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Directing gender buzz

The First Weekenders Group gets the word out about movies made by women in hopes of boosting crowds in their crucial first weekend.

February 19, 2007|Josh Friedman | Times Staff Writer

"So many people said to me, 'I went to go see your movie but it was gone,' " Foulkrod told a dozen others from the First Weekenders Group, gathered at a California Pizza Kitchen after a screening of the bleak mystery "The Dead Girl" at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in West Hollywood.

Friends from the group often turn Friday nights into informal events, watching a movie with a few pals and then gathering for dinner or drinks to discuss it.

Veneruso, for example, gathers friends for an outing once a month. She already has "Air Guitar Nation," which opens March 30 in West L.A. at Landmark's Nuart, marked on her calendar.

As the group notes, every ticket purchase counts -- regardless of whether the buyer watches the film.

At the recent pizza gathering, Beauchamp proudly told the group that her 15-year-old son, Jake, had gotten the message.

When he and three of his buddies went to see the R-rated "Apocalypto" recently, they bought tickets to the PG-13-rated "The Holiday" before sneaking in to watch Mel Gibson's thriller.

"They could have chosen any movie at the multiplex, but he knew 'The Holiday' was directed by Nancy Meyers," Beauchamp said. "He told his friends, 'My mom will kill me if we don't pick that one.' "

josh.friedman@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Coming attractions directed by women

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Gray Matters

Director: Sue Kramer, making her feature debut. The UCLA film school graduate also wrote the screenplay.

Synopsis: Romantic comedy about a tightknit brother (Thomas Cavanagh) and sister (Heather Graham) who fall for the same woman.

Release date: Friday

Distributor: Yari Film Group

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The Namesake

Director: Mira Nair, whose films include "Mississippi Masala," "Monsoon Wedding" and "Vanity Fair."

Synopsis: Drama about an American-born son of Indian immigrants (Kal Penn) who clashes with his family's traditional ways.

Release date: March 9

Distributor: Fox Searchlight

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Air Guitar Nation

Director: Alexandra Lipsitz, who previously made Polish documentaries for the BBC, worked in several circuses and as a professional sailor.

Synopsis: Documentary chronicling the birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships, pitting "C. Diddy" against archnemesis "Bjorn Turoque."

Release date: March 23

Distributor: Docurama

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I Could Never Be Your Woman

Director: Amy Heckerling, whose credits include "Clueless" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Synopsis: Romantic comedy about a mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) who falls in love with a younger man (Paul Rudd).

Release date: April 6

Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

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Sources: Media by Numbers, IMDB

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