So our little movie Quiet River has been nominated for Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography at the Madrid International Film Festival. Good news, and we’re happy that the film is being recognized like this in such an esteemed international festival.
I have to make mention of the fact, however, that QR is by most standards a tiny, tiny movie — the entire budget was less than $5000, and on good days the crew was only three people — myself, producer/production designer Shane Meador, and Director of Photography Shane Peters (yes, out of three crew members, two of them are named Shane). Occasionally, I was my own DP, and operated completely solo — with no assistants or even a second crew member. Our camera budget was nil, though we did use an old/awesome Canon 5D and Shane let us use his vintage Nikon lenses to give it an interesting, “digital 70’s” look.
Thus, to have a major international festival recognize our photography (and our movie in general) as superior … well, to say it makes me feel good is an understatement. Thank you, Madrid!
This is not my first international rodeo, of course. My first film, Sinkhole, was acquired internationally and sold all across the globe — Poland, Brazil, Israel, Greece; many, many territories. It’s still selling, as a matter of fact — I get the (somewhat meager) quarterly payments to show for it. My second feature, Alison, is available domestically, of course, through iTunes.
But we’re delighted to play in Madrid. I get a kick out of the fact that, as a feature film that cost under $5000 and made with little more than talent and ingenuity, we often go up against films with literally a hundred times our budget — and, as in the Orlando International Film Festival, end up nominated for awards against films with more established players. (In our case, Rebecca Morris and Willie Repoley were nominated for Best Lead Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.)
At any rate, congratulations to all the participants, including the Quiet River team, and as always, Viva La Cinema!
Recently I was featured in WNC Magazine in an article on North Carolina filmmakers. I had the pleasure to be part of a conversation about regional indie film in the 21st Century, along with such great filmmakers as Jack Sholder (Nightmare On Elm Street 2, The Hidden), Rod Murphy (Being The Diablo), Erin Derham (Buskin’ Blues), Paul Bonesteel, James Suttles and more. Read the article here. Great photography by Stewart O’Shields.
So, the little movie that could is finally having its world premiere: Friday, October 23, at 9:30PM, “Quiet River” will finally be unveiled to a live audience as part of the Orlando Film Festival. Our team couldn’t be more thrilled: The Orlando Film Fest is a terrific event run by true film lovers. Thanks to all the folks at the OFF, and we’ll see you there!
No plans for me to star in Grease this summer, or to date Olivia Newton John.
But I do have plans. First, I’m teaching a filmmaking intensive at the NYS3 School, a (very) well-regarded acting and performance facility here in Asheville, North Carolina. Should be lots of fun. Sign up here if you want. You’ll learn something, I promise.
And … I’m also writing my second novel, called “In The Dark All Cats Are Grey.” This is a story that’s been floating around in my head for awhile, and it’s just time to finally get it down. About a small town kid in the early 1900’s who’s recruited into a shadowy occultist organization, it’s a little like “My Antonia” filtered through the darkest Stephen King. Or if Harry Potter were written by Nic Pizzolato. Tons of research, lots of cool stuff to learn, it’s a longer story but a worthy one. I’m very excited.
There were several notable TV and film celebrities from Jasper, Alabama, the once-thriving coal mining town where I grew up. There was George Lindsey, better known as Goober on “Andy Griffith” and, later, “Hee Haw.” There was Polly Holliday, who popularized the catchphrase “Kiss my grits!” as Flo on the TV series “Alice.”
Then later came the dynamic actor Michael Rooker, who burst upon the scene so dramatically in “Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer,” and then became a beloved figure of geeks everywhere (including me). Last but not least, there was Gustav Hasford, the man who wrote the novel “The Short-Timers,” which Stanley Kubrick would adapt into “Full Metal Jacket.” Kubrick hated Hasford so much that he passed notes under the table to his collaborators, complaining about the author, saying “There’s no way I can work with this man.” Hasford was left out of any meaningful participation.
Sadly, Jasper was decimated by short-term strip mining interests and is now just a shell of its former self. But today — April 6 — is Michael Rooker’s birthday, so Happy birthday, Michael Rooker!
So, my third feature, the rural thriller Quiet River, now has a poster, courtesy of Dean Pizzoferrato. I wanted a kind of Nancy Drew dimestore paperback look, and that’s what Dean gave me. What do you think?
Quiet River is currently being submitted for first-tier festivals around the world. We’ll let you know when and where we land!
We’re live on Kickstarter! We’ve raised a little money. Not that much, but a little! Go here to check out American Breakdown on Kickstarter. And remember, in the world of finance, nothing matters but cold hard cash. Please support indie film!