Since the funding was announced to produce Justice Is Mind last month, there has been a flurry of activity around the entire project. As a filmmaker, it’s great to see a film begin to take on a life of its own. Of course in that process there are a mountain of details to attend to. In addition to securing the cast and crew, there are the locations and the nuances to detail so that when principal photography starts all things are in place—or damn close to it!
Our posting on New England Film for actors yielded over 300 responses across several states. I was delighted to see so many familiar faces from the work I’ve done over the last several years as both an actor and producer. But discovering new talent during the audition and casting process is always exciting. Make no mistake about it while New York and Los Angeles may claim to be the entertainment centers of the country, New England is a treasure drove of talent on both sides of the camera. Our call for crew has also brought an unprecedented quality in submissions. With callbacks taking place on July 7, and with crew discussions ongoing, look for our announcement of cast and crew soon.
In addition to the people that will bring Justice Is Mind to life, it is the locations that truly make the look of a production jump off the screen. A few weeks ago I traveled to Rotterdam, New York at the request of one of our starring actors to scout locations (thanks Vern!). There is something to be said about the welcoming atmosphere of a small town and the enthusiasm of the world of film. The same can be said for a restaurant in the town of Oxford we worked with on the short film and a two restaurant group I just visited in New Hampshire this past Friday.
Producing a low-budget feature film is no easy task. You are asking actors, crew and locations to work with you largely as a project of passion and belief in what everyone is aiming to accomplish – a quality motion picture that will be well received in the market. But for anyone that has worked with me on previous projects, there is one element that they know I bring to the table – promotion and marketing. Yes, I am relatively relentless when it comes to the promotion of projects I’m involved with (it’s also what I do for a living). While the immediate situation may not yield a market level payout, everyone rides along on the promotion train, shares in the rewards and leverages this project for the next gig and the next and so on. I did that in figure skating which eventually led to a gig on network TV show (FOX’s Skating with Celebrities). This is why we are offering points to the majority of actors and crew on this project. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know I wouldn’t mind receiving a check every quarter for a project I did a couple of years past. It’s a reminder that the work you did mattered and that someone is going to bat for you. Just as important, your work is being seen.
On the side of promotion and distribution, I am delighted to announce that IndieFlix released Justice Is Mind: Evidence on June 19. The short is now available digitally for all those to view and enjoy. And on the film festival front, Evidence has been accepted to the Scinema 2012 Festival of Science Film in Australia and the Chicon 7 Independent Film Festival in Chicago. With our acceptance to these festivals, we are making some artwork updates to the Justice Is Mind: Evidence DVD. Look for that release later on this month.
To the actors and crew who have submitted, to the location stakeholders who have welcomed and considered our production, to our distributor IndieFlix and to the film festivals that have accepted us, I say thank you. To Mary Wenninger and Stefan Knieling, who backed the feature, and to my Producer/AD, Jess Killam and her organizational skills and knowledge—it goes without saying that absent your support the production of the feature film Justice Is Mind would not be possible.
When I received the email newsletter this morning from Olde Mistick Village Art Cinemas with its subject line Now Showing, I just assumed it was only going to mention the feature films the Mystic, CT theatre was exhibiting over the next few days. To my surprise, Justice Is Mind: Evidence was included in the offerings not just as Now Showing but as an Exclusive Showing. Either way, it’s beyond cool and I’m looking forward to introducing Evidence to audiences on Saturday, February 18. Our showtimes are 1:45, 4:10 and 7:00.
Since Evidence’s theatrical premiere at the Strand Theatre on January 20 and our online premiere on Constellation.TV on February 2, momentum has certainly been building for the project. Oh sure, a couple of film festival notify dates have come and gone without acceptance, but after two seconds of “I wonder why they…” you just move on.
About an hour before our online screening, I received word that IndieFlix picked up Justice Is Mind: Evidence for distribution. Elated, didn’t even begin to describe how I felt on that news. Needless to say, I announced the deal after our online presentation. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that a company believes enough in the product you made to market it to their customers. Stay tuned for the release date.
I think it was actor Maximilian Schell who said it best in the DVD extras from Judgment at Nuremberg, this really is an industry of chances and luck. But we also know that this industry, like any other, is also about hard work and perseverance. I believe the latter presents the former in due time. Point in fact, the anonymous contributor who donated $1,000 to our crowdfunding campaign this past weekend. A contribution of any size is very much appreciated, but one on that level signaled to me that Justice Is Mind is a project on the go.
With just over two weeks left to our IndieGoGo campaign and countless investor presentations out for consideration, sure we have a way to go before the feature can be green lit, but for anyone that has sought to raise capital to produce a motion picture it’s all about honing something else…the pitch.