Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: The End of an Era (Catharsis, be my valentine)

So, you're wondering about the title? What I mean is the end of an era of emotional pain and suffering. In real life, not on screen. No worries.

Between 2010 and 2013 I had a lot of suck1 happening in my life. Those three years were like a crash-course in hard knocks. What my mother calls, "An abrupt loss of innocence". I experienced a personal loss. I ended a long relationship. And my dad got sick, and suddenly I was entirely responsible for him.2. In February of this year, my father died. Now I'm learning to live with my 50% chance of not going out like a zombie far before my time. Thanks, genetics. Hooray to living on the edge! Every day is a gift! Yay!

But there's good news: people heal, and they actually have a bottomless pit of innocence, and strength, left if they know how to look for it, deep inside. Artists need their innocence, believe me. It's there, I looked for it and found it. Pure magic.

Between those years a lot of great things also happened, namely that my output as a filmmaker has been exponential, or at least it feels that way. The production company, in which I'm a partner, is going strong and we're making new movies all the time. I'm actually able to make the films I want to, with little compromise. Seriously? Yes. This is the most awesome thing ever, short of actually having lots of money to produce those films.

He meows like a tiny dinosaur. I'm not kidding.
This year Dead But Dreaming had its theatrical run and pre-release, I had a great interview published in Fangoria Magazine, lots of interviews in other magazines and blogs, traveled from coast to coast, went to the PollyGrind Film Festival3 with Barbazul, met some great people, had good times with old friends, a fantastic time with a new friend, helped out my mom with lots of manual labor, shot about 2/3 of my fourth film as director, Olalla, ran a pretty successful IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the other 1/3 of Olalla, and now have a distribution deal in the works for all of the films. And last, but not least, I found a very cute kitten in my garden, named Mitsou, after the Balthus drawings. When I only focus on the positive, it was a complete and utter blast.

Look at all the pretty awards!
On Saturday the 21st, I threw a party for much of the cast and crew of Olalla. We celebrated the Solstice (at least I did, having been raised by a pagan goddess (my mother)), and we found out at 6PM PST that we won a huge amount of lovely awards from The Beverly Hills Outlook!

Among them, I won Best Director (Gold) for Le Marquis de la Croix, Best Actress (Gold) for Dead But Dreaming, and Barbazul won Best Film (Gold). I really could not be more pleased! You can see all of them at this link right here.

It was wonderful to share that with the people who make everything happen, who believe in what we do, and put their hearts and souls into their work with us. I love them dearly.

I'm very excited to start 2014 with even more projects. We'll be shooting the 1880s sequence for Olalla, including the big scene, it looks like Jac Avila has an adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's Justine in the works, Erix Antoine has a great script we'll be shooting (I finally get to kick ass in an action movie!), there's a good chance I might be heading into the jungle to shoot something (huge insects! pretty birds!), I have a script for a horror film, and I'm making a horror short in collaboration with some PollyGrinders.

This year is ending well.

This is fantastic!

1 For my non-English-speaking readers (who may be using Google Translate) "suck" = bad (mal)

Nonsensical ledge, be gone!
I will take out my wrath upon thee.
100 painful pages of the ups and downs of that story could be put right here. It would read like a horror soap opera.

The past few days I've been really angry, and didn't know why. I gave it some thought, and realized that this time last year was the last time I saw my father alive. I think he recognized me, he smiled a lot. I felt guilty for not doing more. I still feel guilty, even though everyone tells me I did a great job with him. Someday, I wish to feel at peace about that.

I cried, I smashed a ledge off of a wall that didn't need to be there. I feel better now. And have about 5 inches more space in that room. 

Barbazul in Las Vegas, baby!

3 I just realized that I'm a silly person for not writing about the PollyGrind Film Fest before now?! Chad Clinton Freeman has organized pure AWESOME there in LV! I went for the entire 5 days, watched tons of films, had my picture taken with Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (Dyanne Thorne), was completely dazzled by the weirdness of Las Vegas (my 2nd visit), and most importantly, connected with a bunch of very cool people. It's what a film festival should be, well-organized, well-curated, lots of fun. I got to Q&A after the screening of Barbazul for a whopping 25 minutes, probably to the utter consternation of the kind director, Chad, who had another film scheduled after mine. I loved every minute of PollyGrind... except for that wicked hangover I had one day out of the five. But, I cured it by watching more films.

That's yours truly with Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer of "Ilsa" fame. Pretty sweet.