Breckenridge Film Fest:
'What Cheer?' takes unorthodox look at grief

Sometimes, grief comes quietly, somberly, sitting like a heavy weight on your shoulders, and sometimes it crashes down upon you, screaming in your ear and making it impossible to concentrate on anything else. Friends, work and even alcohol can’t provide an escape, and you are forced to face your demons or be destroyed by them.

Thus is the premise behind Michael Slavens’ short film “What Cheer?” screening at theBreckenridge Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 19. The 17-minute film stars Drama Desk award winner and Tony nominee Richard Kind, known for his roles as Paul Lassiter in the TV series “Spin City” and as Max Klein in the 2013 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, “Argo.”...

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Richard Kind and the Marching Band That Wouldn't Leave Him Alone

When the 17-minute film “What Cheer?” appears on Short of the Week on June 17, it will mark more of a victory lap than a debut. The film has already shown at more than 25 festivals, and taken home an armful of awards, including “Best of New York” at the 2014 NY Shorts Fest. It also caught the eye of the Polish eyewear company Massada, which bankrolled a subsequent short from 33-year-old co-writer and director, Michael Slavens.
“What Cheer?” stars Richard Kind (“Spin City,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “A Serious Man,” Pixar’s forthcoming “Inside Out” ) as Stan, a musical theater composer whose wife passes away abruptly at the couple’s Manhattan brownstone. The title sequence rolls as a rabbi recites the Mourners’ Kaddish. From that point on, Stan is hounded by a 20-piece punk marching band (the Rhode Island-based What Cheer? Brigade ) that only he sees and hears. Stan’s affliction starts with two WCB members playing trumpet and sousaphone at the cemetery, after the funeral. In the following days, the entire band — crashing cymbals, blasting horns — is inside his bedroom, following him down the street, and chasing him through Central Park. When Stan covers his ears, the music only gets louder...
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