Guinea pigs: New film needs test audience

A producer of a highly acclaimed film has produced another, and he wants you to be his guinea pig– er, serve on a focus group.

A year ago, Barry Sisson took The Station Agent out to the Sundance Film Festival and came back to Charlottesville with a distribution deal from Miramax. The film, now rambling through American art houses, (including Charlottesville's own Vinegar Hill Theatre. See Review page 46.) has been called a "treasure" by Roger Ebert, "an absolute stunner" by Rolling Stone, and the New York Times declares it "delicate, thoughtful, and often hilarious."

Can Charlie's Party top that?

"The odds are against it for sure," concedes Sisson. "The Station Agent has just been so well received– it's almost a miracle."

The new film is an "off-beat sexual comedy" written and directed by Catherine Cahn about a bored party girl so traumatized by turning 30 that she decides to host a swingers' party. The film stars Sabrina Lloyd, who famously lost out to the blonde on the NBC's Stuckeyville-based series, Ed.

Charlie's Party was shot over the summer in New York City and Connecticut.

Sisson has booked Vinegar Hill Theater, where The Station Agent has been playing, for a test screening for Monday December 22, at 5pm. Audience members will be shown the film and asked to complete a short survey before leaving the theater.

There's no charge to participate, and this will be the first time that the film has been shown to an unaffiliated audience. "This is a valuable part of shaping the film for ultimate sale and release," says Sisson.

Interested attendees can e-mail Sisson directly at

Barry Sisson says you're invited to
Charlie's Party .