Dave and Doris
Bladerunner screenwriter Davis Peoples and Moe’s Books owner Doris Moscowitz, both of whom will appear in New Mo Cut, a short film being made by Siciliana Trevino. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

First there was the remarkable salvaging from the city dump of a reel of film shot at Berkeley’s venerable bookstore Moe’s in 1965. Then the discovery that the film was shot by none other than Academy Award nominee and Bladerunner screenwriter David Peoples. Result: one happy bookstore owner, Doris Moscowitz, who has been able to relive some of the glory days of the store founded by her father, Moe. And one great story, in two parts, that was reported by Berkeleyside.

Now local film producer (and former Berkeleyside staffer) Siciliana Trevino has set out to make a short film of her own about the whole, compelling tale. Last week, Trevino launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $8,500 that will enable her to finish shooting (she’s already done two of the three days she needs), and get the film through editing and post-production.

“It’s such a sweet, romantic story,” Trevino said recently, talking about what inspired her to take on the project. “It took throwing the film away for Doris to see it. It shows us how objects are the source of memories, how they are imbued with meaning but not necessarily valuable.”

YouTube video

Trevino, working with director of photography Michael Coleman, has already interviewed Peoples and his wife, Janet Peoples, Moskowitz, and Kevin Laird, an artist and recycler working for Urban Ore, who found the film canister and delivered it into the hands of Moskowitz, who knew neither of its existence nor its origin.

Next up is location shooting in the BAM/PFA lab where film technician Gibbs Chapman re-spliced the old film and transferred it to video so that it could be watched.

New Mo Cut (the title is taken from the words scrawled on the canister holding to lost footage) will also feature Dan Knapp, founder of Urban Ore, Cal professor Michael Mascuch, and Alice Schenker, who was a guest at the infamous Moe’s Books party depicted on Peoples’ film.

Trevino said she didn’t really want to crowd-fund for the film, but it seemed the right way to finish the project and to create a sense of community around it.

“I didn’t want to be that person passing out the hat, but to do the film justice we had to build community around it and Kickstarter is a way to do that,” she said.

As of Tuesday, the campaign had raised nearly $2,000 of its $8,500 goal, which it needs to achieve by May 8 at 3 p.m.

“A bonus is that people won’t have to wait a long time to see the film,” said Trevino, who also hopes to enter New Mo Cut into several film festivals this summer. There are lots of incentives on offer for those who contribute to the making of the Berkeley film, including tickets to the wrap party that will take place at Longbranch on San Pablo Avenue, and tickets to a special Quirky Berkeley tour led by Tom Dalzell, who runs the blog of the same name, and is a regular contributor to Berkeleyside.

Even while working on the film it is evident that the story Trevino is telling is rooted in the Berkeley community in more ways than she imagined. Peoples was alerted to the film’s resurfacing only when a friend read of its existence on Berkeleyside. The screenwriter apparently thought the footage was still safely stored in his garage, but clearly it had been thrown out at some point. And when Trevino brought Peoples and Doris Moscowitz together at Peoples’ Berkeley Hills house, the two discovered that Moscowitz’s best friend’s mother went to school with Peoples in the Philippines.

Clearly Trevino’s wish — that the community be part of the project — is already in effect.

And then there’s the argument the story makes for de-cluttering — or salvaging, depending on how you look at it. As Peoples told Trevino: “I should throw more of my stuff in the trash — then more of my work might be seen!”

Berkeleyside is a sponsor of New Mo Cut, David Peoples’ lost film of Moe’s Books.

Bladerunner screenwriter made long lost film of Moe’s Books (03.11.15)
Film of famous Moe’s Books party found at Berkeley dump (02.20.15)
Moe’s Books gets $7,000 from author James Patterson (6.11.14)
Berkeley’s Moe’s Books honored with historical plaque (02.11.14)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...