design as a Fine Arts Painting major, he taught himself guitar and of course continued acting, but this time in films of his contemporary students. After moving to New York City to further develop his painting technique, Chris began performing his original songs under the name Wicker Brainpan as he took New York's independent film world by storm, both in the acting and production end of things. He now resides in Los Angeles where he continues to further his craft. 

It's been a long time dream of his to be in a western.


Madonna Cacciatore

Madonna Cacciatore has numerous theatre & musical theatre credits in LA, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas and DC. She was a member of Washington Shakespeare Company’s Bard on Wheels and Imagination Stage in DC. LA theatre credits include The Pirates of Penzance, Why We Have a Body, On the Open Road and a gender-bent version of Julius Caesar at The Knightsbridge Theatre.  She has also an Ovation nomination for her sound design of Elizabeth Rex at the NoHo Arts Center.
She came to LA to pursue her film and TV career in 2002.  Her credits include: The Wedding Bells (David E. Kelley), The Fugitive, Passions, Trailer Park of Terror, Distraction, Shallow Ground.  
She is incredibly grateful to the AFI Conservatory and the cast and crew of Dead Grass, Dry Roots; a profound, top-notch and memorable shoot.  

Ted Larkin

Ted Larkin: After receiving his education from Oklahoma State University, Ted Larkin toured in the music industry. During his time on tour, he began performing stunts and was asked to plunge into an acting role. Specifically, he was hired to jump 100 feet off a bridge for a Garth Brooks music video. On the day of the shoot, his role had evolved from making the jump to the dramatic lead in the video. This ex-college wrestler exhibited a surprisingly wide range of emotion. 

Ted moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to fully pursue acting, and has worked on major films like The Notebook, Down with Love, The Last Song and the indie hit All the Real Girls. Consequently, he has been given the lead role in a number of independent films. He has appeared on popular soaps such as The Young and the Restless and General Hospital

For someone who entered the world of acting fashionably late in comparison to most, he has proved through his experience and brilliance on-screen that he has much to offer. He has been personally approached by up-and-coming director Nick Weis to work on various different projects, and is grateful to be at a point in his career where he is continually on set.  

His current lead role in the western indie Dead Grass, Dry Roots should prove to be an ideal marriage between action and acting.


Sometimes the Ghosts of What Was Overwhelms What Is

The 2011 YoungCuts Film Festival will begin on Thursday, September 29th. Screenings will be at the Guzzo Spheretech beginning on Friday, September 30th. Stay tuned for details on how to enjoy the amazing films that we will be presenting including Dead Grass, Dry Roots!

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