Many of you have been following along with my journey to make a micro-budget feature film (Shadows On The Road), which started way back in December of 2016. The early phases of the project came together very quickly – we went from idea to production in only two months – but it took longer than expected to edit the film, complete all the finishing work, and navigate the festival strategy. So after nearly a year and a half of work on this project, I am excited to finally be releasing it into the wild!
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts about the production/post-production of this film, you know just how unconventional our process was. From our minuscule budget of $12,000 to our extremely tight 12 day schedule (which mainly consisted of 7-8 hour days), to locking the film reel by reel, we had to break a lot of conventions in order to make this film a reality. It was extremely difficult, stressful, and downright depressing at times… But we got it done, and it’s finally ready to premiere.
Here’s the trailer, in case you missed it –
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From the get-go, my goal was to premiere the film at a festival that truly champions independent and micro-budget film. Even with thousands of festivals out there, the vast majority are actually not very friendly for true DIY filmmakers. Top-tier festivals are very political, and micro-budget films hardly stand a chance… Many mid level festivals just want to get butts in the seats, so they end up playing higher budget films that have already premiered at the major festivals… And regional festivals (while valuable) have little ability to expose your film to an audience.
After doing a lot of research, it became clear that Dances With Films would be an optimal fit for this project. Not only are they a well respected festival with a fantastic reach, but their whole mandate is to support independent filmmakers who aren’t making movies with high budget and who don’t have stars attached. It levels the playing field, and as this article makes abundantly clear, the festival truly only programs from blind submissions. There are no waivers and no special treatment for alumni.
All that said, I still had no expectations of getting into DWF, as the festival receives over 2000 submissions every year and is highly competitive. So naturally, I was very excited to not only find out that we got in, but that we were selected to be one of only 16 films in the narrative feature competition…
In the future, I’ll be writing some more detailed articles on my experience with festivals (for instance, why we didn’t accept offers to screen at some festivals we were accepted to), as well as our release/marketing strategy for the film.
But for now, I wanted to share the good news so any of you that are local to LA can come out to the premiere! The screening is at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood, and we will be having a Q & A after to chat about the entire filmmaking process, obstacles we overcame, technical setups, post-production challenges, and much more.
The premiere will be on June 15th at 9:30pm.
I look forward to meeting some of you at the premiere and answering any questions you may have!
See you guys next month…