Posts Tagged ‘IFP Phoenix’

By: Nicki Legge

Isla-Isabel2As a filmmaker, the process of making a film can mean a number of different things to different people. Some people consider film a form of art, some think of it as a business, and some of us think of it as a way of life. Despite what it means to us, all true filmmakers have one thing in common, our passion. Making films is something we do because we want to and because we love it. It is obvious when watching the mini documentary, “Los Amigos in Baja California,” that Cat3 Productions is passionate about their work. This is why, for the first time in Jump Ship history, we are bringing you two filmmakers of the week, Brice LeCarre and Ivan Nevares, both owners of Cat3 Productions.

Brice and Ivan began their film journey with a deep love for still photography. Due to their “intense desire to create,” they decided to make the transition to moving pictures and formed Cat3 Productions in fall of 2012. They attribute the easy transition into the film world to the wonderful advances in technology over the past decade. They became absolutely addicted to the “challenge of blending a million parts, seemingly unrelated to one another, to appear to belong together seamlessly. Don’t forget the rich experience of like-minded people working tightly together to achieve a goal.” They came up with a simple, yet important slogan that perfectly describes their approach to filmmaking “Explore, Discover, Capture;” these words are the guidelines that they live by.

With their newfound love of film, Brice and Ivan decided to do a film challenge. They participated in the 2013 IFP Breakout Challenge and submitted their film, “The Recipe.” They say, “It was our first film and it showed, but we will never forget the experience.” Brice and Ivan work so closely during the process of making a film that it is hard to give a firm definition to who takes what roles, but they say that Ivan would be considered the Director of Photography and Brice would be the Director. When I asked what they loved the most about film, they said “From an intellectual perspective, it is the process itself, from the original idea throughout its developmental period, its evolution, to finally seeing the film come alive in the edit bay… It is exhilarating. From a technical perspective, it is the camera work, whether in the field on a documentary or in a controlled environment on a narrative project. The complexity of the camera and lens is a fascination for us.”

Despite how much they fell in love with the craft of filmmaking, Brice and Ivan did not call themselves filmmakers until they began working on their documentary about the Sea of Cortez. They say, “First, this documentary is by far our biggest endeavor and requires us to cast aside any doubt on our abilities to produce a great film… Then, we realized the hundreds of little moments, captured in the present with our cameras, are exhilarating. During those moments there is no doubt in our minds that we are filmmakers.” They didn’t initially intend for the project to be so large. The conversation was simple.

IVAN: Brice, you know I own a sailboat in the Sea of Cortez. Wanna shoot some video down there?
BRICE: Sure, let’s do it.

CoPro0078-0195Once they were at the Sea of Cortez, the idea of making a documentary began to blossom with every new thing they learned about this magical place. They say “We want to show the beauty of the Sea of Cortez but also how that beauty is revealed against some social issues that are at odds in the region. Most of these issues revolve around the local and commercial fishing industry, to be sure. There is also the tourism impact, the ecological push, the corruption and so on.” They plan to show all sides equally with an unbiased eye so viewers can come to their own conclusions. The more digging they do on each of these subjects, the more they learn about the sea. This discovery of things they had not previously thought of has become their absolute favorite part of filming this documentary, on top of getting to spend so much time in such a beautiful place.

Ensenada-ChicaLast year, Brice and Ivan estimated that they were about 80% done with the project, but as they uncover more secrets of the sea, they realized that they have a lot more to discover. They now believe that the project is about 30-40% complete. They say, “Our latest trip in April turned over several stones sending us bouncing in different directions. As an example, in august, we are taking our cameras for an interview at Biosphere 2 in Tucson. Someone is recreating a controlled ecological representation of the Sea of Cortez, inside a laboratory environment. This interview could shed some eye-opening light on the interactions we have already captured on film and take us in yet another direction.”

It’s difficult to imagine that there could be so much hard work involved in spending their days at such a serene place, but maintenance on the sailboat alone is taxing enough without the added tasks of shooting a documentary on top of that. They say “A sailboat needs care and maintenance and becomes the priority. Once the boat has been taken care of then filming becomes the priority. Sometimes we have set up interviews and those timelines have to be respected.” But despite all the hard work, they still manage to find a day or night here and there to relax and take in the sea. They say “Spending time in the Sea of Cortez definitely had an effect on our souls. It is extraordinary to spend the night at anchor in a deserted island under the Milky Way. No internet. No TV. No phones or other distraction of the ‘civilized’ world. It is rejuvenating in every aspect when your world is the sailboat and your backyard is three-quarters the size of Arizona.”

Cat3 is planning to have the Sea of Cortez documentary completed in the next one to two years depending on how far down the rabbit hole they go. They also have several other projects in their infancy that you can keep your eye out for. They say “Beyond that, we are always open to helping other filmmakers with our camera work. Every project we do is a challenge to be conquered and we learn something new and amazing about our cameras, our abilities and the world of filmmaking.” If you would like to get in touch with Cat3 Productions you ca reach Brice at 602-751-6291 and Ivan at 480-381-8236. You can also email them HERE and visit their website HERE.

Los Amigos In Baja California from Cat3 Productions on Vimeo.

TITUS

In the not to distant future Titan, one of  Saturn’s moons is colonized. The colonists cultivated this moon with a synthetic atmosphere. However, 5 years after the colony was established the moon rejected the atmosphere by pumping large amounts of methane gas to kill the inhabitants. Panic broke out in the colony, and the moon has almost been completely evacuated. This film premiered at The Phoenix Art Museum on November 13th 2012 for the IFP Masterpeice Challenge 2012. It won 6 awards: Best Overall FilmBest Director (Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge), Best Music (Nile PopchockBest Overall Technical ElementsBest Actor (JP Frydrych) and Best Trailer. It was an Official Selection of the Phoenix Film Festival 2013 and nominated for several awards at Phoenix Comicon 2013 including:  Best of Festival, Best Narrative Short, and Best of AZ. This film took home Best Science Fiction at Phoenix Comicon 2013.

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Crew:

Directed By: Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge

Cinematographers: Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge 

Edited by: Robert Garcia & JP Frydrych

Written by: JP Frydrych & Nicki Legge

Produced by: JP Frydrych & Craig MacDonald

Original Score By: Nile Popchock

Set Photographer: Jacquelyn Nelson

Makeup, Wardrobe and Props: Devon Garcia

Behind the Scenes: Craig MacDonald

Lighting Technician: Eric MacDonald

Sound Design: Nile Popchock

Boom Operator: Ryan Ammann

Cast:
H.L. Corey: JP Frydrych
Young Samantha: Emmy Boucher
Adult Samantha: Kelley Rence
Intercom: Devon Garcia

By: Nicki Legge Conundrum Still - Bill WetherillI am a firm believer that every person on a film set ought to understand how a story should unfold or they have no business being there. Although you cannot have a good story without exceptional writing, since film is a visual medium and we cannot rely on to tell our story, actors take a big part in conveying our message to the audience. I have recently noticed several of our talented Arizona actors have not only been branching out to roles that are more involved behind the camera, but also succeeding more than I saw coming. I think that it is the understanding of what it takes to tell a story without words that gives these creative connoisseurs their ability to transition so flawlessly. Bill Wetherill is a key example of the successful actor gone brilliantly rogue, which is why we chose him as Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week. At the young age of seven, Bill was told that he would have to go to summer school because he was behind in reading. While most children would consider this an unfair burden, Bill made the best of the situation. He says somehow those wonderful teachers taught me how words made stories and ignited my imagination. I would devour books after that.” Bill’s family didn’t have a television until he was about 12, so he spent most of his time reading book after book, often one a day. It wasn’t until he turned 14 that his love of stories turned to film. A new video rental place opened down the street from his house, so he and his friends would rent every film they could carry and spend the whole weekend watching them. Although Bill grew to love movies, he never quite built up the courage to pursue filmmaking as a passion until about three years ago when a friend convinced him to join Rebel Filmmakers Meetup (now known as Filmstock Social). Once Bill got his feet wet at the social, he spotted an audition notice and decided that it was time just go for it. He was cast in the first role he ever auditioned for. Through this project, he began to get to know the AZ film community. Then as he sat in the audience during the Phoenix Film Festival just a few months later, he became inspired by the short films. He decided that he wanted no regrets in life, and a filmmaker was born. Bill went on to graduate from Kevin Phipps’s Meisner course. He says “I felt that it was important for me to work on learning some solid acting skills and not solely depend on ‘natural ability’ because I didn’t want to be the weak link in someone’s passion project.” Originally, Bill thought his talents would best be served as a writer or director, but acting became his portal into the film world. Although acting will always be his first love, Bill decided to create Resonant Films “to build on the idea of making films that resonate with people.” As of now, Resonant is a “concept company” and is solely comprised of Bill, however he says, “I look to connect with like minded people to produce quality films that connect with the audience.” He launched the company last year when he shot his film A Day on Bleaker Street for the IFP Breakout Challenge in 2013. This was Bill’s first time writing and directing a film. It received 3rd place and Best actor, and went on to be accepted into the Jerome Film Festival, the Phoenix Film Festival, and the Logan Film Festival. Bill decided to take part in the Breakout Challenge again this year with his second film as Resonant Films. He likes this challenge in particular because, unlike 48 hour challenges, it allows filmmakers the time to really make a quality film with a well thought out story behind it. The idea for “Conundrum” struck Bill about a year ago, and has been lingering there ever since. Bill and his collaborator, Kristin LaVanway decided that they wanted to pursue this story if the challenge requirements allowed. The film came about as a social commentary, highlighting the struggles of a man who is trying to live a normal life after getting in trouble with the law. Bill Wrote, Produced, and Starred in “Conundrum”. He says that writing the film helped him tremendously as an actor because “I already had a vision of the character so I had already done much of my character prep in the writing process.” Bill appreciates the importance of quality cinematography and audio. (which can be a rarity in these challenges). Although his team did run into some technical issues, he says that having thorough pre-production and an amazing team made the wrinkles easy to iron out. The only difficulty they encountered was running a little long one night of the shoot. Bill says “we just kept going ‘til we got what we needed and not too soon as the roosters literally crowed and the sun began to rise.”Conundrum” went on to win 2nd Place, Best Actor (Bill Wetherill), Best Cinematography (Jason Ryan) and Best Sound Design (Christian Ruckdaschel & Jonathan Grove). Bill is currently in preproduction on a feature film called “Brazilian Wood that he is co-producing with Kristin LaVanway and will also be acting in. He is also taking part in a few short films throughout the valley. Bill is most definitely interested in collaborating with everyone and anyone. He says “I am an actor after all!” If you are interested in getting in touch with Bill, you can reach him through facebook, or email him HERE.

Conundrum – Trailer from Kristin LaVanway on Vimeo.

By: JP Frydrych

249042_10200227483724665_1713961734_nWe started to run these articles with intent to highlight filmmakers on a weekly basis, but it turns out that with only two people running the articles, Nicki Legge and myself. It can become a difficult juggling act between productions, work, personal endeavors, etc. I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that we take every aspect of Jump Ship very seriously, including the articles. We want to give each person that we write about the justice they deserve because we pick people that we feel take this stuff as seriously as we do.

I met Charles Peterson last year at Phoenix Comicon; he had a few films playing and I had the pleasure of seeing two of them. From the few words we exchanged at Comicon, I can tell you that Charles is very passionate about his work, and although his work is extremely edgy, he’s probably one of the most grounded people I’ve met. Comicon has a block of films that screen really late at night. I am referring to the 18+ category. I found it interesting that I met Charles at the Con in the middle of the afternoon, considering there are tens of thousands of people that attend Comicon and the 18 + section usually screens at around midnight. The other reason I find this intriguing is because in 2012 one of my films was part of the 18+ films at the Phoenix Comicon. When Charles told me his film was playing in that category, I felt compelled to make my way back to the screening hall later that night. Let me tell you, Charles’s film blew my submission out of the water! The film I saw was Sex and Violence, and it rocked my world. Without giving too much away, the title hits the nail on the head. We didn’t pick Charles as Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week because we met him a year ago though. We picked him because he is working on a new short film that sounds really good.

Typically we write an article style piece about the Filmmaker of the Week, but Charles’s attention to detail and his wonderful grammar has inspired us to share his comments as raw as the essence of all of Charles’s films (Interview Style).

Nicki: How long have you been involved in filmmaking?

Wow, since I was a kid and made home videos. I took it seriously back in 2000 with a short film I made in black and white called “CD-ROM”. The film was heavily inspired by David Cronenberg’seXistenZ. There was a contest online that I wanted to do and the idea was to film, shoot, and edit a short entirely by yourself. When I looked at the deadline it had already passed. The idea of shooting a short like that inspired me to still do it as a personal challenge. This is one of my favorite “old school” films and one that I’m still proud of considering the time it was made. In 2004 I wrote and directed an unfinished film called “The Slick White Rabbit” starring Patti Tindall, Shannon Power, and Mark Ray. The story was about Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick finding her inspiration through drugs to write the song “White Rabbit”. In 2009, I had the pleasure of working with seasoned actor Corbin Bernsen for the movie “Closets” produced by Old World Producers Group. While the film was a complete disaster from the beginning, it was an honor to work with such a professional actor. I would not trade the experience for anything.


Nicki: What sparked your interest in film?

HBO and Showtime. When I was a kid my mom had cable and subscribed to HBO and Showtime and I would watch a lot of movies on there. A lot of the films may have been too mature for my age range. “Ghostbusters” is so much better watching it as an adult. I must say the year that really pushed my interest in film was the summer of 1996. In my opinion, the best summer movies came out that year – “Twister”, “Mission: Impossible”, “Independence Day”, etc. It was around that time that I really decided to make movies professionally, or try to. DVDs had started to surface and I loved that technology so much that I would buy every movie that came out. I purchased this one flick that was rated NC-17 because up until that time I had never seen a film so rated.  That movie was “CRASH” (the David Cronenberg version). I watched the movie and hated it. I didn’t get it and it really disturbed me. It was a movie that I could not get out of my head. Why did I keep thinking about a motion picture that didn’t arouse me, or even make sense?  I actually had to buy the book and read it to better understand the movie! To keep this short, I read the book and it was actually very close to the film. You just have to accept what these characters are doing. I have a deep love for that film, it took me on a journey that I have never seen or experienced before. Now going back and watching it today, it is a beautifully presented dark film that I think is done very tastefully, and that is why I love film. Take me on a journey that isn’t everyday normal life.

Nicki: I see that you do a lot of writing, directing, and producing. Are there any other roles that you enjoy behind and in front of the camera?

Actually, I hate the writing part. I do not consider myself a good writer at all. I would rather collaborate on the writing process with someone else. That being said, I really love the editing aspect of film making. I think it’s where the movie comes together as a whole. I love operating the camera, too. I love bringing other film makers on board as producer under the Cool Wave Pictures banner to build our team of talent. Kenneth Miller and Cody Everett are prime examples of that. They are very talented people and I am honored they allowed me to produce their films. In front of the camera? Yes, I confess I have done it, but try to avoid so at all costs. Haha.

Nicki: All of the films of yours that I have seen have a very dark and cynical feel. Even “Clint,” which is an all-around fun film, still had a bit of a sinister element to it. What is it that draws you to this type of film?

I think what draws me to the dark material is a fascination for the human mind. I want to take my audience on a journey they would never take in real life. I’m not a dark person at all.  I’m actually nervous, shy, and maybe a little neurotic at times. I don’t try to be dark and cynical on purpose, but it’s those types of films that get me excited and for whatever reason I latch on to. Maybe it’s my love and fascination for David Cronenberg’s work. I don’t know. “Clint” was actually a fluke. I just got into DSLR cinema and was really anxious to film a movie on the new camera. At the same time Cameron Cooper sent me a crappy cell phone video of him doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation and he wanted me to put it on YouTube. I told him it looked like crap and that we should entirely improvise a short. We came up with an outline and filmed it the next day. We needed actors so I called up Patrick Adam and Carrie Fee. They agreed to do it and the finished product is something more than we expected.  With “Sex and Violence” I wanted to explore sexuality in a married couple’s life, so it was obvious we had to make a dark film. Having Javier Gomez as my DP really made that happen visually. What excited me about the films that I collaborated with Jose Rosete on (“Win, Lose, or Draw”, “Schism”, and “Sex and Violence”) was that he writes his screenplays with a lot of reality in them, and sometimes real life is dark and sinister. Happy films, or films with happy endings, just don’t interest me. “Clint” wouldn’t be as fun with a happy ending. I love the way that film ends.


Nicki: I’ve noticed a lot of familiar faces between your films (Carrie Fee, Patrick Adam, Jose Rosete, etc.). How did you meet your key actors and what makes you bring them back on set?

I met Jose Rosete on another film set while casting for my short “Laws of Deception” in 2006. He was eager to do the film and the rest is history. Not only is he a brilliant actor, but a brilliant writer as well.  We would end up collaborating on several other projects over the years. He is a joy to work with. Patrick I met on a casting session for “The 11th Aggression“.  I initially cast him in a small role, but when the lead actor dropped out he took over. After that, I cast him in “Win, Lose, or Draw“, “Sex and Violence”, “Clint”, “Closets”, and “Schism”. I consider him a good friend and would cast him in future projects.

Carrie Fee I actually met through Patrick Adam. She came from the world of theater and “Sex and Violence” was her first film role. I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for her the movie would never have come out the way I envisioned it. She portrayed the role of Cassandra so perfectly and beautifully, which was not an easy thing to do – not just for the nudity, but for the craziness that Cassandra projected. I cannot think of another actress that could own that role like Carrie Fee did. I owe a lot to her for the incredible performance and her professional attitude regarding the film.

Nicki: How long has Cool Wave Pictures been around?

Cool Wave Pictures started back in 1993 as a potential software production company. When I was in high school I took a computer programming course and created a game. I wanted to come up with a company name, but had a hard time settling on one. I do a lot of thinking while in the shower, and when I was putting on deodorant the scent I was using was called Cool Wave. So I called my pseudo company Cool Wave Software. When I started film I carried the name over. First it was Cool Wave Studios, then it changed to Cool Wave Pictures in 2002. Wild Rain Pictures, also part of the Cool Wave label for internet productions, came from a deodorant scent as well.  So I suppose I owe a lot to Gillette. To this day I still use Cool Wave deodorant.

Nicki: When did you create Cool Wave Post?

Cool Wave Post & Digital Media was created in 2012 to assist companies with their video production needs. We have worked with several clients including Sweet Corn Organic Nursery, The Village Health Club & Spas, British Automotive Repair, and others to name a few. Our goal is to create high quality video productions for anyone’s budgetary needs.

Nicki: What is the basic premise for 3 cars?

The story of “3 Cars” follows politician Hugo Parker, who’s likely to win an election to become state senator. He is running against his father’s principles to spite the former politico. The movie is basically a political thriller where everyone, it doesn’t matter what side you are on, is shady, dirty. I don’t really follow politics because there are always dirty games being played behind the scenes. It’s basically a fuck you to politics, but first and foremost a family drama.


Nicki: How did you come up with the concept?

The idea of “3 Cars” came while I was pondering how cool it would be to start with one car parked in a neighborhood and travel to another car parked elsewhere. I always wanted to do a political thriller, again an FU to politics. After I wrote a draft of the script, I enlisted Michael Sallustio to do re-writes. Our final shooting script is labeled draft 9, but I think we must’ve done 12-15 drafts over time.

Nicki: How long do you anticipate the finished product will be?

I think the finished product will be anywhere from 12-15 minutes. When doing a short film, not only do I direct, but also edit. I think it’s very important for me to cut my own films. While engaged in the editing process you are still directing your film, plus I love working with Avid. To be honest, I really don’t know how long the film will be. I usually don’t worry about that unless the film drags. Pacing is everything! I don’t think a lot of film makers know pacing. You can set yourself a goal, but the story can’t be too slow or too fast. I’m sure I’ll have to make sacrifices to make it work, but it’ll be well worth it.

Nicki: When do you anticipate the film will premiere?

Since this is an early 2014 production, along with my other film “Homecoming”, we may have to do a screening/premiere separately – hopefully getting into the Phoenix Film Festival next year. If we can get them done sooner, maybe Jerome this year. I would recommend checking our website for the latest screening information at www.coolwavepictures.com.

Nicki: Do you plan to take the film to any festivals?

Submitting to film festivals is a given with all of Cool Wave Pictures’ shorts. I always try to have their world premieres at Phoenix. “Laws of Deception” was the first short film that was an official selection and we had a great time at the festival. Chris Lamont and Jason Carney run an incredible festival and we are so lucky that it’s in our hometown. I have had my shares of rejections and I know it’s a difficult process to select everyone’s film. To me, Phoenix is the big dog in Arizona.

Nicki: What do you hope the audience will take away from the film?

You can want the audience to feel a certain way, but sometimes you are surprised by what people tell you after the film. With “Sex and Violence” I wanted the audience to feel disturbed, depressed, and even horrified at what they just saw. I got exactly that. That was the first film I’ve made where people – strangers even – came up to me and told be how disturbing the film was. I wasn’t insulted, I was proud! “Homecoming” is starting to take form as an intense drama, while “3 Cars” will be an intriguing thriller/drama. You can rarely predict how an audience will feel.

Nicki: What other projects are you working on right now?

I am working on “3 Cars” and “Homecoming” back-to-back, which I will never do again, but it’s been fun. I am also doing pre-pro on a feature film tentatively titled “DARK”. A film that follows the investigation of a sex club (think “Eyes Wide Shut” merged with “The Ninth Gate”). I really want to push some boundaries with that film – no holding back! I want it real and gritty. Everyone tells me that I need to turn “Sex and Violence” into a feature, but I won’t unless Jose Rosete is on board – which is a long shot. I am certain I will be working again with Kenneth Miller and Cody Everett on their future projects, and hope to build my team up even more! I just want to make films, because I love the art form!

By: Nicki Legge

A state film office provides many resources to filmmakers, assists in finding locations for productions, and often consults productions on financial aspects of filming within the state, including any incentives that the state may have. A film office is crucial for any state that hopes to have a successful film industry. Without one, the state is essentially closed for business to large productions that are looking for a place to shoot. Arizona used to be home to many various film productions including Casablanca, The Kingdom, and Wayne’s World (one of my personal favorites) among many others. The AZ film office, however, closed in 2009 due to budgetary reasons, forcing many productions to look elsewhere for locations to shoot. On Thursday, January 16th, Sen. Carlyle Begay sponsored the bill, SB 1098, to bring back the film office, and with him at the state capitol buzzed a flurry of filmmakers rallying for a cause that they believe in with all their hearts. At the head of that rally was a man named Randy Murray, Jump Ship Production’s pick for Filmmaker of the Week.

Back in 1978, Randy began his studies in production at Arizona State University while worked at channel 8 as a set builder. He instantly fell in love. He says, “When you are expressing yourself creatively, your day flies by, your mind whirls and you feel empowered and proud.  I loved building sets, then I moved up to lighting and found such magic in sculpting with light and shadows.  I soon got the chance to do camera work and was taken by the art of composition, then editing and the art of pacing.  By the time I graduated I was head and tails in love with the work we do including directing, writing and producing.  I had the good fortune to work as a grip on large commercial shoots and found out what the word ‘teamwork’ means.” At the finale of his college years, Randy sold his senior project to Channel 5, jumpstarting his career in broadcasting. He worked for a large production company for eleven years, and then decided that he was ready to branch out and start up his own film production company, Randy Murray Productions.

Randy met his wife, Theresa while she was still in high school. As their relationship blossomed, so did their careers. Randy decided to go the production rout, while Theresa climbed ladders in the business world. When Randy decided to create his production company, he knew just who to turn to for a partner. He says Theresa “had climbed the latter at large accounting and legal firms and was a top notch manager and strategic thinker who would put up with my crazy ways.” Randy and Theresa took much pride in the quality of work they put out, and over time they realized that there was even more to it than just creating top notch content. Randy says, “Later in my career I discovered that the stories I was telling, the images I was creating, and the words I was writing had power to persuade and change the way people looked at the world.  It was this realization that sparked my interest the most.  I now know that I could do what I love to do and do it for the good of our community.”

On top of running their film production company, Randy and Theresa also decided to start their own post-production studio. Randy says “I had a favorite editor, Kevin Ruest, who had a falling out with his boss at a local post facility.  Kevin was thinking about getting out of the editing game, so Theresa and I offered to buy the equipment if Kevin and his wife Susie would run the business.  They accepted and Postal was born. The name came from Kevin’s temperament in the suite; he was crazy good, wildly creative and scared the hell out of clients, the perfect partner.  Unfortunately he passed tragically and Postal lives in his honor striving to be crazy good, wildly creative, and we have matured to be nice to clients.” Although Randy has an amazing life with his wife and their two companies, he will always be a dreamer striving for goals that are growing to bigger and better things. He says, “I set my goals while in college, I set them way high, unachievably high… But my failures are key wisdoms I brought to our business when Theresa and I started out.  While we worked hard, bled long and gave much to be here, I know my success is a gift of our community.”  

Before Sen. Begay made his way up to the state capitol on January 16h, he called Randy on the phone to schedule a meeting. Randy of course agreed, and sat down with the senator to talk about gathering the troops for a rally in support of the bill he was about to sponsor. Randy jumped on the chance to be a part of something so important for the film community.  He called upon his experiences from college, where he organized a rally for “John Anderson for President,” and quickly got to work.  Randy puts the head count for the rally at about 30-40 politicians, at least that many key staffers, and over 100 filmmakers. When I asked Randy if he felt that they made an impact, he replied, “Actually I am sure we did.  I personally talked to a couple representatives who had very strong objections and tough questions, then I saw that they had decided to jump on board and cosponsored the bill.  Senator Begay wanted at least four sponsors, a Democrat and Republican from each house. He ended up getting 12 Representatives and 14 Senators.”

Although it is looking like the bill will pass both houses, Randy says “The process is just beginning… the real danger of failure is when it is in committees.The Appropriations Committee should be one of the toughest to get through.  The bill give the film office a budget of $612,000 a year, that is not a lot for a state film office or a lot compared to the numbers that are tossed around in budget meetings.  However, if the committee chair does not feel our industry is something he supports he can single handedly kill it by simply not bringing it up for discussion.”  Randy is more than willing to get his hands dirty again if the Senator asks for more help, and the rest of us can also do our part. Randy believes that it is important that we filmmakers “know who our three representatives are, and we need to reach out to them and let them know that we are film makers, we live in their district, that we vote, that we are active, and most importantly, that we ask for their support of Bill SB 1098.”  You can find your legislators HERE!

Aside from his work with the rally, Randy Murray Productions is beginning production this Sunday on a film for the National Geographic Channel. They also “just landed a six episode series for Discovery ID,” and are in talks with Discovery ID on a show of their own. Randy Murray Productions also recently created a documentary called The Joe Show, about our very own Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which is going to the Sedona International Film Festival. Randy says, “When I need hire someone new, the first place I go to is the APA website.  I strongly suggest any serious production person be a member of APA.  Over the years, this organization has been the one place that we could come together to get jobs and get things done.  There are so many people in our community who are working so hard to stay in our industry or get a break in it. The best chance of working on one of our projects is through personal contact with one of the keys on that project.” You can follow Randy Murray Productions on Facebook.

By: Nicki Legge

!cid_ii_1438eb8a34efd39cBeing able to think outside the box is a trait that all great filmmakers must have; anyone who has been on a film set knows that nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, and you have to be able to roll with the punches. On top of being prepared for anything on set, thinking outside the box is also important during the pre-production phases. Most of us young aspiring filmmakers have huge ideas and little to no budget. We have to get creative with finding the right props, obtaining appealing locations, and pulling together wardrobes to transform our actors. But even when you get all your props from Goodwill and all your locations are free, some kind of budget is often necessary. Luca Patruno has decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary to raise funds for his project, Choices.” Because of his out of the box thinking, we have decided to make him our pick for Jump Ship Productions’ Filmmaker of the Week.

Luca began writing scripts when he was in the eighth grade. He was always fascinated with movies growing up, but he didn’t get actively involved in the community until he began going to film school at Scottsdale Community College. Luca has gotten his hands wet in every area of filmmaking, although he has concentrated the most on writing and directing. He says, “I’ve had crazy and odd life experiences that I feel the stories should be shared with people.” Although he loves writing and directing, Luca also wishes to learn lighting. He says “it’s my weakest point, and I feel knowing that aspect will help me be a better all-around filmmaker.” During his time at SCC, Luca has won two first place awards for his scripts, and this past fall, one of two of the scripts chosen to be part of the Capstone films at SCC were his.

Luca’s latest film, Choices is about “an alcoholic woman. Her husband… asks what she is going to do if something terrible happens and she’s too drunk to protect herself and her children. When an intruder breaks into their home and threatens not only her life, but also her kids’ lives, she must decide whether the bottle of wine or her own children are more important.” Luca feels very strongly about alcoholism among adults “particularly those with children.” His main character gets placed in a very extreme situation, however he believes that it is “realistic and shows what alcohol abuse can do to the mind.” He anticipates that Choices will be about ten minutes long once it has been completed. Although the subject matter is very dark, Luca hopes to use the shock factor to send a strong message. He hopes that it will make the audience “think twice about how they treat alcohol abuse, and… learn that there’s a point where you need to grow up and know what your priorities are.”

In order to raise funds to produce his film, Luca decided to do something that I haven’t seen any other filmmaker do in the valley. He partnered with a local restaurant, Pomo Pizzeria, to hold a fundraiser, where he brings in extra business, and the pizzeria gives him a portion of the night’s profits. Luca says, “I think doing something like this makes people feel like they’re not just giving me money and seeing what happens without anything in return… they’re going out and having a nice meal… but also supporting you and your film.” Luca worked at Pomo Pizzeria for over a year, and “became very close with the owners and other workers.” He chose to do his fundraiser there because the idea worked for his last film and he is convinced that anyone who walks through the door will want to keep coming back. Luca plans to begin shooting toward the end of March, with an anticipated premiere of the beginning of the summer 2014. Most of the films he has done in the past have made their way onto YouTube, however Luca feels that this one is special. He says “I believe this film can be a big one for my career/future, so I will definitely submit it to festivals. I think it will do well in them.”

Aside from working on his film “Choices,” Luca also has a feature film in the works! The film is called “Far Away,” and is “based on a true story about a young boy whose online girlfriend turns out to be a psychopathic pedophile.” He hopes to show the script around to find an investor who wants to see it made. On top of that, Luca is planning a move to California, where he hopes to find bigger and better opportunities. Luca says “I am always interested in collaborating with other production groups. I love the people that I’ve met thus far, and I’ve seen that there’s so much talent out here, and I hope to meet and work with more people.” If you are interested in working with Luca, you can reach him HERE.

977431_10202070055625568_542492901_oBy: Nicki Legge

It is no secret that we love film challenges at Jump Ship Productions. Just about every film we have ever produced has been for a challenge with the IFP Phoenix or Almost Famous Film Festival (A3F). Challenges are a great way to get your name out there and meet tons of amazing and talented people, but they are also good for winning prizes! Every year Doritos hosts the Crash the Super Bowl Ad contest where people all over the world can submit their own 30 second spot to compete for a slot during THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL! And if that wasn’t enough, the winner of the contest this year will also receive a prize of $1,000,000 and will be invited to join the crew on the set of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Our Filmmaker of the Week, Ryan Andersen, not only submitted a funny and well made ad to the contest, but he has made it amazingly far in the contest, top five to be exact! Now it’s up to the public to vote for which one will be the winner.

Ryan has loved going to the movies with his parents since he was about four years old. He has always loved the magic of the cinema, but when he saw the film “Requiem for a Dream” for the first time, he knew that he just had to be a part of this wonderful art form. He has now been happily engaged in the film community for ten years! Like many of our great independent locals, Ryan takes on the tasks of writing, casting, shooting, directing, editing, sound design, and coloring. Every day brings a new learning experience, and that’s just the way he likes it. Ryan says “My main passion is Directing but I think learning all other aspects help me become a better director!” Throughout the years, he has won numerous awards with the A3F and IFP Phoenix “The last short film (he) did was ‘The Fall.’ It won best story, best director, best actor, and best film.  Then it went on to the Phoenix Film Festival and it won best film of the year for IFP’s shorts!”

Like many of us film fanatics, Ryan’s dream is to get noticed and make movies for a living, and what better way to get noticed than to air during the Super Bowl? He entered into the challenge, but had absolutely no idea that he would actually make it to the top five! Out of all of the Grand Prize Winner awards for the contest, Ryan is “most stoked about airing during the Super Bowl!” He is also incredibly excited for the opportunity to work on the set of The Avengers. And who wouldn’t be? This is an insanely larger than life production, with an ‘A list’ cast, and so many opportunities to learn and grow with a large professional crew. Money is also a perk. If Ryan wins the million, he plans to buy a home for his son and use the money that is left over to produce a film that is all ready to go. Ryan does not have to be a grand prize winner to walk away from this experience with something to show for it. His ad has already gotten great exposure on the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl website, and just by making it into the top five, Ryan will already be eligible to receive a “Finalist Prize” consisting of $25,000 USD!

The concept for Ryan’s ad, “Doritos Time Machine” came to him while he was watching “Back to the Future” with his son. Ryan says “he wanted a time machine so I said I would build him one. I thought of a refrigerator box, and started to decorate it!  As I did this, I just started to think how cute it would play as a commercial. I thought of a scenario around it and VOILA!” Once he had his concept, Ryan jumped into Pre-production. It took him one week to pull together everything he needed, including his cast and crew, consisting of old friends and new faces. Ryan says, “I have worked with Tommy Schaeffer on many spots, and Raj Suri, my producer has worked with me on all of our past Dorito submissions! I had never worked with Daved Wilkins (Mr. Smith) or Jim Coates (Old Man) ever before, and yes, I will bring back my team to work in the future! 100%.” The shoot went well. It only took about seven hours, and the only difficulty they ran into was working with an untrained dog. Ryan says “it was difficult to get him to stay still… but once we did, I was ready to shoot it and move on!” After the shoot, Ryan spent over 80 hours in the editing room, making sure everything from the sound to the coloring was perfect.

Ryan says “I would love to do another spot next year!  However I feel like it should be left to ‘another me’ to have their chance and moment to experience what I am feeling right now!” Aside from pumping his ad, which you can vote for HERE, after the contest is over, Ryan is determined to produce his first feature film.  He is always more than willing to collaborate with other filmmakers, because nothing makes a good film like a great crew. If you are interested in working with Ryan, you can reach him HERE. I highly suggest vising doritos.com to vote for your favorite (and by favorite, I mean Doritos Time Machine, first because it is awesome, and second because we should all work together to bring this amazing exposure to Arizona).

Vote for Time Machine here!

By: Nicki Legge

A few weeks ago, Jump Ship Productions attended the screening for the IFP Mystery Box Challenge at Harkins Theatre Scottsdale 101. While I always enjoy watching all of the films, normally at these screenings there are usually only a few that stand out above the rest. At this particular screening, I was blown away by the quality of films that were played. It seems that local AZ filmmakers are really stepping up their game, so when Kyle Gerkin heard the name of his film, “After the Beep” called as the Best Overall Film, he was caught delightfully by surprise.

Like many of us film enthusiasts, Kyle’s love of the craft began as a child when he watched two of the greats, E.T. and Return of the Jedi, in theaters. He says “I felt like there was a kind of magic at work when the lights went down and I was transported to another world.” That feeling stuck with him and turned into a fascination that only grew stronger when he held a camera for the first time. During his childhood, Kyle loved to borrow whatever camera he could get his hands on, round up all of his friends, and shoot anything and everything he could come up with. He always had some sort of script pulled together, but being a child, he didn’t have any kind of budget to bring his stories to life. He says “those films were uniformly terrible in every way… but I did learn how to be creative within low budget constraints, since our budget was always zero.”

Kyle’s interest in film continued on into college. He enrolled in Scottsdale Community College as a Film Production major, however his time there was cut short when he became a father. Kyle left school to work full time in Corporate IT. While he says that IT work was “financially rewarding,” Kyle also says that he was “starving creatively.” A little more than a year ago, his very loving and supportive wife convinced him to leave his stable job behind to take one with more flexibility so he could explore his creativity. He says I’m forever grateful for that, because I know I couldn’t have done it without her support and encouragement.” He immediately joined Kevin Phipps’s Meisner acting studio, which introduced him to all sorts of talented individuals within the AZ Film Community, and he’s been making films ever since.

Among the wonderful people that Kyle met was Michael Hanelin, who has been doing a lot of casting for Running Wild Films. Naturally, Running Wild asked Kyle to act in a couple of their shorts for their anthology, 52 Shorts in 52 Weeks. Aside from pumping out short films like it’s going out of style, Travis Mills has also been teaching locals his style of filmmaking. Kyle decided to “try his hand behind the camera.” He took Travis’s class and created his first film”Foster, You’re Dead.” Kyle says that Foster is still his favorite project to date “because (he) was so closely involved with every step of the process, and (he) had to overcome some significant challenges… so it was a tremendous learning experience, and all the more satisfying when it was completed.”

Kyle took part in the IFP Beat the Clock Challenge earlier this year as a producer, writer, and actor for the film “The Neighbors.” His whole team enjoyed it so tremendously that, once it was over, they decided that they would sign up for the Mystery Box Challenge as well. In this particular challenge, Kyle really liked that the genre was open, and that every team had different props and lines of dialogue. He believes that it allowed for more creativity among the teams. At the kickoff, Kyle’s team was given an old “1980′s era answering machine, with faux wood paneling and full cassette tapes” as their prop. Unfortunately October was a very busy month for all of the members of the team, some even had to drop out of the challenge, so they needed to come up with an idea that would be exceedingly simple.

When actor, Shellie Ulrich suggested that they focus the whole film on the answering machine, they knew that they had their concept! It was simple and would not require a whole lot of time to shoot, and it had the potential to be really interesting. Kyle played around with the idea of telling the story of one full day through messages on an answering machine, but then decided that it would be more impactful to tell a story of a woman’s entire adult life. This film was beautifully executed with amazing voice acting and convincing set design. This team managed to tell an entire story with an inanimate object and a pair of hands. After the Beep took home Best Overall Film and the Best Use of Prop, but more importantly, you could really hear and feel the emotional reactions of the audience throughout the film, and in my opinion that is the best prize of all.

Kyle will be participating in the Filmstock iFest Competition as the director for Running Wild Films. He is “also working on a screenplay for a film that will hopefully be produced by Running Wild.” He will also be acting in several upcoming films. Kyle says “Every time I attend screening events, I meet more talented Arizona filmmakers that I would love to work with. I love the collaborative nature of filmmaking. I love that it truly takes a disparate group of people coming together and working as a team to produce a good film.” If you are interested in collaborating on a project with Kyle, you can email him HERE.

By: Nicki Legge

Greg Bronson

Still from Break Down

Arizona’s film community is composed of a cornucopia of talented individuals, from those of us who are just starting out trying to find our niche, to those of us who have been in the industry for many years. I still consider myself a baby in this wonderful community, so I tend to get extra excited when I have the privilege of meeting our more seasoned members in person. The past several weeks, Jump Ship has taken a break from posting articles so we can concentrate on our latest film, Break Down, which was our submission to the IFP Phoenix Mystery Box Challenge. When producer, JP Frydrych, told me that we booked Greg Bronson to play our antagonist, I was absolutely ecstatic.  He has been around this industry for quite some time and I have always heard only wonderful things about him. I must say that all of those things held true when it came time to shoot the film; Greg is not only a talented actor who is also punctual and respectful on set, but he is a kind person with tons of interesting stories about his time in the industry.

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Greg grew up in quite a large family, full of people to shower him with attention and care. While he loves his family, being raised in such a mob has its downfalls. Greg felt like a wallflower; he “considered (himself) shy and without much personality.” One day he decided that he wanted to break away from the wall. He wanted a challenge, so he decided to take the plunge into acting. Greg has been a part of the film industry now for almost 30 years! He says “I’m still quiet and reserved, but I have a certain confidence that I lacked then.” His “first time, being in front of the camera was on a Morning Show in Roswell, NM in 1985.” Although he was scared to death, nothing could stop him from pursuing his new-found dream. He got his first film gig as background actor in the film Speechless with Michael Keaton & Geena DavisGreg says, “After doing a ‘rally’ scene with at least 500 people… one of the P.A.’s was sent to ask me if I would like to be in another scene as a ‘backstage hand.’   Well, that put me on stage… within 10ft of Geena, and I was bitten by the bug.”

Seeing as everyone in the community says that Greg has the best stories about his time in the industry, I had to ask what his favorite story is.

I guess my favorite one would be from the set of The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A. I had the extreme pleasure of talking with James Garner for about two hours.  It was after a scene and the crew was setting up for the next shot, rather than go down to the street to have a smoke, I decided to see what I could find inside.  (This was before all the non-smoking regulations) Opened one door and inside, all alone, I found him having a smoke.  Asked if I could join him and he said, ‘Sure, come on in.’ I was dressed in a Police Officer uniform so he may have thought I was part of Security.  We had a wonderful conversation about his career and life in general.  He was having extreme difficulty with his feet hurting.  I totally lost track of time, but was asked to stay for a short scene in the garage, so I knew I wasn’t in any trouble for disappearing for so long.

Although Greg is known for acting, he is no one-trick pony. He has had his fair share of experience behind the camera as well. He says, “Working crew is tough.  You have to have the patience of a rock to enjoy the work. There are very busy moments, to moments that you don’t want to hear a pin drop, because it will be picked up by the sound.” He likes to joke around that “Being an actor is the easiest job in town… just the hardest to find,” but all jobs within a film production are difficult in their own ways. “From the moment of the casting notice, our job begins.  And then if we are accepted to the role, there is a lot of prep to ‘find’ the character that best portrays the director’s vision.” Greg reiterates that all jobs on a film set are equally important. He loves the sense of family that we have here in our wonderful community and most of all, he loves “being able to bring a writer’s ideas to life.  Characters in a film fulfill our hopes & fears, dreams & desires… our fantasies. Actors bare their souls to this end, existing to serve others.”

Throughout his time as a filmmaker, Greg says that he is quite proud of the respect he has given himself, which has in turn brought about respect from others. Along with confidence, self-respect is one thing that actors must practice in order to be successful. He says “I refuse to work on a feature film that has the intention of making a financial gain on their work, but has no intention of compensating the actors for their involvement.  I’ve turned down a couple of great ‘roles’ because of this, and truly believe, it’s a form of abuse.” Since he is more experienced than many of us here in the AZ film community, Greg says that he realizes that he has a responsibility to all of us “to set a good example, advise the novice actors on how to achieve their goals, and challenge upcoming directors so that they can get a better performance from their actors.” Greg has watched this community grow and evolve, pushing the bar higher and improving quality each year. He is proud of all of our efforts as a community, and he is “most proud of the productions that (he) gets to work with (his) better half” (who I believe is the beautiful and also talented, Dawn Nixon).

Seeing as we are all one big family, and we are all here to help one another learn and grow, Greg has proposed an idea that I think is quite brilliant. He says, “I’d like to suggest that a committee of sorts, be formed, that can review and critique a film before it’s released.  Thus giving the filmmaker a chance to re-write, re-edit, re-cast (if necessary) to make needed changes, making their project more marketable.” I know I personally would take advantage of such a committee, and I can think of a few people who would make fantastic members, Greg being one of them. On the flip side, he stresses that you should never take critical reviews too seriously “unless they’re positive,” he jokes. “We can’t please everyone all the time.  And if you’re like most of us, of course you feel you could have done better.  I’ve had my share of good & bad reviews but at the end of the day, I’m doing what I love, that’s what counts.”

Production Still from Break Down

Production Still from Break Down
Photo by: Decorated Photos

Greg took on the role of Wade, a gruff auto mechanic with a devious hidden agenda, in our film Break Down, which was our submission to the IFP Phoenix Mystery Box Challenge. He seems to take a lot of villainous roles within our community. He says, “I do enjoy playing the antagonist roles. Probably since that type is opposite of my nature. That’s what is so wonderful about this business, we all have so many different facets to our personalities and we get to ‘play’ with them during a scene.”  He has participated in very few film challenges before because he has mixed emotions about them. On one hand, the overall quality of the final films is sometimes lacking due to the time constraints and rule restrictions. Greg says, “I certainly respect the filmmakers who take on the challenge, because it shows how well they can work together under such extreme pressure.” On the other hand, these challenges are designed to do just that, challenge filmmakers to “up their game” while competing with their counterparts.

We were all extremely excited to work with Greg on our film Break Down, and I am also very glad to hear that he was happy to work with us. When I asked him why he chose to take the role of Wade, he told me, “I’ve seen the quality of work that Jump Ship Productions puts out.  I’m a stickler for good sound, cinematography and story, and Jump Ship always has a great final product.  The crew is like a well-oiled machine the way they work together.  And production was right on schedule, I was wrapped earlier than expected. The footage will confirm that I had a LOT of fun with ‘Wade!’” (Thanks, Greg!)

Aside from Break Down, which you can see at the Harkins 101 on November 14th, Greg took part in the recently premiered film, Cowboy Zombies, which I have heard great things about. He also has several other films in the pipeline. While many people here in the AZ film community are striving to make it to Hollywood, Greg worked in L.A. for 15 years, and he says “I would pick the industry here in Arizona hands-down.” He considers this community his family, and would not trade it for anything. If you are interested in working with Greg, he can be reached HERE!

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By: Nicki Legge

Lee_Quarrie_HeadshotThere are a few very special people within the Arizona film industry that I hold in extremely high regard; they are out there on the front lines every day working hard and really getting their hands dirty on any set they can. When one of these people tells me to check out a project or a person, I know that it comes with a level of experience and knowledge that should not be ignored, so when Nile Popchock suggested that I check out Patchwork Dreams, I knew I would not be disappointed. Lee Quarrie is the writer, director, and producer for Patchwork Dreams. This amazing film has taken her to new heights in her career, and she has chosen to share this experience with local filmmakers with the motive of bringing work to the very community that raised her as a filmmaker.

Many of us today are grinding away day in and day out at jobs that we hate, dreaming about all of the other, much more wonderful things we could be spending our time on. Lee spent many years of her life doing “soul-sucking” jobs that left her feeling unfulfilled, but then she found film. Lee says “I believe that a person should do what she loves, and do it with all of her heart.  Filmmaking is what makes me curious about the world… it makes me ask questions, probe and inquire.  Being a filmmaker means I am constantly engaged in creating art.  So the moments of time that are less than exciting suddenly become about informing the larger process of being a filmmaker.  Being bored or sad becomes research.  Then suddenly I’m no longer bored or sad; instead I’m asking myself questions about a character or a relationship or situation in which a character is bored or sad.”

Lee graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Digital Media.  “It’s not a film degree; rather it’s a theatre degree that focuses on creating media for live performance.”  She was incredibly grateful for her advisor who recognized her interest in film production and pushed her in that direction while she got her degree. Lee wrote and produced a live, mediated play for her thesis called Mother and Daughter Live! 2.0. During the play, live performers interacted with several characters who were filmed in advance. Lee began her filmmaking by taking several classes at Scottsdale Community College, where she began to refine her skills.

All her life, Lee had loved being an actor and hadn’t really imagined doing anything else, but as an actor she found that she had to do things she didn’t particularly enjoy in order to make a living. Lee says “My reaction to unhappiness is to find something else that interests me. When I found myself dissatisfied with acting and my professional life, I decided to take a screenwriting class, and that hooked me in.” Now, her two favorite roles are writing and directing. Lee says “I’ve produced most of my own films, but enjoy the writing and directing so much more when there is someone else doing the production work.”  She says that as a writer “my mind is constantly noticing stories, shots, characters and relationships.  I believe that having a mind that works like this makes me a strong writer. That and lots of practice, bad writing, practice, accidental good writing, practice, and constructive criticism.”

Lee has done approximately 15 short films, most of them for 48 or 24 hour challenges and won several awards.  In October 2012 she won Best Director, the Brock H. Brown Best Script Award, and 2nd Place in the Almost Famous Film Festival 24-hour challenge for her film “Second Chance.”  She has also won several prized for her submissions to IFP Phoenix Beat the Clock Challenges. Her film, “M.O.P.! An Intergalactic, Melodromatic Rock Opera won the Audience Favorite award and Best Use of Prop. One of Lee’s two favorite films “The Line Up” took Third Place and the lead actress, Jennifer Pfalzgraff not only won Best Actress in the initial competition, but also took Best Actress in the final round at the end of the year.

Photo by: Laura Durant

Several months ago, one of Lee’s friends posted a link to a script competition on her Facebook wall.  She says “Funny thing to me is that he’s not a writer; he’s a gaffer. So it was one of those moments where the Universe got the information under my nose in a roundabout way.” She decided to take a stab at the competition and wrote Patchwork Dreams, about a migrant worker in Beijing who dreams about creating something meaningful. Lee has a friend, Maggie, who spends several months a year in China. She used her as a great resource to understand what life is like in Beijing, in addition to doing all sorts of research about migrant workers.  Lee says “I felt that the migrant workers of China and the migrant workers of America had similar tales to tell.  I’d also recently found myself fascinated with kites for some reason.  The two ideas meshed in my imagination and became Patchwork Dreams.”

Lee ended up winning Grand Prize for the her submission to the shorts competition. She was flown out to Beijing to be honored in a ceremony, and was awarded with a $10,000 production budget. Pre-production began immediately after she found out she had won. Lee says “I received an email on May 15 that I had been selected, and we began shooting on August 8th.” Because the Arizona film industry had been so good to her, Lee knew she wanted to bring the work here.  She found her actors through durantcom.com and social media and messaged several directors, producers, and casting agents for recommendations.  She says “The crew was mostly a crew of people I had worked with on previous projects.  I was very happy to have each one of them on board because it was the first time I was ever able to pay any of my crew. I wanted to be able to give them the opportunity to earn a wage rather than donate their time for food and credit.”

Once she had her cast and crew, it was down to business. Lee was able to find wonderful locations, including the Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center and The Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix. Lee says “It’s my understanding that the Cultural Center has never before permitted a commercial film crew to shoot on their premises, so I consider myself truly blessed to have been able to utilize their unique venue.” They also had to build one of their sets and were able to make it happen at the Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale.  Lee says, “They were so helpful and generous with us  If they had charged us what their services were worth, we wouldn’t have been able to afford them.” Production took about five days over a ten day period from August 8 through 18th and post began immediately afterwards. The final cut of the film is due on October 1, 2013, so Lee and her crew are hard at work to make the deadline.

Lee plans to submit the film to multiple international film festivals, and it will also be viewable in China through their online television presence LeTV.comLee is also working on a script for a feature length film and is “actively seeking representation as well as writing and directorial opportunities.” Lee is a big fan of collaboration. She says “I consider filmmaking the ultimate collaboration.  I’d be a fool to think I could do this by myself!” If you are interested in working with her, you can contact her HERE.