Sunday, February 15, 2009

Still in Pieces

Call me naive, but I thought that with Dolly Parton's generous blessing in hand, the remaining pieces required to make my movie would more or less just fall into place.

Granted, there were still a lot of pieces outstanding. We needed a Canadian distributor, principal casting, key crew and a few compelling locations to complete our request for funding.  And we had less than two weeks to secure the whole lot. But I felt entirely convinced that anything was possible now. And I guess that faith was contagious because once we drained our celebratory champagne glasses, Barbara and I jumped down off our bar stools - both equally ready to go full tilt to the deadline.

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom will be Barbara's fifth feature film, but the first she will produce in English. Her substantive industry relationships and experience are very much rooted in the French side of Canadian cinema and, as we were about to learn, not always directly translatable to the English side. And although I've been more exposed to English Canadian cinema throughout my directing career, this will be my first feature film. 

Ultimately, we're both new to this particular scene - and thus, relatively unattached. Which is a real challenge, because regardless of whether you're doing it in English, French or Urdu, the business of moviemaking is pretty much all about relationships. And relationships take time to build. 

Unfortunately, time was the one thing we were critically short on.  So a week before the funding deadlines when we were still riding the Dolly high, we hit a very harsh wall. We weren't going to be ready.  Not this time. Since you only get three shots at Telefilm per project, you can't afford to submit unless you're hands-down sure you have a shit-hot package the first time out.  

So we took a deep collective breath, let our heart-rates settle down to a modest 100 beats per minute, re-set our internal alarm clocks for the next deadline - end of March 2009 - and turned on the charm. 

We had a lot of relationships to build between now and then....