"Getting In" and "Ripe Figs" both screen this week at the SSIFFF!

Kicking off the New Year with a film festival in Biloxi Mississippi! Roulette tables, here we come!

The Southern States Indie FanFilmFest is held at the Palace Casino Resort, and runs Jan 2-4, 3019. Both films screen on Thursday, Jan 3!

Getting In” 11:00 am
Ripe Figs” 1:15 pm

“Getting In” is nominated for Best Web Series and Best Director, Web Series

“Ripe Figs” is nominated for Best Director, Southern States Short; Best Lead Actress, Southern States Short; Best Cinematography, Southern States Short; Best Original Soundtrack, Southern States Short

We hope to see you there!

"Ripe Figs" takes home 2 awards from the Black Film Festival of New Orleans!

We are ever so proud of our nominations at the Black Film Festival of New Orleans: “Ripe Figs” was nominated in three categories: Best New Orleans Short Film, Best Music/Sound Design, and Best Cinematography. The line up at the first Black Film Festival of New Orleans was impressive, and we are honored to have our two companion pieces, “Ripe Figs” and “Dr. Chevalier’s Lie” included and screening back to back. We are especially proud of our two talented team members: Patrick McGinley, for his Best Cinematography win, and Eric Laws, for his Best Music win.

Congrats to everyone! It was a beautiful festival, and we can’t wait to attend again in 2019!

"Ripe Figs" AND "Dr. Chevalier's Lie" to screen in New Orleans!

As we wrap up our festival run, we are delighted to be able to screen these companion pieces together at one festival at home - “Ripe Figs” and “Dr. Chevalier’s Lie” are true Louisiana pieces. We were a local cast and crew, we were blessed with historic locations, and our inspiration, Kate Chopin, a famous, groundbreaking Louisiana author.

The Black Film Festival of New Orleans runs Dec 19-23, and specific times and venues will be announced soon! Congrats to everyone!

***Important Edit - We are thrilled to learn that the Black Film Festival of New Orleans, recognizing the significance of the overall project, is screening these films back to back, as they were intended as companion pieces.***

"Ripe Figs" nominated for awards at SSIFFF 2018!

Not only is “Ripe Figs” screening in January at the Southern States Indie FanFilmFest, but it has been nominated for multiple awards! Congrats EVERYONE!

Best Director, Southern States Short: Artemis Preeshl
Best Lead Actress, Southern States Short: Keota Picou
Best Cinematography, Southern States Short: Patrick McGinley
Best Original Soundtrack, Southern States Short: Eric Laws

"Regret"

It has been a week since we wrapped Regret, and already that seems like a lifetime ago. We reached our goal on our Seed & Spark campaign, raising $12,001, and received multiple additional donations and discounts from local businesses for gear, supplies, and services.

“Regret” was the fourth adaptation of a Kate Chopin story that Ripe Figs, LLC has done, and while I have been privileged to write the screenplays for each of them, I was especially thrilled to be directing this one. Of course, when we began day 1 by shooting the biggest scene in the script - a 6 1/2 page scene with 8 speaking characters, 4 of whom are minors (and 2 of those 8 years old) - I had to remind myself that I had made those challenges for myself! But I was supported by some of the best indie filmmakers in New Orleans, some of them taking a few days away from their studio gigs (and studio paychecks) to help out.

Shooting in November means 10 hours of daylight - if you’re lucky enough to have clear skies. Minors work shorter days. Setting your story in rural Louisiana means crew and cast have to drive an hour to set. We shot the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (a half-day, at least) before Thanksgiving, and then I and my cinematographer got out on Friday and shot B-roll. We shot all 27 pages of our script, and didn’t drop a thing, and that is totally due to the dedication of every cast and crew member. Everyone did more than one job, and they did it with a passion for filmmaking.

We still have a long way to go to finish this project: editing, music, color and post-audio. We hope to start submitting to festivals around the time we end “Ripe Figs” and “Dr. Chevalier’s Lie” ‘s festival runs in January. I’ll be posting more about “Regret” - thoughts on adapting Chopin’s work to screenplay, missives on the amazing locations we found, all hidden jewels people should know about for other reasons, working with children - but for now I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have been given this chance to write and direct this short film, and for the people who worked on it with me.

"There's More To Life Than Work!"

Everyone has one of those projects you just can’t give up on. Dominion Street is one of those for me, and I’ve been working on it with my writing partner Sara Eliot on and off over the past six years. First we conceived a 30 minute comedy, then we decided to write and produce a short web series “sizzle” episode, which was well-received, and then we re-vamped the concept and wrote a one-hour pilot in 2016 (and was a Quarter Finalist in Screencraft’s pilot launch competition). Since then we revised it, and decided to send it out, and lo and behold, it is a finalist at the La Femme International Film Festival, which takes place in Beverly Hills, CA, Oct 11-14, 2018.

“There’s More to Life Than Work” is about a dominatrix who is at a crossroads professionally and personally, trying to balance the demands of her work with the needs of her dysfunctional family, while also maintaining her sense of self in a world full of double standards.

"Getting In" moves on to the Portland Comedy Film Festival!

A passion project of mine, of which there will be more installments soon, is starting to pick up a little steam! The pilot short, which premiered this past summer at Dances With Films, will be screening at the Portland Comedy Film Festival, November 9-10, 2018.

Starring Audrey Wagner, Doug Wilcox, co-starring Todd Voltz, Casey Haeg, Keota Picou, and Rosha Washington, “Getting In” was shot with just a few committed actors and a small crew. It was the kind of project made in true indie spirit, with the support of the fellow indie filmmakers. I can’t wait to make more.

"Ripe Figs" continues to kill it for film festival season!

Two more opportunities to see “Ripe Figs” in October, in Louisiana and Massachusetts! Sadly, they are the same weekend, October 5 & 6. “Ripe Figs” will screen at Lonely Seal Film Festival in Arlington, MA (Boston area) and at the Lake Charles Film Festival in Lake Charles, LA.

Happily, I will be able to attend Lonely Seal, as well as Film Girl Film Festival in Milwaukee, WI, which will be screening “Ripe Figs” and its companion piece, “Dr. Chevalier’s Lie,” the following weekend.

"Man of the Year" Director's Cut

We are past the halfway mark! Before getting into the specifics of this short, I'd like to mention that there are three more shorts to re-cut after this one. I haven't left the ones I like least for the end - quite the opposite. But what I have discovered is that however much I love these final shorts, they present the most technical challenges. As I am a director and writer, not an editor or post-audio mixer by trade, it's a very valuable lesson in how the technical can define/limit your creative choices. (Something I also have known from the decade I've spent working in production sound. Pay your sound team well, my friends. The fact that you don't understand their job doesn't mean it's not important. And also, if you are a former production sound mixer who is now directing, don't decline to speak up when you see something suspicious in your mixer's method just because you don't want to seem like a micro-manager. You will regret it.)

But what of "Man of the Year?" It's a simple premise, and its humor built on a quick moment of irony. This may the only one of the series where the director's cut is shorter than the original cut; There's a little less set-up and a more whimsical tone; it leans into the performances of Sapna and Donal Thoms-Cappello, instead of the situation and irony. Thus, it aims for more of an eye roll than a laugh.

So, please, enjoy Man of the Year.

You can also see the original here (and the rest of the series). 

Thank you again to Sapna and Anisa for allowing me to use these new cuts as a learning experience and to showcase my directing style. 

"Context" Director's Cut

And the new cuts of Broad Strokes continue! "Context," much like "Nomenclature," is simple in concept, and comes in at 0:35. My version does not depart radically from the original version: in part, because as director, I chose to shoot the piece from particular angles and did not shoot extra coverage for later options in post. While this might sound risky, I think I made the right choice - cutting into close ups or other angles would have weighed down an extremely simple set up, or even slowed down the timing.  Ultimately the alternate choices I made were in performance and pacing, which delivered a slightly different mood for the piece. SapnaAnisa and Leslie all delivered variations on their lines, and also improvised from take to take, giving me a lot to choose from.

Without further commentary, presenting "Context!"

You can see the original cut, along with the rest of the Broad Strokes series, here.

Film Girl Film Festival to screen "Ripe Figs" AND "Dr. Chevalier's Lie"!

Originally, "Ripe Figs" and "Dr. Chevalier's Lie" were envisioned and written to be companion pieces - a period adaptation and a modern adaptation that spoke to the ways female identity and individuality serves as a liability in society. The films were shot together, as well, and we deliberately cast one actress, Keota Picou, to play "Babette" in both pieces. We worked closely with our composer, Eric Laws, for the scores to reflect each other and to deconstruct the broken images between them. Thus, we are delighted by this first: Film Girl Film Festival will be screening both short films. We couldn't be happier to see these two films that speak to each other getting to be part of the same screening slate.

Both films were made with an entirely local cast and crew. The amazing talents of Donna DuPlantier and Tony Frederick helped make these stories special.

Film Girl Film Festival, formerly the Milwaukee Women's Film Festival, will take place Oct 12-14, 2018. We will share specific dates and times as soon as we have them!