Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SAHKANAGA - Theatrical Openings in ATL & NYC!

Photo by Kristin Rievley
Last April, I was finishing up the Southern Circuit Tour with stops at the Winder Cultural Arts Center (gorgeous projection & sound, plus I had my mom and sister in the audience), East Tennessee State University (where I got to enjoy a pizza dinner with students, and I stayed in a pristine Holiday Inn Express which was the complete opposite of Alexandria's Econo-Lodge of Terror!) and, after driving through one of the most spectacular thunderstorms I've ever witnessed (like, it's time to build an ark y'all), I made it to Western Carolina University on my 35th birthday where I got to screen the film for the one and only Jack Sholder, director of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. I was obsessed with the Elm Street series throughout my childhood, and there's a scene in Freddy's Revenge where Mark Patton is making out with a girl and unbuttoning her blouse when a massive, distorted tongue protrudes from his mouth and lands on her chest. I will never forget that imagery, and as a child watching that scene (where were my parents?) I remember thinking, "I want to make movies."

I honestly thought that was the end of my journey with my first feature film, and I was comfortable with that. I shifted my focus to establishing a digital distribution deal (for iTunes, etc.) and the design/manufacturing of DVDs. The film was invited to a few more festivals in the Pacific Northwest, Brazil and Knoxville. I treated myself to a couple of restorative trips to Montauk and New Orleans. THE END.

Or not. One of my major goals had been to bring the film home to Chattanooga for a theatrical run, and the traditional models of yore dictated that you had to have a theatrical distributor to accomplish such goals. But things have changed. I discovered that I was able to book the Chattanooga Majestic on my own for a week-long run, so that happened in October, and it exceeded all expectations. We were treated so well by the press (check out these great features from NPR, CBS Atlanta and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), embraced by the community, and I had the honor of connecting with so many groups, from Chattanooga Valley Middle School (where we talked about horror films the whole time!) to Ridgeland High School (my alma mater) to a Centering Prayer Group on Lookout Mountain. I will forever cherish that time.

Original Artwork by Aubrey Meng Zhu
And the little engine keeps chugging... This week Sahkanaga opened in Atlanta and NYC (where the New York Times called it "serious, and welcome, grass-roots art"), following the new trend of nontraditional/DIY distribution models, with institutional support from IFP, Filmmaker Magazine, Filmwax and the Atlanta Film Festival. I am beyond thrilled with the poster artwork by Savannah College of Art & Design graduate Aubrey Meng Zhu (whom I met through the Southern Circuit Tour), and so far the screenings have been a lot of fun.

Nearly eight months since the tour ended, and this journey continues to surprise and amaze me. You have three more days to catch Sahkanaga on the big screen at Brooklyn's reRun Theater and Atlanta's historic Plaza Theatre! I really hope you can make it.

I guess what I'm learning is that there is no end. The film will continue to wind its way through this great big world, and more filmmakers will join the Circuit with their hopes and dreams, and we'll keep intersecting, sharing moments of connection and curiosity.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for watching. Thanks for Southern Circuiting.