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Meet the Makers: Jeff Driggers

driggers1How is shooting a film like climbing a mountain or playing a school-yard game of leap frog? Find out in this interview with Happy Hour director, Jeff Driggers. 

 


How did you hear about the Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

Palmetto Pictures participated in it last year with the film Pretty Pitiful God. We had such a great time that we decided to take another crack at it.

What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I am born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. I went to University of Texas at Austin for film and came back to Columbia after graduating. I do freelance videography for a living and make movies with Drew Baron, O’Neal Peterson, and Brooke Ensign as Palmetto Pictures.

How did you become interested in filmmaking?

I was heavily involved in theatre in highschool. During rehearsals for a show, a friend and I started shooting our own mockumentary with the rest of the cast for fun. This silly little movie, shot to pass the time offstage, awakened a passion for film that has burned stronger ever since. Throughout the rest of highschool, I continued making movies and hosting premieres of the films created. I still enjoy performing in plays, but filmmaking has become the thing that drives me. 

What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

driggers

Happy Hour is one long monologue given by a woman at a bar. The story is simple, but the character presented is incredibly complex. There are alot of truths, contradictions, and sadness all welled up inside her. I related to her and I think alot of other people will as well… Plus, Palmetto Pictures enjoys shooting at bars.

What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?

Film is a visual art built around rhythm so it can be tough to pull off monologues effectively as they tend to be static in nature. Since Happy Hour is one long monologue at a bar, the challenge was to figure out how to deliver it in a way that appealed to cinema’s strength and not it’s weakness. A visual story arc was developed to embellish the monologue and give the character more dimensions. 

What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

Time, Time, and more Time. There was never enough of it. We wanted every shot to look great and to not make any compromises. I’m proud to say that whenever time ran out, an alternative was always found that ended up being better than the original plan.

 What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

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Making a movie is a lot like climbing a mountain. It’s one long, arduous journey you spend months preparing for and even less time making. Still, you get to go on this adventure with a bunch of friends and it’s exhilarating to reach the top of the mountain with them. You come down with a bunch of memories and a movie forged from blood,sweat, & tears to show people.

 What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

You should always come onto set with a visual plan, but it’s also important to not blind yourself with it. The location often offers a better alternative than what you see in your head. The improvisations made on the set of Happy Hour actually ended up being some of the best shots in the film.

 Any fun anecdotes from the production you would like to share?IMG_0183

We were running out of time to pull off all the shots before the bars closed. So at one point, we had three different scenes being set up, at two different bars, at the same time. There was people running ninny nanny everywhere between the bars with all different sorts of equipment/props/e.t.c. going every which way. It was a gigantic game of leapfrog that I’m sure was an enjoyable watch for all the bar patrons.

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

Make movies of course, but save yourself alot of time, and develop an understanding of cinematic language. Hitchcock is a great place to start. He was very generous with his knowledge of film theory. Pick up the grandpappy of film books, Hitchcock/Truffaut and watch the films that these two masters discuss. After you get the basics from Hitchcock, immerse yourself in another well regarded director. Watch the director’s films and read interviews where they discuss how they constructs their films. With each master director you study, your understanding of cinematic language will grow and you’ll soon have a large vocabulary to use for your own film.

 What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

I love being a South Carolina filmmaker. Moviemaking is so rare a thing here, that people are always very supportive and wish to lend a helping hand. Locations are relatively easy to come by, so Columbia, in itself, has become this giant sandbox to make movies. I’ve met plenty of other awesome Filmmakers who are also creating great work as well. There isn’t this fierce competition that you find in the big movie production cities where hundreds of filmmakers fight for a shred of screen. Instead, you have these unique festivals like Expecting Goodness, 2nd Act, and Indiegrits, that welcome SC filmmakers with open arms and treat them like rock stars. So ironically, South Carolina’s greatest strength is that it isn’t known for filmmaking. It’s fostering a set of filmmakers dedicated to their craft out of love not fame, untainted by outside influence, and that’s where innovation comes from. Since the cost of living is so low and locations range from mountains to the beach, South Carolina is this very fertile ground for filmmaking and I see it flourishing.

Meet the Makers: Eddy Gudakov

JapRoom2Jap Room Director, Eddy Gudakov opens up about his upcoming short film and offers sound advice to aspiring filmmakers in this edition of  Meet the Makers.

 

 How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

Social Media. 

What is your background?

My background before I began making films was in music. I am originally from Mariupol, Ukraine, but was raised in Seattle Washington. For a living I run a film company with my brother Max where we specialize in commercial videography as well as producing short films on a regular basis. 

 How did you become interested in filmmaking?

In High School a few of my friends and I would produce short YouTube videos. After learning the technicalities, I furthered my education and began producing some bad short films. 

What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?JapRoom6

The Jap Room became very important to me because it not only relates to those that are fighting for this great country, but it also relates to those that have ever lost a loved-on or even HAD a loved-on fighting in any war. It heavily communicates to us the differentiation between spiritual life and death and what our soldiers struggle with even after their return from war. This is also relatable to anyone struggling with anything in life or anyone going through a mental storm. 

What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?

The biggest creative challenge cramming all of this great content into a 10 minute short film. If I could have made it a feature, I easily would have. 

 What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

The hardest logistical challenge was portraying an era I am personally unfamiliar with. Our team did as much research as we possibly could in the short time period we had.

 JapRoom1What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

I think the best thing about being a filmmaker is telling a great story and reaching people that are struggling with something I can relate to. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to re-tell someone’s history and make it relatable to an audience member so that they can hopefully have something of importance to take away from the story.

 What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

The biggest lesson I learned from directing this film was to have better one on one communication with my actors. I learned to let the actors be these characters, instead of telling them what to do as we move along.

 Any fun anecodotes from the production that you’d like to share?

None that I can remember, other than reenacting scenes from Forrest Gump because we were fortunate enough to use props that were actually used in the film! 

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

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The biggest advice I can offer to any young film maker is to keep going NO MATTER WHAT! You’re GOING to suck in the beginning! Everyone wants to become a successful filmmaker, and truthfully, success does really happen overnight, but it’s the steps you need to take towards that overnight success is where the journey is!

 What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

As struggling as it is, it’s a great opportunity to work in a community where all of us storytellers are able to feed off of each others ideas and create a system we can call our own.

 

Meet the Makers: Dan Fowler

1970498_758087646139_735968157_nDirector, Dan Fowler lets slip some behind-the-scenes faux pas on the set of his upcoming short film, Lip Service.

 
 
 
 
How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?
 
I first heard about the Expecting Goodness Film Festival through the Spartanburg Herald Journal last year.
 
What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
 
I’m a USC Upstate graduate from Spartanburg, SC, and freelance as an artist who has been commissioned for a variety of jobs ranging from videography to illustrations.  
 
How did you become interested in filmmaking?
 
I’ve been interested in filmmaking since watching Ghostbusters as a child. It was this amazing film that first got me interested in special effects, monsters, and the art of mixing scary elements with fun storytelling.
 
What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?
 
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I’m an avid fan of horror movies, so Brock Adams’s “Pretty Special” really grabbed me. It was the only scary short story available, and it was very well written.
 
What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?
 
Adapting Pretty Special into Lip Service for the silver screen was fairly easy, because the story was already written so much like a screenplay.  
 
What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?
 
The toughest logistical challenge I faced filming Lip Service was finding a restaurant to use for a set. My fiancee suggested Tanner’s Big Orange of Greenville, and we couldn’t have asked for a better location.
 
What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?
 
The most gratifying part about being a filmmaker is seeing an audience react to your work the way you intended. That’s how I measure the success of my films.
 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhat was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

 
The biggest lesson I learned on this film as a director is that you need to work with people you trust. You’re basically 
 supervising a team, and you have to trust each team member to do his or her part, or the film could fail in ways you couldn’t have predicted.
 
Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?
 
I have a friend who has never helped make a film before, so I put him in charge of the rain effects outside Tanner’s during our first night shooting Lip Service. I assumed he knew he needed to stand to the side, aim a garden hose at the sky, and create this wide arc of rain over the scene. As soon as I called, ‘Action,’ he was spraying full blast at the camera, almost drowning me and ruining expensive film equipment. Never underestimate the direction you think everyone needs on a set.   
 
Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?
 
My advice for young filmmakers would be to make the films you want to see, and don’t let anyone discourage you from your vision.
 
What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?
 
Being a South Carolina filmmaker means you can’t film a desert movie without buying plane ticket.

Meet the Makers: Mike Scarz

How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

It’s kind of funny. I wasn’t really aware of Expecting Goodness before I was invited to a screening of last year’s films by Brett Tolliver; that’s where I met Porter Blackman. Porter and I have been working on an old film of mine for a year or so and Brett kept bugging me to enter this year’s Fest. It wasn’t until after I was accepted that I realized it’s kind of a big deal.

 What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I grew up in Richmond, VA (804! WHAT!)

My background is pretty crazy really; to put it in a nutshell I graduated from Full Sail in 96, went to work on some fairly high end productions and promptly made a boatload of left turns after that; doing laser installations from south Florida to NYC. In between gigs I was a club promoter, booking agent, standup comic, art show vagabond, musician. I’ve put out a couple of albums; dunno if they’re even around anymore. Mostly I’ve been roaming the earth, keeping a log of superfluous adventures; notably, touring with Pank Shovel and Daddy’s Magazine.

 How did you become interested in filmmaking?

In a super cool, random way. I’ve always loved movies. I love, LOVE watching actors do their thing. I love lighting, I love in camera sfx, narrative, minutiae; I love all of it. I went to film school on a whim and quickly realized I already knew most of what they were teaching, I just hadn’t thought of it that way before. I hooked up with a band of certifiable miscreants with all the talent in the world but no real storytelling skill and from there I kind of took it to heart in my own way and became a happy wanderer. I’ve been obsessing over media and writing music, scripts and comedy sketches ever since.

 What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

Bob Strother’s story is fantastic and I can’t say too much more about that without giving away a lot of our adaptation’s story. I adapted our script from of a scene from the original story and kind of built a backstory around that. What grabbed me immediately was the voice of the character and his conflict of who he was, what he was doing, and what was really important to him in terms of his own, naked self. I basically seized that and wrote a terrible script around it. What’s awesome is I got in touch with Bob and showed it to him with the warning about how unfleshed out and poorly spelled the whole thing was and he ‘got it’; dug it right off the bat. So did most everyone that saw it early on, yourself included.

 What was the biggest creative challenge in adapation?

There wasn’t one this time. Not really anyway. I liked it, Bob liked it, everyone seemed to think it was ok. I’m still surprised at the ease of that part of this project. Sometime you get a pass.

 What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

Man, oh man. This film was insane from the start in terms of logistics. I turned in a script that called for two child actors and an opening dance number and it got accepted! You can imagine the ‘oh shit!’ moment when it dawned on me what I had bought into. The only reason we were able to pull off most of the crazy stuff we did with this is I just put it out there that I was looking for this and that and people came out of the woodwork to help. I was blown away. One day in Hub-Bub I was referred to the Little Theater and Deena introduced me to Myles Moore and his family; they’re now friends of mine and really dear to me. I contacted the Spartanburg PD Department of Special Events to inform them that we wanted to film downtown using a prop gun and 10 or so phone calls later, they had shut down Liberty Street for a day for us. They put up barricades and let the residents know about our shoot beforehand! You rode your bike through that day by accident; it was bananas!

We also had the normal ‘hitch in yer giddyup’ happen more than once but that’s enough about it for now. It’s been a blast.

 What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

That’s a really good question and I hope I’m up to the task of answering it. Being a writer/director means nothing if the people around you can’t play their position and I seriously feel like I hit the lottery this time. I wrote a script, based on someone else’s ideas, and have had a front row seat to something really special and unique. When your team is establishing itself and you’re sizing up your situation, sometimes you feel everything begin to gel and you start to shoot for the moon and see what happens.

I got involved cause Brett Tolliver, one of my closest friends an awesome actor I’ve known for years, stayed on my ass about it. The guy just lives for film and is really the one that pushed me into doing this project.

I met Aaron Pate through Porter and Bret and got to watch this story congeal through all of their skills. Before you know it; there are storyboards, we’re scouting locations. Bob’s on board, he’s coming to auditions, we talk on the phone; collaborators. Christopher Paul Smith auditions, gets the part, and kills it. He had never done a film like this before and his vulnerability and grasp of the absurd straight up Made it.  Through you and the folks at Hub-Bub, I meet the Moore family and Myles rewrites the script without knowing it; I’m telling you, the kid is going places. I get in touch with Mandy Merck and Lt. Dan Suber and all of a sudden the law’s on MY side for a change. We have a street to ourselves on a Sunday afternoon. It’s been unreal. And the whole time I get to watch these people, handpicked by me, do what they do and NOBODY drops the ball. Zach Snow and Jarod Philips come in and we have a tighter set than the last tv show I was on ever had.

I told Brett Tolliver, Chris Cashon and everyone with dialog to do it the way they feel is natural, never mind what’s on the page, and they did. Just like everyone on this crew did on both sides of the camera.

These people made their film, I was just the wheelman. It’s hard to describe.

I had the best seat in the house

 What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

Don’t be afraid to ask.

 Any fun anecodotes from the production that you’d like to share?

Yes.

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

Figure out exactly what it is within the industry that you want to do and focus on it relentlessly. 

And no drinking before sundown.

 What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

I have no idea.

What I know through sporadic acting gigs and the production of two films is that this area is bustin’ at the seams with talent. I was ready to throw in the towel a few years ago, just sick of it. I’m in a whole new frame of mind now. And I mean it when I say, this is a burgeoning scene. Anything can happen.

Meet the Makers: Daljit Kalsi

How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

Peter Caster sent me a message about the festival and fellow filmmaker Dan Fowler talked me into signing up.

 What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I’m a native of Simpsonville who graduated with a BA in Communications/Journalism from USC Upstate and currently work as a multi-media producer at WHNS-TV

 How did you become interested in filmmaking?

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved movies, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to DVDs in the late 1990s that I began to take an interest in making movies. The behind-the-scenes featurettes and director’s commentary tracks really reshaped the way I enjoyed movies and sparked my desire to start making films of my own.

What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

It’s a detective story… a genre to which I have a particular fondness. I love a good detective story, and had been looking for another opportunity to make a detective film.

What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?

Dawes’ original story is set in Jamaica with a lot of local cultural references and is set around a viral epidemic that poses a growing health threat to that country, so I had to find a way to localize it. Plus, the story was nearly 30 pages– a monster-sized story to try and fit into a 10-minute-or-less film. Whittling the story down to it’s central elements and characters wasn’t an easy task.

 What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

Scheduling. Scheduling. Scheduling. Finding time for a group of adults who work full time jobs to get together and make art is always a laborious task, especially when my job has me working long hours, nights, and every weekend. My own stupidity is a challenge too– like when I failed to remember to take the time change into account when scheduling one scene in which one of the key moments in the film takes place. We were all ready to shoot and the Fountain Inn Fire Dept. had arrived to help us create a rainy streetscape, but the sun was still high in the sky and the scene was to take place at night.

What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

The memories I’ve made and the relationships I’ve built through the filmmaking process over the years brings me the most joy. However, for this particular project, just having the project was a great help to me, as a series of family tragedies befell me early on in the filmmaking process. Just a few days after the announcement ceremony, our dog Remy, who my wife and I had for over five years, passed away. That same night, my sister, Cindy, was admitted to the intensive care unit at the hospital and doctors told us she probably wouldn’t pull through. A week later to the day, she died. The week after that, my grandmother passed away after a years-long bout with Alzheimer’s disease. Having this film project to focus on through those dark times was a big help to me, and allowed me to grieve and pay tribute to Cindy, grandma, and my uncle Surjit, who passed away in Nov. 2013, in my own way throughout the film.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

That I’m surrounded amazing, talented, creative people, and when we put our minds and skills together, we can make great things happen. And to skip the storyboards next time. I learned that, after spending the last 7 years working in TV news, I work much more efficiently when I’m working off the cuff.

Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?

NFL legend Sam Wyche, whom I had met during news coverage for the College All Star Bowl, agreed to do me a favor and play the role of a bartender in the film, and his performance completely blew us all away. Sam had done some reality TV in the past and had a bit role in an old Burt Reynolds film, but he told me from the start he wasn’t an actor, unless he was putting on a show on the sidelines as a football coach. So the night we shot the bar scenes, I expected us to go line-by-line until we got what we needed, but Sam came in knowing all of his lines, and brought such authenticity to them that everyone on the crew agreed at the end of the night that if Sam Wyche ever tended bar in real life, we’d all want to go hang out there.

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

Do it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long you can learn from them. Embrace your critics. And at the end of the day, if what you made is a piece of garbage, accept it, grow from it, and get back behind the lens.

What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

South Carolina has such beautiful terrain and landmarks with such fascinating history, it’s very easy to look around and be inspired by my surroundings.

 

Meet the Makers: Bradley Wagster

10374389_10203676501863339_1153880869_nMeet Bradley Wagster, an SC native whose short film, “Yard of the Month”, will be screened at the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival on June 14. Get to know more about this featured filmmaker as he discusses the struggles and triumphs of filming in the Palmetto State, and how SPAM is so much more than a canned pork-meat product.

 

 

 

An Interview with Filmmaker Bradley Wagster

How did you hear about The Expecting Goodness Film Festival?

A friend of mine knew someone behind the festival and let me know that they needed filmmakers. So I hopped right on that train! 

What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

I’m 19, born and raised in West Columbia, SC. I’m currently doing freelance work for film and video production, so by definition, I’m “unemployed”.

How did you become interested in filmmaking?

10338919_10203676502063344_1478603079_nI watched “The Wizard of Oz” constantly as a kiddo. I was obsessed with it. I saw one of those behind-the-scenes deals of it, and they explained how they performed the trick of the house landing on the camera in the tornado sequence, which was just them putting the miniature house over the camera, dropping it about two stories, then reversing the film. Being young, that little trick blew my mind. So that got the fire burning.

What is it about your assigned story that really grabbed you?

In all honesty, I tried to avoid this one. “Yard of the Month” sounded like a cliche title to me. I was looking for more kooky, weird stuff. But then I saw how it began with a family eating Spam and Crackers instead of a home-cooked meal, so I read the rest with eyes glued to the page. The sense of humor was wonderful. It was simple. Plus, the characters seemed like people I have conversations with everyday. So it connected with me, in a way. 

What was the biggest creative challenge in adaptation?

The script was the easiest part. I wrote the first draft in two hours. But it was conforming those ideas into more realistic situations where I could actually put them on camera that got tricky. When you have a budget of money that’s mostly gonna go to paying people for spending all of their time doing a short film, it gets problematic.

What was the hardest logistical challenge you faced making your film?

In the movie, it’s revolved around this house with a horrible yard. We couldn’t find a decent house with a horrible yard in the area of a decent neighborhood. Finding tall grass and filming the yard work scenes in a “suspending disbelief” way was a nightmare. Because there was no way we could put the house behind them. Also, it ended up taking us nine days to shoot due to time constraints. All of that was headache-inducing.

What’s the most gratifying part of being a filmmaker?

Jeez. That’s a thorny question. I’ve always loved it. I love showing people how I see the world. How I would tell a story and all of that. But to be completely realistic and frank here, it’s finishing the whole movie, watching it with your feet up on a table and taking sips of a Dr. Pepper… That sense of pride (or embarrassment, at times) never really gets old. Heck, even I make a crappy movie, the fact that I finished it; that’s always the best feeling in this world.10356448_10203676502023343_1396981777_n

What was the biggest lesson you learned from this process?

Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. ‘Kay, next question, please.

Any fun anecdotes from the production that you’d like to share?

The first shot of the movie is of a large hunk of Spam splashing on a plate of crackers. We did about twenty takes of that, and on one take, the Spam caused the crackers to fly across the table like a catapult throwing rocks. The final day was fun too. With the Yard of the Month sign, we couldn’t hammer it in because we were using someone else’s yard. So we just had two people hold the sign up while our actor pretended to hammer it in.

 Any advice for young filmmakers looking to get started?

Watch (old) movies, write movies, make movies, edit movies, repeat.

What does it mean to be a South Carolina filmmaker?

That’s deep. Well, living in South Carolina as a filmmaker can either be the best thing in the world or the worst. SC is generally really uncultured (and that sucks) but when you say you’re a filmmaker, it gets people interested (and that rules). You’re also surrounded by a community of great people, miles of wonderful filming eye-candy, and that giant fire hydrant in the middle of Columbia. That’s pretty cool. Also, we have those bizarre stories about David O. Russell’s “Nailed”, which was filmed here. You can’t beat that. 

 Watch for Wagsters’ film “Yard of the Month” at this years Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

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HUB-BUB announces Filmmaker-in-Residence Jonathan Ade

Nearly from its inception, HUB-BUB has had an Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program. The http://www.hub-bub.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Jonathan.jpgAiR Program is a unique opportunity for four emerging visual artists, filmmakers, and theater artists between the ages of 20-35. Artists are provided with time and space to do their work for 6 months in beautiful, large apartments with ample studio space located above The Showroom Gallery & Performance Hall and HUB-BUB offices. In exchange for housing, AiRs provide 20 hours of creative service to the community each week. The mission of the AiR Program is to increase the creative currency of Spartanburg. For more information click here.

HUB-BUB is proud to announce its first Filmmaker-in-Residence, Jonathan Ade. Born and raised in suburban Washington, DC, Jonathan Ade began making movies at eight years old. Since that time, he began his commitment to creating uniquely-held cinematic narratives. He attended Emerson College in Boston, where he earned his BFA in Film Production as well as a minor in Creative Writing. His senior thesis film, “Through and Away”, premiered at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in 2008, where it won the Jury Prize for Best Feature. It went on to numerous festivals all over the country. Additionally, in the field of comedy, Jonathan was the co-creator of the hit mash-up trailer “Brokeback to the Future”, now on view at the Museum of the Moving Image.

In 2010, Jonathan began a series of short films entitled “Meditations”, in which each short focuses on a introspective moment of everyday life. The series has received numerous laurels from dozens of film festivals (listed below). The third, “Meditations: ItsOkayItsOkay” was completed in December and has begun its festival run.

His latest film, “Lay in Wait”, wrapped shooting in June 2013, Executive Produced by Lucas Neff, star of Raising Hope on Fox.

“I’m feeling grateful and excited to begin a variety of work in Spartanburg. One of the first things I intend to do upon arrival is to get know the character of the city and it’s surrounding environs by making a tonal cinematic poem of each neighborhood. Approximately a minute or so each, they will be a meditation of an outsider’s fascination with a new space. I’m also thinking about executing “animated portraits”, in which someone will sit for a photograph, but they’ll be recorded and looped as continuous video (think Harry Potter photos). In addition to all that, I have multiple screenplays that are crying out for completion, and I hope to accomplish much in the way of narrative foundation while I’m in your great city. Furthermore, the opportunity for creative exploration and collaboration will lead to work that I could have never anticipated nor predicted a few months away from my move-in. I’m most of all excited about the things that I cannot predict; the magic of inspiration that only this program can give.”

Check out Jonathan’s Website: http://www.jonokino.com/

-Cate Ryba, HUB-BUB Executive Director

South Carolina film festival calls for local talent – The Travelers Rest Tribune

South Carolina film festival calls for local talent

Friday, 01 November 2013
Written by Celeste Hawkins

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Organizers of the Expecting Goodness Film Festival are accepting applications from filmmakers interested in participating in the South Carolina-based short film festival.

The festival is the only one of its kind in the world, pairing acclaimed short stories with South Carolina Expecting Goodness Film Festivalfilmmakers who adapt the stories into screen plays and then short films. The upcoming festival is scheduled for June 2014, and beginning today, local filmmakers can apply to land a role as one of only a handful of selected participants in the growing event.

Last year’s film festival featured 12 writers and 12 filmmakers from all over the state and sold out the 500-seat David Reid Theatre in Spartanburg three weeks before the day of the event.

HUB-BUB, the art-promoting non-profit behind the festival, realized the festival had outgrown their staffing capacity and invited area filmmakers Chris White and Emily Reach White to helm the upcoming Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival.

“Emily and I exemplify the marriage of film and literature: I’m a total cinephile, and she’s crazy for great writing,” said Chris. “When Expecting Goodness approached us about leading the festival, we were nodding before they even popped the question.”

The couple’s adaptation of Thomas J. McConnell’s “A Proof for Roxanna” won Audience Favorite in 2012, and their film company was a corporate sponsor for last year’s event. As co-executive directors of the third annual festival, Chris and Emily plan to build on the festival’s past success, adding more screenings throughout the state and more prizes and perks for the writers and filmmakers involved.

“We want to make Expecting Goodness even better, emphasizing not only the importance of great stories as a basis of great films, but community-building as critical for emerging filmmakers in South Carolina,” said Chris.

Expecting Goodness relies heavily on both great stories and community-building. Stories selected for the films are written by South Carolina authors who are contracted by Hub City Press, a sister organization of HUB-BUB. Each filmmaker uses one story as inspiration for a 5-10 minute short, and the films premiere to the community at the summer festival.

Both experienced and emerging South Carolina filmmakers can apply to participate in the 2014 Expecting Goodness Film Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 14, 2014, at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg.

For more information or to apply as a filmmaker, visit the festival website here. The application deadline is Dec. 31, 2013.

 

After the Curtain Fell: Writer Interview with Audra Kerr Brown

Audra, pictured center, with her companions on Expecting Goodness’s Festival Night.

 

What sort of interactions and involvement did you have with the film adaptation of your story?

None, and it worked out well that way. Having been the director of my church’s drama department for many years, by nature I would’ve wanted to take control of the film adaptation, and, as they say, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. I don’t know for sure if the filmmakers (Andrew Ketchum and Jason D. Johnson) sensed this, but it was best for all parties involved that I relinquished my story to them as one handing their newborn baby into the loving arms of adoptive parents. All you can do is pray and hope for the best. And, as we all discovered, they were well able to develop the story into a beautiful, fleshed-out film version without any help from me.

How did you feel about “Good Night” overall? 

Delighted! Thrilled! Enamored! I watch it every day. The acting, wow! The script, the cinematography, the direction, the soundtrack, every bit of this film is absolutely perfect in my eyes. Initially, I was worried about the possibility of them not including the lupine aspect of the father character, but that quickly melted away as soon as I saw those little legs running through the field in the opening scene. At that point I became an audience member, not a writer. I didn’t really care anymore if they had stuck to my story or not;  I was engaged with their storytelling.   Plus, Andrew and Jason just nailed the tone. Absolutely nailed it.  I didn’t realize that would be so important but after watching the film for the first time, I understood how satisfying that was for me, as a writer–them getting the tone right. I had expressed a mood, a color, and pace that the filmmakers were able to pick up and convey.  Story is easy to adapt, tone, not so much. I think that reflects on just how good those guys are.  I can’t wait to see what else they do.

One scene that was preserved from story to film was the high-tension “Knife Scene” where, in the film, Mara toys with a knife and raises it above her father’s body. Was that scene as you imagined it? What made that scene in the film, in your opinion, powerful? 

That scene was better than I’d imagined. Better than what I’d written. I thought it clever to have Mara discover the pocketknife next to her father.  I had her grab it from the kitchen drying rack, so she knew from the start what she was going to do–kill him!  But the subtlety of the film creates a greater depth and emotional weight. More drama. That’s what makes it so powerful. It’s much better having her find the knife and then toying with it (and with the idea of what she could do with it).  There is a shift in Mara’s eyes (those eyes! Great actress, that Olivia Tummillo) coupled with the slight cock of her head that is just marvelous. And of course the undergirding soundtrack heightens the emotions. Wonderful scene.

One of the judges mentioned that there was a little bit of ambiguity as far as resolution goes in the film. Is this something you agree with? Disagree with? How would you describe the film’s resolution? 

I agree, there was ambiguity at the end of the movie, but  there is a bit of it in my story too.  I think it works well in both–not coming off as a cheat for the audience nor for the reader.  Andrew and Jason doled out enough bread crumbs for one to piece together an opinion about the ending as seen through the smudged lens of  their own, individual lives. Ambiguous endings may not work well in a lot of films, but it works here.  The hand-clasp between father and daughter says it all.

What was the most important message you took away from Expecting Goodness? What were the best experiences you gained taking part in the festival?

Making connections with other artists is important to me, and I’m glad to have done that through the festival; however, the biggest ‘take away’ for me is being revived as a writer after having reached what seemed to be a dead end in my craft. The festival came along at just the right time to give me that extra push and validation I needed to keep going, to forge ahead through writer’s block, rejections, hard work, more rejections, long hours, crappy first drafts, and even more rejections. This festival has made it all worthwhile and has encouraged me to keep writing.

 Any shout outs, closing comments, or aspirations you’re looking forward to in your writing career you’d like to share? 

 I’d like to thank Kari Jackson, Alicia Lee Farley, Stephen Long, Joshua Foster and all those involved in the Expecting Goodness Film Festival.  It was an amazing experience.  Thank you!

 

CELEBRATE

Congratulations to all of the writers and filmmakers who shared their incredible stories with us last night! Yes, there are awards at the end of it all (below), but it’s not about the competition or the title. This project is truly a celebration of stories, of creativity, of collaboration, of community.

SHE-WOLF//story by Michelle Fleming, film by Terry Miller

GRAMMY’S KEYS // story by Melinda S. Cotton, film by Durham Harrison

RESOLUTION // story “Denouement” by Matthew Fogarty, film by Tyrell Jemison & Kameron Union

IF YOU LOVED ME // story “Broken” by Vickie Dailey, film by Jeanette Li

REMEMBER, NO THINKING // story by David A. Wright, film by John Daniel Fisher (BEST EMERGING FILMMAKER)

PRETTY PITIFUL GOD // story by Deno Trakas, film by Jeffrey Driggers & Drew Baron

DONDE COME UNO, COMEN DOS // story “Sucker” by Lindy Keane Carter, film by Abe Duenas

THE CONFIRMATION // story “Delayed” by Joseph Bodie, film by Porter Blackman

REAGAN IN KABUL // story by John R. Saylor, film by Julie Sexeny (BEST FILM, BEST EDITING, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, AUDIENCE FAVORITE)

GRACE // story “Simon of the Desert” by Susan Levi Wallach, film by Adam Gordon (BEST ACTOR to Fred Knowles as Simon)

LIVING THE DREAM // story by Terresa Haskew, film by Ron Hagell & Shirley Ann Smith

GOOD NIGHT // story “Your Father, Frederick” by Audra Kerr Brown, film by Jason D. Johnson & Andrew Ketchum