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March 27, 2007 > Nightmarish twist leads to film festival

Nightmarish twist leads to film festival

Recurring nightmares, puzzles and self-discovery not unlike the process of filmmaking

Miriam Schalit, Livermore,California native and first time independent film producer, was one of only ten full length feature filmmakers to be accepted out of thousands of entries slated to be viewed at the first annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (BNFF) this March 26th - 31st. An international event open to filmmakers, screenwriters, entertainment industry professionals and the public, the BNFF offers a highly visible venue to showcase local, national and international independent film productions.

Reoccurring nightmares, reincarnation, love, self-discovery and even a chase scene are only some of the colliding elements that make up the mysterious storyline of Miriam Schalit's new film Phoenix Rising. The film's central character, Tom, is plagued with a realistic recurring nightmare about a troubled teenager, Jamie, who resorts to music, drugs and art in order to escape the reality of his home life which includes an abusive father and depressed mother. Upon waking up from yet another dream, Tom decides to investigate and discovers that this dysfunctional family actually lived only blocks from his own home, some seventeen years earlier. He learns, too, that others in his community are having the nightmare!

Pieces of this puzzle lead Tom to confront his own demons and a twist in the plot changes everything for good.

Over a three year period, Phoenix Rising became the life focus of Miriam Schalit, who wrote, produced and directed the film. "A lot of people have told me they would never produce a film like this; it tells so much about a person -- it would leave them open and vulnerable to the world." said Miriam. As for the screenplay, Miriam had this idea of the dream and simply started to write. "I would have these epiphanies and then go from there." Writing the screenplay was actually the easy part.

Along with loyal friends and family members, Miriam's husband, Leroy Francis, Jr., also a producer, provided a great deal of support throughout the filming and post-production process. The experience of filmmaking was not unlike those of other independent filmmakers. "We borrowed cars, houses, neighbor's yards, and local businesses as locations. Most of the meals for the cast and crew were catered by friends. It was a tremendous amount of work to coordinate in addition to managing the film itself," said Miriam. "Holding down a regular job and editing and then re-editing and then editing the film again wasn't unlike a reoccurring nightmare at times." reported Miriam. "Like the undertones of the film itself, both humor and anxiety helped make the production both mysterious and exciting!"

Miriam Schalit has been a professional producer, director and filmmaker for over fifteen years. Amongst numerous projects in recent years, she directed the popular show The Screensavers for TechTV and broadcast news for KRON Television in San Francisco, CA. She has many big screen credits, including Prop Master for Seldom Dreaming. In 1995, Miriam earned her first Telly Award for "Ethics in Critical Care," a medical training video. Miriam founded Rude Dog Productions in 2004. Phoenix Rising is her first film and the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival will be her film festival debut.

If you'd like more information, please call Miriam Schalit at 510/459.6970 or e-mail

Rude Dog Productions
22226 Peralta Street
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 537-7669

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