Synopsis: A night of celebration curdles when a diverse group of people at a gallery opening are taken hostage by an ex-marine suffering with PTSD and forced to confront their cultural differences, their pasts, and their looming mortality as time ticks by.
Gregory Zarian (Avi)
Dade Elza (Travis)
Jim O'Heir (Detective Philips)
Terri Ivens (Detective Garcia)
86 Melrose Avenue is a character-driven narrative, where interpersonal drama unfolds during a fateful night in Los Angeles. It addresses major themes that are current in today’s political climate, as well as being very relevant to a world filled with misperceptions, xenophobia, violence and miscommunication.
Lebanese-born Nadia Morcos’ photography exhibit turns into a violent hostage scene, where past experiences are revealed and preconceptions are challenged. Gallery attendees, all from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds, are confronted by Travis, a former soldier suffering with PTSD. They each come face to face with their own range of human emotion, regret and gratitude for their past and present experiences. As the night progresses, characters’ relationships transform and evolve. Especially the connection between the Lebanese artist Nadia and the Israeli art collector Avi, whose neighboring countries have a long history of mutual and intractable hate and violence towards each other. Confronted with their mortality, they are forced to question what is really important, and the answers that emerge are compelling and poignant.
Highlighting an eclectic group of people who must confront their biases and fragilities, 86 Melrose Avenue examines the way one’s world view, past experiences and cultural background shape one’s relationships in the present. Within the crucible of a fast-paced and desensitized world, this film confronts several themes: the antipathy of the other, the vagaries of the human condition and the insidiousness of mental illness (PTSD). The underpinning of this tense drama is gun violence, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is the cause of more than 100 American deaths and several hundred injuries every day.
Being a child of war and from Lebanon, which is the sworn enemy of neighboring Israel, it was important for me to make a statement about the possibility of reconciliation and peace for which so many Lebanese and Israelis yearn. Even though our governments have been enemies and at war for decades, the people of both countries know there is possible path to peaceful coexistence.
Lili Matta was born in Beirut-Lebanon and received her MFA (with honors) in Film Production at Loyola Marymount University. Her short Film Born in Beirut won many prestigious awards such as the “Samuel Z. Arkoff” award, DGA – LMU “Best Student Film”, “Best Short” at Santa Clarita Film Festival,“Best Short” at the Dances with Films, “Jury” and “Audience Award” at the Dahlonega Film Festival. The film also aired on television locally in the USA.
In 2014 Lili wrote, produced and directed her first ultra low budget feature film called Life Gets in the Way. This film screened at film festivals, including the Women International Film Festival in Miami-Florida, the Saint Tropez International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival. This film won “Best Dramatic Feature Film” at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, in Los Angeles-California, as well as “Best Narrative Feature” at the Toronto International Film and Video Awards. It was also picked up for distribution by ITN Films.
Currently, Lili is in post-production on her feature film “86 Melrose Avenue”, to be released in 2020 and is in development for a couple TV projects she has written. Her very compelling and timely feature screenplay 86 Melrose Avenue had received accolades and winning awards in screenplay competitions such as, “Best Feature Screenplay” at the Best of the Best competition, Finalist” for the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship at the Stowe Story Labs 2018, “Finalist” at the Hollywood Screenplay Contest”, “Finalist” at TheWriteRoom, “Finalist” at the Los Angeles Screenplay Contest, “Semi-Finalist” at the Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards, “Quarter-Finalist” at Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition, and Quarter-Finalist at ScreenCraft . Additionally her pilot Carnation has garnered much success at screenwriting competitions, selected as a “Finalist” for the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship at the Stowe Story Labs 2018 , receiving an “Honorable Mention” at the Los Angeles Film and Script Festival, “Finalist” at the Filmmatic Screenplay Awards, “Finalist” at the Los Angeles Screenplay contest, “Semi-Finalist” at the Team 1st TV script Writing Competition, and “Quarter-Finalist” at ScreenCraft. Just recently, her feature comedy All the boys are called Joseph won the “ Grand Prize Winner” at the 2018 Hollywood Screenplay Contest.