Orinda Filmmaker Brings Story of Jazz Age Artist to the Screen

(Courtesy of Julie Rubio)
Orinda filmmaker, Julie Rubio (right), works to bring her new film Tamara to the screen. The film will showcase the lifestyle and aura of Jazz Age artist Tamara de Lempicka.

    Orinda filmmaker Julie Rubio has yet another story to tell. Tamara De Lempicka promises to be a visually striking and sweeping feature documentary tracing the life and adventures of the celebrated painter Tamara de Lempicka. It follows her rise to international fame in 1920’s Paris, her move to the United States escaping anti-Semitism in 1940 and finally the revival of her reputation in today’s art market.
    Long fascinated by the paintings and life of de Lempicka, Rubio is excited to bring her story to the screen as the writer, producer and director of this definitive documentary.
    “Her work truly speaks to you. It’s completely recognizable. And if you love her artwork, it penetrates and goes deep and is completely soulful,” said Rubio. “There’s no one quite like her. Her story is one of resilience. She was self-made and truly a survivor. The world needs more stories like hers, especially focused on women.”
    De Lempicka was a foremost Art Deco painter. She worked hard to maintain the legendary status she enjoyed in Europe, using Hollywood star system techniques such as: glamorous photos by famous photographers, courting the press and hosting lavish parties. But the method that worked in Roaring Twenties Paris failed in post-war America.
    Using an all-female crew, Rubio’s documentary attempts to solve the mystery about why it took so long for the U.S. to appreciate what European art collectors and historians had already known about de Lempicka, the painter whose work is the world’s third most valuable among females.
    Rubio is an award-winning Latina film producer, writer, director and actor. She is the director of business for Women in Film SF Bay Area. She launched East Meets West Productions in 2002, through which she produced the multiple award-winning feature film East Side Sushi, winning awards at 16 film festivals. East Side Sushi is distributed through Samuel Goldwyn and HBO.
    Multiple films of hers have been picked up and distributed extensively as well as being featured in domestic and international festivals.
    Among her many other films, Rubio also wrote, directed and produced the feature film Too Perfect. Orinda residents will feel at home seeing scenes in it that were filmed at Theatre Square.
    “My son and many of his friends acted in the film, and many extras came from our community,” she said. “It’s so special to me. Even though it’s just a kid’s film, it just meant the world to me with the whole community getting behind it.”
    Rubio added, “That’s why I made it at Theatre Square. At that point, Theatre Square was completely shut down and many of the stores were vacant. It was kind of scary. It was like a ghost town ‘downtown Orinda.’ In the movie, I wanted downtown to be a place for kids to see movies together, hang out by the fountain, eat ice cream at Loard’s and get cupcakes at Republic of Cake. I wanted to see my town alive. I wanted the kids to have a safe, fun place to go and a downtown that was fun and welcoming for them. It didn’t exist except in my mind, and then a whole community jumped in and helped manifest my dream.
    “Orinda can come across as pretty perfect, but there’s a lot of people that are hiding behind being perfect. That’s why I called it Too Perfect. The last line of the movie is ‘But hey, no one’s perfect’. Isn’t that the truth?”
    Want to contribute and be a part of Orinda’s filmmaking history? Visit https://bit.ly/39nQ6pk.

Dave Fonseca can be reached at davef52@gmail.com.

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