S C R E E N I N G S
COSTA RICA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Montazuma, Costa Rica
July 23rd - 27th, 2014
MOVIES AT MIDWAY
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
May 31st, 2014
DELAWARE ART MUSEUM
February 15th, 2014
AMERICAN FILM MARKET
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica Screening Room
November 11th, 2013.
LONDON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
October 12th - 18th, 2013
CHAIN NYC FILM FESTIVAL
Long Island City, New York
August 6th - August 18th, 2014.
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 18th - 22nd, 2013.
July 13th, 2013.
P R E S S
WDDE Radio Interview with Chris Malinowski - August 11th, 2013
WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL - March 14th, 2013
"An Impossible Dream Set on the Streets of Lewes" by John Sweeney
Chris Malinowski did the impossible.
At least, that's what most of us would think. He dreamed about making a full-length feature film - the kind you see in a movie theater, buy tickets for and munch on popcorn while watching. Impossible for a kid from Newport and Pike Creek? Maybe for most of us, but not Malinowski.
It took him years. He overcame people saying no and earned a living. He scrambled to find financing, to get a film crew and cast. He raced deadlines to get the project edited and ready. But he did it. He brought his dream to the screen.
Malinowski wrote the script and the music, produced, directed and starred in "Yes, Your Tide Is Cold and Dark, Sir." It played this past weekend to sold-out crowds at the Delaware Art Museum. Earlier this year it played at special previews at the Midway Theater in Lewes.
The Lewes premier is fitting because most of the film was shot in and around Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. The film is something of a love letter to Lewes, a town that holds special meaning for Malinowski.
"Yes, Your Tide Is Cold and Dark, Sir" is an odd title for a movie. But the title is a clue to the mystery at the heart of the film. "Tides" is the kind of film that keeps you guessing, not only about the surface missing-person story that propels it, but the meaning behind it.
Malinowski intended it that way. He loves talking with people about what they think the film's meaning is. "Some of their ideas surprised me," he said. "But the wife of one my guitar students really nailed it. By and large, the film is still a love story.
"Of surrealist proportions, of course," he added with a laugh.
The bit about the love story is true. His love interest in the film is real-life girlfriend Chrissy Tackett.
The "surrealist" description holds, too. One of his film heroes is Luis Bunuel, the Spanish director of "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie." Bunuel dazzled filmgoers with his use of flashbacks and dream sequences. "I liked how he kept the audience engaged," Malinowski said. "Viewers can't take their eyes off the screen without getting lost."
"Tides" uses many of the same techniques. He grabs your attention or pushes forth a character and forces you to connect the dots. The visual imaginary is often stunning. The streets and houses of Lewes pop up like dreams. Even familiar sights take on a new look, sometimes welcoming, sometimes sinister.
"Whenever I have an idea, I feel that it has to be purged from my system via a visual imagination," he said. This story of a search came to him and, he said, forced him to write a script. Then the script prompted him to find a way to film it. The financing was one of the toughest jobs. He asked his friend Alan Burkhard, a local entrepreneur and owner of Klondike Kate's, for advice. He kept asking for so much advice that Burkhard came up with $150,000 to make the film.
Malinowski wrote the script in 2010. The crew did five months of pre-production work before they began shooting in November 2011. The cooperation from Lewes authorities was amazing, he said.
They shot for 26 days in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. He had a crew of 17, many of them from New York, and a cast of 56, many of them Lewes and throughout Delaware. Malinowski co-edited the film throughout 2012 with Colby Bartine. And finally...
It was on the screen.
Music plays a big part in the film. Malinowski teaches guitar at Accent Music. His late father, Sylvester "Mal" Malinowski, taught guitar, piano and other instruments for more than 30 years at "Mal's Music" in the Meadowood Shopping Center on Kirkwood Highway. His mom Elaine Greggo is a psychiatric nurse who teaches at the University of Delaware.
"My dad had a big following, always shooting the bull," he said. "He had a very laid-back store, but he was serious about music."
The big thing he learned from this father was: "You can't teach desire."
But it was in Lewes that he learned to love film. In his late teens he started visiting an aunt and uncle, Theresa and Charlie Branson, who lived there. It was his uncle who got him interested in making movies.
He also learned to love Lewes. "There is a bittersweet loneliness about Lewes. I felt it walking around the town. It is a simple, stark, beautiful and mysterious place."
Malinowski went to UD for two years after he graduated from Delcastle High. But the draw of film took him away. He finished at Ithaca College in New York where he studied film. After graduation he spent some time as an intern in Los Angeles and worked on some movies. He returned to Delaware and formed a band he still plays in, The Collingwood.
But he kept working on scripts, kept trying to learn.
Life went on. But he didn't stop. When the story came to him about the mysterious search set amid the streets of Lewes, he just had to make the movie.
What's next? Malinowski wants to enter "Yes, Your Tide Is Cold and Dark, Sir" in film festivals. After that? He has two other ideas he just can't get out of his system. When that's ready, it's on to California to look for West Coast financing.
Impossible? Don't bet on it.
John Sweeney is editorial page editor of The News Journal.
Landenberg filmmaker Chris Malinowski's cinematic journey
By Richard L. Gaw
On the evening of May 18, 1979, Butch "Mal" Malinowski, a Newark, Del., guitar instructor, took his 9-year-old son Chris to a drive-in theater on Route 202 to see a triple feature.
There, with the sound box fastened to the diver's side window, they watched “Blackout,” a Canadian film; “The Warriors,” directed by Walter Hill; and “Phantasm,” a horror film directed by Don Coscarelli. As he sat watching the screen, Butch smoked endless cigarettes and thought about the impact his impending divorce from his son's mother would have on the young boy.
"There was some kind of solace in that film," recalled the 42-year-old Malinowski of seeing "Phantasm" with his father. "The story revolves around a young boy whose parents have died, and he's being taken care of by his brother. He was this boy going through something tragic and familial, and it was happening around the time I had to step up and become a man."
In many ways, Malinowski was destined to become a filmmaker, if for no other reason that he is both blessed and cursed by seeing the blank spots in life that need to be filled, the dark edges that need to be lit, and the dank, smelly fabrications that need to be layered with truth. Nearly frame by frame, it's all there in his films, "Alms, You Say," released in 2007, and in his latest, "Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir," scheduled to be completed in December.
"I love the art of the heightening of the mundane," Malinowski said from his cottage in Landenberg, which doubles as his studio. "Anything I see in my daily life, I seek to immortalize on film. Showering. Driving down the road. It is the reflection of life in its most boring form, but in film, when the lighting and the music is there and the set design is just right, there's a certain comfort there."
Trace the origins of any filmmaker and chances are that you'll likely arrive at the same place: Childhood. Steven Spielberg had his 8-millimeter camera as a boy growing up in New Jersey. Woody Allen had his aunt take him to the large movie houses in Manhattan when he was a boy in Brooklyn. Quentin Tarantino had his job at a video store in Los Angeles.
For Malinowski, growing up in the Pike Creek area of Delaware, it was the music he was making -- loud, ear-piecing sounds as a member of Freakshow, a heavy metal band, and then The Absurd, a surrealistic rock group. His head was a treasure trove of ideas; music was simply a conduit to other mediums.
"When I was performing with the bands, I began to think back to when I saw 'Phantasm,'" he said. "Somehow, I began to get nostalgic for that film."
Although he was a self-confessed terrible student in high school, Malinowski educated himself by watching two to three films a night until dawn -- different genres, various directors, plot lines and camera choices. By the time he was 21 and a film theory student at the University of Delaware in the early 1990s, "I wanted to do something like this," he said. "Everything I was thinking and feeling was manifesting itself as images."
One night, he watched Atom Egoyan's "Speaking Parts." He learned from Egoyan's work that there can be an entire, untapped universe behind the images and narrative of a film. He wanted to someday be able to weave that within a film of his own. He soon left Delaware and went to Ithaca College in upstate New York to learn how to make films.
Once enrolled, he began to take screenwriting classes with Elisabeth Nonas, an esteemed screenwriter. Nonas encouraged him to continue following where his writing was taking him. She told him to keep at it, to build the idea of ambiguity, to not show all of his cards to the audience. Writing has to be personal, Nonas told him. Another film professor told him, "If they don't get it, it's their fault."
Malinowski lived by himself in an off-campus cottage -- the site of a former fruit stand -- writing four nights a week from ten at night until two in the morning. In time, he wrote and directed several 16-millimeter student films, including "Metz Committed," "The Celestial Self," and "Son of a Fishlicker." He won awards for filmmaking and screenwriting.
As Malinowski began finding his writing voice at Ithaca, he felt he needed something more. He needed to be on a set. He got internship work in Los Angeles through Ithaca's satellite West Coast Campus, where, ironically, he worked as a production assistant on Coscarelli's "Phantasm IV: Oblivion," and as a sound post-production assistant on Martin Campbell's "Mask of Zorro."
"I learned that there is no quietude on a film set," he said. "There's tension. There's the setting sun. There are actors. All of these scenes need to be shot today. Everyone's putting themselves on the line. It's not relaxing."
He found it out for himself during the filming of his first feature. Financed partly through a severance package he received from employment with a local bank, Malinowski wrote, directed, co-edited and starred in "Alms, You Say," a 33-minute film he shot in Landenberg during 2005.
In order to make the film, loosely based on his father -- who died in 2003 -- Malinowski used seven credit cards and relied on the kindness of friends and family, who cut checks in order to pay expenses. To save money, Malinowski would travel to New York City and work through the night with an editor at Madhouse, who by day edits popular television series.
It was eventually screened at Clayton Hall on the campus of the University of Delaware, at the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, twice at Theatre N in downtown Wilmington, and at the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles.
His second feature, "Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir," was actually written several years ago, and its location had been burning in Malinowski's mind for equally as long. It seemed to him a logical choice that the Delaware shoreline was going to serve as the film set. In fact, it's all over the film -- 25 different locations, filmed last winter in Lewes, Cape Henlopen and Rehoboth.
They rented two buildings at the University of Delaware's Virden Center – 15 crew members and actors. When he was in his late teens and early twenties, Malinowski would often spend time in Lewes, walking down Second Street, up Pilottown Road or over the sand dunes at Cape Henlopen State Park.
Malinowski had the location. He had the completed script in hand. He had 50 actors and 12 film crew members. He had a new company, Myatin Filmworks, LLC. Now all he needed was the $120,000 to pay for all of it.
On the advice of his mother, he approached local entrepreneur Alan Burkhard, a longtme family friend, whom he hadn't seen since he was a young boy.
Burkhard had three meetings with Malinowski. On the table before them were scripts and ideas and business plans. He listened to everything Malinowski was talking about: What he wanted the film to do, the emotion he wanted to capture, shot by shot, frame by frame.
"I looked at him one day and said, 'I'll finance the movie. You go and do it,'" Burkhard said. "What made me decide to finance the film was that Chris has, up until now, never been given the chance to make something happen. I took a chance on Chris, and we put it together like a process, and we did it."
"Alan Burkhard is an amazing individual," Malinowski said. "He's someone who really believed, the smartest businessman anyone could hope to meet, and the most risk-taking entrepreneur one could ever hope to meet. And so smart about life and business. He doesn't mince words. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten yelled at by Alan and hugged at the same time."
Shot by director of photography Robert Stuart, "Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir" is not only a visual love letter to the shore life of Southern Delaware, it is an illustration of what, ultimately, Malinowski wants to a, and three of his pupils, who disappeared without a trace on the sand dunes of Cape Henlopen. Ten months later, Clay's son Cliff, played by Malinowski, makes a pilgrimage to his hometown to not only track down his estranged father, but also forge a reconnection with the people who had become close to his father and his deceased mother. As Cliff reconnects with his past, his father's three missing pupils begin to reappear, each repeating a single phrase: "Yes, your tide is cold and dark, sir."
"I felt like an imposter on set," he said. "I was already nervous. Here I am, directing this film I also wrote, and I'm also acting in it, and I'm trying to figure out how to get the most out of the actors. I was often sick to my stomach."
On "Tide," he worked not only with seasoned film actors, but with traditional stage actors, and a few actors who had not only never done a film before, they had never acted before. One of those actors was his girlfriend, Christine Tackett.
"I was honored that he asked me and he believed in me enough for the part, but I was terrified," said Tackett, who hired an acting coach to help her sort through her part. "There were some moments when the camera was a foot away from my face, but I tried to focus on the character and not worry about what was going on around me. Chris helped me work our scenes over and over again. I did the part because I really wanted to stretch my comfort zone, and I ended up having more fun than I thought I'd have."
In Lewes, Malinowski worked as many as 18 hours a day on the film, somtimes not falling asleep until three in the morning. When the shooting wrapped, he was left with the rough cut tendrils of his story -- hours of unedited film that he needed to wrestle down to a manageable length. "Tide" is in post-production now, being done at his home in Landenberg.
"Chris is frantic and obsessive when he works," Tackett said. "He has almost tunnel vision, and he'll do whatever needs to be done. In the morning, he gets up and edits. He'll go to work, and then come home and edit more. He puts his timeframe on projects and is always eager to work on the next project as well."
He expects to finish "Tide" by December, and sees it playing the festival circuit -- in New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, as well as in Prague, Milan and Australia. Malinowski is working with a system known as Without a Box, an online vehicle for independent filmmakers to see what film festivals are available, and an opportunity to market the film and the filmmaker.
When he is not teaching guitar lessons or playing with his band, The Collingwood, Malinowski spends the bulk of his time editing "Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir." He watches it several times a day. The rough cut is two hours and 11 minutes, which he would like to carve down to two hours. Day by day, hour by hour, frame by frame, he whittles and refines.
Steven Soderbergh shot "Sex, Lies and Videotape" in his native Louisiana. Paul Thomas Anderson shoots in LA. Scorcese and Allen shoot primarily in their native New York City. Malinowski would love to make his films in Landenberg, perhaps at the Kennett Middle School.
He knows the school well. He and his friend, Bill Ackerman, used to go to the school and have coffee at night and sit on the bleachers three nights a week. There, they'd watch the sunset and talk about making films.
“The school makes a humming noise," Malinowski said. "At one point, I told Bill that I want to make a film that involves this school and the hum it makes.”
"I love Landenberg. It's one of my greatest inspirations," he added. "Almost everything I've written in the last ten years has been done here. My heart is in Landenberg. Sure, I'd love to be nationally or internationally known, but I'd like to stay here. I'd move to Los Angeles, but sit in a small office and attempt to get my films done? There's a great quietude in this area."
For more about Malinowski, visit www.myatinfilmworks.com.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
DELAWARE TODAY - FEBRUARY 2013
Chris Malinowski’s “Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir” Pays Tribute to Lewes
The Landenberg filmmaker debuts his two-hour feature at the Delaware Art Museum in March.
BY DREW OSTROSKI
What happens when an aging guitar instructor disappears with three students in the dunes of Cape Henlopen? To find out, you’ll have to see “Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir,” the latest from indie filmmaker Chris Malinowski of Landenberg, Pa.
The two-hour feature premiered in Rehoboth, at Movies at Midway, in mid-January, and will show upstate at the Delaware Art Museum March 9-10.
The film, with 60 actors from across the nation, was shot over the course of a month in Lewes in late 2011.
“I always felt something brewing underneath,” Malinowski says. “Then one lonely New Year’s Eve, I took a stroll out to the great dune and thought, This is it.”
In addition to writing and directing, Malinowski scored the film and played the lead role. A frequent visitor to Lewes while he was a film student at Ithaca College, Malinowski wrote the film as a “love letter” to the town.
Malinowski’s previous film was an experimental piece titled “Alms, You Say.” He readily admits that there’s little market for such work. With the surrealistic “Your Tide,” produced by local restaurateur Alan Burkhard, he takes a step forward. Look for it on the festival circuit. And with two feature-length scripts in the can, watch for more films to come.
“Professional filmmaking is happening in Delaware,” Malinowski says. (myatinfilmworks.com)
TIMES LEDGER (QUEENS, NYC) - August 5, 2013
AUGUST 5, 2013 / Q GUIDE: ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT / FILM / LONG ISLAND CITY
And then there’s Christopher Malinowski’s 2013 narrative feature, “Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir,” which Gostkowski describes as David Lynch-y.
The film centers on a middle-aged guitar instructor who, along with some of his teenaged students, disappears into the sand dunes of Delaware. Then, just as mysteriously, 10 months later, the students reappear one by one, repeating the ominous sentence that serves as the movie’s title.
“It’s exciting to watch someone give a shock to the audience,” Gostkowski said. “I respect that.”
Malinowski’s movie also helps justify Gostkowski’s desire to provide a venue for non-Hollywood films that otherwise would head straight to Netflix.
“We are at a cusp of time where you can’t see movies like this anymore in theaters,” Gostkowski said. “There is room for everything.
HOCKESSIN COMMUNITY NEWS - January 9th, 2013
By Andre Lamar
Posted Jan. 9, 2013 @ 12:58 pm
Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Know the feeling you get after watching a brilliant movie and you're still trying to connect all the dots?
This is the impression filmmaker and actor Chris Malinowski hopes to make on moviegoers after they see the premiere of his new $150,000 budget film, "Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark Sir," in Rehoboth Beach at Movies at Midway on Jan. 19. The movie will also be shown at the theater on Jan. 20.
"The film creates an uncomfortable, vulnerable world," explained Malinowski, 43, formerly of Pike Creek, who now calls Landenberg, Pa., his home. "It's a film you need to watch closely: there's lots of ins and outs and red herrings."
Something strange is brewing
"Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark Sir" — produced by Myatin Filmworks (co-founded by Malinowski and Alan Burkhard) — is a cerebral drama that centers on the mystery of missing rogue guitar instructor Rudy "Clay" Claitonowsky and three of his teenage pupils who've vanished into the sand dunes of Cape Henlopen.
Eight months later, Claitonowsky's estranged son, Cliff (played by Malinowski), makes an emotional pilgrimage back to Lewes — a place he abandoned 12 years ago, following the death of his mom.
Amending his past and that of his father's, Cliff begrudgingly forges relationships with mirthful barfly Jack, his father's closest friend, as well as the elderly Merrill, his mother's one-time hospice nurse. He also gets to know restaurant owner Jacey, Claitonowsky's former mistress and the mother of Carl Tullivan, one of the missing teens.
Looming beyond Cliff's quest is the presence of shady real estate mogul Rick Tullivan, Jacey's ex-husband and father of Carl, and a shadowy assemblage of reserved, faceless men, with grim ties to Claitonowsky who threaten Cliff nocturnally. As Cliff becomes mired in the unrequited love of his father, the missing teens re-appear, one by one, with a single phrase on their lips: "Yes, your tide is cold and dark, sir."
He 'bucked the system'
Art imitates life, and so does "Yes, Your Tide." The film is somewhat autobiographical for Malinowski.
Claitonowsky, the rogue guitar instructor, was loosely inspired by Malinowski's late father, Sylvester (better known as Butch or Mal). Mal was a well-respected, but unconventional, guitar instructor at his former music shop in Wilmington named Mal's Music, from the early 1970s to early 2000s.
"My father was indeed an eccentric guitar instructor, and he was pretty much a guru in Newark and Hockessin and even in Landenberg," recalled Malinowski, who currently teaches guitar at Accent Music on Kirkwood Highway. "People would come to his store on Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington, Mal's Music. But there was always a mystery to my father. He didn't believe in the traditional lifestyle. He was a guy who kind of bucked the system."
Page 2 of 2 - For instance, "if he was teaching students and their parents were there, he would still use questionable language," beamed Malinowski.
Anchoring "Yes, Your Tide" in the Rehoboth/Lewes area stems from Malinowski's adventures downstate, whilst a film student at Ithaca College in New York during his mid-20s.
"When I was going to film school, I was spending a lot of time with my aunt who lived in Lewes," he said. "I would walk around the town at night and I would feel as though there was a churning mystery to me [about the place] that seemed a little hopeful, but also dangerous."
Malinowski doesn't know why he's long identified Lewes as both an enchanting place tinged with mystery. However, his fascination with the area has made it the perfect location for Clay and his pupils to get swallowed up in.
"The movie is a love letter to the beauty of Lewes, but also its mystery," he echoed.
The big picture
In addition to screening "Yes, Your Tide" in Rehoboth, Malinoskwi said he intends to show it at the Delaware Art Museum on Mar. 9 and 10 (showtimes and admission prices for the Museum screening are still being finalized), as part of his plan to accomplish a big objective.
"The goal is to give the film a year to a year-and-a-half of festival life in national and international film festivals, and simultaneously look for an art house distribution deal."
Photo by Suchat Pederson
Photo by Richard Gaw