Usually when Christmas hits, you are not looking forward to the next one. Most likely because that is another year off the docket.
During Thanksgiving this year I came across a story that took place during WWII. I was really inspired with it that I adapted it into a screenplay and started producing it. It is about some tired and famished young soldiers that stumble on a cabin in the cold German forest in 1944 on Christmas Eve. What happened is a wonderful story of life and gratitude for life.
I am excited to dig into this film with the cast I have been able to assemble. I am confident we can create something special.
I am completely financing this project myself. I have attached a donate button to those who would like to lend financial support to the film. Be sure to follow this blog as time goes on to keep up with this project and others that I have been doing.
As with any period piece, funds will go towards: wardrobe, props, some extra gear rentals, food for hungry crew and actors (otherwise they get hangry :) ) Also, building a set because there are just no cabins in southern Utah that look 1940's with their interior construction and design. Thanks!
I attended a city council meeting in little ol' St George, UT. It was a great eye opening experience for me to see who these "master builders" are in this community and where this older generation wants to keep a community while they have their sojourn here for the next 20 years, some 25 more, maybe..
I enjoyed a dream a couple nights ago. I was walking next to a dirt lot that had many labor-intensive people working on it. They all were an older generation. As I was walking with a group of younger people, maybe some, the same age as myself next to this lot. We were actually heckled by this older generation for not being of "hard labor material". So I stopped and slid down into this dirt pit with this older generation, picked up a shovel and started throwing dirt up to the side from below. As I walked in this pit and looked up at this mound (that was actually not appealing to the eye, it was a structure that there were only a few at the top) I had a shovel in my hand and then some rocks started to fall downward on me from above. There were older people casting these stones and exclaiming "What are you doing here" "You don't belong here" and one older gentlemen was in my face in a very negative and intimidating way. As I walked more in this pit and viewed what was built by this older generation, it clearly showed that it only prospered a certain amount and type of people and it was not an attractive place. I could see why, no one else walking along this lot wanted to even take a glance over.
What does it mean? Your guess is as good as mine.
I feel that because of my instance in joining in a city council meeting. I could see clearly how local politicians and city council members act when this older generation was in attendance. Elections were coming up and they knew who they needed to cater to. With this dream I had I could see that what had been built was not something that screamed innovation, it was something that only benefited a few on this structure that was built. From this dream I feel that this younger generation really needs to take their glance over at this "lot" that has been built and see what needs to become better for our society and future generations I am so poor in my knowledge when it comes to city management, right now. It is time for a younger generation to take their skills of technology and infuse that with city management and future planning. The most selfless form of life is creating something that you may never yourself see the benefits of. What a concept right?
This year I was able to take part in the Guerilla Filmmaking competition for Southern Utah media alliance. Honestly when I signed up for it, I did not have any inclination of what I would be filming with the theme : "We're Family"
I met Brian Grob, a local writer in southern Utah and I sent him the theme and inquired if he would write a story. He did. He sent it over and it was this estranged father and son story. We made some adjustments back and forth and this film was a perfect opportunity to literally "build" a film from scratch. I took on the role of director and collaborated with a DP named Tyler Wynn, our sound guy Jordan Hurd and the writer Brian Grob and we held auditions to find our actors to bring the story to life, Rich Hill, Daniel Scott (his debut film!) and Amber Bird. It was great to do rehearsals even for a 5 minute short. That was the challenge, how can we tell this dramatic piece in 5 min?!
The more I have come to understand the art of filmmaking has been such an eye opening experience for me for understanding life itself. Yes, there are films for pure entertainment and "time fillers", but, there are also films to challenge status quo, tug at emotions, invoke thought, etc, We all came together, paid strict attention to our pre-production needs (which is more important than filming the movie itself), finding the right location, a make up artist that can breath more life into our actors (Dawn Weidauer), editing, music and sound design that can create an atmosphere for the finished piece and with hardly any budget, sound and music that is royalty free and public domain.
We place 1st at the Southern Utah Guerilla filmmaking challenge. Hard work, dedication and simply letting other people excel at their talents and creativity is the cause of the placement. That to me is what is takes to be a director, you are a composer of an orchestra that needs to allow others to perform their instruments to make something beautiful. A wonderful and grateful shout out to Adam Mast who puts on these events and to all the filmmakers who take part in this event in southern Utah. I always look forward to what you come up with and the work and dedication that are poured into filmmaking!
A year ago I had the privilege and honor of acting in a theater production of "Over the River and through the Woods". An awesome story and straight play that involves the main character Nick who is very close to his two sets of grandparents. Portraying this character, Nick, was great in that there were so many moments that hit home and were so real. I have never been a part of a production with an audience where I could see so many audience members moved by this story because anyone who has grandparents (literally everyone) could relate to this story. Nick breaking the news that he needs to leave them to pursue his career. Although the grandparents try to set Nick up with a local gal, his career which involves moving across the country is not deterred although your led to believe that he has found someone worth staying for.
With all that being said and why that story is very near to me, is that it is a celebration of those giants in our lives. Many of which we only know for a short time but they are so present formidable in our young lives that they have formed a lasting impression. I feel that our kids are really for our grandparents, not really sure why I feel that way but I do. I have been blessed to have two great men and women as grandparents in my life, so diverse in many ways but united in love that I feel from all
To all the memories I wish I could share, I am glad that I have them.
Wow! Where do I even begin with this film. Recently, I signed up for filmstruck, a huge collection of films dating back to the earliest days of cinema and even some modern day classics. I stumbled upon this film, not sure why, maybe the title itself and I had an hour to see it. It was made in France in 1966. This film, about a girl from West Africa, looking for work and being absolutely joyful when she starts working for a white family taking care of their kids. This film offers so much perspective and culture! I am blown away at the storytelling this director chose, you fall in love with Diouana and her desire to work, to make something of herself, to be an individual, yet, as this story progresses she begins to realize a self worth that eventually ends in a sad, heart wrenching twist. There is one scene that stuck out to me that says so much! When Diouana is looking for work in a higher scale building in Dakar, West Africa, she is denied many times for maid positions and as a door closes on her another door opens in the hallway and as she walks down, two young girls, black and white are arm and arm laughing and skipping past her down the hallway and she glances. Don't we do that today, we acknowledge and "glance" what it takes to live peacefully but do we really want it?
This film got me thinking about today's world, where we are at when it comes to work-life and "domestic slavery" as a character in this film put it. She was with a man in Africa but extremely excited to go to France to "work". Her boyfriend wondered why she would want "domestic slavery". Near the end when Diouana gets enough courage to realize that she is not going to be treated with disrespect, she takes back a gift that she gave the family in the beginning, an authentic tribal mask, and even offered 20,000 francs which translates to $20,000 or so dollars in US currency. She refuses! A triumphant scene. "Never will I be a slave." "I did not come here for the apron or the money."
I love older films, they are a part of our society that needs a desperate comeback, instead of agenda pushing material that is so blatantly obvious which comes by a lot these day, it is rare to find slow films that make your brain actually have to work. Think about that, brains that actually work! If you want your brain to start working and thinking, watch older films, they come from a time where pacing was less but they always offer more.