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February 25, 2007

Bowman's Short HEART OF AFRICA

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA — We spent last week working on the trailer for the documentary and three guesses as to what we're working on this week. Yep, the trailer for the feature. We passed the initial cut to Keith Heffner, the Sound Editor and Music Director. He layered sound, effects and vocals into an appealing and effective mix. It was exciting and inspiring to see everything coming into shape.

heartoafrica.jpgUltimately, we had 88 hours of footage that were shaped into the approximately 90-minute documentary. We had another 34 hours of footage that were crafted into the 90-minute feature. When you're shooting a feature, there is a primary story line that is being followed and there just isn't much other footage to spare. The documentary is a whole different story. With 88 hours of footage, you can imagine there were many, many stories that could be found in that mass of material. The students were required to make demo reels after they returned from Zambia so some of the footage was used there. But much of it will remain unseen, many of the more subtle stories will remain untold, parts of what we discovered will remain unknown. We got to talking about it and decided that some of the stories might be suitable in a short format.

Producer Pamela Bowman has created a short based on the poem she wrote while we were traveling to Victoria Falls in southern Zambia. (The original blog entry of the poem can be found on the FilmZambia site.) In addition to working on the documentary trailer, she's been working this short. I think this piece captures the gentle soul of the people of Zambia. We met so many kind and wonderful Zambians. Check it out.

Pamela Bowman's Short Film
HEART OF AFRICA

Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007
Heart of Africa (lg quicktime)
Heart of Africa (sm quicktime)

February 24, 2007

Revisiting FilmZambia Crew Reels

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA — Working on the film trailers has us revisting all of the shooting days and recalling the terrific, dedicated work of our amazing FilmZambia crew. Their dedication and determination were unparalleled. So, a reminder to take a look at their reels if you're looking for a crew member who will do whatever it takes to get your film done!

February 12, 2007

You've just been googled

BY JENIECE TORANZO MESA, ARIZONA, USA — Background-I haven't seen by triplet brother since our 24th birthday back in May. My sister and I drove up to see him and our younger brother, in California, but we only stayed for a day. Bummer. Of course we planned on visiting him again before he had to be deported to Iraq in August. Both our brothers are currently serving in the Marines and stationed in California. So visiting whenever we want isn't exactly easy. Well of course, summer came and went and we didn't get a chance to visit our brother because he was sent to boot camp for training to prepare for Iraq. I found out that he was able to come visit us here in Arizona just a few days he was about to leave. Just my luck, it was the same weekend that I would be in Africa. I called it "bad timing". Go figure, the title of the movie we were working on. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see him, but I did get to talk to him while I was there. Boy oh boy did it take some calling cards. It kept dropping the calls from left to right. Overall, I'm glad that I got a chance to talk to him for a few moments.
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Well since I have been back, I have not heard from him until a few days ago! I was so surprised and excited to hear from him. Especially since there were a lot of tension and drama between him and the family-which I will not mention. But things are great now! I guess time does heal all wounds...well most of the time. Right? Normally I am a private person and don't share things about my personal life, but having the experience in Africa definitely changed me and who I was. I also believe that going to New York and Sundance also changed me. I think now I am more open and willing to put myself out there. Eek-scarey! I know huh! Anyway so here is the email that I received from my brother. And he actually took the time to google me while being in Iraq?! Amazing.

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THE EMAIL---- "Man, I finally get an email from you. I tried emailing you a few times but I didn't get anything. I even told Jaclyn about it. I thought it was because you were mad at me. How have you been? Man I saw a few pics of you on your school website. I just googled you and your website just popped up. I'm really proud of you. So what did you think of Africa and New York? Man, I'm jealous of you. So what else have you been up too? I should be home right after dad's birthday. I heard you got a new truck. What did you get? How much are your payments? How much did you buy it for and at what APR? Man your coming up in the world. Did you trade in Grandpa's vehicle? That was the probably the best thing you could have done. Man I miss you guys. I hope your not mad at me for what I put you guys through. Have you talked to Justin lately? How is he doing? I haven't talked to him in awhile. He supposed to be getting out in like 3 weeks. I can't believe that. So how much longer do you have in school? What are your plans after that? Do you planning on staying in Phoenix after Mom moves to Pa.? Man I cant wait to come home and kick it with you guys. I want to take a vacation with you guys. We'll I hope everything is good with you guys and I wish you guys the best. I love you guys and I'll see you very soon. Take care. -Jason "

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I am so proud of him and of how brave he is and for all that he and my other brother has done for this country. I was so touched that he cared about what I was doing in my life. Can you believe that?! He googled me! How surreal is that? To be googled? It's weird to think about cause people google celebrities or objects and stuff. You wouldn't think that people would google you. It's like "hey, I think I'll google my friend or sister -so and so......" It's funny cause after I read his email, I went and googled myself. Yeah it was weird alright. To see your name pop up and think "hey, that's me. What am I doing there?" And not just like once or twice, but a whole lotta times! I found out that Pam said that someone she knew googled her too! It's neat to think about that the other crew members are google-able too. If that is such a word. I don't think it is now that I look at it. I think I made it up.....yep....just checked the dictionary and it does not have it in there, but okay, we'll just go with that. Unless someone else can think of a better word? Until then, it's google-able. So check and see if you're google-able! Wow, I've just been googled!

February 09, 2007

Helping Find YOUR Voice, Tell YOUR Story

BY CYNDI GREENING & PAMELA BOWMAN, PHOENIX, USA – The FilmZambia project has been a life-altering, monumental experience for all who participated. It is because of the Zambian project that we (the producers) have come to realize and refine our life mission. We experienced such satisfaction and joy at helping to bring a new voice to the global cinema, in educating filmmaking students in Zambia, in watching our MCC students expand their skills and have profound cultural experiences. The goal of educating, developing and supporting new voices in global cinema continues to be one of our primary concerns.

However, after attending the Sundance Film Festival in January, we realized that we were overlooking the voices of U.S. filmmakers. We were inspired to expand our commitment to include finding and nurturing the voices of new filmmakers in the U.S. Attending the festival, we found our voice and are stating our desire to help storytellers and filmmakers find their unique voice and get their story into the national market.

So, we are pleased to announce the launch of Greening Productions / Angel&Wings Productions, a site devoted to supporting independent filmmakers worldwide. (You will have to read the story of how the company name was bestowed upon us in Zambia! Whle we don't make religious films, we are committed to doing good work.) On the site, you will find the dates and times for classes and seminars that will be offered in the Phoenix metro area. These classes will also be available in different national locations in the near future. In addition, we are making DVDs available to assist in your digital film development.

Wherever we traveled, people interested in film would pepper us with questions. Due to limited time, we felt we could not give adequate answers or explanations. Through these classes and products, we are now able to provide information and assistance to future filmmakers.

So enjoy the site and let us know what you think! If you have thoughts on other products and classes we could offer that would be of support, we'd love to know. We will continue our global projects (we are currently working on a FilmEcuador project and a FilmSenegal project), also. We appreciate your feedback and thoughts!

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YouTube Replaces the Boob Tube

YouTubeLeto.jpgBY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, USA – While we were at Sundance, I was sitting in front of a small group of very young filmmakers at a funding panel. After eavesdropping, I learned that they had done a movie on some guy traveling around the United States ... I can’t really seem to remember much more about their film. Not real impactful or just not my cup of cocoa. Anyway they ended up being indie snobs. They were talking about a site called YouTube. They said that they would never post there or respect anyone who did. During the panel YouTube was discussed. The panelist acknowledged the impact YouTube was having on the industry and how some people have found success with their ideas and been offered movie contracts because of what they've put up on that site.

As you can tell I was not familiar with YouTube. I had heard of it, but I had not frequented the site. I have now. We did a test run on some clips from Sundance and have been surprised by the results. We've put up several of the vCasts from the last three years at Sundance. We have been surprised at how popular one vCast is in particular. Jared Leto stars in CHAPTER 27 and the Q&A following the screening of that film has been viewed 589 times in the last 72 hours ... since we like the whole independent voice thing, we can see how YoYouTube facilitates our goal of allowing us to hear more voices. Even the ones in our heads!

... BUT, (there is always one or two around)... how can and do people generate a salary to support life as we know it? Is YouTube killing the market for entertainment media? There is a huge population that applauds that thought. People swap music over networks that bypass the artists, producers and distributors. TV viewership is down. People are turning to other forms of entertainment. And in many cases they are in the creative end of providing it for others to watch and enjoy. Granted some of the submissions are worthy of the Maury Povich show or the wrath of Simon, BUT, (the second one), we have the ability to click away anonymously. No chance of hurting someone’s feelings. Pain free! Personally, I think YouTube is cool.

One of the big drawbacks about the computer age is the isolation. Humans do not like isolation. The internet is our creative way to maintain contact with other humans. We get depressed in our anti-social life style and we plug into the net. We chat and email. We watch movies and listen to music. In fact, movies and music are traded on the internet like baseball cards. As a person who develops media content, it seems that what needs to be considered is the contribution and the rights of the creators. How can the concept of free enterprise (commerce) continue if everything created in the entertainment field is almost instantly free?

In the end it really doesn’t matter. The people have spoken. YouTube and other sites like it are here to stay. We will all deal with it. And like all good Americans, we will try to find a way to capitalize on it.

February 04, 2007

Making the Festival Circuit

BY NICK MARSHALL, GILBERT, AZ, USA - So you’ve got an idea. A good one. You've turned it into a film. Now you’re wondering how to get your film onto the film festival circuit. Well, instead of scrounging the internet for hours, clicking on billions of links that lead you astray, spend a minute reading this and afford yourself more time for those other good film ideas.

First, go get Chris Gore’s Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide. Today I frequented my local Borders to skim through this book (I had been hearing it was the be-all, end-all source for film festival information) and I planned on leafing through it casually and then going on my way to finish the rest of my errands for the day. It started off fine, glancing through casually, reading sections of interviews and “Top 10” lists. But oddly enough, I soon found myself seated in a comfy chair, enjoying the interviews with directors talking about their impressions and mistakes on different festivals and then found myself taking out my pocket notepad and jotting down notes. I really intended this to be a five minute escapade and twenty minutes later I got up and really did leave. Gore’s top 10 lists cover mistakes filmmakers make and what to do at film festivals, even how to effectively crash a party at a film festival. Morgan Spurlock (SUPERSIZE ME) talks about how he prepared for Sundance and Jared Hess (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) also describes his experience with Sundance. The end of the book is filled with detailed info about all the major film festivals in North America. Gore also throws in cheap marketing tips for your film.

wablogo.jpgIf books aren’t your thing, click over to WithoutA Box.com. Sign up for free and get information about all the upcoming film festivals. As a filmmaker, you can search by submission date, genre, location and dozens of other parameters. Without a Box makes it much easier to find the perfect festival for your film.

If you pay a cheap yearly fee, Without a Box will summit your film and press package to as many festivals as you want and you only have to fill out one entry form instead of hundreds. Watch the Demo to see what other services they provide. These two resources make getting on the film festival circuit much less exhausting. You can even see which festivals are going on and buy tickets to those festivals. The site is amazingly easy to navigate and useful.