The Reel Queens: Astorian’s May-December porn romance heads to Tribeca

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Bearden’s film follows the story of an obsessed Washington teenager (Dustin Ingram) who treks across the country to track down the titular 1970s adult film star (Kim Cattrall), only to find she is living a downbeat existence in Indiana.

The filmmaker, who lived for years in Forest Hills before moving to Astoria, called his film a “sweet, unusual love story.”

“I like to push people’s buttons,” he said. “There’s nothing that raises their hackles more than an older person and a young person being involved romantical­ly.”

The film will screen in the festival’s narrative feature competition.

Bearden said he wanted the film’s characters to be complex and for the picture to be the story of an unlikely friendship.

“He’s kind of aimless and she’s a troubled woman in a custody battle with her sleazy ex-husband,” he said. “She’s been pushed off the cliff by the porn industry and can’t get another job. She’s divorced and needs money. This woman who used to be a part of people’s fantasies now has a rough reality.”

Cattrall, known for her role as the libidinous Samantha Jones on “Sex & the City,” gives a gritty performance as Velour, Bearden said.

“Kim was gung ho, even though she had to gain weight and we had to mess with her appearance,” he said. “She was really down with it.”

The director said he got the idea for the film years ago when he worked as a journalist and wrote a story about a former adult film star who was acting in B movies under a different name. At that time, the actress had also been turning tricks on the side.

“The adult movie industry is a tremendously big business,” Bearden said. “So, you have to wonder what happens to these stars. They get tossed out on their ears and people see them as garbage.”

“Meet Monica Velour” will screen April 25 at 4:30 p.m. at Manhattan’s SVA Theater, but will also show April 26 at 2:45 p.m. at the Village East Cinema, April 29 at 9 p.m. at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema and April 30 at 3:45 p.m. at the Village East Cinema.

The film currently does not have a U.S. distributor, but Bearden hopes to nab one for theatrical release and DVD at the festival.

“Tribeca is a great launching pad,” he said. “It’s going to be great with a packed house to see how people react. I’m really excited and terrified. This is my first feature film, but it’s not a big-budget movie.”

Bearden said filming under the tight schedule of an independent film was both exhilarating and frustrating.

“There’s a scene toward the end of the movie where the characters have a fight,” he said. “In a Hollywood movie, they would have taken three days. But we filmed it in half a day.”

But Bearden is not the only borough filmmaker to show his work at this year’s festival. Francisco Bello, of Jackson Heights, will screen his HBO Films-produced documentary “El Espiritu de Salsa (The Spirit of Salsa),” which chronicles a group of 17 people from the five boroughs who learn how to salsa dance through a six-week program at Spanish Harlem’s Santo Rico Dance School.

“This is a New York Story,” said Bello, who co-directed the film with Tom Sternberg. “It’s about these people from all walks of life, from Manhattan to the farthest reaches of the boroughs. People in New York are so career-driven, so it comes to a point when professionals try to find hobbies for other parts of their energy.”

The dancers, who range in age from their 20s to retirement age and include multiple ethnic backgrounds, include a mailman, MTA worker, construction contractor, police officer, caterer, MRI technologist, equities trader, bodega owner and single mom.

One dancer, Rick Callahan, hails from Whitestone, while another, Nirka Rodriguez, lives in Elmhurst.

The film, which will show April 22 at 8:15 p.m. as part of Tribeca’s so-called “drive-in” series of outdoor screenings, will be aired later this summer on HBO. The free screening will take place at Manhattan’s World Financial Center and include performances by salsa bands and dancers at 6 p.m.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will screen nearly 150 films, from shorts and foreign movies to indies and classics, such as David Lean’s “Dr. Zhivago.”

Among the highlights are Woodside actor and director Edward Burns’ “Nice Guy Johnny,” Michael Winterbottom’s controversial “The Killer Inside Me,” Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Micmacs,” Neil Jordan’s “Ondine,” Turkish director Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen,” Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give” and the Bill Murray period piece “Get Low.”

The festival, which was founded by actor Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2002 as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will show films from France, Ireland, the United States, Iran, Italy, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

A complete schedule of this year’s film screenings can be viewed at

Read film reviews by Nathan Duke at

Updated 5:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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