Pamela Wilson and Stephen Seemayer, the filmmakers of "Tales of the American," were honored that the film was an Official Selection of the Fine Arts Film Festival in Venice, CA.
Presented by the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art on May 11-12, the Fine Arts Film Festival screened many excellent films from around the world on the subjects of art, photography, collectors and artists of all mediums.
A couple years ago, I was doing some research on L.A.'s Downtown Arts District. I wanted to put the area and some of its history into my novel The Wrong Side of Goodbye. I was lucky, because I had an in. A former colleague of mine from the Los Angeles Times was Pam Wilson. Her husband, Stephen Seemayer, was one of the artists who helped establish the Arts District back in the '70s. Pam and Stephen had even made a film about those early days, which I watched as part of my research and mentioned in the novel.
In the course of seeking their help with my project, Pam mentioned they had a project of their own underway — another documentary on the Arts District, but focusing on the one place that stood for all the district and its rich history: The American Hotel. More than 100 years old, the American has changed identity several times as its neighborhood changed. It has somehow survived as a classic and important part of the cultural DNA of the city that often doesn't preserve its past. Stephen and Pam's project was to preserve the American in film, to document the history and character of the place.
Most of the time, I write about a character who is intrinsically connected to his own past, as well as the City of Angels. So this project was a pitch over the plate to me. I had to support it in anyway I could.