It was such a pleasure working with Rubén Bravo of San José State University, this time on a video that highlights their beautiful new recreation center. Wish I could cannonball into that perfect pool!
The trailer is done — now we just have to finish the film! Ephi is coming up from LA for a week of editing in late May. Hoping to have a rough cut by September.
Just got back from Indian Wells where Fine Grain Pictures shot and edited a bunch of videos about gender equality for Bank of the West, a longtime sponsor of the tournament. We saw Serena Williams and Nadal play and even got to interview the legendary Billie Jean King! She was brilliant as expected. Great work Leslie Nuccio (SVP Earned Media), Vincent Tremblay, Neta Kastrati and Casey Johnson. Looking forward to next year’s tournament!
The Long Ride, a film I edited in 2017, just won the Best Documentary Award at the Immigration Film Fest in Washington D.C. Congratulations to Director Valerie Lapin Ganley, the Immigrant Workers Freedom Riders and all who made The Long Ride possible!
The Long Ride is a timely feature-length documentary about the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers in the United States. Alarmed by increasing abuse of immigrants in the workplace, more than 900 immigrants and allies traveled across America to focus public attention on the plight of immigrant workers and to call for reform of the broken immigration system. They were inspired by the 1961 Civil Rights Movement Freedom Riders who risked their lives fighting to end segregation. The film chronicles their journey and the on-going fight for immigrant rights to this day. With Freedom Riders as our navigators, the film puts a human face on this controversial issue and examines the human costs as lawmakers consider overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.
Director’s Statement: “In 2013, the Senate passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I thought the dream of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride would soon be fulfilled. I set out to make an historical film about social movement building and how to achieve social justice goals. But Tea Party Republicans in the House prevailed and convinced the Republican leaders to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote. Then Donald Trump ran and won the presidency… The work of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride continues, and the long ride just got longer.
Editing is sailing along with the help of archival researcher Jen Petrucelli. About the film:
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a prolific writer, thinker, and spiritual teacher who spent his life tackling topics such as monastic spirituality, civil rights, and nuclear proliferation. During his final years, he was drawn to Asian religions and worked tirelessly to promote a dialogue between the East and West. Just months before his unexpected death, Merton left his Trappist monastery in Kentucky to travel to Asia for the first time. There he met Harold Talbott, a young American studying with the Dalai Lama, who became his guide and travel companion.
In "Fellow Travelers" we join Talbott and Merton on their adventure through Northern India in 1968. Together, they meet with the Dalai Lama and other spiritual masters, immerse themselves in Tibetan Buddhism, and contemplate war and peace in the shadow of the intensifying Vietnam War. Through Merton's vivid letters and journals, in-depth interviews with Talbott, and rare archival footage, the film illustrates how these two men - one at the end of his life and one at the beginning - are transformed by their new surroundings, the dharma, and each other.
“The Girl That Got Away” (previously called “At the Same Time” and “Aquarium”) made From the Heart Productions’ Hot Films list Summer 2018. We’re now finishing cutting selects from all the shoots and are working on a longer trailer. This is definitely motivation to keep plugging away!
Symphony for Nature will be screening at this year's San Francisco Green Film Festival on Sept. 8. The film will be paired with a live performance from the Steiger Butte Singers of the Klamath Tribe who are featured in the film. Symphony for Nature has already been circulating nationally on PBS and was even nominated for two regional Emmys! I'm really excited to finally be able to share this unique 27 min film in person with a local audience.
Today I’m co-launching a new production company called Fine Grain Pictures with my colleagues Vincent Tremblay and Casey Johnson. We’re going to focus on environmental issues, social justice, the arts, and other topics through short and long form documentary, and continue to work with non-profits and companies that are moving the world forward. We’ll have two branches, here in the Bay Area and in the greater LA area. Check out our site at finegrainpictures.com
I showed a scene from my doc-in-progress "Aquarium" (working title) in which Angel acts in "2020" - a skit that represents a positive vision of what her life could be like in two years. Nice work fellow screeners Nikki Pratchios, Vincent Tremblay, and Tal Skloot! The next one will be held in mid-May. Hoping to make a lot of progress by then.
Vincent Tremblay and I just finished up two ReStore ads for broadcast and Habitat's website. Thanks to Erin, Deana, Nick, Aiden and the ReStore staff.
Creating the bilingual version paid off! "The Long Ride" will screen in Mexico City at the "Encuentro Hispanoamericano de Cine y Video Documental Independiente" Festival!
This LIFE ElderCare "Safe and Visible" tutorial will soon be available free online. It was lovely working with Patricia Osage and Ephi Stempler again, as well as our seasoned all-stars Mica Daniels, Nick Sweeney, Angel Arellano, and newcomer Meredith Sadin.
Producer Owsley Brown and I are exploring the idea of making a film about Thomas Merton’s time in India with his young guide Harold Talbott. Now reading "The Asia Journal of Thomas Merton." It's fascinating to read about the exact events that Harold describes but from Merton's point of view. An incredible writer and person.
One of the best parts of this project was getting to hang out with my old friend Ben Grubb while he took us on a tour of Habitat's programs. Thanks Ben, co-director Vincent Tremblay, and all the Habitat staff who were involved in the video, especially the marketing pros Alayna Dunkerly and Erin Spaulding, and CEO Janice Jenson.
Vincent Tremblay, Joe Dwyer and I screened our works in progress at Panorama Framing in Oakland. I showed a 10 minute sample of "Aquarium" (previously titled "Angel"), Vincent showed his band-on-tour experimental short doc, and Joe screened some of his experimental films. Thanks Vincent for organizing "Unsighted Frame." Looking forward to the next one on February 24th!
Editing this was quite a challenge, but I love how it turned out. Happy to have reached the finish line with this one! Woohoo!
"Watch UNIFIED, our new special episode of Music Makes a City Now! This short video showcases the groundbreaking, exuberant collaboration between the Louisville Orchestra and Louisville Ballet where music and dance share one stage. Featuring world premiere choreography by Adam Hougland with a new score, 'Unified Field’ composed by the Orchestra's Music Director Teddy Abrams and animated scenic design by Chris Doyle, a re-imagining of Stravinsky's ‘Petrouchka,' and 'Cold Virtues’ performed to the music of Philip Glass. Produced by Owsley Brown Presents."
Ephi Stempler and I are co-directing a documentary about Angel Arellano as she learns to accept her true gender and sexual identity at the age of 65. This weekend we will travel with her to Dixon to meet her family and next week she'll attend her first El/La Para TransLatinas support group.
Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, traveled to Louisville Kentucky to put on a performance with Teddy Abrams and the the Louisville Orchestra. As I review the footage it's touching to see how overjoyed Teddy was to collaborate with MTT who has been his mentor, teacher, and hero since he was very young. Along with the rest of the program, the LO also performed original pieces by MTT and Teddy. I'm just in the early stages of editing this one and really loving the footage so far.
Vincent Tremblay and I finished shooting at the San Jose ReStore today. Thanks to all the staff who gave interviews and helped us coordinate the shoot. On to the editing!