Earlier this afternoon, I received a text from one of my mentors, film producer Julianna Bonifacio:
“Just was on Twitter and saw your film as Indiewire’s POTD! Awesome!”
I immediately typed back, “Really?! OMG yay!”
I had no idea. I entered a few weeks ago after another awesome female filmmaker, Jessica Rionero, suggested that I apply. But I am thrilled that we are selected.
I love Indiewire.com, really. And they’re not paying me at all to say that. I recommend their site to all film artists and actors. I find a sense of comfort and security when I’m on their site, which may sound weird, but I feel taken care of – I know that I can read any number of articles and interviews with the most interesting, talented, passionate independent filmmakers. I can find out what’s noteworthy at SXSW this year, or how this one Hungarian filmmaker managed 250 dogs on the set of his latest feature, or how to not suck at Kickstarter. And yeah, I can also keep up on celebrity gossip. It’s a trade rag, but it’s my trade, and god do I love it.
Roll your eyes, cynics, I know how I sound. I’m coming from a specific albeit naive perspective, I know. After about 7 years creating theater, I made the transition to film only a few years ago. It’s still a new lover, we’re still in the honeymoon phase, but I think I’m really falling. I mean it, guys. This could be true love.
Okay, super corny, sorry, but anytime I discover a new medium, I get so excited. All I want to do is create and explore and push myself. I have a billion ideas and every day, every moment, seems like inspiration for a new project. I’m not only in post-production for this short film, but I’m also in development/writing 2 more short films, 1 feature-length documentary, 2 feature narrative films, and a ton of content for the internetz (like PITtv ).
And yeah, I totally need to slow down and learn to say “no” and take a breath, but then something like this happens that just inspires me all over again. Sorry, universe, I don’t think I can stop anytime soon.
But honestly? It has been so f*cking hard. Filmmaking is so f*cking ridiculously hard. Yeah, in today’s digital age, anyone can pick up a camera and shoot something, but to really make a quality (much less union) independent film – it’s so F*CKING HARD.
When I was producing off-off-off-off Broadway theater, I would stress about getting a fireguard, or raising the $5,000 we needed to recoup all of our costs for our 5-6 performance run. I look back on that time with the fondness that Barack Obama must have when he looks back at his Senator days. Damn, did I have it easy back then. That wasn’t the big leagues. Indie Film is the big leagues. (Let’s not even talk about the Hollywood studio system)
As tempted as I am to go into the countless struggles we’ve encountered in the last three (3!) years and nearly $20,000 we’ve put into the 20-minute short film, “Are You Afraid of the ’90s?,” I will spare you. We are currently in post-production and after we somehow scrounge up another few thousand dollars for a colorist, composer, post sound-mixer, and festival fees, we’ll start submitting to the 2016 festivals. Making this little “short film that could” into my very own 4-year film school education. (I just didn’t feel punished enough getting my NYU Tisch BFA in Drama, apparently.)
But I’ve never taken the easy way. I’ve always, stupidly, hubris-ly, always taken the hardest way. (I still boast that I chose the hardest pillow to make in Home Ec in 7th grade while everyone else picked the easiest ones. I still got an A.) It may stress me out. It may give me an ulcer. It may drive my friends, colleagues, and loved ones crazy, but like Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó says, “This isn’t just a task for artists, but if you are an artist and not working with the belief that you can change the world to make a better one, then don’t do it at all.” And that’s exactly why I do this. This is what I passionately enthuse about over whiskey to my (very patient) friends or to my (probably very uncomfortable) OKCupid dates – this is what I am meant to do. I don’t care how cheesy it is, I’ve never been good at being aloof or cool. I love it. I’m an artist. I was put on this earth to create and to affect people (hopefully for the better) and change the motherf*ing world. My art isn’t just for art’s sake. I’m here to take my heart, rip it out, and then try to make it into something really interesting and give it to you. You can take it or leave it but I’m going to keep doing it until I exhale my last f*cking breath. And no matter how many existential life crises or break-ups or job/home changes I may go through in my lifetime, that is one constant I am so, so happy and grateful I can count on.
So. Anyway. Indiewire is great. Because I can read about my future and current colleagues. Because I am still learning. Because I care and new art excites me. Because we should always celebrate people who are trying to get their stories out there. Without our stories, what would we be?
Okay, okay, crazy passionate rant over. “What does this Project of the Day thing even mean, Kate?,” you might be asking. Well, not only is it a nice little profile to help raise awareness of our film, but it also officially enters us in their weekly and monthly contest.
What does that mean, you may ask?
Well, the weekly winner gets a digital distribution consultation from SnagFilms (Indiewire’s parent company). And the monthly winner receives a creative consultation from Tribeca Film Institute‘s Scripted Programming Department.
Both prizes would be so beneficial and amazing – but we need your help! Follow us on social media (links below) and we’ll post when voting opens at the end of this week on Friday. Vote for us on Indiewire and help us win!
And of course, we’re always accepting tax-deductible donations via Fractured Atlas. (Insert big smile here of a poor, starving, desperate artist.)
So check it out and help me spread the word.
And you know what? Maybe we all should always try to take the hard way. Not to say we should unnecessarily create mountain-sized molehills and over-complicate simplicity, but really go for the gold, man. It’s really scary, I know. The future is uncertain and the road is looking really rough from here but what do you truly have to lose? And trust, in your gut, that maybe you are strong enough to take it on and endure. It may put you through hell and back, but if you survive? Think of all you could gain.
It’s like when you watch your favorite reality show and you know that contestant isn’t giving it their all (RDR this season, anyone?) and you want to shout at the screen – “What are you waiting for?! BRING IT! You’re going to get sent home!” Don’t be one of those weak, scared contestants. Be the finalist. Bring it home. Or at least go down in flames trying, right? Who knows? You could get your own spin-off.
Then again, check back in with me at the end of this year and festival deadlines have passed and we’ll see how I feel. 😉