When I am involved in the production of feature documentaries there is often a sense of disorientation as we begin to wrap things up. And in 2018, this confusion is heightened by the fact that I have two films scheduled for release. Questions arise in my mind. How did these things get started? How the hell did we manage to finish them? Will people like them? And then I start to wonder if these will be my last films. It’s a difficult, draining, expensive process. But then it’s also addictive. Not making films is probably not an option for me.
But now, finally, we’re standing in the precipice of the moment of truth, the first screening in a darkened theater, where these projects will finally be realized. We have secured premieres for 2018. Whatever happens next is a bonus as far as I’m concerned.
One thing is for certain, amid this thicket of thorny questions: documentaries turn out well because of collaboration and the efforts of a whole lot of people. It starts with the willingness and selflessness of the subjects themselves who open their stories up for the camera. And then there are the filmmaking partners, donors, technicians and the occasional words of encouragement from an army of people.
For Saving Atlantis, which starts with sneak previews in Portland, Oregon on February 15th, with additional previews in Corvallis and Newport on the 20th and 21st, it was a four-year journey driven largely by the energy of Justin Smith, my co-director on the project, who pushed us to learn underwater cinematography from scratch, not to mention a whole host of researchers who shared their work, lives and their passion to save vanishing reefs. Camera work and post-production by Darryl Lai and Daniel Cespedes have brought this project to new heights.
Three Days of Glory will premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Southern California in April. It was co-director Scott Wright’s deep love and knowledge of Burgundy that allowed us to explore and understand the region and its end-of-harvest festivals in a way, we believe, that hasn’t been done before. The magic and spirit of the region and the people we interviewed is what really brought this project to life.
So 2018 should be an interesting year. Right now it’s hard to say where these films will land. But I hope they will find their audiences, because they are both important stories about a changing world. Each of them, in their own ways, address issues of what type of society, culture and planet we want to leave our children.