Middlebury

James Redford to visit Middlebury College for screening of his new film "Spin"

November 7, 2003

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-James Redford, son of actor and director Robert Redford, is making his own debut as a director with "Spin," a new film that will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, on the Middlebury College campus.  Redford also wrote the screenplay for the movie, a coming-of-age story set in the West in the 1950s.  The film is based on the novel "Spin," written by Don Axinn, a 1951 Middlebury alumnus and part-time Weybridge resident, who co-produced the film with Elaine Rogers, a Boston-based entertainment lawyer.  Redford, Axinn and Rogers will introduce the film at Middlebury College and be available afterward for a discussion.

"Spin's" premier was in Mill Valley, Calif., in October and the film is being shown at film festivals.  The event at Middlebury, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).

Stanley Tucci, whose movie credits include roles in "Road to Perdition" and "America's Sweethearts," and Dana Delany, who has starred in such television series as "Presidio Med" and "China Beach," are part of a cast that also includes actors Rubén Blades, Ryan Merriman and Paula Garces.

"Spin" tells the story of a boy named Eddie who loses his parents in a plane crash and subsequently moves to the home of his uncle?played by Tucci.  Unable to cope with raising a child, Eddie's uncle leaves the boy for 10 years in the care of his Hispanic ranch hand and the ranch hand's wife, played by Blades and Delaney.  Eddie, who is portrayed by Merriman, enters a new high school and struggles with his feelings for a local Mexican girl named Francesca?Garces' role.  His uncle then returns to do the only thing he can for the boy?teach him to fly?while the couple who has cared for Eddie the last 10 years wrestles with their own reactions to his new passion.  After struggling to come to terms with his love for Francesca, Eddie reconciles with his past and embraces his future.

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Commenting on what attracted him to Axinn's book "Spin," Redford said, "This is a story about family?both the good and the bad.  It's a story about loss as well as recovery.  The movie also explores both the beauty and danger in flying.  Additionally, 'Spin' affirms our ideas of America in the 1950s while simultaneously challenging them.

"But to me, the ultimate value of 'Spin' is its humanity.  It dares to explore complex relationships in a subtle way and­?even more daring?without irony," added Redford. 

Several others had tried to write a script based on the novel "Spin," but Axinn liked Redford's screenplay because it was the most successful at picking up on the book's themes.  Axinn was so enthusiastic that he decided to become a producer, but only if Redford agreed to direct.  Prior to writing the screenplay for "Spin" and directing the film, Redford wrote screenplays for various studios and production companies including Universal Pictures, Blackbird Films and South Fork Pictures.

Axinn was a real estate developer before becoming the author of two novels and seven collections of poems.  He followed "Spin," his first novel, with "The Ego Makers."

Axinn has a small role as a service station owner in the film, but what really excites him is the amount of flying he was able to do in his own Navy Stearman biplane.  In "Spin," as in much of his poetry, flying plays a big role.  Axinn said flying offered a perfect vantage point from which to view Tucson and the magnificent surrounding landscape of southern Arizona, where the film was shot.  "There is an Indian spirituality which is a canopy over the city and nearby areas.  The mountain ranges are islands in high desert country, each with unique characteristics.  It's truly beautiful," he said. 

For more information, contact the Middlebury College Office of Public Affairs at 802-443-5198. 

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