"Papa always exposed me to pretty much anything I wanted to watch," said Evan Kail. "It's finally manifested into something fruitful and not the opposite and turned me into a serial killer. I could be chopping up bodies, but instead I'm writing movies."
Something fruitful, indeed, as Kail is a finalist three times over in the Sacramento International Film Festival American Screenplay Challenge.
"I submitted three scripts and all three got picked," said the Japanese major scheduled to graduate from the U in December. "I have three times as many chances of winning as anyone else. There are only [30-plus] spots, and they gave me three of them."
Kail is the son of an intellect, Harold Kail, and the extremely creative former Edina Makeup Queen Carroll Britton, who now live in Glenwood, Minn., where they are pouting because I won't drive out there. As a close family friend, I've turned down endless invitations to join Evan and Harold at some violent or awful horror movies. No thanks -- real life is scary enough.
I also thought Evan was too young to see those kinds of movies. "I remember you protesting a couple of times," said Evan, who believes he was about 6 the first time his papa took him to a horror movie. He seems to have come out on the other side unscathed, although his movie scripts are heavy on gangsters and zombies.
"'Outbreak Prohibition' is the one that's getting the most recognition. That's the one I submitted the most [to film festivals]," said Evan, explaining the plot: "After an elaborate bank heist is derailed by a horrific zombie outbreak, the greatest gangsters of the Prohibition era must escape the city of Chicago or die trying."
Really, Evan, zombies? "Yeah, zombies, gangsters, Bugattis and all the public enemies. It's basically 'Public Enemies' [the 2009 movie] meets '28 Days Later,' [a 2002 British horror film]."
"Seiji Four: Part 1" is the first installment of a trilogy and "something I started working on in high school, I've been working on it so long," said the 2007 Edina High grad. The plot: "Corporate crime is redefined when four incredible individuals unite to install themselves as the new kingpins of Manhattan."
"Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," one of Evan's favorite expressions, is a movie about "an unlikely duo of federal agents assigned to hunt down and arrest a notorious child murderer dauntingly dubbed 'the Boy Gobbler' in 1958. Loosely based on a movie called 'M' from the 1930s."
After Evan finished describing each plot, there was mostly stunned silence but sometimes laughter.
You didn't seem this weird on those rare occasions when I was your sitter, I told him.
"Oh, well, look what my dad did to me," Evan said as we both descended into laughter.
Carroll and Harold are nothing but proud, although I was sensing some of the same dread that must have overcome the parents of Joel and Ethan Coen.
While the Coens haven't used the Twin Cities in most of their offbeat movies, Kail only wants to shoot projects here.
"Last October I teamed up with Ulysses Awsumb, a well-known producer here in the Cities, and he and I are working together to get my first film off the ground, 'Lion's Den.' That's about six safecrackers who make a fatal mistake when they decide to burglarize the Kenwood home of a monstrous female serial killer. We want to do that here in Minnesota, and we want to use its momentum to ignite a film movement here in the Cities."
Evan is CEO and co-founder of Stone Arch Entertainment with his business partner and co-founder and co-writer Scott Huculak. "Stone Arch Entertainment company is named for the Stone Arch Bridge," said Kail. "Our mission statement is: We want to bring Hollywood here."
But first Kail has some schmoozing to do six hours from Hollywood.
He is flying to the film festival in Sacramento for a screenwriting conference "with Dr. Lew Hunter, who practically wrote the book on screenwriting. Steven Spielberg called him one of the greatest screenwriting teachers alive. I'm also going there to market, meet people, network. The awards show is Sunday night, and I'll be attending. I'm not sure I'm going to win."
But he's finding being nominated for the award very validating, although he's been getting lots of validation from other film festivals.Smile Network art auction
More than $200,000 worth of art from Gino Hollander's inventory will be for sale at a Smile Network benefit Thursday night at Uptown's Aurora Spa and Sa Bel Salon.
"This is the largest collection of Hollander's artwork ever for sale benefiting a nonprofit organization," said Kim Valentini, founder of the organization that raises money to repair the cleft palates of children in developing countries. Hollander, who's now in his 80s, according to Wikipedia, "has chosen Smile Network as his charity of choice, donating 40 pieces for sale; 100 percent of that benefits us. He's not taking a penny," Valentini said.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be see on Fox's "Buzz."