Sixth Anniversary of The Proverb

In 2004 Todd Albertson, a bunch of friends and I had the crazy notion that we could shoot a short in film in the daylight hours of one winter day.

Two years later we finally found out that some people actually liked it:
O Calcutta! (posted Oct. 2006)

Two days ago fifteen news services from the The Seattle Times to The Hollywood Reporter featured articles on The Proverb, a ten-mnute film that I wrote for Todd Albertson, the producer and director. We pulled in all favors to get our friends and their friends to pool their talents to give us a free day of shooting. After a week of editing and post production we entered The Proverb in a local film festival in 2004, placed in the top category (which really meant that there were twenty-plus entries topping ours), sold less than a dozen DVDs, and watched our work languish in obscurity until this year and a film festival on the East coast. There it rolled over and died.

The judges couldn't make up their minds whether it was the acting, writing or directing that made The Proverb a stinker. They said that they didn't know whether it was meant to be a comedy or a drama. Perhaps that had something to do with the ability to read. The Proverb purports on its disk cover and in all of its promotional material to offer chuckles and thigh-slappers. But then, this supposed humor is aimed at religion and journalism in contemporary America, which are serious subjects per se, and maybe that's where the confusion lay.

Then came howling from an Indian.

It was a glowing review that I thought Todd had made up. I offered to re-write it with some genuine-sounding Tontoisms: "Me like-um heap much. Kimosabe like-um too." But Todd said, "No! This is an Indian from India. His praise is genuine."

We suspect but don't know that the reviewer then entered the film in a festival in Calcutta. (Apparently Calcutta is spelled with a "K" these days, but Beijing to me is always going to be Peking, and I don't care what whose continent we're talking about.) I never heard of the festival, but it seems as if The Prover hit like a Jerry Lewis movie in France. I now quote from:

Hollywood Reporter
Kolkata International Spirituality Film Fest

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In garnering Grand Prize honors at India's annual Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) International Spirituality Film Festival (KISFF) on Oct. 7, 2006, short film The Proverb had to break a few barriers: In the festival's three-year history, no other English-language films, short films, Western-made or Christian-themed films had won the coveted award.

The festival, held October 5-7, 2006 in Kolkata, had over 800 participants this year--an impressive 21% increase over last year's entries. Prior to being named Grand Prize winner at KISFF, The Proverb was a finalist in the 2004 168 Hour Film Project in Los Angeles.

"The Proverb has, in the past, been more popular overseas than in America," stated director Todd Albertson. "I attribute this to a trifecta--it was short, used wry humor, and would only be funny if the audience had strong knowledge of geopolitics, history, and religion."

The Proverb, a ten-minute mockumentary that takes on contemporary journalism and religiosity, easily draws in the audience with its spot-on send-ups of media figures that take themselves too seriously and the oh-so-pious folks for whom the appearance of being spiritual displaces true faith. Completed in 2004, the experimental piece was produced and directed by Todd Albertson and written by Jeff Andrus, the late Pope John Paul II's screenwriter. The Proverb was shot in just one week and stars Tony Award winner Scott Waara (The Happy Fella), Nancy Stafford (Matlock), Lauren E. Roman (All My Children), Christopher Prizzi (Law & Order), and newcomer Anna Michelle Wang.

"On behalf of all those involved in The Proverb, I'd like to thank the organizers, judges and participants of KISFF for recognizing The Proverb with their Grand Prize award," Albertson said. "I'd also like to thank whoever went to the huge effort of subtitling into Bengali and Hindi as well as submitting our film to the committee."

To learn more about The Proverb visit

So now we have our fifteen minutes of fame. Where Mother Terresa started no less. Todd actually used the word "trifecta." And what was that about only educated and sophisticated foreigners?! I could have made him sound more proletarian, but no, ignore the writer, overshadow him with the Pope and make a statement that isn't accurate. That's the way it is in show biz. The director says, "Action," and, "Cut," while the cameraman is doing the real work and I'm shoveling dog crap off the lawn and handing up props out of frame. That's what really happened. Hey, Todd, why didn't you thank "all the little people behind the scenes?"