Berlin Press Release 1998

Contact: Ralph Morang
(603) 431-2277
Lars Trodson
(603) 433-8547

"Family Trees" goes to Berlin Film Festival

The locally-produced independent feature film "Family Trees" is headed to its second important market screening. Next month, it will be shown in the Independents Showcase program at the 48th Berlin Film Festival and Market in Germany.

The letter of acceptance from International Media Resources said in part, "Many new films were screened for possible inclusion in the Independents Showcase program at the Berlin Film Festival and Market. ('Family Trees') was one of the stand-outs...your film does have international market potential. In Berlin, the goals are to expose the film to international distributors, programmers and film festival representatives." "Family Trees" Producer Lars Trodson of Portsmouth submitted the film to International Media Resources in New York in December. The film was shown as a work-in-progress last September at the Independent Feature Film Market in New York. The film's director, Ralph Morang, of Rye, said, "We took a 20-minute preview of our locally-produced film to New York and generated at lot of national interest in it. We now have this incredible opportunity to create some international support." "The response to our film has been almost universally favorable," said Trodson. "This is a testament to the superb artistry of all who participated in the making of 'Family Trees'." The film's cinematographer, Ron Wyman of Atlantic Media in Portsmouth, is completing an edit of the film especially for the festival. Shooting of "Family Trees" took place on weekends from October, 1996, to March, 1997, in the Seacoast with local actors and a local crew. The film was shot in the Super 16 film format, a format designed for blow-up for 35mm theater screenings.

Trodson also wrote "Family Trees." It is the story of Wil and Martha; it begins a week before their wedding, and, in the midst of wedding plans and family parties, Wil and Martha suffer well-intentioned advice from family and friends on being married - -and on not being married. A crisis is created when Martha learns something about Wil; they hole up in an isolated cabin in the Maine woods and confront their hidden feelings. "After talking with the people at International Media Resources, we feel this film, which is totally character-driven, will have little trouble being accepted by European audiences. Our theme and emotions are universal," adds Trodson. Martha is played by Lisa Stathoplos of York, Maine. She has worked professionally on stage, in film and video for 20 years. In 1985, Lisa co-founded the acclaimed Mad Horse Theatre in Portland, Maine. She has appeared in the television show America's Most Wanted and in the film version of Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" (1989).

Gregg Trzaskowski of Wells, Maine, is Wil. He has worked in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire on stage and in front of the camera. Gregg has appeared in numerous commercials and industrial films, including national and regional TV spots. He is a charter member of the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth. Other cast members include Jay Smith, Ann Bliss, Bruce Allen, Barbara Mather, Don Marston, Don Kerr, Renee St. Jean, Barbara Randall and Eileen Foley. Writer/producer Lars Trodson most recently was a reporter with the Portsmouth Herald and now is the manager of the Press Room in Portsmouth. He is working on his second film script. He wrote "Family Trees" in just three weeks after leaving his newspaper job. Director Ralph Morang has been a photojournalist and commercial photographer for 25 years; he also formerly worked for the Portsmouth Herald. A couple of summers at the Maine Film & Video Workshops fueled his interest in films; "Family Trees" is his first feature film project.

"Family Trees" is cinematographer Ron Wyman's third independent feature film. He is owner and operator of Atlantic Media Services in Portsmouth, an independent production company; Ron also shoots for CNN. He is the winner of three Associated Press Awards and two Telly Awards. Two of Ron's recent productions are "A Return to Vietnam," about former POW Admiral James Stockdale's trip to Southeast Asia, and "The Rhythm of Healing," a work in progress studying the use of drumming in African cultures. He lives in Portsmouth. Other crew members include Eric Gleske (sound), Brent Beavers (assistant camera), Victoria Brown (script and continuity) and Susan Morse (sound boom).

The Berlin International Film Festival takes place on February 11-22. It was founded in 1951 as an initiative of the three Western Allies after World War II. Berlin became a "showcase" for the free world, and the Film Festival has become an important part of cultural life in Berlin and an important venue for launching international cinema.

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