Archive for October, 2011

NORMAN: The reviews are in!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dan and Emily

“Dan Byrd hits the right notes as a troubled teen.”- LA Times

“A worthy calling card for its director and its leading man”- New York Times

“Consistently engaging and surprising”-Huffington Post

“A spirited tale about a troubled teen”-Seattle Times

“A well-observed, tender, and moving ode to adolescence and loss”-indieWIRE


Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Review: ‘Norman’ A Well-Observed, Tender & Moving Ode

To Adolescence & Loss

Being a teenager is hard enough, but for Norman (Dan Byrd), the minefield of emotions he is forced to navigate is almost absurd in its proportion. Certainly not popular, but not a total exile either, Norman seems to exist is own bubble at high school, one that keeps his pervading depression and suicidal thoughts as a close companion. But if this weren’t enough, Norman, still reeling from the tragic death of his mother in a car accident, is also bearing witness to his father (Richard Jenkins) wasting away in the final stage of stomach cancer, with this painful experience compounded by the worry that the bills around the house are starting to pile up. But with all of this comes a shining ray of light in Emily (Emily VanCamp), a classmate who shares Norman’s oddball sense of humor (and is the rare girl who loves Monty Python) but more importantly, shows a genuine interest in the outsider.

On paper, this sounds like a recipe for an indie disaster, an over spiced stew of emotional button pushing and manipulative plot elements, but it’s the understated script by Talton Wingate and the confident direction of Jonathan Segal that turns “Norman” into something much, much more. With relationships rooted in disarmingly real characters—who actually talk and act like teenagers, whose feelings are often confounded by hormones, and by situations years beyond their maturity level—combined with a sincere sympathy that is never used to dilute the hard realities Norman must face, the film is a well observed, tender and moving ode to adolescence and loss.

When we first meet Norman, he’s in English class, where he’s sharing a pleasant exchange of witty barbs with his teacher Mr. Angelo (Adam Goldberg). In defining “irony” for the class, Norman relates a recent incident at school where a motivational speaker came to talk to the students, but his own demeanor didn’t match the message. Mr. Angelo is impressed and presses Norman on his thoughts on the speaker’s optimistic outlook on life, to which he disagrees, stating, “Life isn’t rainy and then sunny, it’s happy, then it’s sad. It’s just nature, birth to death.” This is all in barely the first five minutes of the movie but it quickly establishes not only Norman as a whipsmart eighteen-year-old but also one suffering under some tremendous, internal pain. Yet, with his mother dead and his father dying, Norman takes great pains to avoid sympathy. His best friend James (Billy Lush) is in the dark about his father’s cancer, which leads to the trickiest moment of the entire film, and the entire conceit of the whole premise. After a heated argument with James, who accuses him of constantly flaking out of his commitments, and generally moping around the school under a dark cloud, an exasperated Norman tells him that he has cancer and three months to live.

Watching “Norman,” we couldn’t help but be reminded of another movie with this year with a teenage character dealing with someone close to them battling cancer—namely, Gus Van Sant‘s “Restless.” Where that film hid and arguably belittled its subject with a twee soundtrack and hipster thrift store fashions (or, in the case of “50/50” under some mediocre faux Judd Apatow-esque dramedy), Jonathan Segal’s film confronts it head on. The pain is real in “Norman,” but so too is the heart. Buoyed by an eclectic, but not distracting, score from Andrew Bird, grounded by an excellently nuanced turn by Dan Byrd who is in pretty much every scene of the film (Hollywood, pay attention to this guy), “Norman” acknowledges the deep, irrevocable wounds of death, but with honesty, understanding and a sly sense of humor, finds the path to hope. [B+]


Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Live Action Dog Movie to Go into Production Beginning of 2012

Universal City, CA – (October 13, 2011) Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCBB: CMGR) (”Camelot”) announced today that Camelot Distribution Group (“CDG”) has inked a deal with Fromage Pictures for worldwide rights on “WIENER DOG NATIONALS”, a family friendly live action film about a family uniting when their newly adopted dachshund races for the championship title.

Joe Lorenzo under his Society Entertainment banner will Co-Produce the film with Fromage Pictures and has attached Director Ray Griggs (Wind in the Willows, I Want Your Money, Super Capers).

“We are quite excited to be working with both Fromage and Society,” commented Jessica Kelly, Co-President of CDG. “The script is very cute, and Joe Lorenzo/Society has a proven track record of great productions. We hope to make this a continuous working relationship.”

Kevan Peterson of Fromage Pictures wrote the script, which is based on actual dachshund races sponsored by Wienerschnitzel.

“It’s taken us three years to get to this point, and we’re so excited to finally be out of the starting gate, racing towards the finish line,” stated Peterson.  “Making a movie is not easy, but Society and Camelot have made this experience the next best thing, enjoyable.”

‘WDN’ follows the story of the Jack family. After the loss of his wife, Phil Jack agrees to the adoption of “Shelly,” a runt of a dachshund, who turns out to possess a unique talent for racing. The Jack children decide to enter her in the Wiener Dog National Race, which turns into bigger adventure then they ever imagined.

Pre-production is scheduled for next month with production starting in the beginning of 2012.


Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Camelot Title, Starring Richard Jenkins, to be Released Theatrically by AMC Independent

Universal City, CA – (October 11, 2011) Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCBB: CMGR) (“Camelot”) and Camelot Distribution Group (”CDG”) announced today that NORMAN, directed and produced by Jonathan Segal, will be released theatrically through AMC Independent on October 21 in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and Spokane before expanding nationwide.  The film stars Dan Byrd (“Cougar Town”, Easy A, “Heroes”), Emily VanCamp (“Revenge”, “Brothers and Sisters”), Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Step Brothers) and Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan, A Beautiful Mind) and has received numerous awards on the festival circuit, including the Silver Hugo New Directors Competition at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“’NORMAN’ takes its audience through a broad spectrum of emotions yet is ultimately uplifting and optimistic and speaks to all ages, so we’re excited for the general public to finally have access to it,” stated Segal.  “The film, like 50/50 and “The Big C”, touches on subject matter that unfortunately and sadly plays a role in so many people’s lives.  I also hope the film will be used to help amplify the conversation about the hidden issue of teen depression and suicide.”

The film’s soundtrack, featuring original score by Andrew Bird, Wolf Parade, Chad VanGaalen, and The Blow with Richard Swift, is due out October 11 on Mom + Pop Records.

NORMAN tells the story of Norman Long (Byrd), a self-aware and darkly funny teen who is trying to handle his daily high school exercise. An unexpected set of life-changing circumstances turns his world upside down and then ultimately right side up as he meets the magnetic Emily (VanCamp).

CDG holds the right internationally and screened the film in Cannes this past May.