Monday, May 5, 2008

Reverend Rossi Goes Hollywood

You'll find a link to my Channel 4 Action News report here.

It's about the DVD directed by and starring Reverend Richard Rossi, whose jury deadlocked and did not convict him of attempting to murder his wife in Butler County back in 1994. Rossi later entered a "no contest" plea to a count of aggravated assault in the case, and served a few months in jail.

You can see the trailer for his movie here...

...and his YouTube reel of acting highlights here.

Credit to Steve Levin of the PG for doing the story about Rossi in Sunday's paper; I had spotted the DVD on the shelf at BlockBuster, but not realized it was made by Rossi.

The line in the PG story that stuck in my mind was something also mentioned on the DVD box. The PG reported:

"...It was voted one of the top guerrilla films of all time ..."

It made me want to do some googling to learn more. With the exception of this news release, the only references you'll find on the internet to this organization are in blurbs praising Rossi's movie:

Auteur independent filmmaker Richard Rossi won the top spot on the International Guerrilla Film Association's list of 100 Greatest guerrilla films for his low budget movie "Aimee Semple McPherson," a biopic about a fabled female evangelist in the Roaring Twenties. The results were announced yesterday at the annual IGFA party in New York.

The top five runnerups in order were "Eraserhead," a 1978 David Lynch film, "Night of the Living Dead" (George Romero's horror classic shot in 1968 for $68,000.00), Kevin Smith's $28,000.00 first feature (1994)"Clerks," "400 Blows," a French New Wave film directed by Francois Truffaut in 1959, and "El Mariachi," a 1993 Robert Rodriguez film shot for $7000.00...

...Richard Rossi shot his critically acclaimed movie on a $300.00 consumer camcorder, used clamp-on construction lights purchased at Home Depot for $48.00, and made "Aimee Semple McPherson" under a special Screen Actor's Guild experimental contract for films with budgets under $75,000.00

I can't find the "International Guerrilla Film Association". I did find three groups with similar names.

International Guerrilla Video Festival: its official never heard of Rossi or his movie.

International Guerrilla Film Database: its official never heard of the Sister Aimee movie or writer/director Rossi, either.

• There is an IGFA: it's the International Game Fish Association.

I called the contact number on the news release about the IGFA Top 100. The recording answers for Richard Rossi's production company.

If anyone can provide me with contact information for the International Guerrilla Film Assocation, I'll check it out and mention it here.

In the comments section at Topix, A person named Gina Morton describes seeing this remarkable moment of live theater involving Rossi:

I saw Richard Rossi, the director, writer, and actor in this film portray Elmer Gantry on stage at the Stella Adler Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard a couple years back, and in Long Beach. An amazing performance. The executor of the Richard Brooks estate was in attendance and came up on stage and gave Richard Rossi the Oscar from the 1960 "Elmer Gantry" film and said Richard Brooks would be proud. One of the best nights of theatre in LA ever.



pittsburghgurl said...

Thanks for letting us know about Richard Rossi's movie "Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story." I've prayed for them through the years and I'm glad they've had a comeback after their setback and their faith and family are strong. I loved how you started your piece by saying, "OJ's not making movies, but Richard Rossi is." Btw, when we were visiting California, we saw the film screen live and heard Richard Rossi answer questions after the film. Someone said they thought his was the "greatest guerrilla film of all time" and he said he looks up to George Romero and David Lynch and making this movie was his film school. The film is very powerful and I related to it as a woman, the story of Sister Aimee's journey as a strong leader and the lonliness she felt in a man's world. I'm looking forward to Rich Rossi's next film.

tristatefilmbuff said...

Contact for: IGFA is I requested and received a list of the recent top fifty films (they trimmed the list to fifty because the bottom fifty did not get substantial votes.) Rossi's movie "Sister Aimee" is number one by vote of their membership. Memebership is only open to those who have working credits in low budget independent film and it is a closed industry support network, joined by invitation only, therefore, not marketed publicly where anyone can access, hence, the organization carries more prestige among guerrilla filmmakers in a reverse sort of way.