• Tina Carbone

    Normally, I aim for 30 minute episodes, but with Tina Carbone, the legendary -- okay, we can use that word if you've helped make, produce, whatever word you want to use for being a part of over 70 films in 11 years -- the conversation flows.

    This is a masterclass of indie film producing and we cover hopefully most of the topics on your mind of what you would ask this amazing, prolific indie filmmaker.

    In this podcast, we talk about:

    1:21 Welcome, Tina Carbone! Where does the kindness come from? Her family from New Orleans.

    2:52 Where did she get her love for filmmaking?

    4:39 Directing, editing, producer. Does she have more love for one of those than another?

    6:38 We discuss the importance of learning by doing

    7:22 We talk about whether it's possible to get a formal education in producing; Tina learned by doing.

    9:11 We talk about the generosity that almost comes from being honest and transparent about where you're at in film.

    12:18 Her work ethic is crazy amazing. Since 2013, Tina has helped produce over 70 short films. Probably more! She has worked so unbelievably hard to help other people make their films.

    17:11 She talks about the short that she directed and how so many people came and gave of their time because Tina is Tina.

    19:00 Tina talks about how she manages around 7 projects at the same time -- by drinking a lot of coffee.

    21:00 Does she recommend creating a short first? We talk about Bridge Stuart pushing forward to make a feature versus a short and whether she'd recommend that. She says a first feature is like a half-marathon and that indie filmmakers should be thinking about 5ks (shorts).

    25:40 Does a director's experience come up when raising money for a feature? Even for shorts, Tina says things like your shot list matters a lot to getting your film funded.

    27:49 How do you balance work-life culture and getting ahead in indie films? She talks about how she is a big believer of running sets that take care of people on set.

    33:07 Snacks for everyone! "I am an Italian girl from New Orleans. There is no way I'm not going to feed people on set."

    33:47 Do the unions have a role to play in managing a set so that directors can focus on their craft? She says learning all the other jobs actually help her to be a better director.

    ** 36:20 Why do we see so many director's second films "not feel like them"? According to Tina, it's because everybody else gets their say on their sophomore effort. **

    38:14 How do I watch a film produced and/or made by Tina Carbone?!

    40:29 Are top festivals getting it right for emerging film festivals? Tina says they are great for networking but she isn't sure they are elevating true indie films.

    47:30 Does she see a big jump of females in the indie film space? She says yes. To her, it used to feel like females had to gatekeep their own piece of the pie; it's not like that anymore, thankfully.

    53:45 Indie Film Highlight: H.P Mendoza (https://www.hpmendoza.com/)

    Links:

    Tina Carbone (https://www.tinacarbonefilms.com/)

    Tina Carbone's Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tina_carbone_films/)




    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    59m | Feb 27, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: SWEAT (2020)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: SWEAT (2020).

    Director: Magnus von Horn

    Written by: Magnus von Horn

    Cast: Magdalena Kolesnik; Julian Swiezewski; Aleksandra Konieczna

    SYNOPSIS

    Sylvia Zajac, a fitness motivator-influencer surrounded by admirers and loyal employees, searches for true intimacy.

    Watch On YouTube: https://youtu.be/Yq9SFKkY3QE

    Available on MUBI now: https://mubi.com/en/us/films/sweat-2020



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    1m | Feb 26, 2024
  • Bridge Stuart

    Step 1. Listen to this episode.

    Step 2. Buy passes to the Sedona International Film Festival (https://sedonafilmfestival.com/)

    Step 3. Buy plane tickets, train tickets...BUS tickets?! to Sedona.

    Step 4. Watch A FANTASTIC RELATIONSHIP on February 25th, the film's world premiere.

    I'm joined today by the film's director, writer, actor, comedian, former YouTube star, man of infamy, not obscurity, relative or otherwise, Bridge Stuart.

    In this episode, we talk about:

    01:38 Intro/The Concept Of Anticipatory Jokes & Laughter

    02:58 The World Premiere at Sedona International Film Festival On February 25, 2024...In A Theater!

    03:15 Early Career and Journey Towards Filmmaking (this part of the conversation refers to the very complimentary article by Simon Owens on Bridge https://simonowens.medium.com/its-impossible-to-reverse-engineer-bridge-stuart-s-sketch-comedy-videos-23caa88c5964)

    05:46 Discovering His Talent for Comedy

    06:40 Discussing Putting A Joke Early On To See If The Audience Is With You (this was an idea pointed out by Matthew Robinson https://www.firstgopod.com/vault/matthew-s-robinson)

    08:03 Crafting Moments of Comedy Payoff

    08:35 How Did A FANTASTIC RELATIONSHIP Came To Be?

    11:30 The Goal of A FANTASTIC RELATIONSHIP

    13:54 How Should You Decide On Including Contemporary Jokes?

    15:25 Timeline and Festival Strategy

    18:16 Tricks For Low Budget Indie Films

    18:40 The Sedona International Film Festival, a filmmakers' film festival

    20:30 How Do You Make The Decision To Act In Your Own Indie Film?

    23:42 Is It Harder For Someone To Direct And Act Without Writing The Script?

    24:35 The State of Comedy in Indie Film

    26:57 Expanding into Different Genres; Are We Going To See a Bridge Stuart Horror Film? (Yes, we are.)

    28:11 The Pigeonholing of Indie Directors

    29:58 Focus on Writing and Directing

    31:32 Bridge's Upcoming Projects

    33:45 Indie Film Highlight: Jim Cummings (Follow Jim https://www.instagram.com/jimmycthatsme/?hl=en); Danny Madden (Follow Danny https://www.instagram.com/stuffbydanny/)

    36:29 Close/Time To Fly To Sedona To Watch A FANTASTIC RELATIONSHIP

    Links:

    Follow Bridge On Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/bridgeofstuart/?hl=en); X (https://twitter.com/BridgeofStuart); YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/BridgeStuart)

    Conversation With Patrick Schweiss, executive director of the Sedona International Film Festival Season 1, Episode 21 (https://www.firstgopod.com/vault/patrick-schweiss)

    Follow The Sedona International Film Festival (https://sedonafilmfestival.com/)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    37m | Feb 20, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018).

    Director: Boots Riley

    Written by: Boots Riley

    Cast: LaKeith Stanfield; Tessa Thompson; Jermaine Fowler

    SYNOPSIS

    In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory. As Green's career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression. Cassius soon falls under the spell of Steve Lift, a cocaine-snorting CEO who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.

    Watch On YouTube: https://youtu.be/fQ1c7w-zknE

    Available on MUBI now: https://mubi.com/en/us/films/sorry-to-bother-you



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    1m | Feb 18, 2024
  • Elise McCave

    I talk with Elise McCave, filmmaker and head of film at Kickstarter. For the entire month of March, the crowdfunding website will be hosting "Long Story Short", a campaign to highlight short films on the site.

    It's fair to say that if you're an indie filmmaker, there's a better than even chance you've spent time on Kickstarter, either as a funder or raising funds. The list is incredible and many crowdfunders have now won awards at prominent festivals.

    It's an absolute joy to talk about film with somebody who is responsible for shepherding so many films to creation: an estimated 30,000 through Kickstarter! Incredible.

    In this conversation, we talk about:

    00:00 The Case For Kickstarter

    00:55 Elise McCave Intro

    01:37 Hi, Elise! The Dreams Kickstarter Made True

    02:35 Elise's Journey Into Filmmaking

    03:47 The Importance of Understanding People in Filmmaking

    04:53 The "Secret Sauce" of Kickstarter: All-or-Nothing Funding

    07:34 Elise's Involvement In The Filmmaking Process

    09:41 Long Story Short Program and the Diversity of Short Films

    12:34 The Role of Shorts In A Filmmaker's Career

    15:02 Film Festivals and Kickstarter

    16:28 Monetizing Shorts and Revenue Models

    18:32 Future Innovations at Kickstarter

    20:32 Elise's Personal Projects

    22:30 Indie Film Highlight: Molly Manning Walker; Georgia Oakley; Charlotte Regan; Natalie Jasmine Harris's GRACE; Alexandra Qin's THIRSTYGIRL; Angela Moneke's ESSEX GIRLS; Jules Rosskam's DESIRE LINES (all had Kickstarter campaigns); Phoebe Jane Hart's BUG DINER

    24:34 Conclusion And Promotion of Long Story Short

    Links:

    Long Story Short 2024 (https://updates.kickstarter.com/long-story-short-2023-join-kickstarters-annual-celebration-of-short-films-in-march/)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    26m | Feb 16, 2024
  • Mark Bristol

    24 years between feature films? Talk about resilience. Mark Bristol, my guest today, has worked for the top directors of the last few decades. And now he's tied all of that together with his second feature film, ACCIDENTAL TEXAN. But nothing accidental about his success. In this episode, he'll give you a masterclass on indie filmmaking. 

    In this episode, we talk about:

    • how his Little League Baseball Coach made an enormous difference in his life (his coach was the extraordinarily Bill Wittliff);
    • the importance of mentorship and "paying it forward" in his success;
    • what he learned from having 24 years between feature films;
    • his experience working as a storyboard artist with some of the best directors of the last few decades, including Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, and more;
    • he also points out he learns from everyone, demonstrating a humility that is rare, and from Ken Kwapis, how to "bring the joy of filmmaking";
    • he recommends Ken's book, "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera";
    • his thoughts on audiences' reaction to ACCIDENTAL TEXAN, of just going for a pleasurable experience -- "you'll laugh, you'll cry, it's beautifully shot";
    • he encourages people to watch ACCIDENTAL TEXAN to watch the trailer to understand the film;
    • how he used coloration to tell the story;
    • what he would tell gearheads about the importance of telling the story;
    • his thoughts on the future of comedic indie films;
    • what he learned from Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise working on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE films about how to listen to audiences;
    • how he'll define success for the ACCIDENTAL TEXAN;
    • the importance of efficiency and preparing for an mid-budget indie film (this is where the masterclass kicks in);
    • advice he'd give young filmmakers just starting out -- how "nothing is precious...and rely on your own creativity to solve it"
    • what's next for this utterly exciting and unique filmmaker -- a late 80s based film called GENERATION X which I will be first in line to see.


    Links:

    ACCIDENTAL TEXAN Trailer (https://youtu.be/Cvalr_gHRDk)

    Mark Bristol's Website (http://markbristol.squarespace.com/)




    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    45m | Feb 13, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: PLUS ONE (2019)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: PLUS ONE (2019)

    Directors: Andrew Rhymer, Jeff Chan

    Written by: Andrew Rhymer, Jeff Chan

    Cast: Maya Erskine; Jack Quaid; Ed Begley Jr.

    SYNOPSIS

    Longtime friends Ben and Alice agree to be each other's plus one at every wedding they're invited to during a busy summer of wedding fever.

    Check out the YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/tq3uXr445yk



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    1m | Feb 11, 2024
  • Brett Smith (re-release)

    Hey, y'all, it's Ben -- I re-released this episode because FREEDOM'S PATH just got picked up by Paramount starting on February 1 -- and it's fantastic. It's on Showtime, a bunch of other places. It was streaming before but now it's in front of a larger audience.

    Check it out if you can and then listen to the interview I did back in September with Brett Smith. See you next week.


    I talk with Brett Smith about his feature directorial debut, FREEDOM'S PATH. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • how he came about filmmaking -- it wasn't the usual way;
    • the boldness of making a first feature film a military period piece;
    • how he worked to get the racial component of the film right;
    • where he shot the film;
    • and whether he would make a short first or a feature if he could do it again.


    Brett Smith's story shows the level of determination and resilience required to be a successful indie filmmaker.

    Brett's Indie Film Director Highlight: J.A. Bayona

    Links:

    • FREEDOM'S PATH (https://freedomspathfilm.com/)
    • Brett Smith's Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brettttsmith/?hl=en)
    • Freedom's Path Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/freedomspathfilm/?hl=en)


    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    29m | Feb 9, 2024
  • Todd Brown

    Almost as soon as I finished watching Zarrar Kahn's film IN FLAMES, I emailed Todd Brown, head of international acquisitions at XYZ Films, asking: how did you find this gem of a film? In this episode, Todd tells me.

    The discussion is wide-ranging, all-encompassing, and fun. When we finished taping, I felt like I knew so many things about how independent film works that I never knew before. Todd answers every question about film production and distribution with authority, knowledge, and clarity.

    In this episode, Todd and I talk about:

    • how he got started in filmmaking;
    • how film festivals can be a proving ground of sorts to showcase your ability as a film executive;
    • the success going from old horror film blogs to filmmaking because they know how "stories are supposed to work" and an "understanding of market forces";
    • is he genre specific or does he have a wide range of tastes in film?;
    • what questions is he asking when he reads a script?;
    • his feelings about the state of independent film;
    • the brilliance of the film TALK TO ME;
    • his thoughts on film school;
    • how XYZ takes on new directors, and the difference between the United States and pretty much everywhere else on that;
    • DON'T MORTGAGE YOUR HOME TO FUND YOUR FILM -- really, it needs to be in caps, Todd says;
    • his view on the international markets, calling Gen Z the most global generation ever -- "the subtitle barrier does not exist for them";
    • does he want people to know it is an "XYZ film" or genre-agnostic?
    • the beauty of IN FLAMES, which premiered at Cannes as the debut title for New Visions, XYZ's new label for microbudget horror films by emerging directors;
    • how the firm nurtures new directors;
    • what's next for this visionary film and production company.


    Todd's Indie Film Highlight: FROM BEYOND, dir. by Fredrik S. Hana (https://vimeo.com/879750659)

    Links:

    XYZ Films (https://www.xyzfilms.com/)

    XYZ Films Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/xyzfilms/?hl=en)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    50m | Feb 6, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019).

    Director: Celine Sciamma

    Screenplay: Celine Sciamma

    Cast: Adele Haenel; Noemie Merlant; Luana Bajrami; Valeria Golino

    SYNOPSIS

    On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman. 

    Check out the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/Jh2M1Pn5vlw



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    1m | Feb 5, 2024
  • Jessica Lappin

    I talk with Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York and...film executive! The Alliance manages the country's largest Business Improvement District (BID) and recently came out with a Filmmaker In Chief program.

    Jessica is modest on this podcast, but she's knows great films and Lower Manhattan.

    Here are the details on the Filmmaker in Chief program:

    One filmmaker will win up to $50,000, plus two months in a paid luxury Mint House apartment and two months’ stipend to produce, direct and edit a short film in New York City’s Lower Manhattan neighborhood.

    Applications close February 16, 2024 at 11:59 pm.

    To enter:

    • Create a one-minute video uploaded to YouTube explaining why you should be our Filmmaker in Chief.
    • Submit a 3-5 page film treatment outlining your unique concept and links to samples of your past completed films.
    • Your short film can run between 8-40 minutes, with the sweet spot between 8-15 minutes.

    

    More information can be found on their website: https://downtownny.com/filmmaker/

    In this podcast, Jessica and I discuss:

    • how much we both love Lower Manhattan;
    • the judges behind the program;
    • what it REALLY means to be the Filmmaker in Chief (are you producing? do you have final cut? what are the standards?)
    • what happens to the film after you finish;
    • the indie film highlight of this amazing leader in the NYC community.


    Jessica could have very well put up the resources devoted to this project to an advertising agency, but she didn't. And an indie filmmaker wins.

    Jessica's Indie Film Highlight: Rob Peace (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10740926/)

    Links:

    The Filmmaker In Chief Program (https://downtownny.com/filmmaker/)

    Jessica Lappin (https://downtownny.com/people/jessica-lappin/)

    Alliance for Downtown New York Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/downtownnyc/)




    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    18m | Feb 2, 2024
  • Nathan Rigaud & Mark Sunderland

    In a first for the show, we talk with the director (Nathan Rigaud) and the executive producer (Mark Sunderland) about an animated short, a beautiful film called SPLASH!

    Nate also serves as a creative executive at Whale Animation.

    In this episode, we talk about:

    • how they got a love for filmmaking (Lord Of The Rings is probably up there with James Cameron for the podcast's guests);
    • how the story of SPLASH! and the production company, Whale Animation, came to be;
    • can a four minute story touch your heart? SPLASH! proves that it can, thanks to the amazing work of the director and his team;
    • how do you make an animated short? how is it different than live action? Nathan tells you;
    • the market for animated shorts and how it can help build a production company;
    • the disconnect between what creators are making daily and hourly (shorts, reels, TikToks, perhaps even short films) and what can be monetized;
    • why Georgia is a great market for filmmaking, and how it compares to Los Angeles and other well-known areas;
    • when you can expect to see SPLASH! -- shout out to Kids First Film Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico (https://filmfreeway.com/KIDSFIRSTFilmFestival) among soon to be certainly many others;
    • the leadership philosophy of their company (not a surprise it comes back to military training);
    • what's next for this exciting and unique production company.


    The logline for SPLASH! is a young Harp Seal pup must find his courage to overcome his fear of the water he was born to play in. No problem here with courage for Nate and Mark…I hope you enjoy our first episode about an animated film. 

    Mark's Indie Film Highlight: Jack & Ava directed by Michael Pollard (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt18566780/)

    Nate's Indie Film Highlight: Freeman Hospitality, directed by Michael Cooke (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9818820/)

    Links:

    Whale Animation Studios (https://www.whaleanimationstudios.com/)

    Whale Animation Studios' Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/whaleanimationstudios/)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    45m | Jan 30, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: FIRE ISLAND (2022)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: FIRE ISLAND (2022)

    Director: Andrew Ahn

    Screenplay: Joel Kim Booster

    Cast: Joel Kim Booster; Bowen Yang; Conrad Ricamora; James Scully

    SYNOPSIS

    A group of queer best friends gather in the Fire Island Pines for their annual week of love and laughter, but when a sudden change of events jeopardizes their summer in gay paradise, their bonds as a chosen family are pushed to the limit.



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    3m | Jan 28, 2024
  • Katrina Jackson & Catherine Bobalek

    I talk with Katrina Jackson, director/writer/editor of AROMCOM, and Catherine Bobalek, the producer. In this episode, we talk about:

    • how they got involved in filmmaking and created the idea for AROMCOM;
    • creating a wholly original genre of films as well as a trope-free romantic comedy;
    • showing representation for aromantic and asexual individuals in film;
    • what people should expect to see when they turn on AROMCOM;
    • what the response if when they pitch their film;
    • how the script was written and they chose Seed & Spark for crowdfunding;
    • the lack of control associated with crowdfunding;
    • when you can see AROMCOM;
    • the amazing response for their casting call;
    • how the film ZUCCHINI references an important term in aromantic and asexual lives; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyRwBJppNG0)
    • the challenges and excitement of filming in the District of Columbia.


    The story of AROMCOM is the story of bravery from two amazing filmmakers and giving people who don't normally see themselves in a romcom the ability to be seen.

    Indie Film Highlight: PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, dir. by Celine Sciamma (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8613070/)

    Katrina's Indie Film Highlight: YOU & I, YOU & ME dir. by Gabriel Dunn (https://seedandspark.com/fund/you-and-i-you-and-me-film#story)

    Links:

    AROMCOM Seed & Spark (https://seedandspark.com/fund/aromcom#story)

    AROMCOM Instagram

    (https://www.instagram.com/aromcomfilm/)

    AROMCOM YouTube Channel

    (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfw7HXDy3ZbgmnpBjDLaV8g)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    30m | Jan 26, 2024
  • Eric Leja

    I talk with Eric Leja, writer, director, filmmaker, Marine redleg.

    In this episode, we talk about:

    • how much artillery folks love Lawton, Oklahoma (all love -- really);
    • transitioning from the military to Hollywood, including helping The Hallmark Channel with military protocol;
    • the value of the Veterans Writing Project from the Writers Guild Foundation, accepting applications until February, 12, 2024 by 11:59pm PST;
    • what qualities veterans bring to filmmaking;
    • the occasional negative elements of being a veteran in Hollywood;
    • Generation Kill is the most authentic Iraq/Afghanistan war series/film (open for arguments);
    • the exciting future for this writer and filmmaker


    Eric's filmmaking story is one of hard work, helpful programs, and his eye and talent for unique storytelling. I am excited to share his story and post this fun conversation. (And if it's too much artillery talk...apologies. Trust me, there was more.)


    Eric's Indie Film Highlight: director Sebastian Rist, Lovaganza: La Grande Illusion (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21994356/?ref_=nm_ov_bio_lk)

    Support the Podcast Through Membership (https://app.redcircle.com/shows/9ddc691d-2273-47d5-a1b9-5a4acb0670f5/exclusive-content)

    Links:

    Veterans Writing Project (https://www.wgfoundation.org/programs/the-veterans-writing-project)

    Generation Kill (https://play.max.com/show/d24904ad-9b39-4117-abf1-e22496ba98a9)

    Eric Leja's IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5498628/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

    Eric's X Account: https://twitter.com/EricLeja



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    26m | Jan 23, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: SHITHOUSE (2020)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: SHITHOUSE (2020)

    Director: Cooper Raiff

    Written by: Cooper Raiff

    Cast: Cooper Raiff; Dylan Gelula

    SYNOPSIS

    A lonely college freshman feels alienated from his peers, but forges a strong connection with his resident assistant during a fraternity party



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    3m | Jan 22, 2024
  • Julia Verdin (re-release)

    MAYA is opening in several theaters and VOD on January 26th, so I thought it would be fun to re-release this episode. Social impact films are increasingly more common, something I imagine that I'll highlight more as we go through season 2, and MAYA is a good example of a film touching on an important issue. You can here for more information on screenings: https://www.artists4change.org/

    Enjoy and see you on Tuesday, January 23rd.

    Ben


    I talk with Julia Verdin, the multi-hyphenate writer and director of the new film MAYA.

    When you think of a social impact film, you may think school project. But in your her new film MAYA, Julia put in the research and the dedication to her craft to make sure you'll learn something and be deeply entertained. MAYA had its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London in October, and opens in select theaters and video in demand in late January, 2024. It deals gently with the topic of sex trafficking, and some of the acting performances, especially Rumer Willis, has stuck with me, along with the score and certainly the direction.

    We discuss her career, how to break into social impact filmmaking, the challenges of casting real-life, say, police officers, and the importance of keeping a positive attitude. As you'll hear from Julia, changing the world for the better is certainly difficult, but it doesn't mean it can't be fun. 

    Links:

    • Artists for Change (https://www.artists4change.org/)
    • MAYA Website (https://www.artists4change.org/filmprojects/maya/)
    • Julia Verdin Rough Diamond Productions (https://www.roughdiamondproductions.net/julia-verdin/)


    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    38m | Jan 19, 2024
  • Miles Levin

    I talk with Miles Levin, the director of the upcoming film, UNDER THE LIGHTS. The Cameron Boyce Foundation said that "we believe this movie will be the biggest moment for epilepsy awareness of all time." That's a powerful statement but it looks like their faith is well-placed.

    In this episode, we talk about:

    • the tremendous feedback he's received about making such a personal film;
    • how film is the "intersection of all art forms";
    • what it means and why when he introduces himself as a "filmmaker with epilepsy";
    • the story behind UNDER THE LIGHTS;
    • the power of empathy to help all of us in our silent struggles;
    • short v. feature (you know I had to ask -- he created a short for the film that was released a few years ago);
    • how "make the film you know how to make" is trash advice;
    • how amazing AT&T Untold Stories in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival was for him;
    • getting a well-known cast for your feature film;
    • if directors can work without empathy;
    • the extremely ambitious crowdfunding goal and his plans to reach it...because people think about crowdfunding wrong;
    • the future expansion of the UNDER THE LIGHTS universe.


    Miles Levin artfully distills his experience in filmmaking and crowdfunding into extraordinarily useful advice. I learned so much hearing his thoughts on such a varied group of topics, and I think you will, too.

    Miles' Indie Film Highlight:

    LITTLE WHITE LIES, crowdfunding now by Erin Brown Thomas (https://seedandspark.com/fund/little-white-lies#story)

    THE PROCESS, crowdfunding now by Morgan Hamilton-Lee

    (https://seedandspark.com/fund/the-process-birdman-inspired-short-film#story)

    Links:

    • UNDER THE LIGHTS Seed & Spark (https://seedandspark.com/fund/underthelights#story)
    • UNDER THE LIGHTS website
    • (https://www.underthelightsfilm.com/)
    • UNDER THE LIGHTS Instagram
    • (https://www.instagram.com/underthelightsfilm/)


    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    41m | Jan 16, 2024
  • Indie Film Highlight: BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013)

    Every Sunday, I'll post a quick video -- and podcast -- about an indie film from at least a year ago. Today's film: BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013)

    Director: Richard Linklater

    Written by: Richard Linklater; Ethan Hawke; Julie Delpy

    Cast: Ethan Hawke; Julie Delpy

    SYNOPSIS

    On the last night of their idyllic Greek vacation, longtime lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) reminisce about their lives together and what different choices might have brought.



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    2m | Jan 14, 2024
  • Nardeep Khurmi

    I talk with writer/director/actor Nardeep Khurmi about his film LAND OF GOLD and his commitment to diverse storytelling.

    I don't think anybody wants to hear me chuckling the entire podcast but excuse me for coming close. Although the subject matter of his films are often serious, there are moments in regards to the dialogue and writing in LAND OF GOLD that make you realize...this is a man coming at storytelling in a way you haven't seen before.

    And we give props to the AT&T Untold Stories Program in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival. I'm not necessarily a fan of hyping corporate brands, but if you want to give a million bucks to indie filmmakers to make their visions come true, I'll say your name as many times as you want, AT&T.

    Submissions are open until February 6, 2024.

    In this episode, we talk about:

    • his unique start into filmmaking, combining comedy and filmmaking as a way to fit in;
    • how his love for travel allows him to tell diverse stories;
    • how LAND OF GOLD was written as a response to the heavily politized US immigration policy;
    • the story behind winning the 2021 AT&T Untold Stories Grand Prize;
    • how he actively fights against including stereotypes into his art;
    • the importance of Untold Stories in the film ecosystem; he calls it "the best program out of all";
    • the danger of separating categories in film festival and other programs specifically by diversity;
    • what he wishes he knew before applying for Untold Stories;
    • what's next for this exciting, unique...have to say it, funny as hell filmmaker;


    Nardeep's Indie Film Highlights: The Untold Stories' films (NIGERIAN PRINCE; LUCKY GRANDMA; MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE; LAND OF GOLD; SMOKING TIGERS) https://tribecafilm.com/attuntoldstories

    STARRING JERRY AS HIMSELF, directed by Law Chen (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt23329452/)

    OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL, directed by Ellie Foumbi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUF-bi-BPQQ)

    Links:

    AT&T Untold Stories: An Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca (https://tribecafilm.com/attuntoldstories)

    LAND OF GOLD (in 4k) (https://www.hbomax.com/bs/en/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GZO9BrwG_jcMrwwEAAAg8)

    Nardeep Khurmi's Website (https://www.nardeepkhurmi.com/)

    Nardeep Khurmi's Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/nardeepthoughts/?hl=en)



    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/first-time-go/exclusive-content
    40m | Jan 12, 2024
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