heroinefilms (heroinefilms) wrote in lesbian_avenger,
heroinefilms
heroinefilms
lesbian_avenger

shoot to kill...

Just wanted to stop by and share an open letter to our supporters. Thanks to all in the community who've helped, encouraged, etc.

As some of you read in burnandshiver 's journal, the Heroines are trying to restructure...


Here's the lofty version of things:


When I first moved to New York, I was struck with the realization that I had come home. I moved there to help an SVA fourth year rewrite her thesis script, do a rewrite on my own (the Gladdest Thing, then called Heroine) and to work for the Visibilities the Lesbian Magazine. Little did I know that what I would find in that city was my life, my love, my passion. I took it with me when I left and have had an immense longing to return to the city ever since.


Before I left, I picked up a book at the STRAND, a little tattered $5 copy of Christine Vachon's Shooting to Kill (if you love independent cinema and want to make movies - read this book. it will remind you why you love it.) I'd since lent the book out, never to be returned.


Our last stop in the city (on this last trip) was to the STRAND. When I loved (this is a typo, but I do enjoy a good Freudian slip) there, they boasted "8 MILES OF USED BOOKS". It now stretches on for 18 MILES. I was lost in the dust and the grime and the history of words embedded in crushed paper. I searched the isles in the FILM/TV section, only to find that I was too short to reach the really good books. So I stood there peering up at the stacks, glimpsing biographies of the greats, the how-tos, the why-not-tos and there I saw it. This bright baby blue binding screaming out at me. I waited for the store clerk next to me to leave. It seemed like hours before he stepped off his ladder and walked away. I grabbed the ladder and climbed quick, grabbed that bible and went on a search for Amanda (who was lost in the Civil War History section - don't ask...).


She says she gets to see what I must have been like as a kid when I get excited over funny little things (my new Swiss army bag, the palm pilot she got me for Christmas, a fancy new cell phone - luxuries I only get every once in a while.) When I rounded the corner, I must have looked about five years old. She laughed at me and asked what I'd found. I held up Christine's book and asked if we could leave! ;)


We had been driving off an on for about 72 hours. We'd stopped to see Nan and the fam. and were back on the road again to get home for the Second Cinema Interview (oh how friggin' glamorous we are lol. In reality, we were exhausted, grumpy and just plain foul smelling). It was about 9:30pm and I was sitting up front with Alex. I had my gadgets out before me: the new bag open and ready, with the perfect cell phone and palm pilot slot, the swiss Army embedded legal pad, just ready to write what came to me, but there was nothing. Alex and Amanda were doing yes/no riddles and I was too tired to think.


The great thing about the new bag is that there's a handy slot for a book. I reached into the compartment and pulled out Shooting to Kill fingered the smooth cover and remembered how I'd felt the first time I read it back before I had knowledge, back before I'd made any films of my own, back before I knew what a DP was or what an Associate Producer really does and just who that Alan Smithee guy is anyway. I started reading. By page seven, I got excited again. I asked Alex and Amanda if I could read aloud and they appeased me.


"The movie I remember most from those early years is Parting lances, a superb-looking gay drama made for a few hundred-thousand and released in 1986."


"Hard as it is to believe, there weren't many models at the time for a micro-budget movie with a gay theme shot with money the Director had raised himself. (Bill would stop shooting when he ran out of funds and start again months later.) Some of the financing came from gay men -- five thousand dollars here, ten there -- who wanted to see their lives depicted on screen for the first time. (Some investors got parts in the movie in exchange for their money.) "


"He said, "Okay, I've got an apartment, I've got friends who can act," and he made a movie on his own terms. The tremendous pitch-in attitude he inspired is still, for me, the essence of the independent scene---even though it isn't present as much nowadays, with so many low-budget films being shot and so much competition for talent."


I stopped reading for a moment to catch my breath and could virtually hear their brains ticking. All was quiet and then there was a huge, soft mismatch of our voices (as is the case when we've come up with something.). We were throwing around a lot of "why-nots"...a lot of "why didn't we think of this before"s Of course we could get the equipment, the cast, the crew. We could change locations. Shit, we shot the trailer for NOTHING and it turned out pretty well. There ARE grants out there for finishing. We've just got to get this thing made. It's our baby. We have people that want to see it, people who've helped us get this far, have put there their tips out there, their babysitting money, their "savings for a rainy day" out there. We HAVE to make this movie.


We talked and started planning for the next few hours of our drive. I scribbled a little budget on my brand new legal pad. Amanda offered to help crew as well as act in the film (something which I hate, but love her for offering), Alex was already giving me a list of names of people who we could borrow equipment from and ask to crew for us.


We have a budget and a business plan and proof that we can make this film and sell it. We've gone about everything the right way thus far and we still managed to lose our funding over "content" in past. We scratch and claw and try to sell the film and thank everyone who's helped us along the way and we still don't have the capital to get this thing made. Or do we?


You've told us you like the trailer, can't wait to see it, would take all your friends and your family to see it, moms have written to say thanks for trying to make it, they've offered to cook for us and put us up; oversees, you've shown your support daily, Curve showed it to their crowd at the 15th Anniversary and Diane says it was a smash, the script won at a huge festival, we've got name people reading it and press and all the support in the world...so why isn't this film getting made?


We struggle with it daily, but have come to realization that it's us. WE have to make this film, no matter what the cost.


So...here it is. I'm rewriting the budget. We are collectively searching out grants. We are going to start pulling favors. We will do this on the simplest terms. We will define deferred and when it sells, will pay back every single penny owed on the deferred and make more films of this caliber. And we must...because it's in our blood. We must because we all started in this business for the same reasons. We must because Christine Vachon and every independent filmmaker like her says it can be done and it will. This is art. In time and space and in our blood, this is our art and we only want to share it with you.


You've all been so supportive and generous and along the way we've made good true friends out of most of you (though we've never met face to face). I said something in the interview the other night for Second Cinema (you'll see it in NC and broadcast on the site in July) that finally hit home for me and I want to share it.


I said, (in so many words) So many people have helped us try to get this film made and this is no longer just our project, it's all of yours. I want this to be your film. I want your name in the credits, so you can say, "I helped make that film." And I truly believe that.


So, we're calling on you again, our supportive friends and family.


- Help us spread the word about Heroine Films: tell your friends and your family, your neighbors and strangers on the street.


- If you know anyone who would be willing to donate equipment and time (and love), please send them our way.


- If you know of any grants for glbt/women filmmakers (or any old grant will do), please send them our way.


- If you live in NC and want to donate your services, please contact us.


- And again, if you know anyone who can cough up a couple hundred thousand, we'd like to do make this film the easiest/best way possible, but will settle for the hardest/best way. ;)


As of right now, we're going to try to start shooting The Gladdest Thing in October 2005 after we wrap on the feature, The Dog Days of Summer, if all goes well.


Let us know your thoughts. We still love to hear from you all.


Sorry about the rant...I just really wanted to let you all know how we're feeling/what we're doing. Keep the faith.


Side note - Wish me luck! A Prod Co./Management Company just requested a copy of a script I wrote several years ago about Women's Soccer. What a hoot!


With all the love in the world (just shoot me),


xox Mel


www.heroinefilms.net



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