RIFKIN’S FESTIVAL: Out now in the US, new interviews with Woody, Wallace Shawn and Gina Gershon

Rifkin’s Festival – the 49th film written and directed by Woody Allen – is now out in US cinemas and available on demand. This follows releases in South America and Mexico last week.

The film tells the story of Mort Rifkin, a former film professor who has some regrets to face. Some people are calling it a love letter to cinema – and that’s true – but it’s also something more somber. Anyway, go see it and judge for yourself.

The film stars Wallace Shawn and Gina Gershon, who did some press to promote the film. They both did a lot of interviews for the European release before COVID struck. Here is a round up of some of those interviews.

WGN TV had an interview with the pair. Gershon called Allen a genius. Says Gershon:

“For me as an actress, I mean, he’s been inspiring me ever since I can remember. So I was really thrilled to work with him.”

Wallace Shawn spoke to Yahoo. He recalled first meeting Allen and starring in 1979’s Manhattan.

“My memory of that meeting is that [Woody] was standing on a ladder in a library. He looked over and said, ‘Are you going to be in New York this summer?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘Good.’ And that was my audition!”

He also spoke about being himself in the film.

“I was certainly aware of the pitfalls of playing a character that would be seen as his alter ego and the danger of imitating Woody. I’ve seen most of his films, and I’ve seen people get drawn into that imitation and it’s a bad look, because it takes you out of the story. If they’re suddenly thinking, ‘He sounds like Woody Allen,’ that’s not good. Of course, sometimes he’d read one of the lines that I was supposed to say and I would think, ‘Oh, well that’s really the way it would sound best.'”

Shawn also spoke to the JTA. He spoke about the film’s release.

“I didn’t think we’d ever see it here. I’m totally amazed. I’m shocked – I thought it would never show in America. And that’s what I said to everybody: “Well, come on over to Spain and watch the movie when it comes out.”

He also talks more about his character of Mort.

“Well, it has a wonderful trajectory, the story of the film. He has been a very ambitious guy. He not only wants to be a writer, he wants to be as good as Dostoyevsky. Very, very ambitious. And he realizes that that is his false self; that’s not authentic. And it’s not what he should be doing. And he realizes that actually, what he loves is film, and teaching film, and even he admits about himself he has a rather narrow list of films that he is passionately devoted to. It’s a rather beautiful conclusion to the man’s story.”

He also talked a bit about how the new Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch pays tribute to his father.

Another TV interview was with WFSB

Finally, Allen himself has appeared at the Maltin On Movies podcast with legendary critic Leonard Maltin.

Hopefully more interviews to come.

Go see Rifkin’s Festival or go and buy it on iTunes or some other service. We’ll be covering it in season 2 of our podcast and there’s plenty to say about it.

Oh and Gina is excited too.

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  1. Wallace Shawn and Gina Gershon meant well – but neither were adept at dealing with the topic when it was raised. Should have been better prepared. A succinct explanation that Woody was 100% exonerated – then pivot to talking about the new film! That is media training 101. It’s not rocket science to get trained to deal with TV interviewers!

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