July 8, 2008
CRAZY, A Film Inspired By the Life of Iconoclastic Guitar Legend Hank Garland, Racks Up Big Wins on 2008 Festival Circuit Including Multiple Best Feature Awards Plus Acting and Writing Honors
LOS ANGELES, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- CRAZY, an independent feature film inspired by the tragic life and groundbreaking music of legendary 1950s-era guitarist Hank Garland, has been drawing acclaim and pulling in a string of major awards on the 2008 film festival circuit. Variety wrote that, "its character, music and period detailing are sharp and intelligent" -- currently, the film is mid-way through an itinerary of screenings at some two dozen festivals nationwide and in England.
Earlier this month, CRAZY won Best Feature at New Jersey's Hoboken Film Festival. In May, the film received the same top honor from Hawaii's Big Island Film Festival and the Charleston International Film Festival. Bill Thompson, film critic for Charleston, SC's Post And Courier, wrote, "CRAZY has a bedrock feel of authenticity...a lively, emotionally resonant movie -- with wonderful music -- that is an uncommonly seamless meld of character study and period recreation."
Thompson adds, tipping his hat to director Rick Bieber (who also co-wrote the script), that, "it is the work of a filmmaker who genuinely cares about the story he is relating and the man at its core." Regarding Waylon Payne, the actor who stars as the film's unforgettable lead character, he writes, "Payne, possessed of considerable screen presence, also brings the kind of gravity to the performance that one usually associates with a far more seasoned actor." LA.com agreed, noting, "The brash and brilliant musician is well played by charismatic actor Waylon Payne ... it's difficult to tear your eyes away from him..."
Payne's riveting turn as the late Hank Garland resulted in a win for Best Actor at the 28th annual Breckenridge Festival of Film in Colorado, where CRAZY was also recognized with the Best Drama award. He was also nominated at other festivals including Hoboken and Method Fest. Notably, CRAZY marks only the second film role for Payne, who previously was acclaimed for his debut performance as Jerry Lee Lewis in the Oscar-winning Walk The Line. An aspiring country music artist who was named for his godfather Waylon Jennings -- and who's the son of GRAMMY-winning country singer Sammi Smith and Jody Payne, longtime guitarist for Willie Nelson -- Payne is gifted with the ability to naturally inhabit and interpret a musician's complexities and passions.
Another especially meaningful major win for the CRAZY team and the Garland family was the Jacksonville International Film Festival's Vanguard Award, their top honor. Hank Garland lived the last four decades of his life in the Jacksonville area with his brother and manager Billy Garland and his wife Amy, who cared for Hank after a suspicious, near-fatal car accident and debilitating electroshock treatments ended his career. They attended JIFF's opening night screening of CRAZY, and Billy commented, "It means everything to me that the truth of what happened to Hank is revealed after all this time."
CRAZY's first win of the '08 festival season was the Daily News Award for Best Screenplay at the Los Angeles area's 10th annual Method Fest in Calabasas, CA for a script co-written by director Rick Bieber, Jason Ehlers and Brent Boyd. Bieber was introduced to the project, and to Garland, by former Guitar Center principal Ray Scherr, who served as Executive Producer along with guitar hero Steve Vai (who performs a cameo as Hank Williams) under the Favored Nations Films mantle.
Scherr had known the Garland family for over a decade, and Hank Garland consulted on the screenplay and was involved with the project until he passed away in December '04, shortly before principal photography began.
In addition to Waylon Payne, CRAZY stars Ali Larter (Heroes, Legally Blonde, etc) as Hank's beautiful but troubled wife Evelyn -- Larter received Best Actress nods at the Hoboken festival and at Method Fest. Cast members also include: Lane Garrison as Billy Garland; Scott Michael Campbell as guitar ace Billy Byrd; singer Stacy Earl as country crooner Goldie Hill; Evans Forde as the legendary Chet Atkins; and Ryan Cross as jazz bassist Joe Benjamin. Mandy Barnett, Shawn Colvin and Katharine McPhee also perform cameos. CRAZY's music was produced by multiple-GRAMMY(R)-winner Larry Klein, most recently honored for the 2007 Album of the Year, Herbie Hancock's River - The Joni Letters.
CRAZY chronicles Hank Garland's rise to fame in Nashville, from playing on hits for icons including Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison through his brief but influential solo career as a visionary jazz artist. It also explores his tempestuous marriage as well as his repeated clashes with the "Nashville Mob" -- who then controlled the country music establishment -- over artist's rights, civil rights and other issues. The car crash and electroshock treatments that eventually ended Garland's performing career and derailed his life are starkly portrayed, and the enormity of what was lost is deeply felt.
CRAZY is an official selection at upcoming '08 festivals including: Long Island Int'l Film Expo (7/9-17), Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival (7/16-28), Woods Hole Film Festival (MA, 7/26-8/2), Rhode Island Int'l Film Festival (Providence, 8/5-10), Sacramento Music & Film Festival (CA, 8/8-17), Scottsdale Int'l Film Festival (10/3-7) and Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (10/12-11/9).
For more information, log on to http://www.crazy-themovie.com/
CONTACT: Erin Podbereski, +1-626-585-9575, [email protected], forCRAZY
Web site: http://www.crazy-themovie.com/