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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Screenings, Shooting and Editing - Underground Film Projects

Director Jack Truman
at the 
2014 Sundance Film Festival

2014 is starting out with a bang.

True independent film. Underground. No budget filmmaking.

I love it.

It looks like the new short film will be edited by the end of the week. Then we can start submitting to film festivals to start sharing the new film with the world.

Our feature film has begun shooting this month in Las Vegas.

My current films keep rockin' on the film festival circuit. Last week, a screening in Florida. The week before, a screening in Canada. Next week, a screening in Texas in Austin.

Life is good for making movies. With no money. Sharing a voice and opening people's eyes.

By Jack Truman

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Screenings in Canada, Florida and Texas

It's an insane start to the new year for true indie underground filmmaking.

I've been back from Sundance for 4 weeks now. Busy working on the new feature film and editing the new short film. And over the next 3 weeks, screenings of 3 different films in Canada, Florida and Texas:

Last Friday, on Valentine's Day, PHONE SEX GRANDMA played the Sexy Film Festival in Ottawa, Canada.

This weekend, THE ACCEPTABLE SIN screens in Florida at the Central Florida Christian Film Festival.

The first week of March, the short documentary film TITS screens Austin at the RXSM Film Festival.

Canada, Florida and Texas screenings over 3 weeks. 3 different films. From a mockumentary, to a religious festival, to a women's rights film. Talk about variety.

And things keep getting better and better.

What a life.

By Jack Truman


Monday, February 3, 2014

Sundance 2014 - The Last Day

With my good friend Michael Tully
Sundance 2014

The last day is over.

And I'm so glad I'm out of that damn town.

Every year I go to Park City for Sundance, it gets worse and worse. Every year becomes more Hollywood industry driven instead of true independent film, if you know what I mean. Every year I return as a Slamdance alumni, it reminds me why I have nothing to do with the Hollywood shit, and avoid what Sundance has become. By this afternoon, I was ready to get the hell out of Dodge.

It's about midnight. I'm in my Vegas place unwinding, going through notes and recapping what's happened over these last 6 days. A lot's been done. A lot's to be done.

And it feels so damn good to be around real city folk verses that fake Hollywood shit.

Sundance is nothing like it used to be.

That's another story.

Let's recap how the final day went today at Sundance and Slamdance in Park City:

This morning, I woke up in the Motel 6 room about 6 in the morning. After taking a shower, I drank a pot of coffee to wake up while sorting the final day's schedule sitting on the bed in the Motel 6 room. Sorting through the schedule, I looked at the trades to make a short list of the Sundance films today that have stars. And there were films there scheduled all day with movie stars from 10 in the morning until about 11 that night. I hate the Hollywood shit, but I made a schedule list of the films with stars I thought might help my next narrative film, and make a rough schedule in case I wanted to randomly try to meet any today. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro, Mark Duplass, Ted Danson, Liz Moss, Kristen Stewart, Luke Wilson, Kristen Wig, Lena Durham, John Hawkes....just to name a few for the day. You get the picture. This is a celebrity film festival. Not an indie film festival. But I think in the back of my head, if I can come across a star that might help our film, it'd be worth it. I can't stand this part of the business though. I really want to keep everything truly independent.

However, it would be great to have Kristen Stewart star in our next film. She'd be perfect.

After hashing out the list, and lining up the entire day without the list, it was time to head to Park City. So Opal and I packed up the rental car, checked out of Motel 6, and headed to Park City for the final day at Sundance and Slamdance.

We did the normal early morning routine: parked the rental car downtown by the Sundance Marriott headquarters, took a piss and a dump on the Sundance headquarters restroom, took the shuttle to Main Street, and walked up the Main street hill to the Treasure Mountain Inn for the Slamdance breakfast.

Walking down Main Street
Sundance 2014

The final breakfast we were at started out a little weird. Barely anyone was there. A few staffers seemed in their own world. Opal and I had some coffee, juice, I ate a bagel and a bananna, talked to one or two people, and was getting ready to leave the breakfast when Peter made his way over. Opal and I had a really nice talk with Peter for about 15 minutes before heading out of the Treasure Mountain Inn. I'll tell you something. Even with some of the changes over the last 8 years, Slamdance's roots are still there. The reunions I have with the friendships I've made over the years when returning every year make the trip worth it. Just for that.

In the Treasure Mountain Inn
Leaving the Slamdance breakfast

By the time we got out of there, there was no time to get over to the Yarrow to try to meet Philip Seymour Hoffman with God's Pocket. So we crossed the street to the Sundance Channel headquarters, had a cup of coffee and some chips, and hashed out a few things.

Opal relaxing at the Sundance Channel headquarters

Since there was a little time to kill, I thought we would go down to the HP Music in Film Panel event at the cafe area where we check emails every day. This experience was just another layer on the cake why I hate Sundance so much. The greeters stopped us and refused to let us into the event because we had a Slamdance badge, not a Slamdance badge. I was surprised, but it was no big deal. I figured we'd go over to the computers and check the daily emails in the other room. I wasn't on the computer 2 minutes when a security guard came over and said we had to leave. We couldn't be there using the computers. I told the guard I didn't know what the problem was. We've been coming in there every day for 6 days doing this. He told me he was just doing what he was told. The greeter that wouldn't let us in the Music film panel came over and said we had to leave the building. Now, keep in mind, these computers were in a coffee shop area that's open to the public. A worker there talking with Opal said to the lady, "isn't the cafe still open to the public during that panel?" The greeter said "Yes, but they can't be in here. They're with another festival. They're with Slamdance." That just came across to me like poison that's rotten to the core. I didn't even want to be in there anymore surrounded by that poison negative. Some nobody who thinks they're somebody trying to show some dumb 'nothing' snooty snoot authority. Now that I look back on it, it's pretty comical, thinking about those snooty snoot Sundance idiots. But I was really pissed off. It was just the principle of the thing. I could have cared less about being there. We were just there to kill some time. Piss on 'em.

So we walked across the street to the Youtube lounge, drank some coffee, juice, and I tried to sit and just cool off for about 40 minutes. I don't why I let things like that affect me. 6 days of great things going on, and I let one dumb idiot affect my mentality. It's a waste of brain power.

After cooling off, it was about time to go to the Filmmaker Lodge to meet with Michael after his panel. Before going in, I went next door to Dolly's to get the remaining No Budget Filmmaking books, get paid for what was sold and give Sue a book. Now that went really well. Made some money, and got some great news. Dolly's wanted to keep my books at the store to sell, and invited me back next year for another book event at Sundance 2015. What a boost for my ego.

Leaving Dolly's bookstore
Sundance 2014

Leaving Dolly's, I went to Mike's panel. It was great to see him. The first time we met was years ago when our first films played at Cucalorus. Now, 7 years later, we're both in Park City. Me as an alumni at Slamdance, with a filmmaking book at Sundance, and him with a hit feature film at Sundance, his new film Ping Pong Summer. It was a relaxing panel, but I really enjoyed chatting with him and catching up a little after the panel. That was the main reason I wanted to stick around today. To reunite with my friend.

With my friend Michael Tully 

By the time we left the Lodge, it was after 3 in the afternoon. Opal and I were hashing out what to do next: should we spend the next 5 to 6 hours shuttling around town hitting a list of films with stars with the random chance of meeting with them? Didn't sound good. Neither one of us wanted to spend the entire evening going around town just for the remote chance we may come across a star to be in our film. I really wanted to meet with Kristen Stewart, but more than likely, she probably isn't still in town. In fact, this late in the festival, most of the stars probably aren't in town with their films. They're probably back in Hollywood. Or we could get an early start heading back west and get back tonight. That sounded much better. Both of us were done and ready to get out of town. Today was really hard going around doing this industry crap. So we took the shuttle back to the Sundance headquarters and got in the rental car. While sitting in the car, before we took out, Opal came up with a great idea for a new short film. I jotted it down on a napkin. We were done. Done with Sundance 2014. Done with this town for this year. Ready to get the poison off our bodies. So we headed out of town about 4:30 to 5:00, heading back west.

It felt great driving out of that town. Once we got outside Salt Lake City, and started making stops to get gas, take a piss or a dump, it was a great feeling to see regular people and be around civilization for the first time in 7 days. It felt like salve was being taken off a wound.

Around 11 tonight, we started making our way into Vegas. Stopped at Food 4 Less and got a few groceries, then headed over to the Vegas place to stay tonight. I'll tell you. Just going into the supermarket felt great, getting groceries. It felt like forever since I'd been around regular people.

I can't stand that Hollywood industry shit. I can't believe that's what Sundance has evolved too. And it's easy to tell. It's just going to get worse and worse.

By the time we got to the place, unloaded some stuff from the car, it was close to midnight. Opal and I are both zapped out. Glad that this week is done. Glad Sundance is over. Glad to be back to civilization.

Looking back, I'm glad we went to Sundance and Slamdance again this year. It's changed a lot. Not for the better. Those festivals are nothing like they used to be. Sundance, not at all. It's a Hollywood studio industry event, with 90 percent of the films with stars, 5 to 10 million dollar budgets, studio films that have an opening screening there, artificial, fake and the L.A. environment/mentality. Sundance is no longer an art house independent film festival. It's really a shame what it's become. Slamdance still stays with the unknown, which is still the same. They try to keep it the same. I just can't believe how much this week has changed over the last 8 years. It's sad what it's become. I'm so glad I first experienced everything I did when I did. Or I would have always thought it was like this. Having to be on a list to get into something. Having to have tickets to get a drink at a party. Having to show your ID to get into a party. No swag along the streets. No people out promoting their films. No originality. If just feels like the big film studios have moved up here for the week and taken over what used to be a week of true indie film all centered around the filmmaker.

Not anymore.

The last day is done. 6 days in Park City. Did a lot. Got a lot to do.

And now the year starts. Until next January.

By Jack Truman