Former ski racer brings latest film home to kick off Vail Film FestivalBy Shauna FarnellDaily Staff WriterVAIL - The movie business and ski racing have more in common than meet the eye.For Miranda Bailey, going from being a ski racer and Vail Mountain School graduate to acting and producing Oscar-nominated films wasn't such a bumpy transition."It's funny because they're really similar," said Bailey, who is scheduled to return to Vail this week for a screening of her film, "The Oh and Ohio," which will open the 2006 Vail Film Festival."Training for a ski race is kind of the same thing as an audition," Bailey said. "You train and you figure out how to ski fast. You look at the course in skiing, you study it in your mind and make your decisions about how and where you're going to turn. You get in a gate and you're nervous. You finish, you look back and you're like, 'I wonder how I did.'"Her approach to auditioning, Bailey said, goes about the same way.
"You look at the clock. You study the script," she said. "You get nervous before you go in to shoot something. Then, you're going so fast there's no time to think. Somebody yells, 'Cut!' and the race is over."Both activities, she said, call for focus above anything else. These days, all of Bailey's focus is centered around movies. After graduating from VMS, Bailey went to college in New York City and then moved to Los Angeles to launch her film career.Behind the scenes AND in themIn "The Oh and Ohio," a film starring Parker Posey about women's sexuality, Bailey's focus had to be split between her role as producer and supporting actress."It's hard to full-on produce something with any other role than a supporting character," Bailey said. "But that's how the script came to me. One of the other producers knew I was an actress and said, 'Take a look at the script, I think you'd be great for this character.'"Bailey plays Sherri, the best friend of Posey's character who provides sexual advice and guidance.
"She's kind of this sexed up character," Bailey said of Sherri. "Before I read the script, I was a little hesitant, but after I saw it, I knew right away it was just the type of movie we wanted to do."In 2001, Bailey founded Ambush Entertainment, a small production and film development company in L.A. that recently delivered "The Squid and the Whale," a drama that was nominated for Best Screenplay at this year's Oscars and also received three Golden Globe nominations, and "Dead and Breakfast," a mock horror created in the same vein as "Shaun of the Dead.""The Oh in Ohio" filled a void for a genre that was, in 2004 when filming began, yet to be tapped by Ambush.The missing 'Oh'"It's a comedy, but it's a female comedy, really," Bailey said. "Those are really hard to make independently. They're mostly studio movies. But we had just come off of horror ("Unearthed"), we were in the process of a drama ("Squid and the Whale") and I was looking to do something quirkier. Of course, Parker Posey was attached. I think she is a genius." Posey plays Priscilla Chase in "Oh in Ohio," a woman who appears to have a perfect life in Cleveland. She has a nice husband and a nice house. She's gainfully employed at a company that values her, but she has never been too taken by her sex life. And her husband (Paul Rudd) eventually feels like less of a man because of it and leaves her. Priscilla embarks on a sexual journey involving a therapist (Liza Minnelli) and the help of friends (Bailey's Sherri and Wayne, played by Danny DeVito)."It's a sexual comedy, but not done in a cheap way," Bailey said. "Our film is broad in the sense that it's a comedy, but the subject matter - female sexuality and getting in touch with one's sexuality - isn't explored in many films. It's not a big deal for a guy to find a girl and search for what he needs, but you don't see many girls in films like that."
A highlight of Bailey's film career arrived last week when Minnelli appeared on "Larry King Live" and talked about "Oh in Ohio.""I was watching it, and was like, 'That's my movie,'" Bailey said. "For the first time in my career, I was like, 'Wow. I made something.' Even with all the success of 'The Squid and the Whale,' for some reason, I wasn't able to process it until now."Bailey is excited to return to Vail, where her film will make its second appearance since the premiere two weeks ago at the South by Southwest festival in Austin."I feel it's a little like, 'Vail girl moves to L.A., brings back movie,' sort of scenario," Bailey said. "It should be fun."During a panel following the debut of her film at South by Southwest, a woman stood up and thanked Bailey for "Oh in Ohio." Bailey views this as another shining moment."It was really great," Bailey said. "This woman stood up at the end of the Q & A and said, 'Thank you, because I haven't had an orgasm in 10 years.'""The Oh in Ohio"
What: Sexual comedy produced by former Vail resident Miranda Bailey, opening film for 2006 Vail Film FestivalWhen: 7 p.m. Thursday followed by Q & A session.Where: Cascade Theater in Vail (check festival schedule for further showings)Tickets and information: 866-476-1092, vailfilmfestival.orgStaff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado