"About a Donkey" Second Week of Production Recap

This past weekend we completed days 5 and 6 on the set of About a Donkey. We skipped Sunday because we had a film festival screening for a past project (more on that in a future update). We're so proud of and excited about what we accomplished thanks to our hardworking team!

On Friday, we shot 6 pages only, but a scene that features 6 actors. So we had quite a bit of coverage to get. Thanks to The Local (where we hold IndieWorks) for loaning us their back hallway to convert into a hospital waiting room, we were able to work within our budget and make our day early (in 8 hours)! We got to experiment with the space and get some cool shots; and the performances were so on point (as I've come to expect from our talented cast). It was the first time we had Sarah Haruko (Cassie) on set and she was such a pleasure to work with. What comedic timing!

See behind the scenes of the day:

And check out these exclusive Stills from our raw footage. 

On Saturday we had a huge challenge on our hands, trying to knock out 15 pages in a day. Part of making this film work on our budget means trying to wrap specific locations in a day and minimize certain actors' time on set; as well as making creative choices as much as possible in pre-production to really shoot for the edit (which I've learned every director should do regardless of budget). It was our first time having the wonderful Ellen Graff (Grandma Farrah) and lovely Elisha Mudly (Jordan) on set and they were just brilliant. The chemistry between them and Christina Shea-Wright (Cecilia) was palpable. Despite some setbacks before the shoot, like losing an equipment loan and needing to scramble for last minute rentals, my getting a cold and losing my voice, and unexpectedly having to schedule in an hour long company move into our already jam-packed Sunday, we still managed to make our day (pushing to 13 hours but still pulling it off) and create work we can all be proud of! I'm especially excited to see what we shot on Sunday cut together because there was such energy on screen. (Shout-out to AD Matt Gershowitz for loaning his apartment and my family friends Joan & Larry Berger for loaning us their office closet and hallway!)

See behind the scenes below:

 

And check out these exclusive stills. 

Our crew overall is amazing, but it is rotating quite a bit aside from the core creative team/producers. The three other main staples we have on set are Will Graham, our sound guy who's wonderfully attentive and thorough, Lizzie Zambrano, our makeup artist who works wonders with so many faces to keep shine-free at once, and our production designer Nicole Solomon, who I especially want to give a shout-out to because she's doing a lot of work between the production days to stretch our budget and add production value all over the place! 

We'll be back at it on Friday. We're currently halfway through production and right where we need to be. 6 days down, 6 to go. But we need the weather to cooperate moving forward because we start exteriors this weekend, and will have our donkey on set the following weekend! Hopefully now that it's officially Spring, the sunshine and rain will wash away this snow. Please cross your fingers and do a little dance for us!

-Christina 

"About a Donkey" Start of Principal Photography Recap

Thanks to all who supported our successful crowdfunding campaign, we were able to start principal photography on our second feature film, About a Donkey, this past weekend. You can check out this blog post to find out more about the film and see behind the scenes of our first unofficial production day back in January. I'll be sharing more about the experience of making this film, the creative choices behind it and how we're able to do it on $20,000 in 12 shooting days after we wrap production. But in the meantime, I'd love to include you in our progress through a bit of behind the scenes along the way via a weekly blog post. Here's the first.

We'll be shooting the film over four weekends through April 2nd. This was our first (three consecutive days), and it was a huge success! We're running on 12 hour days and I'm proud to say that we not only made our day all three days but made them early! This is a testament to the talent and skill of our small in quantity but mighty in quality crew & cast (or film-family, as we like to say)!

On Friday (thanks to my cousin Lauri, who loaned her house for the shoot), we shot scenes set in Annie & Paul's kitchen. See BTS below. 

And check out a couple raw Stills from the day:

On Saturday, we shot scenes set in the nursery for Annie and Paul's soon-to-be baby. See BTS below. 

And check out a raw Still from the day:

On Sunday (thanks to my mom Marlene & stepdad Jay for loaning their home), we shot scenes set in our main picture house, the home of parents Ann & Tim. See BTS below.

And check out a couple raw Stills from the day. 


This weekend we'll be jumping back in shooting a scene set in a hospital waiting room on Friday and scenes set in (grandma) Farrah's nursing home on Saturday. (We're skipping Sunday because our pilot "Two Gays & a Girl" is premiering at the Queens World Film Festival that afternoon!)

You may be wondering where the titular donkey is in all this production. Well, stay tuned!

-Christina 

IndieWorks - March Recap

Last Tuesday was the March edition of IndieWorks and our last of Year 4 before Best of Fest! We only screened 4 films this month (instead of our usual 5) and it was quite a cold night, but we still had an engaged and thoughtful audience of over 40 people. Insightful conversations came out of the lineup, and we hope valuable connections were made, as well!

We'd just like to say thank you to everyone who came out to support the filmmakers and spend the evening with us & them. We hope you'll join us again to watch our Best Films of Year 4 on April 18th! (More on that soon!) Save the date!

See photos from the night:

The Films of the night:

Runners (Directed by Liam Billingham, Written by Victoria Negri)
A frustrated female runner has a casual encounter with a middle-aged, aspiring skateboarding dad, leading to self-reflection and new discoveries.

Twinsburg (Written & Dreicted by Joe Garrity)
Jerry, sentimental about his fading twin identity, reunites with his reluctant brother Paul for a weekend of revelry at the world’s largest congregation of twins.

Between Seconds (Written & Directed by Nora Jaenicke)
The story of two musicians who have grown out of sync with their music and ultimately themselves.

The Tramcar Girl (Directed by Gerard Zarra, Alex Tymchak & Daniel Lewinstein)
A young woman rescues a man buried up to his neck in sand on the beach. She is immediately smitten, but he runs away before she can say anything.

Check out the quick Recap to see what the filmmakers had to say about their films. *Please know there are some film spoilers - feel free to look for an opportunity to catch the films at a festival or computer screen near you & then come back to watch!

The awards go to...

At the end of the evening, we announced our winning filmmakers for both Audience Choice Award & Silver Whiskers Award. The Audience Choice Award is voted upon by all those in attendance, and the Silver Whiskers Award is judged by the CongestedCat Team based on a system rating 8 categories of StoryDialogue/WritingDirectionActingCinematographySoundEditing, and Production Value. The Silver Whiskers winner goes on to screen again at our end of year Best of Fest screening in April. 

The Silver Whiskers winner also receives $50 towards a crowdfunding campaign on SeedandSpark.com should they use the platform and a free Social Media audit ($200 value) from 4MileCircus

For the March 2017 lineup, our winning films were:
    Audience Choice Award:  "Between Seconds"
    Silver Whiskers Award:  "Twinsburg"

Watch the trailer for the winning film below:

IndieWorks - February Recap

We usually put out recaps the week after IndieWorks, but we've been quite busy at CongestedCat this month. So here it is: two weeks ago was our February edition, and it was a wonderful night. We thought the cold would keep the crowd away but we had over 45 people in house for our 6 women-powered shorts of the night! Some thoughtful, insightful and fun conversations came out of the lineup. We hope connections were made, as well!

We'd just like to say thank you to everyone who came out to support the filmmakers and spend the evening with us & them. We hope you'll join us again for our March screening on the 7th. 

See photos from the night:

The Films of the night:

The Perfumist (Directed by Yukari Akaba Rockmuller, Shannon Lee, Daniela Lobo Dias, Sandra Rivero Ortiz)
A dramatic story highlighting the battle of Machine-Equipped Man against Cosmic Nature. Seeking the perfect scent for his perfume, Benedict Malville runs into the consequences of trampling on sacred, natural ground.

What The People Want (Directed & Animated by Kathleen Judge)
This animated music video takes inspiration from the songs lyric and especially the disappearance, murder, and attacks on women around the world. 

America Heard: Refuge of Hope (Directed by Yasmin Mistry, Produced by James Boo)
Syracuse, New York is an unlikely home to over 10,000 former refugees. Two women at the forefront of this community reflect on what their presidential vote means to those whose only true home is the American town that took them in.

Sleeping With Earrings On (Directed by Jaclyn Gramigna, Written & Produced by Stephanie Iscovitz)
A family drama centered around Maggie's marriage to the love of her life, Kyle.The tension is palpable on the morning of the wedding when Georgie misplaces something important that Bridget entrusted to her.

Juice (Written & Directed by Rachel Kessler)
M, a young woman of quiet intensity, has six of her closest friends over to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. 

Great Expectations (Directed by Don Downie, Written by Dorothy Marcic, Produced by/Starring Laura Dowling Shea)
Maribeth just needs some help to finish a big project but ends up with much more than she expected! Sometimes more is less.

We were a bit shorthanded this month but still managed to shoot the Q&A. Check out the quick Recap to see what the filmmakers had to say about their films. *Please know there are some film spoilers - feel free to look for an opportunity to catch the films at a festival or computer screen near you & then come back to watch!

The awards go to...

At the end of the evening, we announced our winning filmmakers for both Audience Choice Award & Silver Whiskers Award. The Audience Choice Award is voted upon by all those in attendance, and the Silver Whiskers Award is judged by the CongestedCat Team based on a system rating 8 categories of StoryDialogue/WritingDirectionActingCinematographySoundEditing, and Production Value. The Silver Whiskers winner goes on to screen again at our end of year Best of Fest screening in April. 

The Silver Whiskers winner also receives $50 towards a crowdfunding campaign on SeedandSpark.com should they use the platform and a free Social Media audit ($200 value) from 4MileCircus

For the February 2017 lineup, our winning films were:
    Audience Choice Award:  "Sleeping With Earrings On"
    Silver Whiskers Award:  "Juice"