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Queens Premiere

Director: Michael Goldburg

United States, 2017, 15min
Format: Digital (screening) - Digital, 2K (shooting)
Festival Year: 2018
Category: Short Narrative
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Cast:  P.J. Marshall, Lue McWilliams, John Timothy
Crew:  Producers: Michael Goldburg, Dave Chan - Screenwriters: Michael Goldburg, Dave Chan - Post-Production: Michael Whalen - Composer, Luftar Von Rama - Editor - Costume and Wardrobe Department: Emily Gunshor - Costume Designer - Art Department: Kate Rance - Production Designer

SURE-FIRE is a short, fast-paced crime comedy about a New York City con man, played by the hilarious PJ Marshall ("Luke Cage," "American Horror Story," "Underground"), who stumbles into becoming a movie producer to pay off gangsters threatening to kill him. SURE-FIRE recalls New York comedies from Woody Allen ("Broadway Danny Rose") and Mel Brooks ("The Producers") as well as Hollywood crime comedies like "The Big Lebowski," "Pulp Fiction," and "Get Shorty." Benny Boon, a New York City con man, needs to come up with $50,000 in 3 days to pay off a gangster--or else. Luckily, he meets a washed-up actress, Kitty Kinkaid, who's desperate for a comeback and claims to have the money to bankroll a screenplay. Benny then poses as a movie producer and hooks her with a script called "A Woman on the Edge." Problem is, the script doesn't exist, and Benny doesn't know how to write one. So he places an ad on Craigslist for a screenwriter and puts his scheme into high gear.

Michael Goldburg is an award-winning filmmaker who earned his M.F.A. at NYU's Graduate Film Program where he won a Warner Bros. Pictures Production Award and a Dean's Craft Award for Excellence. His hilariously absurd horror-comedy, WHAT'S EATING DAD?, was named one of the Top 10 Horror Shorts of 2014, screened at over 50 film festivals, and won multiple awards. Michael also directed TRAGIC RELIEF, a bleakly funny web series by writers from The Onion and Comedy Central, which was featured on Funny or Die. Michael's short film version of his upcoming feature comedy, "Sure-Fire," has won accolades on the film festival circuit, including a Best Actor award for PJ Marshall ("Luke Cage," "American Horror Story," "Underground"), while the feature script was a Finalist in the Comedy Competition of the 2016 Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest. Michael is the recipient of an AIVF Screenwriting Mentorship and is developing a feature adaptation of a comic novel of suburban paranoia by the former book editor of "The Chicago Tribune" as well as a shocking small-town murder mystery, "Black River," inspired by a true story. He lives in New York City.

filmmaker's note
SURE-FIRE was born out of director/co-writer Michael Goldburg's own experience of having been conned - er, hired - by a shady hustler/producer in New York City to develop a script for him. Though the script was never realized, Michael knew the "producer" would make a better character in a story of Michael's own creation. While the idea for a script gestated, Michael read an article about an actual con man in New York City whose shtick was to pretend to be a successful movie producer. Thus the seeds of SURE-FIRE were born... Initially, Michael brought on Steve Wisniewski, a Nicholl Fellowships finalist, and Dave Chan, winner of the Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition, to collaborate on the feature screenplay for SURE-FIRE with him. Having co-produced Michael’s acclaimed short comedy, "What's Eating Dad?," Dave also came on board as a producer of SURE-FIRE. With the feature script finished, Michael and Dave partnered with Kate Geller of Chrystie Street Casting ("John Wick"), Jonathan Gray's office (GKSSD) as production counsel ("Moonlight"), as well as Legacy Pictures (the Oscar-nominated "Beyond the Lights") on the feature. When several of those collaborators suggested initially making a short film inspired by the feature, Michael saw it as an exciting creative way to explore the world of the film. Thus the SURE-FIRE stand-alone short film was born... Ultimately, Michael strove to deliver a short, self-contained film that could be enjoyed on its own terms while also establishing the three main characters and the tone and style of the feature. To that end, Michael, Dave and their team assembled an amazing cast, led by the hilarious PJ Marshall ("Luke Cage," "American Horror Story," "Underground"), and a stellar crew, including Emmy award-winning composer Michael Whalen, costume designer Emily Gunshor ("Neighbors 2"), emerging director of photography Diana Matos, and production designer Kate Rance, whose films have won SXSW and the LA Film Festival and been nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes ("The Chair,” 2012). As for a stylistic approach, Michael wanted to ground the film in a gritty, New York City reality as well as depict the genuine distress of a small-time con man as he struggles to stay alive. Michael looked to Woody Allen’s crime comedy, "Broadway Danny Rose," with its hilariously poignant tone, small-time New York City hustlers, and Gordon Willis’ gorgeous and gritty location photography as inspiration. Other comedic influences were Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” as well as Hollywood crime comedies "American Hustle," "Get Shorty,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Pulp Fiction." Although a comedy, SURE-FIRE is also inspired by the immediacy and troubled, desperate characters of Martin Scorsese’s and John Cassavetes’ work. SURE-FIRE is finally a personal film for Michael who feels a kinship with Benny, the con man, and the tenacity with which he throws himself into the process of making a movie and also connects to its universal story about second chances and how it's never too late to "rewrite your life's script."

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