Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KINYARWANDA's Alrick Brown on Wisdom, Honor, and Digesting the IFP Narrative Labs

Lab Workshop leaders Alan Chan, (producer, Half-Life), photographer, and Josh Mond (producer, Afterschool) and Alrick Brown (director, Kinyarwanda) Photo by Mike Cerda

The storm has passed, the lights have dimmed, and we are left standing holding our films in our hands. The 2010 IFP Narrative Lab is over, and in 1 short week I have gathered more information on the Finishing, Marketing, & Distribution of a film than I have in my previous 8 years in the film game. I really don’t mean to kiss up but you gotta give credit where it is due. The lab, the filmmakers, the mentors, the guest speakers, and the work of the IFP are all solid. Honestly, I underestimated you coming into this. I just didn’t know. I have since perused the website -- watched the videos, learned some of the history, and now I feel even more honored.

Actually I just lied. Not about the solid or honored thing. Do people lie on the Internet? Along with that film in our hands we walked away with some other pieces of the puzzle that will help our films find their audience and in the sentiments of Alfred Hitchcock, “Why make a movie if nobody is going to see it?” I think all the filmmakers wanted to get back to work but we were given the sound advice, by Amy, of taking this week off - away from our films so all the information can marinate. Well it’s marinating like a mutha*@#!

The task now is to finish the best possible versions of the projects with the time and resources we have and then give them their chance to be seen by as many people as they can. It seems pretty straightforward, right? But how many amazing films have come and gone that you we were clueless about. Finishing a film but not marketing it is like building a car with 3 wheels. It might go somewhere, it might get recognized, but you might not travel as far as you could. And you certainly won’t travel without scraping your ass on the asphalt. Does this mean our journey will be easy cause we are in the independent film ‘in crowd?’ Hell no. After the success of INSIDE MAN, Spike Lee was still struggling to get his films made. Many well known filmmakers can’t get their project’s marketed properly much less get the projects themselves off the ground. Spike got there because of the WORK. The hard and smart WORK. We got there because of the WORK and there is no substitution for the WORK.

During the last few workshops my brain was fried as I processed the info and I looked ahead at ALL the additional work that needed to be done. And I was stressing thinking about the next project. What would my next film be? Paola Mendoza (Writer/Director/Actress of Entre Nos) reminded us to enjoy the process and savor this accomplishment. Wisdom is simple.

Today, I told a pretty religious dude about my IFP experience, about all the amazing people I met, worked with, all the potential in the room, and he quoted something his pastor said in church on Sunday, “Things move at the speed of relationships.”

In the words of the great philosopher Bruce Lee, “Running water never goes stale.” So, fellow lab mates, mentors, and all of our collaborators, do the WORK and lets keep it moving…together.
Peace Love & Respect

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