Film Festival to screen ‘Love, Gilda’ and Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’
Chattanooga Film Festival to screen ‘Love, Gilda,’ Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’
Chris Dortch II is a film geek, but more than that, he is a pop-culture sponge who grew up listening to music and watching television, in addition to soaking up as many films as he could.
So when the Chattanooga Film Festival group, for which he serves as executive director, had the opportunity to screen two documentaries focusing on two strong, iconic women, he jumped at the chance.
The CFF will show “Love, Gilda” about the life of actress/ comedian Gilda Radner, on Sunday, Sept. 23, and “Bad Reputation,” a movie that looks at rock pioneer Joan Jett, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the First Draft Theater on Rossville Avenue.
“These are two remarkable, unbelievable women,” Dortch says.
“Love, Gilda” uses recently discovered audiotapes and interviews with contemporaries and readings from her own diary to tell the story of the star who burst onto the American pop-culture scene as one of the original Not Ready for
Prime Time Players on “Saturday Night Live.”
Among her most famous characters on the show were nerd Lisa Loopner, playing alongside Bill Murray’s Todd DiLaMuca, “Weekend Update” commentator Roseanne Roseannadanna and “Baba Wawa,” a parody of Barbara Walters.
Her marriage to actor Gene Wilder was one of the great Hollywood love stories. She died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
“She was so great, and to
see the way she is treated in this film is great also,” Dortch says. “She was a true comedian who understood that comedy is not pretty. It really can be ugly, but she was very classy off camera as well.”
Jett was the founder of The Runaways, the pioneering all-girl rock ‘n’ roll band known for the hit “Cherry Bomb.” After the band started to unravel because of internal strife, she launched a solo career that would eventually see her record such now classic rock hits as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)?” and a remake of the Tommy James & the Shondells hit “Crimson and Clover.”
She would also start her own record label, which was unheard of at the time, and would become a champion for other independent artists, especially female punk musicians.
“When you think about her career, she started with The Runaways and is still out there going strong,” Dortch says.
The CFF is screening “Bad Reputation” two days before it releases nationally, and Dortch says attendees here will get to see a bonus Jett show.
The First Draft Theater at 1800 Rossville Ave. is home also to Improv Chattanooga, and Dortch says the CFF is thrilled to be able to screen films there.
The documentary “Love, Gilda” uses recently discovered audiotapes and interviews with contemporaries and readings from Gilda Radner’s own diary to tell her story. The Chattanooga Film Festival group will be screening it at First Draft Theater on September 23.
Joan Jett, in concert with her band, the Blackhearts, performs in 2011 in Hot Springs, Ark.