He has worked with some of the top names in Hollywood including Oscar winners like Mickey Rooney and Celeste Holm (All About Eve), but you have probably never heard of actor/filmmaker Keith Black.
For three seasons of the year, he’s a high school math teacher. During the summer, Black writes and stars in somewhat autobiographical, low-budget, short films.
This summer, he brings his latest movie, an eight-minute film called Celebrity Sex Tape, to Atlanta’s Lefont Theater in Sandy Springs . He hopes that his continued efforts to screen the film at theaters and festivals nationwide will get the attention of Hollywood insiders and lead to a feature-length production.
Here is the trailer for Celebrity Sex Tape:
Black, a former accountant in his mid-forties, has been shooting films for twenty years. His company, Keith Black Films, operates from his local diner, he said. In 1999, Black chased down his Hollywood idol, Woody Allen, to give him a screenplay. Allen never called, but Black dedicated himself to learning everything he could about filmmaking.
He funds his projects, which have cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, with his own money by cutting back his on his expenses, he said. And he only works on his movie projects after school hours and full-time during the summer months.
A few years after his encounter with Allen, Black had modest success with a $3,000 – $4,000, 17-minute film based on the experience. Get the Script to Woody Allen was the opener for a Woody Allen movie at the Venice International Film Festival. It went on to screen at several other festivals and was featured by media on both coasts.
Black made headlines more recently in 2007 when he convinced actors like Mickey Rooney, Celeste Holm, and former Emmy award-winning talk show host, Dick Cavett, to appear alongside him in a 2012 film, Driving Me Crazy.
The unfinished feature-length movie tells the story of a man who drives 3,000 miles for a date with a woman he met online. Black moved in with his mom and spent $50,000 of his own money to fund the film (the actors received nominal or zero pay). When cash ran short, Black appealed to Hollywood heavyweights, hoping for an angel investor that never arrived.
But his interactions with Hollywood legends helped inspire his latest effort. “Every time I met with one of these legends, something that always struck me is that they really earned their fame. These were great actors, who were also hard-working and humble,” Black said. “But more recently there’s this famous-for-being-famous phenomenon…It’s this rather disturbing trend that I explore in Celebrity Sex Tape.”
Celebrity Sex Tape, a romantic comedy short, is the PG story of one man’s quest to get famous by enlisting a famous actress to co-star in a sex tape with him. Black shot the 8-minute film in two days for $2,000 and has been screening it in theaters across the country.
The film was edited by the same Ron Kalish who edited Allen’s early classics and while celebrities ranging from Lana Wood (the former Bond girl) to Sally Jessy Raphael helped promote the film, the film’s actual star quotient is pretty low. Black still thinks the concept will resonate with audiences.
“Everything about me and the movie is relatable. I’m a working class guy, the odds are against me. I know I’m not Brad Pitt or George Clooney but I’m the romantic lead in all my movies and audiences and film critics love the way I come across on screen. I want Atlanta to see that,” said Black.
Black is quick to note that Celebrity Sex Tape features no sex, no nudity and no kissing. It is, he said, a cautionary tale about what could happen when your ambitions get ahead of you.
“I originally had those classic movie-star dreams: dating supermodels, reservations at the finest restaurants, and owning my own island,” he said. “But over the years, just like the protagonist in my film, I realized the important things in life are human values, relationships and integrity.”
On Monday, July 10 at 9:30 p.m. Atlantans can see Celebrity Sex Tape at Lefont Theaters in Sandy Springs (5920 Roswell Rd). The film will play as an added attraction after feature film of the evening. Black said he chose Lefont Theaters because George Lefont is a local pioneer and champion of independent films. For additional information call the theater at 404-255-0140.