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Hilary Graham and Shalini Kantayya eliminated from Fox's 'On the Lot'


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/18/2007 

Hilary Graham and Shalini Kantayya were revealed to be ninth and tenth finalists eliminated from On the Lot during last night's live broadcast of the Fox reality filmmaking competition series.   

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Similar to the previous three eliminations, On the Lot host Adrianna Costa told Graham, a 37-year-old stay-at-home wife and mom from Francestown, NH, and Kantayya, a 30-year-old freelance director from Brooklyn, NY,  of their fates last Wednesday -- less than a day after last Tuesday night's screenings of their films, which were based on the story idea of "When Two Worlds Collide" and filmed over the course of five days on Universal Studio's back lots. 

Graham's The Legend of Donkey-Tail Willie film was a fairy tale about a donkey-tailed man and donkey-eared woman that were united by their differences.  Permanent On the Lot judge Carrie Fisher enjoyed Graham's film, as did fellow permanent judge Garry Marshall, who said it was his favorite and added he was glad she was showing improvements.  While last week's guest judge -- The Girl Next Door director Luke Greenfield -- thought the fairy tale was "overall a good job," he thought it could have been a bit more comedic.

"Every week the competition gets stiffer and stiffer," said Graham prior to learning her fate.  "I don't think it's good enough anymore to make a good film.  You have to make a great film." 

Kantayya's First Sight film was about a superficial young woman who learns a life lesson via a magical pair of sunglasses. Unfortunately for her, some of the judges characterized the film as a pushy PSA.

"There's a saying in Hollywood.  If you want to send a message, leave it at the beep," Fisher told Kantayya.  Greenfield agreed, commenting he felt like the film "took a branding iron with morality and burned me with it," adding it was "preachy."  Kantayya took the criticism to heart and anticipated her elimination.

"I'm pretty certain that I'm going home," she said.  "All the things didn't come together the way I wanted them to.  I felt like it didn't really go very well [last Tuesday night].  Clearly this wasn't my strongest work."

A video clip of both learning of their elimination from Costa then aired during last night's On the Lot broadcast, which marked the reality competition series' first "double elimination" based on viewer votes following last Tuesday night's broadcast.

"I'm really proud of the body of work that I've created," said Kantayya after she learned that her film was one of two that received the lowest number of viewer votes and she'd been eliminated from the competition. "I hope the world's seen a glimmer of what I'm capable of.  What I've learned here is going to make me a better person and a better filmmaker."

"I'm disappointed that I didn't make it as far as I would have liked," said Graham after she learned her film was the other to receive the lowest number of viewer votes and she'd been eliminated from the competition as well.  "To have something as your vision and to really have the resources to enable that fantasy that lived in your mind, it's just been a dream come true.  This is just not the end of my dreams.  It's the beginning."

The elimination of Graham and Kantayya -- who were previously the only two women remaining in the competition -- meant Will Bigham, a 31-year-old film editor from Glendale, CA; Zach Lipovsky, a 23-year-old special effects editor from Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Adam Stein, a 29-year-old freelance film editor from Los Angeles, CA, were now members of On the Lot's Top 6 finalists.

After revealing the eliminations, On the Lot's live broadcast screened new five-minute films shot by the other five members of the show's Top 10 finalists.  The film's were action shorts, each of which were filmed over the course of five days on Universal Studio's back lots. 

The five aspiring directors who premiered their new films were Mateen Kemet, a 41-year-old teacher from California, whose short Catch was about a good Samaritan in hot pursuit of a thief; Jason Epperson, a 30-year-old film production company owner from Winchester, KY, whose film Sweet was about a young guy who remembers his wedding anniversary at the last minute; Andrew Hunt, a 31-year-old promo producer from Minneapolis, MN, whose film Zero2sixty followed a car salesman who finds himself in the middle of a police chase; Kenny Luby, a 28-year-old freelance director and painter from Owego, NY, whose film The Losers was about a father who competes in a downhill skateboarding competition; and Sam Friedlander, a 27-year-old web producer from Santa Monica, CA, whose film Key Witness focused on a bounty hunter chasing someone down.

After the five aspiring directors screened their films, Fisher said her favorite was Hunt's Zero2sixty, while Marshall as well as this week's guest judge -- Training Day director Antoine Fuqua -- both said they liked Epperson's Sweet the best.

During next week's On the Lot broadcast on Tuesday, July 24 at 8PM ET on Fox, two of the five aspiring filmmakers will be eliminated based on viewer votes cast after last night's episode.  After that, all six members of On the Lot's Top 6 finalists will screen new romantic comedies.  Lemony Snicket and City of Angels director Brad Silberling will serve as guest judge.

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