One day last winter, via a website called nofilmschool, I happen upon a YouTube video of a woman named Linda Nelson, who along with her partner, Michael Madison, have a company called Indie Rights which distributes independent films globally on various platforms such as Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, VuDu, and a channel on the Roku Channel Store. I am in a particularly downcast mood, wondering how the hell our movie will ever really see the light of day since we are unable to get on some of these platforms ourselves without a middleman. Linda inspires hope in me as one of the main points in her presentation is that content that is good today will be good in ten years, and one just has to keep putting one foot in front of the other. She strikes me as a can-do person willing to take on smaller budget productions such as ours as well as better funded ones.
Buoyed by the thought that the someone could assist us with distribution, we submit our film to Indie Rights and are accepted. Although our success will depend in large measure on our forging ahead steadily with our social media promotion campaign, no small task in itself, I feel a great weight has been lifted off of our shoulders and that continued exposure such as Indie Rights can provide will help increase our audience, generate some cash and perhaps lead us to cult movie status in years to come. This will take a long time but we are in it for the long haul, and will wait and see where this goes.
Flatland Film Festival
The weekend of October 7-8th arrives. We we are thrilled to participate in the Flatland Film Festival in Lubbock, Texas. The festival is a program of LHUCA (Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts) along with the City of Lubbock, Civic Lubbock, Inc., the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas Film Commission, and Texas Tech University.
Despite the fact that John has relocated to Missoula, Montana, coincidentally he has a filming job in Santa Fe this month so all three of us are able to attend. This is a first for us, a red letter event. We enjoy a lively 5 hour road trip down to Lubbock from Santa Fe on Friday afternoon, with filming (naturally) along the way. What do filmmakers do but film?
Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts
In a previous blog, I described LHUCA and what a phenomenal art center it is. The Festival takes place from a Thursday to a Saturday. We arrive in time for First Friday, an evening event, which, due to lovely October weather, is mobbed with multiples of thousands of people from babies in strollers to the elderly in wheelchairs. All buildings at the center are open and thronged with people interacting with the various exhibits.
Outside there are a variety of food trucks, a band, and a fire going for warmth as the evening chills. The citizenry of Lubbock sure does love its art center and stays until well after the event is officially over.
Our movie screens the next day in LHUCA’s fabulous large screen movie theater. It follows a documentary film obviously better funded than ours celebrating the life and art of one of the unsung giants of late 19th century early 20th century Texas art, pastel painter Frank Reaugh, whose works of landscapes and longhorns document a way of life now largely gone from the Texas plains. This is an interesting juxtaposition by the festival programmers. By contrast to the Reaugh film, ours documents more of the artistic process than the finished work.
Our movie seems so intense compared to the one it followed that I fear the audience, most of whom watched the first film, will disengage in self-defense. They watch intently, however, and a lively Q and A session ensues.
One viewer tells James she wonders how he did not become an alcoholic. Others wonder at how to categorize the film. Is it a documentary? How much of it is real? How much poetic license has been taken? The audience seems surprised at the quality of the film given our extremely limited funds. All agree it is exquisitely lit and filmed and beautifully written and acted. In the end, viewers agree it is a brilliant recording about what it is to create art, no matter what its category may be. An Instructor from Texas Tech asks if he can use the film as part of his program, alongside a movie about Picasso. I am heartened by this as I believe the movie belongs in art schools showing students an inside look at the creative process.
After the film and Q and A we decompress with cappuccinos at a favorite local independent coffee shop, Sugar Brown’s. We delight in the confirmation that our film is worthy, has something of value to say in the global conversation about the creative process, and we just need to keep moving forward with it one step at a time.