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on Sep 26, 2010

When I was first asked to create three posts on the IFP blog for Independent Film Week, I had no idea what I’d be writing about during the middle post — no real sense of how intense and all consuming this week would be — or how I’d feel about sharing my experiences. But I’m happy to report that Independent Film Week so far has been an amazing experience in every way, over-stimulating in the best sense of the word — a lot of information, many points of view, and various philosophies about every aspect of making independent films.

After my first day of meetings, I felt like I’d been in New York for a week. How I wish I could have cloned myself so that I could attend every session of the conference and still meet with the industry people who expressed interest in my project. Fortunately I was able to slip into a few sessions and today I got to hear Sheila Evans talk to a packed audience about HBO Documentaries. Watching the 12-minute HBO highlight reel was a reality check about how high the bar is set in that world, yet hearing her warm responses during the Q & A, somehow seemed like a welcome call to documentary filmmakers.

Talking to other filmmakers about their work has been inspiring — being around that much passion has been energizing and has helped refuel me as I push towards toward the finish. What also helps is the reaction I’ve gotten to my project. A documentary filmmaker who grew up in South Africa and attended an all white school told me that To Kill A Mockingbird was the first book assigned to her in which she found real meaning. And, in virtually every one of my meetings, I heard some kind of personal connection to the book, including a marketing maven who had named three of her pets after characters— Boo, Scout, and Atticus. I’m not sure if I told her how many pets, kids, rock bands, clothing stores, and restaurants I have encountered with names similarly inspired by the book. But she probably knows that. Most importantly my meetings have confirmed that there is a wide audience for my film and that it will get out there.

IFP has done a great job of supporting and celebrating filmmakers this week including a fabulous opening night rooftop screening of Howl, and a guest appearance at the talkback by its star, James Franco. It’s been an action filled week and I’m looking forward to the rest of it. Sleep can wait until I get home.

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