Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All the news fit to print

So, in case you haven't heard "The Violent Kind," the movie I Co-Produced over the summer got into Sundance. Frigging. Amazing. When we were shooting it, we were secretly aiming for Sundance but lets face it, every indie filmmaker without distribution aims for Sundance. As the shoot wrapped and the epic editing journey began, we didn't think we'd be done in time for the festival. But through some Herculean efforts by Mitch and Phil (aka The Butcher Brothers) and Nic Hill (our editor) not only did this thing get a cut that was pretty cool, it was enough to get us into Sundance.

This is all so incredibly awesome to me, I really don't think I've processed it yet. And I know many of you are thinking Sundance sucks or is played out or has no purpose and all that and to that I say...you're just jealous. Kidding. To that I say, you might be right in some ways, but it's still the biggest film festival in the U.S. and probably the second largest in the world. And for me, getting our film in also has huge personal ramifications.

When I first realized my love and passion for film, I didn't know what to do with this feeling. It was right when "Clerks" and "El Mariachi" and "Reservoir Dogs" were taking off and Sundance was this mythical place where anyone could make a movie, get it seen there and become rich and famous. Film school was being pooh-poohed because all these directors had made it with NO education and gosh darn-it, you could make it too. I started telling friends and fellow bar patrons I wanted to make movies and one of my best friends told me his sister worked for Sundance and I should go and volunteer. So, I did.

15 years ago I set foot in the snowy whirlpool of Sundance and my life was forever changed. There were other people there who loved film. I was seeing movies and then sitting in a Q&A with the filmmakers. I was seeing movies all day and that was it, I was hooked. I headed back home and enrolled in a screenwriting class and spent 5 years working on ONE FEATURE SCRIPT that no one will ever, ever read. But still, I was working on it and taking classes and learning everything I could and making small films to learn with and get into festivals with now, I have a film at Sundance. Sure, it took a while, but I've discovered I'm a monumentally slow starter. I hate it and will be changing that, but it's the truth.

So that's the main reason this is so special to me personally. In many regards I got into the film thing backwards and now, I'm back where I started, but in another way. if that makes sense.

The other reason this is so great to me personally is I really, really like and respect the new director of programming Trevor Groth as well as the new festival director, John Cooper. These guys were just regular ole programmers when I started and over the years, they were the 2 programmers (and later, Mike Plante) I sought out in the program guide because the films they chose were almost always awesome. I kind of know Trevor from CineVegas and various other festivals but I only know Cooper in passing from when I volunteered. I should also mention that these 2 guys were always extremely kind to volunteers, always checking if they were o.k., asking what films they saw and liked, etc. That stuff goes a long way and I couldn't be more happy our film was chosen by these guys to be in the festival.

So, there you have it. I'm off to Sundance 2010 as a filmmaker and it's awesome.