The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide and account of our history for the next generation.
Discover tomorrow’s next great independent films today! Exclusive excerpts from the 20 projects participating in IFP’s 2012 Documentary and Narrative Labs.
If you’re going to be in NYC on the 17th, Erica and I will be attending the Rooftop films IFP event - I’m both really excited and really nervous to have 20 minutes from FToM screen infront of an entire-rooftop of people!
Hope to see you there!
via ftom film:
Erica and I woke up early this morning for a group phone call with IFP, we spoke with Milton about what we needed to be focusing on to get the film ready for Film Week, which is approaching fast! I was glad we talked though, I had been stressing far too much about the 15 minute presentation that I recently mentioned, and Milton helped calm my nerves about that - the two pages of notes we took focus much more on:
- update elements of the film’s websites to make it easier for new people to follow the project and stay in touch…
- choosing / creating the main marketing images…
- 100-200 count of postcards for NYC with film info…
- use iBook Author to make EPK (electronic press kit) to take to IFP meetings…
- finish applying to cinereach…
- reach out to mentor for advice on face-to-face presenting / speaking about FToM…
With only 2 short weeks left will we board for NYC, I feel both very excited to see everyone again involved with Labs, and, at the same time, a little stressed about getting everything prepared intime to make sure we make the most of this unique opportunity.
1) Approaching NYC - I’ve never flown into NYC before, it was really amazing seeing the city pass by outside. 2) Erica and Xander talking about their day. 3) FIrst day at IFP Labs… getting a quick introduction before heading into the screening room. 4) Hanging out with Jon Freeze after dinner. 5) Playing around with the constellation globe in our air-bnb place. 6) Taking pictures of Grand Central station. 7) Heading back home after an amazing week.
1) Confusing Maeby, as per usual. 2) Visiting the Lot with Ed and Whit. 3) Going through old hipstamatic prints with Erica. 4) Accepting an invitation from IFP for For Thousands of Miles! 5) Even though it had only been two minutes since we left her in the truck, she still gets just as excited / anxious as ever. 6) On the phone. 7) Driving home from work - enjoying the sunset over Burbank.
via ftom film:
I should apologize - this site has been far too quite the last few weeks! It’s not that there’s been nothing new to report - we actually have been a bit overwhelmed, to explain: Erica and I are heading back to NYC in September for a week’s-worth of industry meetings at IFP Labs; pitching… or really just talking in general is not my strong-suite, so, I’m a little terrified of what’s coming up fast. The point being, there’s been a lot of writing lately to meet the film profile deadlines.
The film’s logline, synopsis (60 words) *and* even the summary (500 words) all had to be re-written, mostly from scratch. Here’s the updated synopsis, which I’ll need to update soon on the main site:
For Thousands of Miles is a story of coming home after months of travel and constant-motion; a story of who you are before a 42-hundred mile bicycle ride, and who you are when that road finally ends; it is a story of a person now split between two lives.
Also, I needed to write another 500 words for the artistic statement, which took me a while to get right. The last remaining things needed are bios - Erica wrote mine today, which means, for the first time ever, I have an actual, adult-like bio… I was excited!
Outside of writing, I’ve been trouble-shooting some smoothcam issues in FCP7, we were recently assigned a mentor for the film, through IFP, and I was supposed to get that person an updated cut of For Thousands of Miles weeks ago - but considering 80% of the shots in the film were affected by this sudden tech bug (resulting in a strange jack-hammer-like vibrating effect on footage); I spent two weeks pulling my hair out over test trying to fix it, but!, I’ve finally found a work-around.
Aside from that, I’ve been keeping myself up late at night trying to find a way to finance the last $60k needed for the film, which doesn’t include marketing of any kind, yet. I’m trying to stay open about the IFP film week I mentioned above, but, I know FToM is a difficult film to get money for… IFP even mentioned that I might have a harder time than normal getting industry-anyone interested. But, regardless!, I’m still trying to move forward… but, these days, I feel like I’m dragging a small house behind me… uphill… in the snow… both ways.
Posted earlier today: the first day of Labs went great! We all sat together and watched through the first 20 minutes of each selected film; all of the projects look so great.
One of the questions I kept getting from people after coming home from IFP was, “what does that mean?”, specifically what does IFP selecting For Thousands of Miles to participate in its 2012 Documentary Lab actually mean.
So, where to start, Erica and I spent a full week in NYC, actually we mostly spent a full week in the room pictured above - the Labs was a very, very intense crash-course in what remains ahead of the film. But, before I get into answering the above question, just so the program overall is clear, Erica and I go back two more times to NYC, the Labs is a year long program; but really it extends even beyond that. Rose, who helps run the Labs program, said on the first day, if I’m remembering right, that we, we being the 10 selected filmmaking teams, were all “stuck with IFP”, that they would be there to help us going forward. No one has ever really said that to me before… it’s a hell of a promise to make.
But that promise is really what Labs means to the film - having the support of IFP brings a lot of weight with it, including:
- The confidence that the film I’ve spent 2 years editing, over late nights and long weekends, is a real film. There comes a point when you’ve seen your footage hundreds and hundreds of times, when you’ve pieced together a scene dozens of ways… that you loose a grip on what you’ve really made. IFP was… I’m sure it sounds strange, but it was the first time I realized, or started to realize, what I had made.
- The reassurance that fewer mistakes will be made going forward, fewer lessons will be learned the hard way. IFP has given its support to more than 7,000 films, 7,000!, which means they have a tremendous amount of first-hand advice on what to do, what to try, what to avoid. That saves filmmakers a lot of time, and a lot of heartache.
- A plan. On the first day of Labs, each of the 10 teams played 20 minutes from their films, and then stood up front to answer three brief questions: 1) how much has been spent on the film so far?, 2) who is the audience?, and 3) where do we see the film playing? The Labs proved to be one hell of a wake-up call in the following five days, and I now have a better idea of what kind of festival run is possible with the film.
Before I sign-off for the night, I wanted to talk about Milton, Chantel and Rose - whom I mentioned above; these three selected the films, they scheduled the week, they called in speakers, they paired up Lab partipants with Oscar-winning filmmakers to give one-on-one feedback, they did so, so much to make sure the week was valuable to us.
On the first day of Labs there was a 30 minute mixer, where everyone crowded outside of the screening room, drinking coffee, eating bagels, and introducing themselves to one another - which Erica and I are impressively awkward at. But it was during this mixer that a man came up to both Erica and I, and introduced himself as Milton - I knew, from the emails back-and-forth leading up to IFP, that he was one of the main people responsible for the Labs program; what I didn’t know at that time was Milton was the first person that watched the DVD I had mailed back in February, and I would learn later, when speaking to Rose, that Milton was largely responsible in FToM being selected as one of the ten.
Erica and I suspected by mid-week, even before talking with Rose, that Milton in particular had a lot to do with FToM being there - subtle things in the way he encouraged certain questions, or was careful to point out my personal relationship to the narrative. He had the most encouraging things to say about the film - I wasn’t able to find a way to thank him personally until the end of the week, and even then I don’t know if I said it as best as I’d like to. I did make sure to give him a big hug though, so that helped.
Usually, it seems, you don’t realize the full importance of something until long after - but Labs was different, it was immediate.
Going into IFP, not only was there uncertainty in what to expect from Labs, but there had always been a deep-seated uncertainty about the film as well, I always thought I would do as much outreach as I could on my own, and then release it online. Now, after IFP, it is more clear than ever that 1) I have help, and 2) the film has its own path.
Our last day in New York we packed our bags and headed for the airport. We were still reeling from everything we had just experienced. Walking to the subway Erica squeezed my hand and said the film is going to go onto big things…
…Yours is one of ten documentary rough cuts chosen for its outstanding promise and creative vision.
It’s been two weeks since making the announcement that For Thousands of Miles had been selected in the 2012 IFP Labs; I don’t know how it has already been two weeks, but it has. After flying back to LA from NYC, I did what IFP suggested, and spent a week decompressing. The Labs was, in short, a five-day-long crash course in 70% of everything that still remains undone; which was, at times, terrifying… overwhelming… inspiring…
We returned to LA with an entire moleskine-worth of notes! And that’s not counting the organized folder of resources that IFP handed each team at the start of our first day.
I remember feeling especially relieved when Mona Nicoara spoke about her experience at Labs two years earlier, and how - I’m not quoting directly here - but how she felt she was still, even two years later, making sense of everything that the Labs taught her; I felt so relieved because it was just so much information to take in at once, and I worried I wasn’t absorbing it fast enough, despite my trying - so it was very reassuring to hear from someone who felt that same way two years earlier, but was able to put all of that information to such good use for her film. Her very successful film, I would add.
There is a lot to write about post-Labs, and I won’t go into everything all at once, a) because it’s getting late and I have to work in the morning, but mostly because b) it will be much more helpful to go over what IFP taught us, and how plans have changed, in smaller blocks. In the coming days / weeks there will be more details on everything from: what does this mean for the film, what changed and why did it change, the other talented filmmakers we met, the wonderful people who run the Labs program, favorite moments, etc.
But for now, goodnight! Don’t forget, if there’s something specific you’d like to ask - related to IFP or FToM or filmmaking or life in general - you can always do so here.
On behalf of IFP, we are pleased to inform you that For Thousands of Miles has been selected for the 2012 Documentary Independent Filmmaker Lab. Yours is one of ten documentary rough cuts chosen for its outstanding promise and creative vision.
Three weeks ago an email appeared in my inbox that started with the above paragraph… I read it a few times… then I read further down the page to make sure I wasn’t getting ahead of myself. Then I read the email out-loud to Erica… then I started to panic, because, well, I’m especially good at over-thinking and panicing; I worried about taking the time off of work; I worried about what exactly the Labs program would mean for the film; I worried about the cost of staying in NYC for 6 days.
But after weighting the pros and cons, Erica and I are here in NYC - more than likely, as you’re reading this, we’re both sitting in on the first day of workshops.
I suppose it meant a lot to me that IFP selected FToM as 1 out of the 10 feature-length documentaries because it really marks the first time a juried anything has said the film was good, or, at the very least, showed “promise”.
We’re really excited to be here - and to soak up everything the Labs program has to offer. This feels, in many ways, like the final push.