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Label:
Name: NITESTAR PRODUCTIONS
Number: NITESTAR-BR

SOLSTICE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (1993) (BLU-RAY)
Directed By:  Jerry Vasilatos
Composed By:  Balint Sapszon

25 years ago, filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos began his journey as an independent filmmaker with a dream to make a Christmas movie, going from script to screen with “Solstice", a Christmas story which was broadcast into millions of households as Lifetime Television's Original Holiday World Premiere Movie in 1994.

This year, the newly restored 25th Anniversary Limited Edition with a brand new orchestral score has garnered nominations and awards including Best Drama and Best Score at the Action on Film Megafest, Hollywood Dreams International Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Awards and Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

Set in frigid, mid-winter Chicago, "Solstice" tells the story of Nick and Kristine (played by Michael Kelley & Mary McCloud), a disillusioned young couple dealing with a broken romance that regain a new sense of hope and optimism during a lonely Christmas Eve.

Harkening other perennial Christmas classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Krueger's Christmas", "Solstice" deals with personal seasonal introspections as relevant today as they were 25 years ago. The film was restored after scanning the original camera negative in 2K and the sound mix recreated from the original reel to reel elements. Along with composer Bálint Sapszon's award -winning new score recorded by the Budapest Scoring Orchestra, the film looks and sounds better now than when it was originally released to reflect the director’s fully realized vision for audiences that remember it, and new audiences discovering it for the first time.

Starring: Michael Kelley, Mary McCloud, Jay Lehrfeld, Bill Fogarty, Ramona Curtis, Lawrence Bull
Directed By: Jerry Vasilatos
Written By: Jerry Vasilatos
Score By: Bálint Sapszon

Language: English
Video: 1080p High Definition / 1.33:1 / Color
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Spanish, Greek, Russian
Theatrical Release: 1994
Runtime: 48 Minutes
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Region Code: Region Free (A/B/C)

Special Features:

2019 Director’s Commentary
2019 Film Historian’s Commentary
1994 10th Anniversary Cast and Crew Commentary

95 Minutes of Newly Produced, Never Before Seen HD Anniversary Programs including:

Spirits of Christmas Past and the Making of "Solstice" (44 min)
"Solstice II" - Kristine's Story (2.5 min)
The History of the Music Box Sing-Along (6 min)
25th Anniversary Trailer (2 min)
25th Anniversary Screening Q&A (24 min)
Spirits of Christmas Past Roadshow Cut (15 min)
Coda (4.5 min)
Deleted Scene w/Director's Commentary (1 min)
Outtake w/ Director's Commentary (.50 min)
Original 1993 Release with Mono Mix (48 min)

Original 2004 Bonus Content Archives ported from the Standard Definition DVD including:

Star Michael Kelley and Mary McCloud's original audition (4.5 min)
Behind the Scenes at Six Corners (6.5 min)
Chicagoland TV News Segment covering the original Lifetime Broadcast (3 min)
Cable Access coverage of the Chicago theatrical premiere by Nights Out Chicago (6.5 min)
Cable Access interview with director Jerry Vasilatos from Mise-En-Scene (9 min)
Behind the Scenes Slideshow and radio interview from WLUP Chicago (14 min)
Original Lifetime Promos (1 min)
First and Revised Third Draft Screenplay Slideshows
Storyboard Slideshow

Genre: Holiday/Drama

Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Spanish, Greek, Russian
Run Time: 48 min
Unrated
1993

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
All times US Eastern   |   login to post your own review or comments.
Posted by Jerry Vasilatos on November 12, 2020 9:49 PM
From Martin Leibman / www.bluray.com:

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Solstice-Blu-ray/255239/#Review

February 22, 2020

"Short film Solstice debuted on Lifetime Television during the Christmas 1994 season. The film was, and remains, a passion project for filmmaker Jerry A. Vasilatos, who wrote and directed it and financed it with settlement money following accident that cost him his leg. It's no surprise, then, that the film's protagonist is an aspiring filmmaker, but Nick's (Mike Kelley) dreams of celluloid stardom are of only tangential importance to the larger story. Solstice tells his story on one Christmas Eve, struggling to find the season's meaning in a life that feels aimless and purposeless. With odes to the Christmas classics to come before it, Solstice engages the audience with a simplicity and sweetness that will fill the soul at any time of year.

'Twas the night before Christmas, 1991. Nick (Mike Kelley) is not necessarily a scrooge but he's also not in the holiday mood. He doesn't have anyone special in his life since his girlfriend Kristine (Mary McCloud) severed ties. So it's not a surprise that she angrily rejects his Christmas gifts, a necklace and a VHS copy of Peter Pan, her favorite childhood movie and an obvious gift for Nick, a film buff and aspiring filmmaker in his own right, to buy her. As he meanders about town on Christmas Eve, reluctantly attending a sing-along movie showing of It's a Wonderful Life and stepping into a Christmas Eve service, he comes to realize that he does, in small and personal ways, see and work his own miracles through the evening.

Solstice thrives on its simplicity and its welcoming and rewarding journey with an everyman protagonist. It's very simple but it's also extremely effective. It's short but powerful, capable of building and exploring its character in rapid fire succession as he deals with the latter half of his day on Christmas Eve, discovering that even as there's an air of rejection, stagnation, and indirection in his life, the season has plenty to give him and his soul has plenty to share. The movie plays well because of its sincerity, its unflinchingly true-to-life story elements that see Nick nudged in the right direction to experience the rewards of receiving and the gratification of giving. Even as the film runs at under 50 minutes, it delivers much in the way of heartfelt content in its timeframe. The film is not concerned with splash and dazzle or building Nicks's story into a spectacle. It's concerned with grounding the tale and painting its protagonist as a simple man experiencing the same ups and downs that so many feel during the Christmas season.

It's not a surprise that by film's end Nick learns that Christmas is about "the spirit of faith, good will, and understanding." The movie quickly flashes backward through its highlights as a suddenly aware Nick realizes that his day has not been so dismal as he allowed himself to believe, his night not so aimless as he earlier perceived. Mike Kelley is very good as Nick, perhaps not delivering an Oscar-caliber performance under the traditional metrics but nevertheless finding that realistic cadence and approach to his life, from rejection to reason, from subtle despair to a sudden sense of purpose for the world and for himself. He learns to belong, to see that he's made a difference, that life has not rejected him. He's welcomed back to it with open arms and newly opened eyes, and Kelley carries that gradual transformation with impressive command. The film proper is obviously lower budget but, like the performances, it's not so much about technical merit, which is fine for a film of this nature, but rather the essence of the story and the ease and honesty with which it's shared with the audience. Anyone looking for a quickly uplifting film, at any time of year, will find it here."

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