Sundance

Go Big or Go Bust: New Efficiency Model - Codependency from Japan to San Francisco (Part 8)

With both Sundance and now Berlin behind me and no big distribution deal in the works, I felt the emotional equivalent of having the tendons behind my knees cut.  There was nothing to do but to accept my situation.  Hey we weren't going to sell off the rights to just anybody. 

I flew from Berlin to Brooklyn to meet Frank and Mr. Green and we headed back for two more months in the suburbs of Osaka, Mr. Green to finish out his guest professorship, me to my exile with Frank. 

Frank learning to walk

Frank learning to walk

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t love Japan.  Visually, gastronomically and culturally, it's one of my favorite places.  The cleanliness alone makes me feel more relaxed and safe than almost anywhere I’ve ever been.  It was the combination of not speaking the language, being in a suburb without a friend and this active one-year old for my constant companion which made the experience a little like being exiled to Mars.

I settled in for the duration, resigned to the fact that my film just might not get distributed.  And I set right to work on a revenge action plan: whenever Frank went to sleep I would work on the script for my second feature.  It would be a comedy about the incredible loneliness of marriage and motherhood, the dashed expectations of my highest hopes and dreams. But this next film would not be made on a shoestring.  At the very least, I’d need a budget for a babysitter, and anyway, to insure distribution, we’d need a star - so we’d have a budget of millions.  When it opened to rave reviews, everyone would be clamoring for my first feature, How To Be Louise.  I’d show them

We toured a little around Japan.

With students of  Kagoshima University  on a boat in front of Sakurajima, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.  The towns on either side of the volcano share ash-removal equipment depending on where the prevailing wind is depositing the ash.

With students of Kagoshima University on a boat in front of Sakurajima, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.  The towns on either side of the volcano share ash-removal equipment depending on where the prevailing wind is depositing the ash.

In April, we headed back to the States.  The first stop was the San Francisco International Film Festival.

My to die for papier maché earrings were made by an artist in Berlin. 

My to die for papier maché earrings were made by an artist in Berlin. 

I’d been reading about David Lynch’s new hit television show Twin Peaks which hadn’t been available in Japan. We watched an episode in our hotel room, aptly named I thought, the Queen Anne Hotel.  I scoured the San Francisco phone book to see if there were any Flournoys.  It was fun to be back in the US.  

The festival gave an elegant lunch for the indie filmmakers where I met Wayne Wang, whose Chan Is Missing had been a huge inspiration.  Peter Scarlet, the Director of the festival, told me that HTBL had a very high audience rating (I think he said it was the second most popular!!) and that a radio station wanted to interview me.  It was all happening so effortlessly. Things were looking up!  

I’d never done a live interview but figured I’d be all right as I love to talk if I know the subject matter which, in this case, I certainly did.  Mr. Green and Frank and I went over to the radio station in Berkeley. 

Halfway into the interview, the radio show host managed to render me speechless: “You know, I was watching a screener of your film with my girlfriend the other night and she remarked: “This is actually a portrait of codependency!” Panic engulfed me.  Codependency?  I wanted to change the subject immediately but, overwhelmed by fear and then suddenly by anger, was afraid to open my mouth.  And well I didn't:  A portrait of codependency?  My film is a comedy!  You make it sound like a mental health tract!  And why is your girlfriend even qualified to comment?  You know you're probably turning away potential viewers!  ARE YOU SAYING I HAVE ISSUES?

I have no idea what I did say out loud (if anything) after his 'observation'.  

So as we walked away from the radio station, I asked Mr. Green how it went.  He winced.  And then his face froze in the wince:  “Well…”  He made that little twisting motion with his hand like he was unscrewing a candle flame light bulb sticking down from the ceiling.  I'm not exactly sure what he was saying.  And come to think of it, I still don't really want to know.

(to be continued)

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Go Big or Go Bust: Day 115 (on self-promotion, braggy captions, Sundance and Berlin)

So today I want to talk about two things: that picture from yesterday's post and the braggy caption.  They get to the heart of why this Go Big or Go Bust thing is like pulling teeth. 

My grandmother used to say that the only time your name should ever be in the paper is when you get married and when you die.  If then.  It wasn't that she was cautioning us to stay on the right side of the law, it was that there was something seamy and unsavory about women and publicity. (It may have gone for men too, but she would have been addressing only her grandaughters.  So I'll never know.)  Hey my grandmother was born in the 1800's. 

from the left: Michael Moneagle, Lea Floden and Bill Zimmer

from the left: Michael Moneagle, Lea Floden and Bill Zimmer

So for me to be relentlessly posting pictures of myself, telling stories about myself, yammering on and on about me ME  ME ... and my accomplishments (the braggy caption) ...  it doesn't sit well. 

Not that that's stopping me ...  If this is what's necessary to spread the word about The Louise Log, I'm doing it.

About this picture from yesterday's post (see above on right) which is shown in context on the page from the Berlin Festival catalogue: it was taken shortly after I learned that my first and so far only feature (How To Be Louise) had been invited to be in the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama and Sundance's Dramatic Competition.  A sizable cast, headed by the wonderful actors Lea Floden, Bruce McCarty and Maggie Burke and an even bigger crew with Vladimir Tukan, Mark Serman and Deirdre Fishel in key roles, had worked very long hours for very little reward to make this film and now we'd grabbed the brass ring.  Sundance!  Berlin!  I'm wearing a fake leopard skin coat from Loehmann's and a smile of disbelief. 

Here's the (2:05) trailer: