More Blumenthal! NY Premiere Set, Extra Screening Scheduled at Santa Barbara

20130209-131954.jpgFirst, I'm pleased to announce that BLUMENTHAL will be making its NY premiere at the inaugural First Time Fest. Hosted by the historic Players Club, the festival is a competition and mentorship comprising of only 12 films and supported by awesome talents like Darren Aronofsky, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Sofia Coppolla. Our movie will play the first weekend in March at the Lowes Village VII. More details to come!

In other news, due to popular demand, BLUMENTHAL will be screening an extra time I'm Santa Barbara this weekend. It will be at 2pm on Sunday the 10th at 2PM at the Riviera Theatre. Best of all, it's free! SBIFF does this every year as a 3rd Weekend treat intended for locals who avoided the last two weeks of madness that descended on their town. I will, unfortunately, not be able to attend. I will be there in spirit (and celluloid).

20130209-133227.jpg Festivals aside, we are still trying to nail down a sales rep for the film. We've recently received a good deal of interest from some cool companies, so hopefully we can set that up soon. For the uninitiated, a sales rep or sales agent is responsible for getting the film in front of distributors and ultimately negotiate the terms of a deal. Naturally, festival buzz and press in general will be key in our selling this film. Speaking of which, INDIEWIRE just published an interview we did a couple weeks ago. It's generous, to be sure. It also talks about WMMAM. Please "like" the article on Facebook and share with friends! This stuff goes a long way in promoting a small film like this.

More soon...

Screening #3

Like Us! To our surprise there was yet another long line of 10AMers wrapping around the theater on Sunday. Talk about commitment! I couldn't think of a worse time to go and watch a movie than a Sunday morning before I've had a chance to down my mimosa and Quiche. Nevertheless, the Barbarians (of Santa) filled up our theater to watch some BLUMENTHAL. Not our loudest audience to be sure, but they definitely stuck with it.

The Q and A was nice, too. A lot of people are asking how their friends could see the film and when we will have a distribution deal. The answer I give is the same message that I'll pass on to you all: Talk about the film! Seriously, tell your friends, like us on facebook, and repost the link to our trailer. All of this helps to generate buzz about the film and thus the demand for it. That demand is what ensures that BLUMENTHAL will eventually secure distribution so you all can see it. From the very beginning, this film has been helped along by its audience and now you are all more important than ever. Keep up the good work.

Back to the Q and A. One of the recurring questions that I get is about how we shot the Chinatown sequence. People want to know how we did it with no permit, without hurting anyone, and not getting arrested. Here is a repost from our Shooting Diary, Day 19 where you can see us ignoring traffic directions, almost kill a pedestrian, and fly right past a police car.

[vimeo 25700200 w=500 h=281]

Watch Me Watch a Movie

Part Two... 7be15dbb9c8740662068b7a60c81463b103352f5-1359240422

Sold out. People turned away at the door. Me and the producers gave up our own seats to cram more people in. The lights went down, the festival sponsors' ads went up, and then HAROLD BLUMENTHAL SPEAKS! I need write a whole other post about how the whole world shuts up when Brian Cox opens his mouth to start off a movie.

The picture was there, the sound was there, and most importantly, the audience there. I had no interest in seeing a movie I've watched hundreds of times, believe me. But, I must confess that today was like the first time I'd ever seen it. It was pretty awesome. I don't know what more to say, other than that. Although we still have a ways to go with this thing on the festival circuit and distribution etc, this was the whole point: People crowding into a theatre, turning off the lights, blasting awesome music (thanks Noah and the Megafauna), and watching a movie. It's as simple and as sweet as that.

I'm tired and tipsy and producer Garrett and cinematographer Zak are still texting me. Here's to my awesome team!




Getting the Movie to the Screen

Lately, I've received a number of requests for updates on the progress of Blumenthal. I must confess that I've abstained from blog posts for the past several weeks largely because I've assumed this period  to be a boring one for this site's audience. With all of the questions I've been fielding, I'm reminded that even the less "exciting"  parts of this process are of interest to other filmmakers and people who are simply interested in how independent movies are made.

The film is pretty much there. While a few sound and color tweaks remain to be done before our final layback, the movie is essentially finished. We finally have a polished product to start submitting to festivals and are pressing DVDs for that purpose. Once we have a premier date, we will finalize the mix and picture and output to HDCAM.

The festival strategy for Blumenthal is a simple and conservative one. We are aiming for upper-tier festivals whose programming tastes and industry marketplace might suit a film of this size and tone. The plan is to push Blumenthal into a premiere and distribution, but not spend too much time squeezing it into every regional festival that might screen it. Don't get me wrong, there are a wealth of benefits in garnering as many festival laurels as possible for a film. The trouble is that with few resources, that process can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. My producers and I feel strongly that as we go into the festival circuit, one of the best things we can do for Blumenthal is to keep making movies. Many of us are already onto other projects, some of which were made possible by our work on Blumenthal. That said, we still have a load of work and responsibility to see Blumenthal to its fullest potential.

Now is a relatively quiet time for the circuit, but fests will begin notifying by mid-summer and into the fall.  In addition to the submission process of sending off DVDs, my producers and I are pushing left and right to cultivate contacts in the indie-sphere to keep the film on people's radar and even establish personal contacts with as many programmers as possible.

There is little science to this part of the indie film business. There is a surplus of product out there and a tremendous amount of noise that we need to rise above if we want our movie to be seen. I do believe (I have to believe) that any good movie will find a way to be seen. It might not be at a multiplex near you, but at a minimum will be reviewed and consumable in other formats such as VOD and Netflix. As in any other industry, the formula for success is a fairly simple one: hard work, persistence, and luck.

I'm thrilled with the apparent anticipation of so many of you to see the movie. Friends, internet strangers, and programmers have been eager to screen Blumenthal and I suppose that bodes well. However, until we premiere the film, we are trying to keep the full-viewings to a minimum. In the interim, we are working on cutting a trailer together that we can share with the world to promote the film. I had taken a pass at editing a trailer several months back, but after a few days of work, I realized that was a terrible idea. Fresh eyes from a real trailer editor make all the difference in the world. Things are progressing well on that front, and I hope to have something up on the blog and site in the coming weeks.

In this relative quiet of creativity in the process, I've been immersing myself once again in screenwriting. I'm swimming in a few different projects at present with a TV pilot and two feature screenplays. My hope is that by the time Blumenthal reaches you all on-screen, we will be at work shooting the next film.

Kudos to the Sundance Winner Benh Zeitlin

The Grand Jury Prize winner of Sundance this year was Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild. While it's easy to be cynical about anything with Sundance "buzz", Zeitlin and his team seem truly deserving of the attention their film is getting. I haven't seen the film, but I did watch the 2008 short Glory at Sea that was a precursor to Beasts. This film is awesome. Hands down, the best short film I can remember seeing. The story is inspired, moving, funny, and downright imaginative. Even though the budget of this short was comparable to the budget of my entire feature, Zeitlin and his team at Court 13 manage capture something truly remarkable (even for such a large-scale short film). Check out the short below to see a terrific display of filmmaking skill paired with a childlike imagination.


Things Amazing

It's amazing how far this blog has come in only a few months. It's amazing how much support is flowing in via Kickstarter. It's amazing that we are over halfway to our goal only one week into this. It's amazing how family, people from our past, our friends, our friends' friends, and our friends' past friends have all come out of the woodwork to watch us/help us make a movie. It's amazing how quickly my own personal journey has become the journey of many. It's amazing that we scored two awesome locations this week. It's amazing that people I don't know are writing in and asking to be involved on our crew. It's amazing that people are writing in offering their services, homes, and resources. It's amazing I'm writing this while flying in a plane thousands of feet in the air. It's amazing that Kickstarter hasn't done a feature on us yet. It's amazing that any movie gets made ever. It's amazing that something so hard and so completely draining can be so fun. It's amazing that people are willing to get behind a first-timer. It's amazing to do anything on a stage this size. It's amazing that I'm learning how to tweet, sort of. It's amazing to hear the word, "yes". It's amazing that I'm still awake.