Today’s Filmaka Jury tidbit for all……
Hey, this is Jason. No, it wasn’t Take Your Dog To Work Day but my three year old weimeraner Logan recently spent the day at Filmaka. After spending the first half hour sniffing unfamiliar surroundings and terrorizing our designer Ryan, Logan settled into his comfy bed by my desk. Like our blue wall? Anyway, he had a peaceful day except for when the UPS delivery guy and the mailman interrupted his sleep. This test proved to be a success so Logan, no doubt, will be returning to the office soon.
Filmaka asked Varda Hardy to write a blog about her experience shooting her upcoming feature documentary. Here’s her second entry:
By the time we actually started shooting, I had traversed the state of Iowa six times. And mostly along small country roads. The first time I traveled the state in a cushy bus like the ones that big bands tour in. Joining me was the production team, producers Talia Rodriguez-Shakur and Susan Gorrell, line producer Bernie Cassar and our music supervisor Mopreme Shakur. That journey had a real “magical mystery tour” feel to it. I was discovering Iowa for the first time. Some of the landscapes reminded me of French Countryside. And of course there were acres and acres of cornfields. Several weeks later, I scouted the state with key crew members in a traditional passenger van with a local Iowa PA, Joel, at the wheel.
The actual shoot took me across the state for the seventh time in less than eight weeks. That comes to about 3,150 miles. Scouting a whole state was an insanely fun challenge! My producers would have to drag me from edges of country roads where I was immersed in conversations with town folk whose curiosity was piqued by this wild haired woman dashing around taking still photos of their community buildings, churches, post offices and front porches. Of course, I would ask them about Ragbrai and they all had stories to tell. I was just soaking it all in.
In response to a Facebook post I put out there, a producer friend who had shot the Tour de France and other bike rides told me that I must use motorcycles to shoot the ride. He said I absolutely could not cover a bike tour without motorcycles. This was an absolute must. So I called my producers and asked for two motorcycles. That’s when I learned that we would not be allowed to use any motorized vehicles on the route
Uh, now what
(This is Jason from Filmaka again. If you would like to contribute to our blog, we would like to hear from you. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you.)
This is Jason from Filmaka. We have been a bit busy with the DIRECTV competition and have neglected our blog. So, thanks to Varda Hardy, multiple winner of Filmaka competitions, for writing the blog entry below. She recently landed a very exciting assignment but, rather than explaining it to you, here’s Varda – in her own words:
Three weeks ago, I returned from directing a feature documentary on the longest, largest, oldest bike tour in the world. This annual tour (not a race) called RAGBRAI can include as many as 20,000 participants and spans the state of Iowa. Two months ago, I had never even heard of Ragbrai now I have over 120 hours of footage covering this year’s tour.
Although I’ve mostly directed scripted movies, I am always up for a challenge. I’m totally into bike riding, so when Monica Daniel, an editor I often work with, sent me an e-mail from a producer looking for a director who would be interested in directing a feature documentary about a bike tour, I decided to check it out. I interviewed with producer Talia Rodriguez-Shakur and her husband Mopremeat the Urth Cafe on Main Street in Santa Monica. During our meeting, I mentioned quite randomly that I often ride my bike to the Urth Cafe. Talia’s eye’s lit up. Turns out the other two directors don’t ride bikes. Perhaps that off handed remark did not get me the job, but I think it cinched it.
To be continued . . .
This week, the ReelHeART International Film Festival, Toronto, awarded the Best Film Award in the ReelTube category to Pat Kelman’s Filmaka shorts FRANCIS, THE LETTER GAME and ELEPHANT BOY. Reel Tube is a new category added to this year’s lineup, to honor films specifically made for the internet. Pat is a Festival favorite, having won Best Feature Film Award in 2005 for ENCOUNTERS. Congratulations on your continued success, Pat!
The talented Calderons, three brothers who live in or near Tijuana, Mexico, drove to Los Angeles this past weekend to help their sister move and to have lunch with Filmaka’s Jason and Carolyn. Roy is a director, a 2008/09 Filmaka Feature Film Competition finalist. Ramses is a producer and actor who has appeared in many of Roy’s films, including a new one entered in our “Smoke and Mirrors” competition. Jonathan is a musician. Lunch was at Grub, a restaurant just blocks away from Paramount Studios. The guys were excited to see Yeardley Smith, who plays Lisa on The Simpsons. It was great meeting you guys and we look forward to seeing more of your creativity.
We always knew that Noah Harald was a star behind the camera – a Filmaka 2008 Feature Film Finalist, he created the web series Starlet and was a winner of our Lincoln Grammys (R) Music Video competition. Well, Noah now can be seen in front of the camera, starring in Nikon’s new, information-filled, podcast. The podcast features footage from his Lincoln music video as well as the great work he has done for the Outfit Media Group.
Subscribe to the podcast here!
This just in from Filmaka 08/09 Feature Film Competition Finalist Pat Kelman:
“Hi gang. Just to let you know of some continued success of my Filmaka films. The 5th ReelHeART International Film Festival (RHIFF), Toronto will launch on Monday June 22nd with a programme of films that includes three shorts by Pat Kelman created for Filmaka. The programme includes FRANCIS (Truth or Dare Special Jury Prize winner), THE LETTER GAME (Truth or Dare Entry Level Winner) and ELEPHANT BOY (On the Road Entry Level Winner). Being selected for RHIFF is like a homecoming for the film maker, as his first feature, ENCOUNTERS, won the Best Feature Film prize in the Festival’s inagural year and has been shown twice since under the Festival’s banner. FRANCIS and THE LETTER GAME are included in the Festival’s new “ReelTube” category, intended for films specifically created for the internet. ELEPHANT BOY has the honour of being selected for the Festival’s Short Film Competition. Kind regards, Pat”
Hey, this is Jason from Filmaka.
I just wanted to give you an update that Filmaka has sent DIRECTV all of your pitches. Having read more than half of them (and I promise to read the rest in the next day or two), I can say “WOW”. We’ve done quite a few of these projects (Lincoln, Mustang, Cisco, Red Bull, Miller, etc) but each of them is unique in its own way. One thing that is always consistent, though, is your creativity. Although the pitches did contain some common themes (family, couples), they all had some unique characteristics. Thanks again for making us proud. What happens next? Well, DIRECTV will take about a week to review the pitches as well as your previous work (which is why keeping your Filmaka profile up-to-date is so important). We’ll certainly weigh in with our thoughts but, ultimately, the final decision rests with DIRECTV. Stay tuned.
As for the Digital Rights Group UK-sponsored “Hard Times” competition, we hope to announce the Entry Level Winners within the next week. Filmmakers selected their top ten and now it’s DRG and Filmaka’s turn. We like to announce them all at once so everyone has the same amount of time to produce their second film.