Distribution and the Flatland Film Festival


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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.

Screening at Flatland Film Festival

On Saturday, October 8, 2016 this 1:30 PM Flatland Film Festival screening of the Twilight Angel will be held in Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts’ Firehouse Theatre as part of the Saturdays at LHUCA art lectures followed by a Q & A with James Koskinas, Julie Schumer and John Witham.

LHUCA Firehouse Theatre 511 Ave. K Lubbock, TX 79401


Flatland Film Festival

Founded in 2004, Flatland Film is a program of LHUCA that aims to cultivate an appreciation for film, video, and the digital moving-image expression and to support artists working in this mode of expression. For further information call 806-762-8606.

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.


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.

Twilight Angel Showing in Art Film Festival

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James Koskinas at Santa Fe Art Films showing of the Twilight Angel

(The following is a blog post originally written December 14th, 2015)

The Twilight Angel just showed at the Santa Fe Artist film festival at the Jean Cocteau Cinema for a two day run. Also showing, With My Back Against the Wall, a film about Agnes Martin, and Flowing Grasses, a film about artist Dean Howell. All films were about New Mexico artists and it was an honor to be in the festival with such notable other artists.


JK and DH by Dean Howell

We had an intimate turnout both nights that resulted in strong feedback for our film and engendered spirited questions and dialogue that went on for a good hour after the film ended. Both nights we had the director of the festival’s sponsor, the Christopher Foundation for Arts, in attendance. As was my, friend Dean Howell, and numerous local supporters. John Witham, our fellow Twilight Angel team member – cinematographer and editor – was present opening night to give his keen insights in the filming of the movie.

Comments ranged from “must see,” to “beautiful”, as well as “the film should be seen by every art student in the school system”, to very personal insights, “ the film helped me understand the creative process, the agony and ecstasy every artist goes through, including my own.” We received numerous glowing Facebook messages also from viewers that were exhilarating in their praises.

It was very encouraging to hear the audience comments and responses about the film. It was also extremely powerful for me to see it again after some time had passed. I felt strongly that we had made a beautiful piece of art and that the film was a great accomplishment, both visually and as a story.

The next step for the Twilight Angel, is onward to Arlington, Texas in January for a showing at the Arlington Museum, and then to Lubock , Texas at the Louise Underwood Hopkins Center for the Arts – where there will also be a two month art show of paintings from the Twilight Angel team of James and Julie.

Screening at the Roxy Theater

Roxy Theater Logo

Screening at The Roxy Theater

The Twilight Angel world tour continues! We will be screening next month at The Roxy Theater in Missoula, MT, 718 S Higgins Ave, on Saturday April 11, 7PM. John Witham will be hosting a Q&A afterwards there at the theater which may include Skype with James Koskinas and Julie Schumer.


Preparing for the Premiere

After almost a year and a half of working closely with James and Julie to produce the Twilight Angel, preparing for and promoting the film’s premiere at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe has been a strangely insular process.

Being self-distributed and self-promoted, we had to get word of the film out as best we could ourselves. James was working the street like a madman, spreading the word face to face. My first priority was to get him the tools he needed, flyers and photographs, to support this part of the campaign.

I was also working the back end of our promotional activities, updating the website and Facebook, making sure the old and new video shorts on YouTube were showing up and linking back to our site and the event. For instance, James did a bit of performance art painting on Canyon Road in front of Selby Fleetwood Gallery, I documented it on video and then put an edit up right away. It was almost like the old broadcast days for me: shooting a piece, editing it and sending it out that same day. James wrote a blog piece about the efforts at marketing with authenticity.

TwilightAngel-poster4-smallA little bit of postproduction work also remained for me to do. There were a few frames of the motion graphics in the intro that I was not happy with so I fixed that before I encoded the DCP, the Digital Cinema Package, that we would use to distribute the film to theaters. I also did the layout for the movie poster. It was shocking in a cool way the first time I walked into the Cocteau and saw it displayed. I thought, “Wow, this is really happening! They are going to show our film.”

James had an invite to participate and show a painting in support of Mental Illness Awareness Week in the Inside Out Show at James Kelly Contemporary Gallery. It was a good synergy to work with this group and helped emphasize the connection between groups doing art therapy with folks that have mental or emotional illness and the process going on with the character in our film.

The particular painting James showed was the iconic “Turner” which we have used as an identity graphic for the film. We sent out a press release about the show that helped result in an article by Michael Abatemarco at Pasatiempo. I then also shot video interviews at the event and posted them up on YouTube right away, helping to publicise the Inside Out cause and, by association, the Twilight Angel.

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So, I would see James occasionally at these overlapping events, but mostly I worked from my studio – as usual, editing, writing and publishing these connecting pieces. And when we did get some press or make a connection with an affiliate, I’d make sure all our social media knew about it by giving James the links.

And it was during this time that it happened I was also working with Eric Martinez of Los Foodies Marketing Group, shooting and editing promo-pieces for local restaurants and the non-profit organization St. Elizabeth Shelter. There are no coincidences, Eric is a mastermind of social media marketing and we tapped his talents to help promote the Twilight Angel premiere.

James is a big advocate of working with affiliates. The most obvious starting point there was the Selby Fleetwood Gallery where both James and our Producer, Julie Schumer, show their work. James made an agreement to place Twilight Angel flyers at the gallery and to post an announcement to their email list. We would have Selby Fleetwood Gallery postcards promoting James’ other work available at the Jean Cocteau Gallery, where the paintings from the Twilight Angel were going to be on display.

Eddie Buchbinder, from the Selby Fleetwood Gallery agreed to come down to the JCC and be interviewed on camera about James’ work. He spoke marvelously in this piece, an excerpt from the full interview.

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The Jean Cocteau Gallery showing of paintings featured in the film (our “supporting cast,” as we like to call them) was enabled by Sam Atakra Haozous, the manager of the gallery at the Jean Cocteau, and an artist himself. HIS work was hanging in the gallery during this time and he chose to take it down a few days early in order to facilitate the concurrent exhibit of art and film. It was a great opportunity, made possible two years in advance of getting into the regular schedule of the gallery, through this gesture of support by Sam and the JCC General Manager, Melania Frasier.

The Twilight Angel has been blessed by many angels in the course of it’s development and deployment into the world. This recent effort by Lenore Gallegos, who got us the gig at JCC, and Sam and Melania is an affirmation that this unique little film has an appeal and resonates strongly with an audience.

And there was more. In addition to James’ direct action at spreading the word about the screening, Ron Whitmore, the owner of the local artist’s supply mecca Artisan also affiliated with us in sending out an email blast about the show. The connection to artists everywhere is clear and we appreciated the synergy.

Many in James’ network of associates and friends have also helped publicise the screening. From the start it has been a grassroots effort and our early fans have supported and sustained us during the production. And now the network continues to grow.

As a follow-on to the Pasatiemo piece about the Inside Out show, Michael Abatemarco interviewed James, Julie and I about the Twilight Angel and wrote this insightful article.

James Hart helped announce the event on Facebook. And, as mentioned earlier, Eric Martinez not only helped spread the word to his social media network, but helped me put together a video production plan for documenting the premiere. An excellent videographer he has worked with, Jorge Paez, was recruited to do the filming,- resulting in this piece.

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My gratitude is continually refreshed by the reaction the film garners. I am honored to have been able to do my part to create this fim and enjoy the process of getting it out into the world.

Dirk Norris, CEO and President of the New Mexico Film Foundation had this reaction, “When the opportunity comes around again, I suggest you see this film. Impact-ful, beautiful, heartfelt. This is fine New Mexico independent filmmaking. Everything about this film is good.”

Well, the opportunity has come again! The Twilight Angel movie will return to the Jean Cocteau Cinema for a reprise screening after the sold-out premiere. This next show will be Sunday, December 28 at 3:30 PM.

World Premiere at Jean Cocteau Cinema, Nov 15

We ALL did it!

The Twilight Angel is going premiere at the coolest, hippest, most-meta venue for movies, music, art, readings, personal appearances and book-signings in Santa Fe, the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

Thanks to your involvement and support, our award-winning handmade-in-New Mexico film is going to launch publicly in our hometown!

And many of James Koskinas’ paintings from the movie will be hanging in the Jean Cocteau Art Gallery on November 14th and 15th.

So, those of you who live near Santa Fe, plan to come to the beloved, historic Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma Avenue for ONE SHOW ONLY at 3PM, November 15, 2014.

If you have seen the first-cut version at a private screening and offered us comments you will be delighted to see this new version at the premiere. Several of the scenes have been re-sequenced and the film now runs 55 minutes. Come see it on the big screen in the cozy atmosphere of the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

We are also planning a fun after-screening reception at the Zia Diner, across the street from the Cocteau.

To those dear loyal supporters who are outside of the Santa Fe area, we want you to know this is just the start. We are working on ways to get to you soon. We’ll be posting other dates and venues here soon.

Or, come on out and visit beautiful Santa Fe for this kick-off in November!

Praise for Twilight Angel

High praises, laughter, tears and applause for your dear, raw, inspirational, daring journey put to film, James Koskinas, Julie Schumer, John Witham… I love that Fictional Character! I need to really see it a few more times to catalyze my full creative potential. Thanks for including us in your credits. You ALL amaze me. You truly do. I love who you each are and all the succulent gifts you bring to birth in this wild, awakening world. How do we change ourselves, to change the world…? I suggest the arts, truth, fierce self exploration & expression & by all means, see, own & share this movie, as it launches upon the world! & buy some art! That always helps me!
-Jen Klarfeld