30 January 2013

Pinch me, is this really my life?!

So… I just finished shooting my first feature film and I really don’t know where to start to explain how it feels.

When I was 14, I remember asking my parents for a family meeting during which I did my own version of a “coming out” which sounded a bit like: “Mom, dad, I decided what I want to do with my life. I want to be a filmmaker.” They were shocked at first, but I was fortunate enough that they were (and have been ever since - my mom just took care of the catering for the entire length of the film shoot while my dad was driving people around and picking up gear and equipment when needed. I truly have the best parents in the world.) extremely supportive of me. Fast forward two years later when I made my first short film (I was 16) and shortly after had my first film festival experience. Then film school began and with it came the dream of one day making a feature film.

I nursed that dream for many, many years, constantly coming up with ideas for projects that would never happen. For the past 6 years, I kept thinking, “next year will be the year I make my first feature”, but somehow, like most New Year resolutions, things didn’t pan out. Then, something magical happened.

I’m still having a bit of trouble rationalizing the series of events that lead me to where I am today. Some of it has to do with me finally embracing the cinematic genre I always loved (as opposed to trying to conform to whatever was popular). Some of it has to do with being at the right place at the right time, mostly thanks to my thesis project (the BloodyBreasts webseries). Some of it has to do with finally understanding how the indie biz works. And a lot of it has to do with meeting the right people who supported, encouraged and inspired me. Then, the final push came from watching two little gems of independent cinema, Ludlow (directed by Stacie Ponder) and Dead Hooker in a Trunk (directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska) which gave me the ultimate kick in the butt in the form of “if they did this successfully with no budget, so can I!”

And so the adventure began. In 2010, to be precise. Making my first feature became my #1 life goal. In 2011, I wrote the script. In 2012, I started a crowd funding campaign, gathered the cast and crew, and began pre-production. The wheels were in motion and there was no turning back. Sure, it took me longer than expected to get the film made, but in retrospect, I’m glad it did as it allowed me to gather the PERFECT cast and crew for the project; a lot of whom I didn’t know (or had just met) back in 2010.

And now, here I am. I just completed principal photography in 14 days (which felt like only 4 days went by). This is a dream that has been in the making for more than 12 years, so part of me feared or expected something to go wrong (after all, this is a project with a minimal budget…), but it didn’t. Apart from a delayed flight and a few artistic disagreements, everything went smoothly from day 1. You know what? This was the best experience of my life. It felt like coming home. It gave me a sense of purpose and was the culmination of all the efforts I had put in my shorts.

I’m on my way to achieving the biggest dream of my life and let me tell you, this feels fucking amazing (and a bit intoxicating).

I truly cannot wait to unleash Dys- upon you all! Now, moving on to the editing stage… Bring it on, 2013 and a sincere THANK YOU from the bottom of my twisted little heart to those who have stuck by me for all these years and have been there for me when I needed it most. You know who you are. I couldn’t have done it without you. <3>

4 January 2013

Poster art for DYS-!

I'm proud to give you a little peek at the amazing poster art for Dys-, my first feature film!
I say a "little peek" as the credits, top billing, etc hasn't been added yet.

What do you think?

The artwork is by the sickeningly talented Irene Langholm. Check out her other stuff and drop her a line if you like what she's doing/hire her! :D

2 January 2013

2012: Year in Review (part 4)

...better late than never, right?! I wanted to really take the time to wrap things up properly, but as most of you know, I'll begin shooting my feature in 5 days, so you can imagine I have a lot of other things on my mind!  Still, here we go for the last trimester of the year...

October: Ok wait. October was actually the quietest month of the year! (I know, I know, I said the same thing for August…) It was rather… uneventful aside from the fact that my day job contract got renewed for a year (yay!). I continued promoting my films, scored a few more festival plays for Red, worked on the collaborative script and locked down my crew for Dys-. Oh and it was Halloween – aka my favorite day of the year – so, as usual, I got all dressed up to party and do the time warp, again!

November/December: I'm lumping these two months together as this is the time of the year when the Dys- pre-production really took over my life. Still, I somehow managed to find the time to hop on the train to Toronto for the first ever Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival during which Red was screened. I met a bunch of awesome fellow Canucks, gathered a few reviews of my short and got to hang out with Andrea my non-sister brain twin. It might have seen like a bad idea to run away from everything when I still had so many things to do for the film, but this little weekend getaway turned out to be just what I needed to recharge my batteries! 

 After that, well, there was my birthday, then the holidays - which comes with the mandatory family dinners/late-night gift giving/running around being stressed and not getting enough sleep. As if that wasn't enough, a few unfortunate circumstances forced me to do a lot of introspective thinking while I was trying to wrap up pre-production. But those who know me know that it takes more than that to throw me down and, like a phoenix, I picked myself up, grew as a person and channeled everything back into what I do best. 

Even though the year has been very good for me professionally, 2012 has also been a total bitch for certain things on a more personal level. However, I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I see all this as a preparation; as a test for what's to come. And it helped me learn more about myself. A LOT. And now, here we are in 2013 as I'm about to embark on the biggest adventure of my life so far. You know what? Bring it on, I'm more than ready for it!

I wish you all the best for this new year - I have a good feeling about this one! ;) May your craziest dreams come true and I'll see you on the other side of Dys-!

Here's to 2013!