Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Kinyaranda Crew Reports from IFP's Narrative Labs

From Writer/Director Alrick Brown:

I am not as articulate as my producer Darren, nor is my vocab as vast, so I will say that it has been a kick-ass 1st two days at the IFP Lab. I’ve been in the game with my shorts for years now and this feature marks my coming out so to speak--and what a way to come out. You have mentors and other filmmakers guiding, pushing, and blocking for you. I feel a little like someone just let me in through the front door after years of knocking at the back………..or maybe we kicked it open.

We are in very good company. As we get glimpses of each other’s work I could not help but think I wish I had made that, done that, had a shot like that, had that actor, or that dolly move. It was not jealousy but humble respect and admiration. The other films and filmmakers come with a lot.

IFP uses the words ‘diverse’ to describe the filmmakers and films. The people and films here, represent the actual world. This is not the exception, but rather, it is the norm. The world is colorful and viewpoints are vast. These filmmakers and films though ‘diverse’ share something important--our films show the different perspectives of all of our humanity. Shouldn’t we be the norm? Shouldn’t this LAB make up be the norm? Shouldn’t the range of stories we have be the norm?

I feel like I am in a BONUS grad film program. A supplemental course to my NYU grad school journey but in this case, we are asked to think about marketing & distribution as the other 50% of what we have to do aside from finishing our films. Thank you John for that profound insight. We have no choice but to handle the business side of our product the way we handle the art. That’s just one of the many gems I have taken away in just a few days. My notebook is full.

It’s crazy how supportive and informative the lab leaders and mentors actually are. The COMPETITION of film is so often emphasized that we forget that there is a very healthy & supportive community there as well. IFP represents that community. I think we are making each other better. How can I say this after two days? I have lived a long life and I spoke to previous participants before arriving this week and many were pleasantly surprised at the amount of GIVING they experienced at the Lab and have experienced since the Lab.

Tuesday my editor Tovah and I got to work with editor Lee Percy. (The dude cut BOYS DON'T CRY amongst many other great films.) How sick is that? Years before going to film school I saw that film and was blown away. And that dude was working with us and our Lab fellows. It was a rich and informative session, and made us want to leave the Lab and go back into the editing room.

If I have any regret it is that the whole KINYARWANDA crew could not participate. Those in Rwanda, LA, the UK, and here in the states would have really taken a lot away from this experience. But, as it is in my nature I will take this knowledge with me and try to share it with others.

Thank you IFP and thanks to my fellow filmmakers for your vision.

Peace love and mad respect -
alrick brown, Writer/Director, KINYARWANDA

From Producer Darren Dean:

As someone who had the good fortune of being thrust into the world of film – almost by accident – for my first feature, by the time I was invited to produce Alrick Brown’s KINYARWANDA, I had already experienced many of the “trial by fire,” DIY themes that currently populate the medium. There’s no doubt that I was able to benefit significantly from being thrown to the wolves the first time around. However, the urgency of having to navigate post-production, marketing and promotion, distribution and the film festival circuit was on gut instinct alone. I could have easily saved myself more than a few headaches with the aid The IFP Narrative Filmmaker Labs – taking place this week in NYC.

The Labs, now in their sixth year, are a seminal part of the indie film world, although – in the words of one of the event’s organizers – they remain a bit of an untapped resource. It would seem that many emerging filmmakers would rather surrender their efforts to film festivals than face the scrutiny of their peers and mentors – in an effort to create a better final abandoned draft of their work.
But while film festivals (outside the big 10 or so) yield many niche films, The Labs’ diversity is abundantly evident. While one is immediately struck by (and I, for one, am abundantly pleased by) the presence of so many female and minority directors – which make up the bulk of the works-in-progress here - the features are also as diverse and compelling as they can be. Above all, from my first impressions of Day 1, I am taken aback by the courage of all the filmmakers present to have the good sense to ask, “How can my film be better?”

Seemingly more than simply an effort to promote emerging filmmakers or IFP as an organization, The Labs are replete with commas, conjunctions and consideration upon consideration. A veritable “What if?” scenario for each film, and with the help of its well-rounded group of mentors, The Labs seek to prepare filmmakers for every variable imaginable. Cut from the same cloth as Ted Hope’s “Hope for Film” campaign, they are not only concerned with our work, but in perpetuating independent filmmaking as a whole. For, if we are not making good films, how can the medium hope to survive?

Having spent the last few years on the festival circuit – often surrounded by many filmmakers who bemoan the fact that they can’t get no love - I’m looking forward to learning what I should have learned years ago – in the company of these gifted individuals who are willing to hear the truth. I eagerly – and confidently – await the results.
- Darren Dean, Producer, KINYARWANDA

1 comment:

  1. Awesome stuff! Hard work, sacrifice and a whole lot of talent get you opportunities like this so Congrats!