Author Archive for Julie

Distribution and the Flatland Film Festival

Distribution

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.

Indie Rights

Indie Rights

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

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Flatland Film Festival, Lubbock Texas

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?

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James Narrates the Road Trip

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.

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Julie and James at LHUCA’s First Friday

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.

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Julie, James and John respond to questions at LHUCA

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.

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Julie at Sugar Brown’s

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.

The Movie Goes on the Road in Texas

(originally written February 11, 2016)

Mid January, James and I, two thirds of the Twilight Angel Team, find ourselves navigating a complicated freeway system in Dallas, Texas as we wind our way to Arlington where The Twilight Angel is to be screened at the Arlington Museum of Art, following a lecture on James’s work by fellow painter Donray.

James and I participated in a show in this museum some four years ago. That’s how we met Donray. Since then, museum director Chris Hightower and his staff have developed a large and loyal following with an active and diverse schedule of programs and exhibitions. We reap the benefit of this the night of our program. All chairs are filled. James and I sit in the back, gauging audience response and feeling self-conscious. Donray gives a 30 minute careful analysis of James’s various series of work, dissecting it in ways neither of us ever dreamt of. The movie follows.

The audience is uniformly enthusiastic and positive about the film, some say it should be shown in every art school in the country, some focus on the soundtrack, all are moved by the story, James’s performance, artwork, and John’s editing and cinematography. It is exhilarating. Discussion of the movie is spirited at an after show party and we leave Arlington with an invitation to participate in the museum’s annual film festival in September.

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On the Road to Lubbock

After a week or so at home, we find ourselves on the road again to Lubbock, Texas, where the film will be screened in conjunction with a two person show of both our paintings at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts. Our artwork will be on display for 2 months, the opening is part of a First Friday event the center hosts monthly. On a blizzardy morning we leave Santa Fe in a truck loaded with 20 paintings, a DVD of the movie crammed into in my purse.

LHUCA is a fabulous art oasis in Lubbock. The main building contains three beautiful exhibition spaces and a state of the art movie theater. Outbuildings include a print studio, glass studio, welding shop, four artist in residence spaces, a performance space and art gallery. Linda Cullum, the center’s curator, informs us that several thousand people will attend First Friday. We don’t believe her. Yet it is true. The center is packed solidly with people from all walks of life, age, etc., in Lubbock, including many students and professors from nearby Texas Tech for the entire three hours and more of the opening, and this on a cold winter night.

James and I watch as viewers discuss our work among themselves. In the many shows in which we have participated over the years we have never seen art lovers with such depth of interest, nor in such numbers.
The Twilight Angel screens the next morning. I have never seen it in such a theater with a huge screen and great sound system. I watch it as though for the first time, seeing details that had escaped me before.

As always, I am amazed at the end that we actually created this work all together with the various obstacles we faced. I miss John and Linda and wish they could have shared this viewing with us in this theater.

The director of LHUCA loves our movie and says she will try to get it into the Flatland Film Festival next October at LHUCA. Another artist film is apparently to be shown and ours would provide a counterpoint.

I guess we are going back to Texas this fall.