Likely to open on more than 4,100 screens when it reaches theaters on Nov. 22, 2013, "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is certain to be among the most anticipated movies of modern times.
In the meantime, New York actress Lynn Cohen, cast as an 80-year-old former Hunger Games victor named "Mags" in "Catching Fire," can be seen in a much more modest release.
Made almost entirely by Memphians and shot over 19 days last year on location in Shelby County and Stanton, Tenn., "The Romance of Loneliness" has its local premiere Wednesday at the Malco Paradiso before beginning a weeklong run on a single screen at the Studio on the Square.
"For independent film-lovers this is as independent as it gets," said Matteo Servente, 37, co-director of "The Romance of Loneliness" with Sarah Ledbetter, who wrote the script.
The movie stars singer-actress Amy LaVere as Amanda, a woman "addicted to emotional discomfort" whose chronic restlessness exasperates her loving family. Cohen is her comically feisty grandmother, Mina.
"The story of this woman and her ... granddaughters, it seemed to really explore what a woman is, in all ages," said Cohen, explaining why she was impressed enough with Ledbetter's script to come to Memphis and work with debuting feature filmmakers. (Cohen also has worked on films by Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen and Louis Malle)
"The Romance of Loneliness" is the third film from Memphis-based Paper Moon Films, specialists in micro-budgeted features — those costing under $200,000. "Romance" was financed largely by small private donations, including some raised via such online "crowdsourcing" entities as IndieGoGo.com and Fractured Atlas, a New York-based arts support organization.
Said Paper Moon co-founder Ryan Watt: "One of the things that attracted us to ('Romance') was the Southern story by Sarah with all these interesting female characters ..."
The movie takes place over a single day, as the ambivalent Amanda ditches her boyfriend (Kentucker Audley), picks up her grandmother and travels to a farmhouse for the same-sex wedding of her cousin.
A few out-of-town actors were hired for the film, including Cohen (perhaps best-known as Miranda's nanny, Magda, on "Sex and the City'), Anna Margaret Hollyman and Rebekah Brandes. But "the part we're really proud of is that it's almost all Memphis- and Tennessee-made," said Servente, a native of Turn, Italy, who moved to Memphis several years ago. This extends to the music: The film features live performances and soundtrack recordings by Deering & Down (who will perform before the Wednesday night premiere) and Star & Micey.
‘The Romance of Loneliness’
The film premieres Wednesday at the Malco Paradiso, 584 S. Mendenhall, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a live performance by roots-rock duo Deering & Down, followed by the movie, then a Q&A with the filmmakers. Admission: $15, or $14 in advance.
The movie will be shown again at 9:15 p.m., followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Admission: $10.
For more information or advance tickets, visit RomanceofLoneliness.com.
‘The Romance of Loneliness’ begins a regular weeklong run Friday at the Malco Studio on the Square.