To accomplish this, the Cinemateque aims to bring directors, screenwriters and producers to town for residencies, to present their master works and to host community talk-back sessions along with master classes.
“The whole thing threads its way to developing and identifying one screenplay we’ll shepherd to completion to getting a film made — the key piece missing in the independent film art production world,” Rosenberg says.
The end result?
“A Miami-based, Miami film feature that could get screened at Sundance, something no indie film [from Miami] has achieved.”
Giving a Voice to More Miami Stories
Project: Lip Service: True Stories from all Miami Communities
Recipient: Lip Service
Lip Service’s premise is “true stories, out loud.”
If the idea of hearing eight people who stand solo on stage and read their personal stories for eight minutes apiece doesn’t sound as exciting as a staging of The Lion King, reconsider. Lip Service, the six-year-old reading series co-created by Andrea Askowitz and Esther Martinez-Kenniff, packs theaters for every quarterly production. No stars. No staging. No musicians. Just a guy or gal with a story to share.
Who needs more?
“The stories are profoundly moving, hysterically funny, beautifully crafted. I come to every one. Soon as I get the email to a show I buy a ticket because they sell out every time. They are local talent and it’s just wonderful,” says Nan Imbesi, a South Miami fitness instructor who came to Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater for Saturday’s holiday-themed edition, Lip Service’s 25th show.
Lip Service welcomes the submission of personal stories (via www.lipservicestories.com) and Askowitz and Martinez-Kenniff will select the best and work with writers on how to deliver an effective presentation. “It’s honest, revealing, funny, sad, it’s everything,” Askowitz says. “It’s like watching someone read their diary and all the emotions are covered because every story is different.”
Lip Service came to Miami six years ago when L.A. transplant Askowitz approached a “bearded man” at Books & Books and asked him where someone could go to tell or hear true stories. Mitchell Kaplan, founder of Books & Books, said, “Do it here,” and a South Florida audience favorite was born.
Askowitz’s first crowd was built around her mom’s friends.
“Sixty-five-year-old Jewish women can handle any kind of smut and perversion our loyal supporters dish out,” Askowitz teases.
At Saturday’s show on the main stage smut or any derivation of such was noticeably absent — storyteller Darin Spurlock, a Miami dietician, never quite managed to make a hot love connection with the beautiful Latina he spotted on the last Metrorail train of the night. But most of the stories ached with poignancy, topped with a welcome dash of humor.
Patsy Asuncion, born poor in Chicago, told how a Christmas miracle helped her learn the power of believing; Martinez-Kenniff, weeks away from delivering her first child, came to terms with having a daughter when her own example of childhood was less than ideal; Sarah Klein told a hilarious tale in deadpan of her father’s myriad obsessions, from hats to cats to Hanukkah to Asian cooking.