Hard to believe it's been almost a year since my last post. It's not just a matter of being up to my ears in new projects. Between Facebook, Twitter and The D-Word, I tend to feel like I'm getting word out. Or at least whatever word seems necessary to get out when one's in the thick of production, which means not very much word at all.But every so often I realize, oh, piss!, I have this blog that's growing weeds out there in cyberspace. So, for those who haven't been following, let me get out my shears and prune. In a nutshell, here's what I've been up to:
112 WEDDINGS is a feature doc that I've been shooting the past year, although I could argue it's been in production for almost 20 years. The title refers to the number of weddings I've shot over that period as a means of augmenting my, ahem, documentary income. Last year I began revisiting some of my more memorable wedding couples to satisfy my undying curiousity about how their marriages turned out. The results, as you might imagine, are totally fascinating.
I've never ever experienced so much advance interest in one of my films. HBO, BBC and other broadcasters are already on board, and Dogwoof Global has taken it on for world sales. My editor from THE KIDS GROW UP, the wonderous Maeve O'Boyle, began looking at all the footage with me about 5 weeks ago, and now Maeve is beginning the daunting task of whittling it all down to feature length. Look for something pretty special to emerge from our creative bubble some time next summer.
THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR is a powerful 36-minute short I was hired to shoot and direct by the Childhood Domestic Violence Foundation. On October 13, 2006, in the hills of Tennessee, Brad Waldroup brutally attacked his wife Penny with a gun and machete and murdered her best friend, all in front of their four children. THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR opens five-and-a-half years later with Penny and her children still struggling to overcome the deep psychic wounds that both shaped and shattered their lives. Their story takes a startling turn when the oldest, Chelsea, who still idolizes her father, presses her mother for the only gift she wants for her sixteenth birthday: to visit her dad in prison.
The film premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival two weeks ago, and next screens at the Starz Denver and Doc NYC festivals. I don't tend to make documentaries that are, front and center, about social issues, and this is at its heart a mother/daughter relationship story with a dramatic arc. But childhood domestic violence is a critical problem, far more pervasive than I ever imagined, and I think the film illustrates the consequences of it well. I'm not the producer (that would be Lynda Hansen) so I'm not dealing with distribution, but I hope it gets out wide and far.
WHAT ELSE? Well, I'm hoping to start in soon on another feature doc that would mean shooting periodically over the next three or four years. It's an exciting story that requires total access from the two main characters, something that's tricky but I'm optimistic can be worked out.
Meanwhile, (hint hint!) I'm totally open to being a director for hire, something I loved doing on THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR. Yep, I like getting paid well just fine, thank you very much. Along those lines, I'm continuing to consult with other doc filmmakers on their films, something I've done more and more in recent years.
The D-Word, now in its' 13th year, continues to hum along.
Life is good.