This is a remarkable short film. Remarkable cast. Remarkable effects. Remarkable story. And remarkable that it was ever completed! But after three years and many hurdles (read about the process), my mother’s short story was adapted to the screen, produced for just around $40,000, played twenty film festivals worldwide, and received awards for it’s animation (Red Rock Film Festival), narration (Seattle True Independent Film Festival) and screenplay (HDFest Film Festival – New York).
Though shorts rarely get reviews, we did receive a couple which you can read here. Some highlights:
…a dreamy whisper of a film…
…I have never seen a film that comes so close to how anxiety and depression really feel…
…a beautifully constructed 18-minute surreal short film…
…an intriguing and thought-provoking short film from D.C. Douglas…
Now that the festival run is over, I turn my efforts to getting real distribution for it. All I want for my “precious” is a place to call home. iTunes and NetFlix would be my ideal choices. An airing or two on the Sundance channel, IFC or HBO would tickle me pink. But the process of doing this is new to me. So, if you or anyone you know is an “industry insider” and have some tips/hints/help – names, numbers, addresses, check for $200,000 – let me know. This one is too special to put away or just plop onto the internet to fade away into google obscurity.
The film is narrated by Linda Hunt, the Academy Award winning actress from The Year of Living Dangerously (and more recently NCIS: Los Angeles). Working in the studio with her was a dream. She went through every line multiple times trying to knead out every possible meaning/inflection/music she could find. As a person, she glowed with kindness, humor and intellect. I hope to work as a fellow actor on camera with her someday.
My lead was the talented Fay Masterson, a British expat known for her layered performances in Eyes Wide Shut, The Man Without A Face as well as her clever turns in cult favorites The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Dark and Stormy Night. She was game from the beginning and had a better understanding of the character than I did when we started. She braved a nine hour day in a green screen studio with no AC and temperatures reaching 90 degrees while going through ten costume changes and 60 different shots. (I’m sure her experience on Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol was a “green screen breeze” by comparison!)
My second lead was the beautiful and gracious Katherine Boecher, who is currently on a hot streak for her touching performance on Heroes and her recurring (and coveted) role of “Lilith” on Supernatural. She gave a very real performance in my film as a character who has to be so likable that one might actually resent her. She pulled it off with grace.
My supporting cast was awesome. Joe Duer played the studly boyfriend with the perfect balance of charm and self-absorption. Monnae Michaell walked the line of authority and compassion with professional ease (and supplied some great jewelry from her company Jendayi). And Clement Blake was just plain perfect. He’s in everything you can imagine because of his distinctive look, but his years of experience are obvious on set. I don’t think I even gave any acting direction.
I will always feel the God of Serendipity in my life because of having Lily Popova and Abraham Peraza as our neighbors… and composers! Our many collaborations have been a joy (80s Man, Lance Baxter, Duck, Duck GOOSE!) but their work on The Crooked Eye is sublime.
My crew changed from the first day of the shoot to the second, but everyone was wonderful. I do have to highlight the excellent skills of my cinematographer, Nickolas Rossi, and my 1st assistant director, Wednesday Standley. If I ever get the funds to do another film, I’m calling them first.
And, of course, I have to bow to Pency Kinnard for sacrificing a few months of her summer (for little pay) for her fast, creative compositing work. With her leading the charge, the 3d modeling work of Newton DePaoli, Matt Griffith and others took on an unsettling surreal look, capturing the mood set by the writer 15 years earlier.
And then there is the writer (and my mother). Betty Malicoat. An amazingly multi-talented woman who’s humility gets the best of her. She wrote a wonderful short story that was published locally and then changed direction back to her first loves of art and esoteric exploration. After launching several spiritual/creative workshops, she began distant healing work. She went online to offer spiritual counseling services – all under the name of The Lotus Path. It seemed writing was behind her.
Recently, I interviewed her on tape and produced several videos to help illuminate the work that she does. With the launch of the videos on her site and YouTube, I suggested she start a blog. What I didn’t expect was that she would return to her gift of writing stories (her blog is a synthesis of story, psychology and the mystical/mythological dance between the two). And that’s why this post is being written.
On the day that her blog launched (The Lotus Path Blog) I received notice of our third award for The Crooked Eye – Best Screenplay from the New York HDFest. It seemed fitting to announce two new phases together:
Betty Malicoat’s The Crooked Eye is now available for distribution. Please contact Hit-The-Fan Productions at [email protected].
Betty Malicoat, The Lotus Path guide, launches The Lotus Path Blog… Oh, and if you’d like to meet Betty, here you go:
Visit The Lotus Path for more information.
Visit The Crooked Eye website for more information, as well!