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83 Park Street, Suite 5

Providence, RI 02903 USA
tel: 401/861-4445
401/490-6735 (f)


Mailing Address:

PO Box 162

Newport, RI 02840 USA

Street Address:

36 Rhode Island Avenue,

Newport, RI 02840 USA



RIIFF Photography

Courtesy of Mike Braca


Video Promotions by

Eric Latek, George T. Marshall, Shawn Quirk, Timothy Haggerty & Duncan Putney






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Fourth Annual "FIRST LOOK" Film Night & Birthday Blow-out Celebration

Presentation of acclaimed new film, "Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer" Crowns a Fun Evening Event.

This Screening will celebrate and honor the life of Elaine Lorillard, founder / creator of the Newport Jazz Festival.


• Buy Your Ticket Below


For the past four years, RIIFF has held an unusual fundraising event: a "First Look" at new and cutting- edge film work, while hosting a party to celebrate staff and friends who have made the Festival what it is today. Call it cake meets film with a champagne toast along the way. This year promises to be even more exciting as we premiere an amazing work by filmmakers Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden. The film: Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer.


This is the first, definitive documentary on the life of the legendary Jazz vocalist Anita O' Day. In Anita's own words, we hear the tale of a musical genius who broke race barriers and lived her life boldly, unconventionally, without looking back. In candid interviews with the Filmmakers, Anita gives a poignant and often funny account of her jazz odyssey, that is now well into its seventh decade. With her classic wry wit, Anita speaks with television icons such as Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble, David Frost and Harry Reasoner to reveal why at 87 she was the last living singer from the Golden Age.


The film showcases rare and never before seen vintage performances and includes interviews from vocalists Annie Ross and Margaret Whiting, Jazz Impresario George Wein, award winning arrangers Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Russel Garcia & Buddy Bregman, writer/actor producer John Cameron Mitchell, Joe Franklin and friends from different times in Anita's life.


This fast paced trip with Anita has pictorial elements of jazz album design and the graphic qualities of the 40's 50's and 60's. Including original ads, reviews, and numerous never before seen images.

“Anita O’Day has long been considered a jazz singer’s singer, but this exemplary doc makes the case that the vocalist (who died last year, still swinging) belongs in the top tier along with Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Certainly she was the only white female performer on that level, and the many clips here will show even the uninitiated that her improvisational skills and innate musicality were beyond categorization.”—Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight.


anitaThe term trooper might very well have been coined for legendary jazz diva Anita O’Day. The so-called “Jezebel of Jazz,” O’Day’s life was as tempestuous as her tone was smooth; she endured a number of rocky marriages, rape, abortion, heroin addiction, jail, and was even pronounced officially dead after a massive drug overdose, but through it all the lady kept singing and swinging. Many of O’Day’s numerous friends and admirers (a who’s who of jazz) provide eloquent, and frequently hilarious commentary about her life, but the most forthright voice is that of O’Day herself. Blunt, irreverent and sharp as a tack, she was the only white female among the upper echelons of the golden age of jazz, and one of the longest to live. She provides a unique look back on a fascinating period in American cultural history. Vintage clips showcase Anita’s inimitable talents, but more stunning is footage from Bert Stern’s 1958 documentary about the Newport Jazz Festival--which was created/founded by Elaine Lorillard--"Jazz on a Summer’s Day,"which featured Anita’s honeyed rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown”.


Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer is an absolute must-see for music fans. Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden’s fascinating portrait is a fitting tribute to this one-of-a-kind dame!


elaineWe'll also be presenting a rarely seen interview with Elaine Lorillard, whom we will honor this evening, from the "Between Takes" television series Flickers produced in the late 1980s through 2001.



A long-term Board member of the Flickers Arts Collaborative, producers of the annual Rhode Island International Film Festival, Mrs. Lorillard was the recipient of the organization's highest honor: The Creative Vision Award for Artistic Excellence in 2001. In 1997, she was honored at the Flicker's produced, Jubilé Franco Américain in Woonsocket, RI for her role in promoting the importance of jazz as an art form. She also appeared on our fine arts television series, "Between Takes," which sparked the attention of Japanese author, Machie Sakai, leading to her biography on Elaine's work "Newport Jazz Festival, 1953-1960." Elaine Lorillard was a visionary and a true American original.


The “First Look” screening fundraiser is presented by the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Flickers Arts Collaborative.


The film screenings of RIIFF’s “First Look” Birthday Blow-out Celebration will take place at the historic Columbus Theatre Arts Center, (270 Broadway) in Providence, RI.


Date: Thursday, March 20th.


Times: The special pre-screening party launches at 6:00 p.m. The film will screen at 7:30 p.m.


Cost: Tickets for the the 6:00 p.m. Party/Reception and film screening are $25 (students with a valid ID will be offered a discount $15/ticket.)


General Admission for the movie alone at 7:30 p.m. is a recommended donation of $10.


Join us as we toast the memory of Elaine Lorillard and salute her contributions to the arts; not only in Rhode Island, but throughout the world. Local musicians will provide entertainment before and following the film.


All proceeds generated by the screening will be used for the planning and production of RIIFF’s 12th Annual Season. RIIFF is a 501-C(3) non-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.


The Rhode Island International Film Festival is generously supported by WJAR TV 10, The City of Providence, the Providence Tourism Council, Clear Channel Communications, Columbus Theatre Arts Center, Newport Vineyards, Amtrak, the University of Rhode Island and individual contributions. Sponsors for this event include Broadway Bistro, located at 205
Broadway, Providence; 3 steeple street bar and bistro, 125 Canal
Street, Providence; Narragansett Brewery, and Newport Vineyards. Photography by Mary Hanley. The 12th annual Rhode Island International Film Festival will take place August 5-10, 2008.


For more information, write RIIFF, P.O. Box 162, Newport, RI 02840. Telephone: 401-861-4445. E-mail: info@film-festival.org





See photos from previous First Look events...




RIIFF's “First Look” Birthday Blow-Out Celebration, March 20th


Party/ Reception and Film Screening: 6:00 p.m. onward
LOCATION:Columbus Theatre Arts Center, 270 Broadway, PROVIDENCE

Order Today for only $25

2008 Rhode Island International Film Festival®. All Rights Reserved.


For student rate, please call our office to make reservations at 401.861.4445 



RIIFF's “First Look” Screening, March 20th


Film Screening: 7:30 p.m. onward
LOCATION:Columbus Theatre Arts Center, 270 Broadway, PROVIDENCE

Order Today for only $10

2008 Rhode Island International Film Festival®. All Rights Reserved.


 For student rate, please call our office to make reservations at 401.861.4445