Here we are at day 4 of the Napa Valley Film Festival. As much as I love drinking, dancing, parties, film screenings and talking to filmmakers, I am beginning to realize that being a member of the press is a little bit of work. Okay, nothing like the utility linemen out there that keep our electricity running after earthquakes, blizzards and hurricanes but…Okay, wait…never mind. When I compare it to what these men and women do, it is not really like work at all. This is probably the largest group of workers that get the least recognition than anyone else out there. I know when I see them up in their big buckets all I ever think of is how much fun it would be to be up in one of those things. Never about the fact that they are out in every kind of inclement weather no matter what time of day or night it is! This is also one of the top 10 most dangerous professions based on fatalities. Can you imagine choosing this as your career? I can’t! Between 30 and 50 workers in every 100,000 are killed on the job every year! This statistic doesn’t even include the non-fatal injuries that also affect their lives. These courageous few have a fatality rate that is more than twice the fatality rate of police officers and firemen and are the true first responders. The last time that these men and women were recognized was 78 years ago by Henry Fonda and Pat O’Brien in the film Slim The Lineman (CLICK HERE to see the 1937 trailer!).
As I spoke to the actors and producers that were responsible for bringing this story, Life On The Line, to the Napa Valley Film Festival world premiere, I began to see a pattern of responses on why they got involved. It was time to acknowledge the very hard and dangerous work these folks do that allows me to write my blog in my well-lit and warm home and you to read it!
Life On The Line stars John Travolta, Devon Sawa, Kate Bosworth and Sharon Stone and is a tale of lineman Beau (John Travolta) who has raised his niece (Kate Bosworth) after her father, who was also a lineman, was killed on the job. There were many subplots that included PTSD, stalking, pregnancy, rape and murder. Oh yeah, and a huge storm! Very melodramatic! Screenwriter, Chad Dubea, who was a former utility lineman, was able to write this story, find financial backing, producers and John Travolta to bring this story to life. Chad also spent a quarter of a million dollars to establish the non-profit Fallen Linemen Organization. The organization’s mission is to memorialize fallen line workers and offer financial and moral support to the families you have lost a loved one in the line of duty. They also assist if a lineman has been severely injured. But most importantly, they consolidate all accident and injury information to create a safer working environment so these injuries and deaths don’t happen in the first place! These men and women work under completely unforgiving conditions, in extreme weather, dressed in fire-resistant clothes including rubber gloves, must have physical stamina and a vast amount of knowledge. These skills take years to master, so great movie or not, try to honor all – those who have fallen as well as those that work every day to keep our lights on for us – by supporting the movie or donating to the Fallen Linemen Organization. This movie definitely opened my eyes and my heart to these overlooked linemen!
CLICK HERE to listen to John Travolta and Kelly Preston discuss what attracted him to the role of Beau and what it was like to film Life On The Line.
Devon Sawa discusses his role and why he got involved in the film. CLICK HERE
Producers Marvin Peart and Phillip Glasser talk about how they got involved! CLICK HERE
After the lights came up and the closing credits had rolled, I snuck out of the Q&A to head upvalley to beautiful Calistoga for another screening. I finally had the time to check out a movie that had more of an indie feel and wasn’t full of movie stars. The movie Crushed is about a troubled young woman who returns to her family vineyard after her father dies on the property. Only to find out that he was murdered! The big draw for me was that the film was set in wine country. Though the film was shot in Mudgee, New South Wales in Australia, winemaking is winemaking no matter where the grapes are grown. It was also my first visit to the newly completed Cairdean Estate. Calistoga’s newest wine and food village with stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. It was the perfect way to end my final red carpet experience!
A big thanks to all of you who are reading my blog and following Napa Valley Vegan on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. I hope you are enjoying the film festival as much as I did and as always…eat, drink and be vegan!