The Watermelon - More Stuff

 

The Making of "The Watermelon"

"The Watermelon" received its World Premiere at the 2008 San Diego Film Festival, and was shortly there after acquired by Celebrity Video Distribution. It hit the streets on July 7, 2009, and was very quickly pirated online, sending its IMDB numbers through the roof. From July 14 through to August 16, "The Watermelon" went from an interest rating of 75,424 to 154 worldwide, making it one of the most sought after films in the world, sandwiched in between "Slumdog Millionare" and - incredibly - "The Godfather!" In January of 2011 "The Watermelon" was the recipient of the California Film Awards' prestigious "Diamond Award" for feature films.

Production on ''The Watermelon'' began when Lorenda Starfelt posted a call on Craig's List for screenplays which featured a limited number of characters and locations, and had prominent roles suitable for actresses Kiersten Morgan and Elyse Ashton. The ad specified that the writer sum the story up in three sentences or less. Hemmingson was the first to respond, and did so within fifteen minutes with the following email:

THE WATERMELON
by Michael Hemmingson
"A man inherits an old, oblong trailer that is painted to look like a watermelon, which attracts a bunch a weirdos, oddballs, strangers and the curious, including a woman he finds sleeping in it. The woman is on the run, having escaped from a man who was keeping her in a cage and is now on her trail. He decides to help her, and a quirky romance develops."

Starfelt read the script that night and optioned it within days. She was delighted to learn that there really was a watermelon-painted travel trailer in San Diego that belonged to a former associate of the author, which was "the originating point for the screenplay." According to Michael Hemmingson, the impetus for the script was for an old girlfriend to act in: "she was an unknown stage actress in San Diego whose biggest wish was to act in indie films. I wrote it to direct, for us both to use as a vehicle into the film industry." When that didn't work out, Hemmingson explains, "I found LightSong Films, who optioned the script and made it, with the wonderful Brad Mays at the helm."

Director Brad Mays invested as much time to rehearsing the actors as the limited production resources would allow. The film was shot over a three week period in the early summer of 2007, with pickups in August and September. Post production on took the better part of a year.

Beach scenes were shot on a private beach in Malibu, right next door to the beachfront home of Barbra Streisand, who was actually engaged in her morning vocal warm-ups as the crew was setting up for the first scene of the day. When Streisand and her husband James Brolin had occasion to speak with several of the cast members later in the day, the entire exchange was reported to have been "very pleasant," with the famed singer/actress asking if they "needed anything." Interestingly, the intimate beach scene shot that morning was fashioned by director Mays into an homage to the famous "bullocks scene" from Ken Russell's 1969 film "Women In Love," with Kiersten Morgan dancing and singing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," parodying actress Glenda Jackson's dancing to the same tune sung by co-star Jennie Linden.

Other scenes were shot in Pasadena, Beverly Hills, and North Hollywood, although the film is supposed to take place in an unnamed beach community in southern California, a cross between Encinitas and Ocean Beach in San Diego. Composer Peter Girard was engaged to write the original score at a point about six months into post production.

For more information, please follow this link to THE WATERMELON on WIKIPEDIA

To purchase a DVD of "The Watermelon, please follow this link to "THE WATERMELON at TURNER MOVIE CLASSICS


 

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