“We want to fund the feature.” When Mary Wenninger and her husband Stefan Knieling said that after they viewed the short film version Evidence for a moment it didn’t sink in. After nearly fifty presentations and playing the wait and see game with so many possible investors and production companies, I finally heard what every producer dreams of. “We want to fund the feature.” In my own moment of silence I realized that the short film version just accomplished what it set out to do – act as a capital raise vehicle for the feature.
Although I told my fellow producer and assistant director Jessica Killam the moment I heard from Mary and Stefan, I kept the news largely under wraps until the deal was signed sealed and delivered. Film finance, even low budget films like Justice Is Mind, is a very convoluted business and it’s not for the faint at heart. Generally, you are asking people to believe in your product and to wait 2-3 years for any return. But the film industry is a passionate one and largely lives and breaths in all its forms because of that passion. For Mary and Stefan they love going to the movies and as they said in our press release, “Justice Is Mind is a timely story that marries cutting edge technology with its possible impact on civil liberties. It raises meaningful questions in an entertaining way – the audience will be talking about the film long after they leave the theater.” Indeed, that’s what a filmmaker wants with its backers—those that understand the essence of the film and believe in the product.
Our fifth screening of Justice Is Mind: Evidence at Balticon was yet again another moment of supportive attendees asking interesting questions and wanting to see the feature. Having Vernon Aldershoff (Henri Miller) as a special guest was terrific. Not only did he answer questions for the audience from his perspective but sat on a filmmaking panel with me the next day. Thanks Vern!
With the upcoming IndieFlix and DVD release of Justice Is Mind: Evidence this month and pre-production of the feature film now in full swing for a production start date in August, the work really begins in earnest.
My trip to Washington, DC and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum was a true delight. Seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery in person exceeded every expectation I could have imagined. And it’s just that kind of thinking that made the Space Shuttle a possibility in the first place – it had to be imagined.
If you haven’t been to the National Air and Space Museum I highly recommend it. From the Concorde, to the Enola Gay to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the history of aviation and the space program could not be better represented under one roof.
But no trip to Washington, DC is complete without talking a walk on the National Mall. Seeing The United States Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and the World War II and Lincoln Memorial is truly an experience. I must admit, walking around the World War II memorial was an emotional one. When I saw some veterans and service members paying their respects, all I could say to myself was thank you for your service and defending the ideals this country stands for. For when you stand at such a memorial it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you are on, we are all one nation united in liberty and justice—for all.
As some of you may remember, I was cast in a short sci-fi film last year titled Approved by Durjaya. Set in a dystopian future in which people are segregated by their job, I am pleased to announce that Approved is having its premiere in Boston this evening. I look forward to catching up with the actors and crew and seeing the final result of this work.
In regard to screenings, Justice Is Mind: Evidence will have its fifth presentation at Balticon 46 on May 25. I’m delighted to announce that Vernon Aldershoff, who plays Henri Miller, will be joining me at the screening and for the Q&A immediately after. I always enjoy the Q&A sessions after a film an what an audience sees. When you are part of producing a film you see the end product one way, but an audience can have an entirely different “take.” But at that point to quote Bill Sampson in All About Eve, “…you’re in a tin can.”
For so many reasons I’m looking forward to Balticon and my visit to the Washington, DC area. At Balticon I’ll be speaking on and moderating a variety of panels. Prior to the screening of Evidence on Friday, I’ll be reading from some of my past works. I think I may read from First World: Covenant the prequel novella I published last year. As First World had its first screening at Balticon five years to the day of Evidence, bringing back First World seems appropriate.
On Saturday May 26, Balticon attendees will find me on the Self-Publishing, Casting Calls, Screenwriting/Directing, Low Budget Filmmaking, Hi Tech v Low Tech panels and an autograph session in the afternoon. I’m excited about these panels, because I know there is so much talent out there that wants to get their product to market. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry doesn’t make it easy and there are countless misconceptions that I think sadly preclude many from putting dream to paper. As Gerald Simmonds, former executive of the World Space Commission in Space: 1999 said, “The impossible just takes a little longer.”
Regarding science fiction, I was talking to one of the country’s leading neurologists last week about the sci-fi in Justice Is Mind where MRI technology can read memory in video form. As he stated to me, “Your timeframe is pessimistic.” My response included a bit of a pause when I said, “Well from today how long do you think it will be until MRI technology can read memory in video form?” When he responded 7-10 years I was simply amazed. But on hindsight, it all makes sense. In my view, mankind is reaching towards an apex of understanding when it comes to not only the science of inner space (the mind) but that of outer space as well. One does not have to be a neurologist or rocket scientist to see that as we come to better understand our universe, there is a clash with those groups (often religious based) that are frightened of the truth. I seem to recall the Vatican having a field day with some guy called Galileo.
Of course, before Galileo there was another wonder called Leonardo da Vinci. One can only imagine what that great mind of his envisioned when he designed an early glider. While he may not have imagined the glide of the Space Shuttle Discovery, I can say with all fact that I can’t wait to see Discovery at the Smithsonian.
As for a longstanding dream of my own, I learned last week that nothing is impossible it just took a little longer.