Film Fes­ti­val to screen ‘Love, Gilda’ and Jett’s ‘Bad Rep­u­ta­tion’

Chat­tanooga Film Fes­ti­val to screen ‘Love, Gilda,’ Jett’s ‘Bad Rep­u­ta­tion’

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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.

PHOTO BY THE SEN­TINEL-RECORD/LORIEN E. DAHL

Joan Jett, in con­cert with her band, the Black­hearts, per­forms in 2011 in Hot Springs, Ark.

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