work-in-progress screening

October 24 * Fri * 1:30pm
October 25 * Sat * 2:30pm
United Artists Theater
East Hampton, New York

Burning Annie

Click for a surprise

Exclusive multimedia
from the HIFF

  • Producer Randy Mack, live on WVVH-TV
    * Quicktime (18 MB) (NEW!)

  • Actor Gary Lundy, live on WEHM-FM, Long Island, NY.   [5.5 MB, mp3]

  • Introductions at the Saturday Q & A...
    * AVI file (1.1 MB)
    * Quicktime (3.3 MB)

 Burning Annie enjoyed a pseudo-East Coast "test" premiere on October 24 and 25, 2003, at the 11th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF). It was the first public showing of the film, as the previous screenings were either private parties or cast-n-crew only (yes, even the festivals). And we sold out all our screenings well in advance!

How to make a
"Burning Annie"

The Annie:

cranberry juice
a fireball lollipop
(see photo)

 The Burning Annie:

1) make a B+B
(brandy + benedictine)
2) set on fire
(photo coming soon)

 The HIFF proved to be a watershed experience. Everybody worked their butts off and made Burning Annie the single most sought-after film in the festival. Our flyers, posters, signs, matchbooks, hats, shirts, and postcards were ubiquitous, making us the most visible and most talked-about film of the fest. Amazingly, thanks to much hard work and resourceful-ness, all our promotions cost less than $500, although most were convinced we spent thousands. (A special shout-out goes to Dave Bernstein and his family, who helped make it all possible. MVF of the festival! And also to Chad, Eric, Calvin, & Tom, the Wormtown Street Team who did such an amazing job.)

 It was the first time the film was shown before members of the independent film community, too, and we are relieved to report that, despite the worst technical exhibition in the film's history, the reception was incredible, surpassing anything we've ever experienced. All the reviews have been great (as our Reviews page attests), and the buzz on the street was fabulous as well. Everybody in our party was accosted on a daily basis about their Burning Annie hat, shirt, bag, or whatever piece of BA merch they were wearing. We were in demand, baby! Woo-hoo!

Zack "Max" Ordynans,
Tom "Tommy" Roy,
and Dave "Sam" Bernstein

support indie film
 It was also a time of reunions. It was the first chance since principal photography (in February 2002) for the writer, director, producer, and star to be in the same place at the same time. It was also a reunion on a personal level, too, as four of the five "203 boys" (the college suitemates who inspired the screenplay-- you know them as Max, Sam, Charles, Tommy, and Scott ;-) flew in from as many states to celebrate. And because the film's writers and producers all grew up in the northeast, many families were on hand to celebrate. A good time was had by all!


[ Click here to read the East Hampton Independent's review! ]


The Journal of
Jim Barrett

Saturday, October 25, 2003

My wife Linda and I hit the road at about 9:45am and set sail on the New Jersey Turnpike for midtown Manhattan and the 11am Jitney to the Hamptons.

The line for Burning Annie
started forming an hour early.
 The Jitney was like a living room on wheels: free newspapers, coffee, juice, croissants and Danish. A very pleasant 2.5 hour ride out to East Hampton, famous for multi-million dollar homes, glittering beaches, and now the east coast premier of Randy Mack’s new film “Burning Annie” at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

 The Jitney dropped us off right by the festival theatres at 1:30pm, and we called Randy on his cell phone and arranged to meet in front of the theatre.

 We found a clever little bistro down the street called “29” where we stopped in for glasses of Merlot and some excellent spring rolls. Then it was off to the show.

Gary Lundy, Randy Mack, and
Zack Ordynans by the theater
 The film was a fascinating “slice of life” story about a neurotic college student who is incapable of having meaningful relationships with women because, according to his own self-diagnosis, he’s seen Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” too many times. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes tender and poignant, the movie was one of the most original and thought-provoking pieces I’ve seen in quite a long time. Linda and I both enjoyed it thoroughly as did the rest of the sold-out theatre.

 After the screening, there was a very interesting Q&A as producer Randy Mack, screenwriter Zack Ordynans, director Van Flesher, and actor Gary Lundy, the star of the film, took center stage and fielded questions from the audience. It was obvious during the Q&A that the movie had really struck a chord with the audience as there were several rounds of applause. One viewer wanted to know who wrote the words and music for the film’s scintillating soundtrack. No one was more surprised than I to learn that Mr. Mack is not only a producer, he’s a very talented songwriter as well.

The huge crowd for
Burning Annie
 The Q&A ended around 5 and we all headed over to “The Laundry,” an excellent East Hampton restaurant with an outdoor deck that was reserved for the “Annie” post-screening party. Here, I got to have a drink with writer Zack Ordynans himself and get a first-hand account about where the idea for the story germinated (it was more than somewhat autobiographical as Zack drew on his own college experiences for much of the story), and the story’s incredible five-year odyssey from the first draft in 1998 to the film festival circuit in 2003.

 Linda and I also got to meet Tony Machin and Rock Savage, two long-time American Zoetrope alums. Tony, a huge baseball fan, made the trip all the way from Chicago for the festival, and we all hoped the wonderful movie we had just seen had helped him put the recent debacle suffered by his beloved Cubs behind him.

Zack Ordynans
and Randy Mack
 We hobnobbed with Randy for a while and got some fascinating insights into the inner workings of producing a feature, as well as much valuable information about the inside machinations of the Hollywood machine.

 We had to leave on the 7pm Jitney back to Manhattan. Too bad. We could have stayed and chatted all night with this interesting, talented group of filmmakers.

 Randy and his team deserve all the credit they will surely receive for making this original, intelligent film. Lord knows our dumbed-down cineplexes could use “Burning Annie,” and many more films like it.

 -- Jim Barrett

The Journal of
Tony Machin

I first met Randy Mack (producer & co-writer) through a film website. I made a post stating that I would design anyone's movie poster. Randy responded and so began the creation of what came to be know as the 'autumnal' poster design (check it out). That was in July. Nearly 100 emails and four months later, the project was completed, although we had never met. I then I decided to make the trip to the Hamptons to see the film that my poster was promoting.

Designer Tony Machin
reacts to seeing his poster
blown up to poster-size
 On Saturday, October 25, I travelled to the Hamptons via the Long Island Railroad. It provided a smooth and quiet Amtrak-like train ride out to East Hampton. This allowed me to burn a CD that Randy needed and get some quality writing time. Did I mention just how great laptop computers are? I arriving in East Hampton somewhere after 10:30am. It was Day 4 of the festival, and I walked around getting a feel for the film festival frenzy that had invaded this usually quiet and calm little Long Island community.

 I called Randy to let him know that I had arrived and he gave me directions to the coffee house where many of the BA supporters where having breakfast. There I met Cathy and Tom who were friends of Randy's and Zack's while in college.

Randy Mack with Tony
Machin's BA poster.
 Soon, I finally got to meet Randy and Zack. They were pleasant and down to earth people and the excitement of the 2:30 showing was easily seen when you talked with them. I also met Van Flesher (director) and his wife Elizabeth, as well as Dave, the gent who printed the movie poster I had created. I was very surpirsed at how many people were impressed with the design. This was when I learned of the 'gi-normous' version of the poster sitting outside the entrance to the theatre. At this point I was totally amped up to see the poster, and to see the film that inspired it.

 Around 2 pm, we all entered the theatre, allowing me to meet more of the "family" of filmmakers and to see the poster large and in charge.

Burning Annie totally impressed me. The characters were as if they were lifted right out of everyday life. The dialogue was top notch and made me feel as though I was back in college. I was able to relate to many of the characters, which is a testament to the quality of writing. Where many Hollywood productions fail, Burning Annie succeed effortlessly.

 After a brief question-and-answer session in the sold-out theatre, we all retreated to a restaurent called The Laundry for post-showing food and drinks.

Tony Machin poses
at the BA after-party
held at The Laundry
 Here, I met Jim Barrett and his wife Linda, along with the musically-inclined Rock Savage; both of whom I had originally met through the very same website that I had met Randy. It was good to finally meet them and put a face with the names. Jim and I discussed my Cubs' heartbreaking season while Rock and talked about his days on tour with his band.

 Other individuals made my trip even more enjoyable. I got to meet Alison Pedraza, a fashion designer in NY and her sister Isabelle, who is a doctor in Los Angeles, as well as a large number of friends of Randy and Zack.

 After meeting all these dynamic and creative individuals, I really felt torn and didn't want to leave. Of course, I also wanted to make sure that I didn't miss my flight back to Chicago! So I had to rush off to make my 8 pm train back to the city.

 On the 3-hour train ride, I couldn't help but feel good about this project and the artists and technicians who helped assemble Burning Annie. To see so many people excited about the film restored my faith in the movie industry.

 -- Tony Machin


Assorted Links

*   the HIFF Burning Annie page

IndieWire officially announces HIFF selections

Elvis Mitchell's report on the 2003 HIFF


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