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Posts tagged “end of year

Justice In Demand

Justice Is Mind had its international premiere on the Queen Elizabeth in October.

Justice Is Mind had its international premiere on the Queen Elizabeth in October 2014

When Justice Is Mind’s MovieMeter listing hit 10,989 out of 3.1 million entries on IMDB last week it reminded me, yet again, what’s possible when you set your “mind” to do something.  Hitting the top half one percent of all entries listed on IMDB was a milestone like no other. Why? Because it proved to me, and all of us involved in Justice Is Mind, that audiences are interested in this film.

Justice Is Mind is a true independent film.  There’s no studio involvement and no “A list” stars to propel it. But what it does have is a story and the passion of those involved in it, wrote about it and watched it. In the end, that’s all a filmmaker can ask for.

At Plimoth Cinema in January 2014

At Plimoth Cinema in January 2014

When we ended 2013 as the 8th Highest Rated Independent Film on IMDB, my goal was to ride on that and continue to push Justice Is Mind as much as possible.  The year started off great with a screening at the Plimoth Cinema in January with a new audience attendance record in March at Cinemagic in Sturbridge.

At Cinemagic in March 2014

At Cinemagic in March 2014

Screening Justice Is Mind at Carnegie Mellon University in April was a particular honor. For it was  the science of “thought indentification” led by Dr. Marcel Just from a 60 Minutes interview I saw in 2009 that brought us to Pittsburgh in 2014. Having Dr. Just host the screening with star Vernon Aldershoff in attendance with me truly brought the film home.

An audience record at Cinemagic.

An audience record at Cinemagic

Justice Is Mind returned to its production home in May with a nearly sold out screening at The Elm in Millbury. I have to say I had the most fun at this particular screening. Bob Leveillee, who plays Bob Oxford in the movie, owns Pizza Post and not only did a stellar job in marketing both the Millbury and Sturbridge screenings, but arranged for a limousine to take the attending actors and crew on a champagne toast. Indeed, these are the memories you would want an FVMRI machine to reveal!

With Dr. Marcel Just and Vernon Aldershoff at Carnegie Mellon University

With Dr. Marcel Just and Vernon Aldershoff at Carnegie Mellon University in April 2014

And finally, after months of searching for a theatre at Cape Cod, the Chatham Orepheum theatre screened Justice Is Mind in September. With not only cast members in attendance but members of my family I haven’t seen in years, it was a special evening.

At The Elm in Millbury

Fun at The Elm in Millbury in May 2014

But it was shortly before the Millbury deal came through than some other outstanding news came our way. Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth wanted to screen Justice Is Mind as an international premiere in October. Exciting didn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling when this opportunity presented itself. In addition to being a much needed holiday, the voyage on the Queen Elizabeth included me giving a filmmaking seminar to guests and then the international premiere later that week.  From the ship, the ports of call and the new friendships, it was the voyage of a lifetime.

At the Chatham Orpheum in Chatham

At the Chatham Orpheum in Chatham in September 2014

Along with our theatrical screenings came the VOD debut of Justice Is Mind on Amazon Prime Instant Video, VHX, IndieReign and Reelhouse. Now, with the click of a mouse, Justice Is Mind can be watched around the world. With more VOD platforms coming online in the new year, it will be interesting to see what’s next.

Just before the start of my filmmaking seminar on the Queen Elizabeth

Just before the start of my filmmaking seminar on the Queen Elizabeth

Of course the aforementioned is the good news and I couldn’t be more thankful to all those that made it possible. But make no mistake about it, the amount of hard work to get to this level is monumental. Sending emails, making phone calls, endless pitching and planning. I was talking with one of our crew members this past week and we were discussing the realities of this industry. For every announced deal, there are those that got away, got rejected or just didn’t happen. But that is what this industry is all about. It is about the dreaded “no”. But when the “yes” comes in, there is a “specialness” to it because we know the road we had to travel to get to that point.  Those that know me, know I’m an eternal optimist. I don’t dwell on what didn’t happen, rather I focus on what can happen.

On ESPN's The Price of Gold

On ESPN’s The Price of Gold

This past year I dipped my toe back in front of the camera with ESPN’s Price of Gold and The Folklorist. My political thriller SOS United States is complete at the script stage and an agency is considering First World.  So while I continued to push those two projects, and perhaps look at some opportunities in front of the camera for the next year, I come back to Justice Is Mind.

Justice Is Mind hit its highest MovieMeter rating this week on IMDB.

Justice Is Mind hit its highest MovieMeter rating this week on IMDB

The idea for the sequel came to me over the last few months. And like the creation of Justice Is Mind, I just started to write down some notes and shared some ideas with Mary Wexler through many an evening IM chat on Facebook (Wexler plays Judge Wagner). What has driven me so much to write the sequel? The reaction from audiences that have seen it, the journalists that have written about it and cast and crew that have continued to support it.

Happy New Year!

Margaret Miller's book plays a central role in the sequel to Justice Is Mind.

Margaret Miller’s book plays a central role in the sequel to Justice Is Mind

 


The Verdict

Justice Is Mind a year in review.

Justice Is Mind. A year in review.

Justice Is Mind. For 2013 – The 8th Highest Rated Independent Film on IMDB. The 42nd Top Grossing Independent Film on IMDB. The 48th Most Popular Independent Film on IMDB. Eight theatrical with two each science fiction and law school screenings, along with over ten feature articles. The verdict is in. In a sea of hundreds, if not thousands of films released in 2013, Justice Is Mind has sailed proudly on its own.

The world premiere of Justice Is Mind on August 18, 2013  - Albany, NY

The World Premiere of Justice Is Mind on August 18, 2013 – Albany, New York.

My end of year post in 2012 was titled Hold the Dream and was a reflection on the journey of the “Justice Is Mind” project. At the time I wrote, “…it’s about that group of people you associate yourself with that will not only bring your dreams to life but theirs as well—mutual passion.” Indeed the mutual passion of so many reflected our end of year results.

The Maine Premiere.

The Maine Premiere. Ogunquit, Maine.

Where does one even begin to start thanking all those that have made this possible? From the theatres that agreed to screen Justice, to the journalists that wrote great articles, to the audiences that came out, to the industry platforms that recognized our film as a true independent and treated it as such.

The Massachusetts premiere with Mary Wexler and Mark Lund.

The Massachusetts Premiere. Clinton, Massachusetts.

But there are those in the Justice family that need to be recognized for without their tireless efforts we would not be ending this year on the great note we have. First and foremost to my executive producers Mary Wenninger and Stefan Knieling. They continued to be there as my friends and financiers of this project. To Vernon Aldershoff, Mary Wexler, Kim Gordon, Paul Lussier, Gail Sullivan, Ken Holmes, Sheila Mandeville and Michele Mortensen. Not just great actors in Justice, but passionate promoters in their own right. And to Arnold Peter, my longtime entertainment attorney and friend who spearheaded and sponsored our west coast premiere and law school tour. Of course, it goes without saying, but it needs to be mentioned again, the crew that built Justice Is Mind. Our editor Jared Skolnick; director of photography, Jeremy Blaiklock; composer Daniel Elek-Diamanta; sound mixer, Timothy McHugh and special effects guru Adam Starr. Of course, a special thank you to Kim Merriam. Every time Justice screens I see her house and reflect on a friendship that has gone back over twenty years. What can I say except this has been an incredible journey for me on so many levels.

The Vermont premiere with Ken Holmes.

The Vermont Premiere. Poultney, Vermont.

There were several times throughout the year when I was told that it takes a village to produce a feature film. In the case of Justice Is Mind, the initial “company” of 200 plus has surely grown to a “brigade”.

At Laemmle Music Hall - Beverly Hills, California.

At Laemmle Music Hall – Beverly Hills, California.

I liken the operation of a film to that of an ocean liner. Unlike a cruise ship that sails in generally calm waters, an ocean liner must navigate all kinds of weather. The same is true in the operation of a feature film. While we have had a positive outcome for 2013 and it has been mostly smooth sailing, there has been the occasion when I’ve had to call “general quarters”. But as the cast, crew and “passengers” of Justice know, this captain doesn’t let anything get in his way.

NH Premiere: Lynda Aramento, Mary Wexler, Paul Lussier, Mark Lund, Vernon Aldershoff and Michele Mortensen.

The New Hampshire Premiere. Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Full ahead to 2014.

Cape Cinema   Schedule