I had the idea to shoot a film about my friend Stephen Tobolowsky ever since I first attended one of his parties in the Hollywood Hills and saw him entertain a crowd with his stories. Guests just gravitated towards him, and, while at most parties people congregate in the kitchen, at his house the kitchen was empty and a crowd was always gathered around him. That experience is what I wanted to capture, but shooting on 35mm film was cost prohibitive, so I kept the project on the back burner until the first decent HD cameras made it possible. Shot over 4 days in 2005, the DVD is 90 minutes long and has another 90 minutes of stories in the “additional materials” section. Starting in 2006, Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party became a darling of the festival circuit; it premiered at HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival and went on to SXSW, BAFICI (Buenos Aires), Biografilm (Bologna), World Film Festival (Montreal) and scores of other festivals in the US and internationally. It also inspired the podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, after David Chen saw it and called me to propose a podcast to Stephen based on the same idea of having Stephen tell stories about love, life and the entertainment industry. The podcast, in turn, has led to Stephen’s stories being broadcast on NPR, Stephen writing books based on his stories, and Stephen giving live performances telling his stories all over the world. And in a completion of the circle, one of these live performance was captured and made into another film about Stephen telling stories.

Trailer | Website

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