- Monday, Nov. 3, 2014
Indie film actor Mel England is blazing a trail across the film festival circuit and winning many awards along the way. Two films that he stars in took home five awards at the conclusion of Indie Fest USA International Film Festival in October. “Ron and Laura Take Back America” won “Best Comedy, “Best of Festival,” “Best Director” (co-directed by England with Janice Markham) and “Best Actress” (Markham) while "Best Day Ever" won "Best LGBT Feature Film." Earlier this summer, England earned a "Best Actor" nomination for his performance in "Ron and Laura", also winning "Best Comedy" and a nomination for "Best US Narrative Feature" at the New York City International Film Festival.
In addition, England accepted the Charles Chaplin Achievement Award on behalf of fellow actor Danny Trejo who was unable to attend, a special achievement award given to an individual recognizing their valuable contribution to independent film.
"It is so awesome to have two films coming out at the same time that address issues facing the LGBT community today -- in very different ways,” says England who is also openly gay, “and to win so many awards is a testament to how far we have progressed in terms of how we are portrayed and perceived.” England adds, "And Danny Trejo is a legend. Just to be in his company is incredibly humbling."
This marks the actor’s second return to IndieFest, having previously starred in the 2012 IndieFest USA "Best Comedy" winner "Persona Au Gratin" and having attended the festival in 2013 with Academy Award® Best Actress Nominee Sally Kirkland, to receive her Lifetime Achievement award.
In "Ron and Laura Take Back America," a mockumentary satire, England plays the title character of Ron, a grumpy conservative trying to take his country back. Ron is forced to confront his own opposition to gay marriage, when his son not only comes out as gay, he also is engaged to marry a black man. In “Best Day Ever,” a semi-autobiographical, gay romantic drama based on true events from award-winning gay indie filmmaker Jeff London’s own life, England portrays a gay man facing a mid-life crisis, "The movies are so different and the characters are so different!" England laughs, "Polar opposites!”
"Ron and Laura Take Back America” will be released later this year, and co-stars Golden Globe® Best Actress Nominee Irene Bedard (“Pocahontas”) and Jim J. Bullock (“Hollywood Squares”) and also features a cameo by Kirkland. The mockumetary satire follows the exploits of a conservative suburban couple who decide to take their country back from Obamacare, Immigration Reform, Gay Marriage and Hollywood Health Food Nuts. A modern day “All in the Family,” the film is a funny, sometimes poignant, look at a family divided by the contemporary political issues of our time.
"Best Day Ever," which co-stars Tom Saporito (“Found Footage 3D”) and Peter Stickles (“Shortbus”), boldly addresses the issue of a gay man going through mid-life crisis in a generation perhaps not prepared for the reality of growing old and finding love. England plays the lead character of David, who along with relationship issues and career problems, comes to realize that he literally only has about 35 years left. When he meets a man 14-years younger than him, Shane (Saporito) he learns that maybeage doesn’t matter, and his future happiness is easier to figure out than he thinks.
“Best Day Ever” will be released on December 9, 2014 through Radioactive Cactus Entertainment (www.radioactivecactus.com). In addition, it will be available through TLA Video (www.tlavideo.com) and will be available HD streaming via Wolfe On-Demand (www.wolfeondemand.muvies.com), and Amazon.com.
About MEL ENGLAND
Mel England has starred on screen and stage, Off Broadway, internationally and across the USA. Recently, he was also in "Archaeology of a Woman" which was released in New York in September 2014 and starred Oscar® Nominee Sally Kirkland as well as Tony Winner Victoria Clark. His other features include starring roles in "Best Day Ever," "Ron and Laura Take Back America," (Best Actor Nominee and Best Comedy Winner at NYCIFF), "Little Big Top" and "Persona Au Gratin," (Best Comedy Winner, IndieFest USA). England also starred in "Highlights," (Best Drama Nominee, Moviefone Short Film Festival). In 2013 “Little Big Top” (Morningstar Entertainment) in which England co-starred, became one of the more popular films streaming on Netflix, surviving the distributor’s well publicized title purge earlier in the year (The Hollywood Reporter). The film starred the legendary Sid Haig, of Rob Zombie projects including “The Devil’s Rejects.” On Stage, England has performed Off Broadway, regionally and internationally in Europe. England's solo show "Swimming with the Polar Bears" premiered Off Broadway, and as part of a benefit for The Climate Project, featuring posters of the show signed by former Vice President Al Gore, which then toured world-wide, in Los Angeles, the National Mall in Washington DC for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, and UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. England's solo show "Navajo Memoirs" was dubbed "Ingenious" by Backstage. Other Off Broadway credits include "Hecuba", "Marriage" and "The Imaginary Invalid" with the Pearl Theatre. England also starred in the New York and Los Angeles premieres of Israel Horovitz's one-man play about September 11th, "3 Weeks After Paradise," benefiting children of WTC victims. Notable productions include "Lucky Man" (Best Acting Ensemble Award, NY Fringe), "A Shayna Maidel" (Best Play of the Year, Denver), and he was a proud part of the original New York productions of Chris Sanderson's "Midsummer Night's Dream", "Sea Monkeys" by Tony Nominee Chad Beguelin, "The Honeysuckles" (developed for television by FOX), and "King of Connecticut" with Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
About INDIE FEST USA
Southern California's only free indie film festival, Indie Fest USA Int’l Film Festival, established in 2007, is an exciting and entertaining eclectic mix of exceptional independent films from the US and international filmmakers and also includes outstanding local and regional bands and solo artists in genres including rock, alt. rock, jazz, folk, cover and indie. Over 1500 films from around the world have been screened, been attended by more than 1700 filmmakers and 15,000 film fans. Films are shown in drive-in style held in the Village Green Park. There are red carpet events, special guests and celebrities including Academy Award® nominees and Golden Globe® Winners, opening and closing night parties, daily seminars and socials plus networking galore (http://communi77.wix.com/indiefest2014).