I had a chance to see Bella at Biola (Wow, there’s a sequel idea for you: Bella at Biola!) several months back, but found myself in a fascinating conversation with Amazing Grace producer Ken Wales, and by the time he’d finished regaling me with tales of his experiences in Hollywood, I’d missed the screening.

But they were great stories — I’m not complaining. Had no idea that Wales was present on the set when the great Peter Sellers Pink Panther flicks were shot. Wow.

Anyway, I apparently do need to catch up with Bella at some point. Anybody out there want to send me a screener?

Steven Greydanus has just published a thorough, two-page examination and appreciation of the film:

It’s the kind of against-all-odds success story every film school student hopes and dreams about. Three first-time film producers‚ a first-time writer‚ director, an actor, and a co-writer set out to make a film with a script and no money. After connecting with entrenpreneurs and getting financing, they shoot the film over a little more than three weeks in New York. The finished picture is selected for a major film festival (Toronto)‚ gets some press, and winds up scoring the People’s Choice Award, catapulting it into the spotlight and leading to additional honors and success, including theatrical distribution (set for release in the fall. See the website at http:// www.bellathemovie.com/).

Talk to director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and his colleagues‚ actor Eduardo Verstegui, writer‚ producer Leo Severino, and producer Sean Wolfington‚ and it’s clear that they’re as thrilled to be in their shoes as any first-time producers and filmmakers would be. At the same time, it’s also clear they have a shared perspective quite different from most filmmakers, whether inside or outside the Hollywood establishment.