October 14, 2004
The Tao of Woody
First came God. Then came Godot. Then came Woody Allen. Actually, none of them ever showed up -- not in the play "Waiting for Godot" or the newly acclaimed short feature film parodying it, "Waiting for Woody Allen." In the 16-minute feature, two Chasidim -- Mendel and Yossel -- sit in Central Park waiting for the venerable filmmaker to show up and give their lives meaning. In the meantime, against this autumn backdrop of one day, they argue in their Yiddish-tinged accents about whether they should give up religion or they should wait for Woody, nu?
While "The Great One" might never make an appearance in this droll existentialist film, recent events may prove that there is a God: "Waiting for Woody Allen," garnered its director, Michael Rainin, a $1-million budget to direct a film.
Beginning this year, the L.A. International Short Film Festival, which took place Sept. 7-13, chose four directors out of the 500 filmmakers for its Discovering New Artists Award. The winner, Rainin, will direct a feature-length film with talent attached.
"It's my dream come true," the 29-year-old director said about his first film. Rainin decided to make a short film about a year and a half ago, when he moved to Los Angeles, following a six-year stint in New York as a writer and a producer.
"Instead of spending $40,000 to go to film school, I decided to spend the money to make a film," he said.
He scoured Craig's List for a script (hey, those actually get made!) and was struck by Jonathan Brown and Daniel Wechler's "Waiting for Woody Allen."
"I grew up with the Jewish humor of my grandfather and father my whole life," Rainin said of his father's Russian Jewish family. "And he turned me on to Woody Allen's film at a young age."
Now, the production designer's prize is to direct to direct "Learning to Fly," a romantic comedy which has not yet been cast but is set to start filming in March. And then what?
"I want to make films," Rainin said. "I want to make interesting and profound films for the rest of my life -- hopefully this is just the beginning."
From Woody's lips to God's ears.
For more information, visit www.waitingforwoodyallen.com.