Evolution Film Fest Hollywood

CJ Gardella at Evolution film festival

The Evolution International Film Festival successfully kicked off its first event on March 17, 2012 in Hollywood, CA. The screening program included 21 films with categories ranging from; Feature film, Short film, Documentary Feature and Short, Animation short, Music Video and Student short film. The program was truly international with movies from; Egypt Feature presentation ASMAA, Switzerland “Good Bye Mandima”, Mexico “Gustavo”, Lebanon “Good Bye…Hide & Seek.” And the 2012 Oscar Nominated short film RAJU.

All movies were screened in an amazing 345-seat stadium-style theater at the Los Angeles Film School on Sunset Blvd. in the heart of Hollywood.

The award winning films from EIFF will now travel to three more cities; Palme de Mallorca Spain, Cairo Egypt and Dubai UAE where the festival will travel to throughout 2012.

Next stop Palma de Mallorca, Spain!

Evolution Film Festival Announces Program

Evolution International Film Festival 2012

The Evolution International Film Festival has announced their full program. You can see the complete listing here.

I will be present at the Los Angeles screening for a Q&A. Below is a brief interview I did for the festival.

What inspired you to make this film?

The impetus arose from a visit to South Dakota in the summer of 2007. I took a lot of pictures of the people and landscapes and could see a film out of that. Around this time I was feeling disenchanted by screenwriting and just wanted to “write” something with the camera. South Dakota provided its own stories.

How long was your pre-production for your film?

Pre-production was short because I just needed two other good cameramen and a truck filled with equipment. I started shooting it in the summer of 2008 and was in a constant state of production/post-production (editorial mostly) until I finished the film in the fall of 2010.

How many days did you shoot and over what amount of time?

summer 2008- 2 weeks
winter 2009- 2 weeks
spring 2009- 2 weeks
1 day Phantom photography
macro photography and pickups accumulated to about 2 week’s worth of shooting

How did you raise the funds necessary to shoot this film?

I shot the film over the course of the different seasons to lend the film a seasonal structure which also met with financial obligations; since I was shooting it piecemeal and over a great length of time it allowed me to pay incrementally as I went along instead of having to have a budget all at one time. Fortunately, a lot of very generous and talented friends contributed their time and resources to see the film get made.

What other Festivals have screened your film and did you win any awards so far?

The film has screened at Slamdance and the Maryland International Film Fest. It won two awards at Slamdance; Kodak Vision award for best cinematography and the Spirit of Slamdance award. Maryland International Film Fest was non-competition, a great festival. Shunka doesn’t fit an easy genre so despite a lot of initial interest from programmers worldwide its hard to find festivals that will pick it up. I’m grateful for a festival like Evolution that endeavors to find such films and put them on the big screen.

What influenced you to find the cinematic language used in the film?

I wanted to “write” with the camera and find/uncover something with the lens. So that included piling on a couple of macro lenses and filming bugs. In the end it yielded a neat tapestry of interconnectedness.

Tell us about your crew and your workflow with your cinematographer?

We were a small crew that rotated members with each outing to South Dakota, never more than three people. Between Corey, Andrew and myself we shot a couple hundred hours of footage and used only a fraction of it in the final film. When we shot the Phantom, high speed photography footage, we probably had about a 2:1 shooting ratio because it was the last thing we shot and we knew exactly what we wanted because the movie had already been cut and nearly finished.

What kind of prep/research work did you do before shooting?

We built all of our own rigs; dollie tracks out of PVC pipes, a zipline to ropeslide a camera down (it hit a tree and fell in the snow, but survived), a camera car mount out of a skate dollie that we repurposed onto the roof of the vehicle. I went to high school in South Dakota for a year and knew all or most of the people in advance.

Is a new project in the works?

Yes, steadfastly working on a script. It will be hard to have the autonomy I enjoyed with Shunka.

Evolution International Film Festival

Evolution International Film Festival Logo

Shunka has been accepted to the 1st annual Evolution International Film Festival to join the category of
“Best International Award Winning films from 2010 and 2011.” The festival will launch  March 17th 2012 in Los Angeles and will then travel to Cairo, Palma de Mallorca Spain and Dubai. I’m pleased to announce that Shunka will be traveling with the festival for the coming year.

Here are the following dates;

March 17th 2012
Hollywood, CA
Los Angeles Film School
6363 Sunset blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Cairo, Egypt June/July 2012
Palme de Mallorca, Spain July/August 2012
Dubai, UAE November 2012

The goal of the festival is to merge diverse cultures, beliefs, languages and stories and to give filmmakers from all around the globe the chance to support and encourage each other to keep making outstanding films.

Thank You Slamdance

After a few years of labor on my film I could not ask for a better week-long celebration than Slamdance. Although I hardly slept it still feels like I absorbed only a fraction of what festival season in Park City has to offer. It is a real honor to have been invited into the Slamdance gang; such love, humor and passion for film. There’s a line I came across in James Joyce’s, An Encounter, that makes me think of every festival rejection letter, every door that I knock on that goes unanswered; “The sun went behind some clouds and left us to our jaded thoughts and the crumbs of our provisions.”- so thank you Slamdance for opening your door and taking my cold submission based strictly upon its own merit. Experience has shown me that the most difficult growth is in just getting out of the soil, so this first exposure is very special to me.

Slamdance Film Festival Announces 2011 Award Winners

Variety article about Slamdance