Wednesday, December 9, 2009
We just got word that Milestone will be crossing over the border into Canada for the The Victoria Film Festival this January. Our very own, Alicia, has been to Victoria, Canada and has been talking about how beautiful it is there! So, if you happen to have a hankering to get out of town at the end of January, go and check it out!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Milestone is an official selection of the Miami Short Film Festival! The festival is in it's 8th year and will be held this November. It's awesome!
Check it out at: The Miami Short Film Festival
Monday, September 21, 2009
"Kung Pow Wow" is making its way across the USA! We're proud to announce that this short film is an official selection of the New Hampshire Film Festival and the Tallgrass Film Festival located in Wichita, Kansas. Both festivals take place in October so if you're in either region be sure to check them out!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Our super short film, KUNG POW WOW has been accepted into the Chicago International Reel Shorts Film Festival. This is On the Leesh Productions first film festival in Chicago and we couldn't be more excited about it. Baseball, thick crust pizza and OPRAH WINFREY! C'mon - it's awesome!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Now we're onto the film festival world! I feel like I'm back applying to college again... will they like me? Will I fit in? Will I like my roommate (okay, maybe not so much that one, but the others definitely still apply). It's so hard to know what is going to excite someone about a short film - other than it not being awful. Granted I've been to a number of film festivals, but to tell you the truth, there's never really seemed to be any rhyme or reason to the films that were chosen. Sometimes they'll put the films into themes: like comedies, thrillers, experimental etc., but other than that, there was always a broad range in production value, story content and length.
So where will Milestone be seen? Who knows? But I can't wait to find out!
Thanks to everyone involved!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"What Are the Odds?" is now available through Amazon. Want to own this adorable short film? Click HERE!
Own the short that started it all!
"What Are the Odds?" has been selected to screen at:
2006 The Durango Independent Film Festival
2006 The Sarasota Film Festival
2006 The Foursite Film Festival
2006 The San Francisco Independent Film Festival
2006 The Palm Beach International Film Festival
2006 The Cannes Film Festival (Short Film Corner)
2006 DEKK's Superfilm Series NYC
2006 West Chester Film Festival
2006 Tall Grass Film Festival
2006 NewFilmmakers Series
2006 Broken Lamp Film Festival
2007 Delray Beach Film Festival
2007 FYLMZ Film Festival
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
A year and a half ago when Alicia sent me her film festival list I had no idea what film festivals were really about. I had absolutely no clue that they cost money, that some of the festivals are very exclusive and that there is an entire network dedicated to helping people enter their films into hundreds of film festivals all around the globe.
If you are looking into submitting your film into film festivals here are a few tips from a master submitter!
1. Get to know Withoutabox.com! The faster you can navigate yourself through this fantastic website the better. Get your projects set up and once you do you can submit your films to hundreds of film festivals in about 5 minutes. This site will also keep track of your submission history and keep you notified of up and coming deadlines etc.
2. Always make sure that you take the time to read the fine print details of what a festival is looking for. Often times the title alone with give you an idea about what special things each festival is seeking (but some do not). There is nothing worse then sending your hard earned cash along with your film into a festival that is only meant for a special interest group i.e. Spanish Language movies only!
3. Try to get your film submitted during the Early Deadline time slot. Watch the timelines for festivals that you are interested in and try to submit them during their early deadline submission process. Most film festivals will jack up their prices pretty high for Late Deadline submissions. By being early you can save upwards of $30.00 per submission. This will also allow you to submit to more festivals for the same amount of money that you would spend to submit to one festival during the late deadline.
4. Be realistic about the festivals you are submitting to. For example: I made a short film about a bird mascot and beer. I am not going to get into Sundance or Cannes with this type of film. This film is better suited to smaller underground festivals and very specific location festivals. Base your festival selection list on where you feel your film would do the best. You want to get as far as you can with the money you have. If you really, really want to enter your film into Sundance just because, go ahead and do so, but do a little research and find out what other festivals your film would do best at and submit to those as well.
5. Don’t be discouraged if your film does not get into a film festival. Festivals often get thousands of submissions so if you get a rejection letter don’t take it too personally.
Well that about does it for this entry. Check back in with our blog for more advice from Melissa’s OTL Advice Corner!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The short film I wrote and directed, titled, Milestone is very close to being finished. Alicia is furiously editing it and Banana Whale is providing the music, and there’s color correction happening, and foley being added...all sorts of fabulous post-production things are occurring. So, that means it will soon be reaching its finished line; which is thrilling for me!
I’ve been getting asked a lot about what the experience of directing was like and usually I respond with very short answers like ‘I liked it,’ or ‘I learned a lot’, or some sort of something that was positive but general and allowed the person to get on with their life. Lately however, while sitting with Alicia and going through the fine tuning process I’ve realized something... The biggest thing I’ve learned about directing is that the number 1 thing you need to do is surround yourself with people who are both honest and smarter than you. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees when you are listening to your own words and watching performances that you’ve directed. As I expected, there were moments that I would’ve done differently if I had to do it over again and there were lines that, once they moved from the page to the screen were no longer necessary. While I, on my own, could’ve sussed some of these things out, the fact that I had Alicia sitting there with me, offering her thoughts and concerns helped immensely. With her editor’s eye she was able to not only offer suggestions, but was actually able to put those suggestions into the video so I could see them in action. That was amazingly helpful!
So... to all of you newbie directors out there like me... do not operate as a one person show – surround yourself with people that think like you – only better, faster and smarter. You’ll thank me later!
Monday, June 1, 2009
The Berkshire Film Festival was abuzz with activity as it took over the Triplex and Mahaiwe theaters in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The whole community came out to support the event. This year marked their third annual Student Film Festival. Over thirty shorts were submitted by five Berkshire schools. It's amazing how much technology has improved and allowed access to people at a much younger age. Most of these films shared director credits, but isn't that what it's about when you're starting out? There's so much to learn from each other.
Over the years, the Berkshires have become a hot bed for the arts. Mass MoCA is considered one of the premiere museums of contemporary art in the country. They're featuring a major exhibit on Sol LeWitt until 2033, so that gives you some time to get there. Sol LeWitt is an artist best known for his giant works that take over a room - you can see one of his rooms at MOMA if you're in New York.
Jacob's Pillow is a dance company started in 1933 by Ted Shaw and is the only dance entity in the US to be declared a National Historic landmark for its significance and its contribution to America's culture.
The Berkshires features many play festivals including the best known -Williamstown. This summer they're putting on some tremendous works including: Sam Shepard's True West starring Rob Corddry and his brother Nate directed by OTL friend Danny Goldstein; Quatermaine's Terms by Simon Gray, starring Tony Award - winner Jefferson Mays and The Torch-Bearers by George Kelly directed by Dylan Baker.
It was great showing Kung Pow Wow in my home state. I do miss Massachusetts and consider myself a New Englander through and through. Getting to screen on the home front allows for your family to be in attendance. Friday night, I attended with my Godmother, Robbie Burr and on Sunday my cousin Libby Bolognia and our dear friend Leanne Jolin joined us.
We were in a solid block of films. Julie wrote in about a few films perviously so, I will just touch on a few more.
Local filmmaker Sanjiban filmed a documentary of sorts called Animal Tricks. Over the course of his summer, he filmed himself teaching a variety of tricks in his backyard with chipmunks. It was hilarious in it's simplicity and the best part - Sanjiban was in attendance carrying a stuffed chipmunk on his shoulder.
Another notable film was called The Last Page. One of the longer of the shorts, clocking in at 21 minutes - The Last Page is the story of a tortured writer struggling to find the perfect ending to his latest story. While taking a break from writing, he is catapulted into a bizarre series of events; each event pushing him further away from finishing the last page. Written by Kevin Acevedo and Matt Akey and Directed by Kevin Acevdeo, The Last Page offered a clever formula that began with the audience watching the last moment in the script and then realizing, as it moved backwards and things were erased, that the writer was deleting the story from his computer in the hopes of finding the perfect ending.
Writer/Director Jack Herbert's The Hero's Journey was a genius use of a gimmick to allow for a very low budget film. The story focuses on Sam as he's looking for enemies in his home. He documents his search with his home video camera. What he captures on the camera is more than he or his mother planned. I was really taken with the idea of making a low budget work to your advantage. This film could not have been shot on a higher end camera.
The last film I'd like to mention is Monty Diamond's The World Trade Center in the Movies. The World Trade Center appeared in over 60 films of all shapes and sizes during their 27 year history They played starring roles in films like The Wiz and Trading Places or served as background - a recognizable part of the Manhattan landscape - in many others. Monty Diamond was a location scout in New York who worked with the Trade Center frequently. He put together a musical reminiscence of the Towers in a short film. It was a very moving tribute.
Thanks to Lauren and everyone at the festival! We hope to see you next year!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The world premiere of: Bach of the Antarctic
Writer/Director: Ben Hillman
Summary: Cantata. Sonata. Antarctica. Who would have thought it? A startling discovery reveals that the person who discovered Antarctica was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach. As scientists uncover the astounding evidence, fake historical footage recreates Bach’s daring voyage into the Unknown. Who could have guessed that when Bach composed the musical magni opi of the Baroque Period, it was but a Prelude to the discovery of a Continent.
Writer/Director: Hal Clifford, Lou Bendrick
Cast: Hal Clifford, Jason Miner
Cinematographer/Editor: Jason Houston
Summary: Two cowboys make an instructional yoga video.
And the American Premiere of:The Towel
Writer/Director: Oliver Briginshaw
Cast: James Harwood, Kiki Kendrick, Giacomo Valdameri
Summary: Getting ready for dinner, Geoff accidentally marks a hotel towel with a dodgy looking stain. Fearing the cleaning lady will get the wrong idea, he tries to hide the evidence.
Congratulations to all the filmmakers who got to screen at this wonderful festival!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Alicia is headed to The Berkshire International Film Festival (www.biffma.com) to see screenings of Kung Pow Wow. Coming on the heels of a great review from the BERKSHIRE LIVING MAG, we're thrilled to see an audiences reaction to this movie!
For calendar information click here: Calendar.
Be sure to check it out!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
BERKSHIRE LIVING MAG
The only thing wrong with Kung Pow Wow, a short film that will be screened this weekend at the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, Mass., is that it's only two minutes long. Then again, that's part of the film's genius. In just two short minutes, the filmmakers and actors give us essentially the entire lowdown on a relationship. In this case, the simple act of ordering Chinese takeout -- one of the most romantic cliches in film and in real life -- turns into a horror threatening the very foundations of what seemed like a perfectly fine relationship. How the filmmakers achieve this effect I won't say -- I will leave that to the joy of discovery -- but it's enough to say that it is through inventiveness and a willingness to disorient a viewer in the service of achieving the remarkable effect.
If this is a hint of what's in store this weekend from BIFF, it's going to be a great festival.
If you're in the Great Barrington area, check out this wonderful festival!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It costs a whopping 80 cents for purchase, but believe me - it's worth your time and money!
Check it out!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
On the Leesh would like to congratulate all of the winners of the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival!
Best Drama: Word on the $treet - Directed by: Nick Barbieri
Best Comedy: Crossing Numbers - Directed by: Abel Gonzalez
Best Documentary: Forgotten New York: Collect Pond - Directed by: Dan Kowalski
Best Animation: Chroma Chameleon - Directed by: Marc Adler & Warren Grubb
Best Latino: A Xinecologa - Directed by: Alfonso Camarero
Best Foreign: James- Directed by: Connor Clements
Audience Choice: You Don't Know Me Directed by: Sean Melia
Der Pfandlaie - Directed by: Frank - Peter Lenze
Finding Priya A Prom Date - Directed by: Garrett Nantz
His Good Will - Directed by: Cayman Grant
La Juerga - Directed by: Michael Louis Hill
Sovereignty - Directed by: Jonathan Sale
Wig - Directed by: Todd Holland
You're Outa Here - Directed by: George Griffin
Best Actor: Trevor St. John
Best Actress: Heather Dilly
Best Director: Nick Barbieri
Cinematography: His Good Will
We had a great time Saturday night and once again, our short, "Kung Pow Wow" was among some great shorts.
Congratulations to everyone!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Every writer says to write what they know. So this past year or so, that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Writing about what I know has certainly brought on Best Laid Plans, for example. It’s brought on my first effort at a novel and it also brought on Milestone. While the circumstances surrounding the plot in Milestone are certainly not autobiographical, the emotional place the story lives in is. So then, the question becomes, how do I direct a story that comes from such a familiar emotional place? Truth is, I had no idea.
In watching Becky's and Brian's audition, I realized that it was so helpful to see great actors interpret the script in their own personal way. They brought certain moments and ideas to their performance that struck me as both interesting and different. So while I was entering territory I’d never really been in before with regard to directing a film, the one thing I did know was that I wanted to hear from the actors. I wanted their ideas and thoughts about who they were playing. This could not only broaden the story in that three heads are better than one, but it could also move me further away personally from the story – which I thought was vital. Nobody wants a director that is too tied in emotionally to a story that they can’t see the forest for the trees, so talking to them – getting their point of view was amazingly helpful.
Rehearsals were a blast. Brian and Becky were so much fun to work with and I got lucky in that they were open to any and all ideas. Whenever you’re trying something new – and even sometimes when you’re doing something you’ve done a thousand times before, you’re always waiting for someone to call you out as a fraud. You’re always anticipating that someone will tell you that you don’t know what you’re doing. Thankfully, both Becky and Brian never looked at me sideways, never called me out as a first-time writer/director and always added on to my proposals. I realized I loved directing and the push and pull of knowing when to throw your two cents in and when to let the actors run with it.
I know that some film directors do very little rehearsal, but for me it was essential. Playing a new role on set meant that I wouldn't have the space in my wee brain to really give the actors my full attention once shooting began. I didn't want to be in the position of debating moments on set while the rest of the crew was waiting around. I knew that ideas would still be percolating but I wanted to make sure the actors had a solid foundation to work from (and me too for that matter). Although I can't speak for them, I think the actors were pretty keen on the rehearsal process as well - or - being good actors, they surely hid it very well! By the time the production dates approached, I felt pretty damn good about the performances and could make room in the 'ol noggin for everything else I needed to be thinking about... like say... the shot list.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
DP, Alicia Arinella with writer/director, Julie Tortorici
The crew headed to Park Slope to film the short film, Milestone. It was a short I'd written in the fall and offered to Alicia for On the Leesh's repertoire. She read it and asked if I wanted to try my hand at directing. Me, direct? Uh, okay! She would serve as my director of photography so I knew I had some room for error because there she'd be, backing me up and covering for any mistakes I made along the way.
For the past year or so, I've been trying my hand at new things and new adventures and directing a short film for the first time I felt, absolutely qualified. So what better way to document said adventure, than by capturing it as part of my film, Best Laid Plans! That meant that basically, this weekend we shot two films in two days! A friend of On the Leesh and budding director, Chris Zecco came out to film for Best Laid Plans while Alicia and I shot the short.
Chris Zecco shoots Best Laid Plans
In the end this film will be between 7-9 minutes long. But to get to those golden 7-9 minutes, we required a lot of support and team work. We had a tremendous crew sitting patiently while we were shooting and moving quickly when we needed to set up a new shot.
Crew members, Colleen Slattery and Jessica Arinella about to get some breakfast...
Our very own, Alicia Arinella and Melissa Jernigan posing...
Our makeup artist, Natalie was always on hand to make our actors HD beautiful and, as usual, Alicia led the team seamlessly.
Becky reads over her script while hair and makeup artist, Natalie DiStefano readies her curling iron
Then, of course, there were our two actors, Rebecca White and Brian Patacca who truly did an outstanding job telling the story, trusting a first-time director and having fun within their circumstances.
Working with the actors...
Thank you to everyone involved. Can't wait to see the final product!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Downtown Shorts Film Festival. On Saturday March 2nd at 8P, you can
watch and VOTE for Kung Pow Wow!
Get your tickets now at - www.smarttix.com
To find out more information, please visit - www.duotheater.org
See you in May!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
After screening at the NYC Downtown Short Film Fest's Audience Choice Festival, we've just received word that Kung Pow Wow has made it into their Festival!
Thanks to all who came out and voted for our film!
Stay tuned for dates and festival information.
Friday, March 20, 2009
"Kung Pow Wow" was among 4 other great short films. One favorite in particular was Adam Taylor's Dracula Comedy. This short was directed by Adam Taylor and tells the classic vampire story of Vlad the Impaler. Though Taylor's take on the tale puts Vlad in the role of school janitor training the new guy. It was hilariously funny! Congrats to Adam Taylor!
We all made a night of it - check out the pics here!
Producer and co-director, "Kung Pow Wow" Alicia Arinella with NYC Firefighter, Jack Halaby.
"The Sexually" co-creator and writer, Jeff Lycett with "Kung Pow Wow" stars, Jessica Arinella and Matt Rashid
Producer, Julie Tortorici, Associate Producer, Melissa Jernigan and "Kung Pow Wow" star, Jessica Arinella laugh it up at the bar afterwards
Mark and Wayne of "I'm Sorry Melissa" join in at the screening
Monday, March 16, 2009
We are thrilled to announce that Kung Pow Wow, Phil Kain's hilarious story about the dangers of delivery while dating will screen at this year's Berkshire International Film Festival!
You might remember that in BIFF's 2008 Festival, OTL, along with writer/director Jeff Lycett got to screen the short film Denim. The producers and organizers of the fest, especially Kelley and Lauren couldn't have made Jeff or I feel more welcomed and appreciated. The community really came out for the movies and we had a great time.
We're so excited that we've made it in two years in a row!
Check out BIFF at www.biffma.com
Friday, March 6, 2009
Being a first time filmmaker you would think that the hardest part would be getting your bearing on how a film set works, or how the equipment should be handled, or how to deal with the talent and the producers. But no. The hardest part about being a first time filmmaker for me is the waiting…waiting to find out if your film has gotten into that one festival that you so desperately want to be a part of.
Several weeks ago we shot my first short film, “Trevor’s Big Break.” I wrote it specifically with the Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Festival in mind. I love beer and I love Dogfish Head so why not a film about my favorite beer if they just happen to have a film festival centered around beer?
Now that the movie is all done and submitted into the festival the only thing left to do is wait. Now I know how all those Academy Award nominated people must feel!
Is there a trip to Austin in my future? We will keep you posted.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Great news about our itty-bitty short film, Kung Pow Wow - we've just been informed that the NYC Downtown Film Fest is including this short in their Audience Choice Screenings on March 19th-21st. Tickets sell out fast so be sure to get yours as soon as possible so you can vote for this hilarious short film, written by Phil Kain. Buy your tickets at:
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I love many things, but one thing that is extremely high on the list is my love for craft beer.
One of my favorite breweries, “Dogfish Head,” sponsors their very own “Off-Centered Film Festival,” that is held at Alamo Draft House in Austin TX each year. The festival’s theme is the underdog so I decided that I would write a short film about a down-and-out chicken mascot who can’t get any work until he drinks Dogfish head.
On the Leesh was gracious enough to agree to help me produce this fine piece of work, as it would serve as a learning tool for me to become more adept at our process of making a film here at OTL. I would write, direct and be the executive producer, while Alicia and Julie would guide me along the way.
Since I decided to do things through On the Leesh there were steps that had to be taken that you wouldn’t normally do for a home movie. There were SAG waivers to fill out, budgets to make, Writer’s Guild papers to complete and a whole bunch of scheduling and planning.
Many thanks to Alicia, Julie, Matt, Jessie and especially my husband Greg for being in the film today and doing a fantastic job!!! Greg you’re the best Trevor Birdie out there.
Friday, February 6, 2009
We've just been notified that Denim has been chosen as an official finalist for the Las Vegas international Film Festival! Although it will not screen at the festival it is one of only 20 films chosen in each category to receive this honor!
We'd like to thank the Las Vegas Film Festival for this extraordinary honor!
Check them out at: www.lvfilmfest.com
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
New to the festival circuit is On the Leesh Productions's short film Kung Pow Wow. To say it's a short film is not really letting on about just how short this film is... it comes in at just under 3 minutes. Our motto: get in, make 'em laugh, get out!
Here's the description:
Dating is difficult, especially when you order in. "Kung Pow Wow" is a comedic tale about an argument between a couple when the boyfriend isn't sensitive to the needs of his girlfriend's taste buds.
Yesterday's auditions for the short comedy, "Milestone" went fabulously well!
We saw some really great and talented actors. Ultimately though, a very friendly face won us over with an outstanding read of the role, Billy. We are happy to announce that Brian Patacca will be playing the role in the movie.
More to come about who will be playing the female lead, Denise. Hopefully we'll have that news in just a couple of weeks.
We're halfway there though!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Hopefully we'll find our Billy today!
Monday, February 2, 2009
So, as I do first thing every morning, I checked my OTL email. There, waiting for me, was a very nicely written request from a Professor at New Jersey's Medical School requesting that I allow him to show our short film, "What Are the Odds?" in his classes.
I'm sorry... what?
He discovered the film when he was perusing media about mathematics and found the movie here: kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATHFICT/mfview.php?callnumber=mf694
Now, perhaps I'm overreacting, but I must say I think it's pretty freaking cool that this short movie will be shown as a TEACHING TOOL.
What a way to start off a Monday!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We've begun auditioning for the 2 characters in the short comedy, "Milestone." Auditions are always so exciting because you (hopefully) get to see varied takes on the words on the page. You get to see the nuances that an actor puts on the script to make it truly their own. It's also interesting to see how many actors make similar choices. It makes the person who makes a different choice really stand out. That said, you'd never want to make a ridiculous choice simply because you figure nobody else will make it as well - that would likely be foolhardy. But it does make me think that as actors, we always have to go deeper than what's simply written on the page. What's underneath the most obvious choice? Or rather, what's the reason for the most obvious choice? Answer that and you might have the uniqueness you're looking for.
We were lucky that everyone came in prepared and with a great sense of play! What a difference it makes when an actor comes in prepared. When you have an actor who's prepared the sides well, you're taken on a ride into the story with them. But if the actor isn't prepared, you end up going on this puttered stop and start with them - into the character, then back into the page and so on...
Scripts are meant to be heard, not read, so hearing everything allowed was so exciting! We have no cast yet, but stay tuned... we're getting there!
Friday, January 23, 2009
On the Leesh is proud to announce that, through a partnership with Koldcast (www.koldcast.tv) our three webseries: The In-Betweens of Holly Malone, In the Can and The Sexually, will be available on Tivos!
We'd like to thank Koldcast for allowing our shows to be a part of this amazing deal!
If you have Tivo, be sure to check them out!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Some of you OTL followers may remember that this is not the first film from On the Leesh to be shown in Durango. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?, written by "The Office" writer, Justin Sptizer was shown in this popular film festival. Among all of the festivals that OTL attended with WHAT ARE THE ODDS?, Durango was absolutely one of our favorites. The town really comes out for this fest and the producers of DIFF really make the filmmakers feel welcomed and taken care of.
Be sure to check out this festival's website at: www.durangofilmfestival.com