We are delighted to announce we have been officially selected to screen at the Cinema on the Bayou Festival on Saturday, January 28th at 10:30 a.m. as a part of the Narrative Shorts Series! The COTB Fest takes place in Lafayette, Louisiana and COYOTE GIRL will be screened at the Acadiana Center for The Arts.
It’s truly an honor to be screened at a festival that “is committed to presenting nationally and internationally acclaimed documentary and narrative fiction films and filmmakers with truly original voices. ” We are proud to be considered in such good company… And we must say, the COTB Fest promises to be a blast:
“…screening new, cutting edge, fiction and non-fiction films from around the world in a relaxing environment, laced and embellished with Cajun culture’s unique identity markers, exquisite cuisine and great music. We screen uncompromising, thought-provoking films that make us laugh and cry; engage in serious discussions about matters important to independent filmmakers; and have a lot of fun and good times with old friends and make important connections with new friends who share our commitment to quality film. “
The festival is in it’s 12th year and has selected quite an inspiring array of films. We hope that if you can, you’ll make it to the screening of our little film named “Best Experimental Film” at the Boston International Film Festival, and join in on the vibrant range of art and culture of Lafayette!
For those who couldn’t make it, and for those who are nostalgic, here’s a little trip back in time with company member and lead actress, Gail Shalan (Riley Ann/Coyote), who represented the company at this year’s Boston International Film Festival… Enjoy:
Big news! A little over a year since we wrapped shooting COYOTE GIRL (the short film) and we’ve finally been accepted to an East Coast Festival, better yet- it’s in Boston, which means all my friends, family and local community can finally see our film on the big screen (For that matter- so can I)!
The festival is approaching! Sims and Biggs have asked my boyfriend Ben and I to represent the company, as they will be in NOLA during the screening. Happy to oblige! I send out invitations (pretty and personalized, of course) and let the internet know WE ARE SCREENING IN BOSTON!
Early April 2016:
And I have to pick out a red carpet outfit… Isn’t my job hard and terrible??? So I try on this silk jumpsuit, and it’s a go! Thanks Anthropologie!
Wednesday, April 13th:
I venture downtown for the first of many times this week to pick up our all-inclusive filmmaker badges and a festival program. I had stopped by a little earlier to give the coordinators some post-cards. Every time I meet someone knew who asks what film I’m a part of (or recognizes me), and can’t wait to say how much they loved COYOTE GIRL, how moving and strange it was. I’m feeling pretty special:
Thursday, April 14th:
Finally the festival is about to begin! I’ve made a screening schedule for the weekend, and a back-up list of films, too.
After primping and pampering all day, my date and I head to the AMC/Loews Theatre for the red carpet, and then the opening night of films. Check out Ben with his new friends:
We meet several interesting filmmakers at the festival, and happen to run into fellow BU alum, Zachary Clarence, whose short film, MOTHER’S LOVE, will also be screening at the festival! Every one is so kind and friendly. Some people are Boston locals, some have been touring the country with their films, and and some filmmakers are from places like Italy, Korea, Haiti and Germany.
Here are some glamorous red carpet pics (shout out to Bimal Nepal and The Foundations TV) :
We got our great seats for the stunning short, OUT OF THE VILLAGE, from Ghana, as well as the powerful Canadian feature, ACROSS THE LINE:
Friday, April 15th:
In the morning, Festival Director, Patrick Jerome, held a very informative panel on post-production fundraising and independent distribution. Although I’d never taken part in any of these aspects of film production before, I thought I’d stop by and take some notes for Sims and Biggs. I learned a lot!
Then it was time to catch some more films. I saw devastating documentary, UPSIDE DOWN, and the subtle and dark comedy, LABIA, from Argentina.
Next up was the bittersweet short, FATA MORGANA, and one of mine and Ben’s favorite features, LIKE LAMBS.
After each film, the festival facilitators would hold a Q&A with whatever filmmakers were present. It was delightful to experience such an engaged and curious audience at each screening. Even the shorts got their due diligence as the works of art they truly are.
Saturday, April 16th:
It’s the day of the screening! Also, the busiest day of the festival. I had plenty of screenings on my list and wanted to save up energy for our screening, too. I stopped by the 3:30 session of shorts and saw Zach’s film along with M.STEINERT AND SONS, THE TOYMAKER, TEREZA’S HOUSE, THE ELEVATOR, and 12 KILOMETERS.
Then I took in the screening right before ours at the beautiful Paramount Theatre Screening Room (where our film would also be screened). I got to see my good friend (and castmate from last summer’s The Winter’s Tale) in the Sci-Fi short, THE ASCENDENTS, and then caught a wonderful, feel-good drama-dy about a woman’s first triathlon experience, called TRI.
I stayed for as much of the Q&A as possible, and snuck out to meet friends & family before our screening. But when I got outside, I heard that our screening was SOLD OUT! So I snuck back in and saved us a row of COYOTE GIRL seats.
Our session was very well curated (as was the whole festival). Before our film, the short HIS LAST GAME screened. It was a 9 minute realistic, but poetic, ode to a dying man fading away into his degenerative disease. A perfect thematic opener to our film and the Jay Gianonne feature, IT SNOWS ALL THE TIME, about a son coming home to care for his family as his dementia-ridden father is diagnosed.
Although each film was very different in genre, they ran with a common theme. It was a wonderful opportunity for our artistic, avant-garde film to have an audience that was simultaneously surprised by the stylistic choices and deeply connected to the subject matter. Our film was very well received, and Rick Sands (our DP) and I were able to field all sorts of questions from “How did you get that gorgeous panoramic shot at the end?” (A drone camera) to “What did the Coyote mean?”(we’ll leave that up to you, dear viewer). Our film looked GORGEOUS on the big screen, and it was all-in-all an incredibly rewarding experience.
Sunday, April 17th:
After several long days, and much pent-up tension released, I enter Sunday in a happy, weary daze. But there are many films on my list today. I barely sneak into a screening of the sold-out OF FORTUNE AND GOLD. What a beautiful film with superb direction and breath-taking shots of the Southwest!
The filmmakers (Jared Marshall, Derek Marshall, and Valerie Hinkle), with whom I’ve been lucky enough to have several great conversations this weekend, invite Ben and I to attend their after-screening party.
After that I rush on over to the screening of COMING THROUGH THE RYE which has been on my list for weeks. It’s the (based-on-fact) story of a young high school student’s quest to find J.D. Salinger (played by Chris Cooper) and it’s a delight! Before it plays, there is a whimsical and wonderful short called AIRHEAD, and another locally made film called FROSTING.
Monday, April 18th:
A long weekend indeed, we reach Monday and the closing night party. I’m happy to see my OF FORTUNE AND GOLD friends there, so we grab our Hendrick’s-sponsored cocktails and listen to some lovely poetry and song offerings from the kind and inspired cast of festival volunteers.
I also get to sit down and have a wonderful chat with many filmmakers, some films I caught, some I’ll have to see at the next New England festival they play. But most of all, it was a pleasure to sit down with Festival Director, Patrick Jerome, and reap the benefits of his wealth of knowledge on filmmaking in the Boston community.
At the end of the night the festival announced some awards and to my great surprise, the first film they called was COYOTE GIRL for “Best Experimental Film”! What an honor!
To learn more about the Boston International Film Festival check out their website and Facebook page.
Thanks again to Bimal Nepal and The Foundations TV for such wonderful coverage of the festival and to Patrick Jerome and all of the festival volunteers, for pulling together such a well-curated and successful festival!
After several wonderful Mid-Western festivals near our shoot location (and our Westfield friends & family) we’re delighted to have the opportunity to screen in our home state of Massachusetts.
The festival promises a diverse crowd of inspiring fellows : ” … a festival dedicated to rewarding artists for their individual talents and for their creative expression through the medium of film. The festival strives to bring together in Boston local, national and international filmmakers by promoting the world’s most artistic and creative independent and experimental films.”
On BostonIFF’s welcome page Governor Baker says, “The Boston International Film Festival celebrates those artists who, through the power of cinema, capture our imagination to make us laugh and cry, think and change” and Festival Founder, Patrick Jerome, says, “The filmmakers will be sharing their diverse and powerful visions of humanity. Our greatest hope is that through these films the audience will be inspired and encouraged to embrace all the world’s cultural diversity and work towards a more understanding, peaceful world.” Sounds pretty great to us!
We’ll see you at the Route 66 Film Festival on Saturday, November 7th. Our film will be playing in Session 5 held between 7 and 10 pm. The festival is in Springfield, IL, just West of our shoot location on the Biggs’ Farm in Westfield.
The Route 66 Film Festival is in it’s 14th year and we are very honored to be a part of it! We are looking forward to experiencing this festival that claims to have “something for everyone” from shorts to features, experimental films to docs, local to international films.
On their Facebook page they state: “The general theme of our festival is journey, whether emotional, physical, spiritual or personal. We strive to introduce audiences to talented artists from around the world, as well as the American Midwest.”
Going to NAFF this weekend and want a teaser? Can’t get out there but want more COYOTE GIRL?
Boy, oh, boy are we excited to share this with you! With our SNAFF premiere behind us and playing again at NAFF this Sunday night, we thought now would be a great time to finally share with you the trailer for COYOTE GIRL.
Very proud to announce that we have been officially selected at the New Art Film Festival 2015 in Champaign, Illinois! Good news for our Mid-Western pals (and for us), y’all have another opportunity to catch a screening!
Our short film, COYOTE GIRL, will be playing amidst a select group of other locally made films on the evening of Sunday, October 4th, 2015 at The Art Theater Co-op. We are featured in the final film block, starting at 9pm.
Taking place amidst the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, NAFF shares a hometown with the University of Illinois, as well as the Boneyard Arts, Ebertfest, and the Pens to Lens Festivals. We are honored to be a part of this art-film fest that aims to showcase the “unique collection of Illinois-produced independent films” at “one of the oldest, continually operation, purpose-built movie theaters in the United States.” The Art Theatre Co-op is a true community home, surviving it’s 102 years when in danger of closing, over 1,000 folks from near and far joined together to show their support and buy shares of the theatre, keeping it alive as a thriving co-op space.
Looking forward to being a part of such a history and hub for Art-Films in the heart of our country!
Stay tuned for the COYOTE GIRL trailer for your own viewing coming to the blog soon!
Happy #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) everyone! Can’t believe our shoot of Coyote Girl is becoming a memory. Keeping the sweet memories fresh with another exciting sneak peek of a still from our short film. To keep you all up to date, our movie is currently being authored in Santa Cruz, CA. Looking forward to having those mastered discs very soon! Keep your eyes out at your local film festivals and we’ll release info about our circuit for Coyote Girl A.S.A.P:
We’re very excited to announce that we are now on the way to getting Coyote Girl out into the world. Sims and Biggs are hard at work completing the Withoutabox application for submission to a handful of national and international film festivals this upcoming year. Meanwhile, Rick and Biggs peruse the film on the big screen for any final edits or adjustments. For your viewing pleasure, here is another gorgeous still from our short film. I think it might be my favorite:
January has been an amazing month for Outcast Café! We have spent the past two and a half weeks officially entering the production phase of making our second short film, Coyote Girl, the poetic version of the 90 minute play script Riley Ann Visits the Outcast Cafe. After spending about two weeks on location in Westfield, Illinois the team has dispersed and continues to work on post-production for the film as well as upcoming projects for the company. Here is the next installment of our adventures on location from the perspective of company member Gail Shalan (Riley Ann, Coyote):
9:03 a.m.- Despite the promise of an early morning again today, the weather forbids our last effort to capture the drone shot in scene 7. Rick is awesome and emails me the night before, so I get a couple extra hours before our final day of shooting begins. Some sun salutations and serious journaling are in order.
11:13 a.m.- With the morning off and no plans to get going until after lunch, Biggs takes the opportunity to give me a further glimpse at the geography which makes up the history of our little tale. We plow through muddy roads that cut across fields and fields of ghosted corn. It’s sunny and warmer than it has been. Golden light floods the truck. In the usual fashion, each time we pass a certain piece of acreage, I get a detailed backstory of how the land came into, or passed from, Biggs’ possession. We go all the way to the far corners of the South Place, opposite on the property from David’s house, loop around through the land that lays so low it floods most of the year. We actually drive straight over a semi-frozen river and onto a special plot of land preserved by the government as a graveyard and conservation landmark. Here I hear the charming account of the time my dearest childhood friend, Robert and Deborah’s daughter Emma, was brought here in her youth and asked in wonder:”So… do we own dead people?”… perhaps, in a way. And on a more serious note, it’s the spirits evoked by this tour of the Biggs Farm, those who’s remains are buried in the graveyard, or the native people’s who may be in the fields, as well as the stories those who’ve moved on have left behind, which bring a reverence to the last day of my participation in this particular iteration of our tale of life and death. I’m glad to bid farewell to this understated character of our story. The magic of filming “on location” is not to be belittled on a project like this. It’s a memorable morning for sure.
2:34 p.m.- We meet the others at the smokehouse again for lunch and somewhat tragic news. This morning, while attempting to capture a drone shot for scene 3 in which the drone flies perilously close to the side of the house, an self-inflicted draft caused a crash landing. Being rather new technology, and quite expensive, the machine has had it’s run on the shoot and must be shipped out to Japan (I believe) to undergo repair. We toast to the drone, enjoy our last proper pulled pork, discuss travel to the airport tomorrow and head back to the Home Place to begin our final work day.
4:06 p.m.- First scene of the day features only the Old Man, so I settle up in the “green room” with my moving playlist I’ve made titled “Coyote Girl” and relax into the zone of Riley Ann’s final stretch. The goal for me, is to keep the energy level and focus clear until we begin scene 15 around 6 p.m.
6:30 p.m.- Scene 15 is gorgeous. I love working on this. It’s all close-ups. I feel like I’m finally understanding what part of me is framed in what shot and how to make the slight adjustments which give me control over my performance without damaging the organic experience of the moment. Day 4 is off to a good start. We capture several different options to chose from in post and Rick seems quite happy with the results of my work, which feels very validating, knowing he’ll be making those final cuts.
8:48 p.m. – Time to film the death scene… duh, duh, duh. While there is a bit of extensive choreography, the first few takes of the master go very well. When we sit down to watch them played back for a lighting or sound adjustment, however, we notice a major problem: The issue with what started as a play and has been made into a film (and this is not the first time we’ve worked our way through this challenge) is that sometimes simple, physical choices that work for the stage without a doubt, we just can’t get away with on film. In the continuous shot, from the Old Man’s last breath through Riley Ann’s long farewell, it is very challenging for Biggs to hold his breath, especially with the irregular nature of the “dying breath”… and it’s entirely impossible to mask the blinking of his lids, as the necessary lighting shines right into his eyes. We spend a lot of time trouble shooting this problem, and eventually, I believe we come up with a combination of distorted light and cutting the shot.
11:39 p.m.- While, technically, the former scene took a while to capture, the good streak of artistic work continued. I’m feeling confident, and yet, remaining in a very heightened emotional state for the character. Or rather, flowing in and out of it repeatedly, attempting to preserve energy, but not being able to hang onto much. I figure we’re good, though. When we rehearsed the scene last week, we ran the entire screenplay through, or as much as possible. This, in turn, created the pattern that Riley Ann gets up from her dead father’s body and takes her Coyote boy to the window with her, staring out into the abyss in what, at the time, was fairly extensive and very fresh sorrow and loss. Knowing I needed to be in such a tender state, I revved myself up and remained incredibly emotional throughout the process of our first several takes. But something wasn’t working. The shot was coming off as incredibly theatrical. It felt too heavy. It just wasn’t right. Biggs came in and out of the door, trying to give me sensitive and delicate directional nudges, but it wasn’t fixing the problem. Not sure if it was the bright lights and entire crew staring at me and my puppet in a somewhat unrehearsed moment that made me feel like I was failing, or the fact that I’d made Riley Ann completely frenetic and out of sorts, but I just wasn’t moving in the right direction for what the scene needed. I found myself confused, frustrated, feeling unprofessional and like I was wasting everyone’s time…. It was 1 a.m. on our last day of shooting, which thus far had been a roaring success for me, and I couldn’t get my shit together.
After a mini conference with my directors, Biggs and Rick, which yielded some useful conversation about what we determined earlier that week; what remained useful, and what we should scrap; and some other options to try, I took some very, very deep breaths and we began again. It’s quite possible that the scene had morphed, that the story had taken a turn none of us had foreseen, that Riley Ann actually had earned to come out the other side of her struggle and into the unknown. Beneath the dense wave of embarrassing emotion, and the thick wall of struggling communication, we had some how excavated a beautiful, truthful, and completely surprising final moment for our film and for our shoot. It was the epitome of the gigantic learning curve this entire process had been.
Wednesday, February 11th, 11:41 p.m.
I’m not sure I’m conveying the moment in an articulate manner, but when I woke up in the morning, with a few hours of deep sleep and a promising plane ride home to my beloved, I felt utterly proud, excited, and revelatory of a new chapter of my own work as an actor, as well as a large accomplishment for the company. Now, I move on to new projects, and tell you readers about fond memories, while our talented team puts together a gorgeous, potent, relevant short film called “Coyote Girl”.
Thank you for reading our log of the on location film shoot last month. If you would like to keep up to date on Coyote Girl‘s process, please check in with this blog frequently and follow us on twitter and instagram: @outcastcafe
January has been an amazing month for Outcast Café! We have spent the past two and a half weeks officially entering the production phase of making our second short film, Coyote Girl, the poetic version of the 90 minute play script Riley Ann Visits the Outcast Cafe. After spending about two weeks on location in Westfield, Illinois the team has dispersed and continues to work on post-production for the film as well as upcoming projects for the company. Here is the next installment of our adventures on location from the perspective of company member Gail Shalan (Riley Ann, Coyote)
6:55 a.m.– SURPRISE!!! My phone rings a wake-up call just before 7. Good thing my ringer was turned on nice and loud! I’m a pretty heavy sleeper and am still adjusting to these country hours of up and down with the sun. Expecting to not go in to shoot until a bit before noon, I’d set my alarms in a relaxed fashion. But so goes life on a film shoot! The lighting is perfect! The wind is dead! We gotta get this drone shoot now, baby, or it ain’t gonna happen! Adrenaline surges and I hop on out of bed, looking very much forward to the coffee promised at the Home Place.
8:25 a.m.- Turns out that farm air is more fickle than we thought. The conditions aren’t conducive, so we post-pone the drone shot of Riley Ann driving up the road until a later time and decide to scrap the exterior shot of scene 7 that Rick had mapped out and forgotten to get during the long day of shooting yesterday. The guys still have plenty to capture, and to be honest, I don’t mind at all. It’s a real joy being on set, witnessing the commotion and the artistry at hand. Establishing shots and tid-bits are taken care of. In a couple hours we will start work on scene 13, the second Coyote talking scene. I can go ahead and get out of Scene 7 make-up and costume and into our look for scene 13, involving much more weariness, a pair of sweatpants, and a jacket.
10:56 a.m.- Diving right into scene 13, we attempt to figure out how to get a continuous master shot and again run into problems with getting the puppet on and in place in enough time, especially in the tighter corners that we have with this frame. We split the scene in two: A section of Riley Ann carrying a waste bin (…filled with waste) out and in the back door while the Old Man sits as witness to the chaos, and a section of Coyote’s pure frustration, revealing Riley Ann, and ultimately Riley Ann and the Coyote bidding the Old Man farewell.
1:46 p.m.- While I certainly struggle with comprehending the logistics of my shadow in the shots on Biggs during the first half, the rest of the scene is pretty seamless. It’s a bit of an emotional blur, as I attempt to maintain, or go in and out of, the state where Riley Ann has to be to start this fury. But I practice Terry’s advice of staying present only when I need to be as Gail, and protecting my mind, space, senses from the buzz around me inbetween takes. We’ve done a lot of work to get to this place, and the story begins to carry itself just about here. At least for me and Coyote. It’s challenging for Biggs to play this tender moment against Coyote who at times simply cannot make eye contact (even if I could tell where he was looking from below the table) because of the frame needed on the back of Coyote’s head. But the work remains ever poignant and beautiful, and Coyote feels very triumphant with his performance, as well as the new skills he’s picked up on camera.We wrap the scene in good time.
3:15 p.m.- Now’s our golden moment to capture the driving shot. With our last few hours of strong daylight, the gents head out to the field with drone in tow while I get costumed quickly for the first Riley Ann look. With a 21st century walkie-talkie system (iPhones), Sims crouches in the back of the Pick-Up while I master reversing down a semi-frozen dirt road in heels. After about the 8th take, I’m about ready to sign up as a stunt woman for the next Fast & Furious flick. Okay, not really, but it’s a lot of back and forth on about a quarter-mile of turf, I get pretty comfortable. Finally, we get a shot or two that seem useable and get cut for dinner.
6:03 p.m.- Biggs skips the meal as he needs the hour or so we have to apply full body make-up for scene 10 in which the Old Man is caught dreaming, singing, and dancing naked under the full moon (insert full moon pun here). When we get back I settle into my coziest costume, a set of hideous teacup p.j.’s. and lie down on a couch while Josh assembles the most gorgeous artificial moonlight through a lace curtain that I’ve ever experienced. Once settled in and rehearsed, as this scene takes a bit of combat choreography, we begin shooting the incredibly violent and upsetting piece. This scene is TRULY Coyote’s first appearance in the film, and it’s easy to feel how necessary a device the puppet/character is to our emotional little tale. While there are barely any words, very brief action, and a peaceful beginning and end to this moment in the story, it’s emotionally the most wrenching for me, Gail, on this journey. I don’t want to spoil too much, but in scene 10 the essence of the deterioration and redefinition of Father and Daughter is apparent in an instant, as is the necessity of the puppet device for both characters involved. If I were to pick one scene to sum up the story, I think it would be scene 10.
8:55 p.m.- Our second shadows-on-the-building shot has been scrapped. Rick feels he has enough from yesterday to make the piece work, and we have priorities to complete. Our final bit of filming for today is to get some footage of Coyote in front of a black screen called “Elements” footage which Rick will later lay on top of a shot or two that looks out the window. This will create an effect of Coyote staring into the window from outside. I quickly sew up the poor guy’s crooked mouth for his closeup while the guys set up the next shot.
9:28 p.m.- Blindly led through the most avant-garde element of this entire process, Coyote and I show off his tricks to Rick in front of the screen. By which I mean Rick quickly figures out a directing technique of guiding Coyote’s gaze in a rhythm and various directions to get the image he seeks. It’s pretty weird, wacky, cool stuff. Coyote rocks it, per usual.
10:03 p.m.- The day is a wrap! Wahoo! Final day of shooting is tomorrow. Early shot is planned at 7 a.m. so it’s off to bed I go.