Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet The Producer Christine Kunewa Walker

Meet Christine Walker, President of Production at Werc Werk Works, a Minneapolis-based production company founded in 2008 with producing partner, Elizabeth Redleaf.

Christine Kunewa Walker is an award-winning producer who recently completed production on FORGIVENESS, written and directed by Todd Solondz. She is Executive Producer on the new Béla Tarr film THE TURIN HORSE (in production) and Producer of the recently completed comedy NOBODY directed by Rob Perez (40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS). Christine also co-wrote and produced OLDER THAN AMERICA starring Adam Beach and Bradley Cooper, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival; produced FACTOTUM starring Matt Dillon and Marisa Tomei, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and the 2006 Sundance Film Festival; and along with producer Ted Hope, line produced AMERICAN SPLENDOR which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance film Festival and the International Critics Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Christine’s awards and recognitions include: Producer’s Guild of America Diversity Award, Independent Spirit Award nomination, Sundance Institute’s Producer’s Fellowship, and the Minnesota Blockbuster Film Fund Award.

Sustaining the Muse
A Producing Questionnaire

* Please name all the "hats" you wear as a creative producer.

The most important thing to remember about any 'hat' you wear is that you can't let it sit on your head for too long. Otherwise, you're doing someone else's job and neglecting your oversight responsibilities.

* List all of the jobs you've held before or while pursuing a career in producing.

Prior to producing, I was a publicist, a development fund administrator, and a film programmer. Since I started producing twelve years ago, producing has been my sole job.

* Do you have a Big Dream or career goal as a producer? What inspires you to do what you do?

As long as I continue to produce, I am living my big dream every day. I am inspired by the people I work with from my own producing partners to the writers, directors and the rest of the crew. On a daily basis, they challenge me to work harder and to exceed my own expectations for myself.

* Please name five essential skills and/or traits a creative producer needs to sustain a career.

Stamina. Effective communication skills. Talent. The ability to see the big picture. The ability to evoke pity.

* Name a movie, or several, that you wish you had produced. And/or, producer(s) you admire (living or passed on).

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, The Wrestler, The Motorcycle Diaries, Slum Dog Millionaire, The Lives of Others, Napoleon Dynamite, Once Were Warriors, Far From Heaven, Boys Don't Cry.

I admire Christine Vachon. She's brilliant. She's a fighter. She does not shy away from difficult material. She's an icon.

* How do you define success for yourself?

Getting paid for what I do.

* What's your motto when it comes to raising money for your project(s)?

It's easier to raise money than to make a great movie.

* How long did it take to support yourself as a producer?

Five years. Ten years, if you factor in food and housing.

* Who do you turn to when you need a pep talk?

My husband.

* If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My metabolism.

Tommy Pallotta leaves Facebook

This is a brief interview from the Filmmaker blog with Tommy Pallotta, producer, director, and animator (think, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, and most currently Lance Weiler's HIM). He and Scott Macaulay discuss social networking and Tommy's desires to reach out more directly to his audiences for his projects, than via sites like MySpace or Facebook.

Since I plan to reach out as directly as possible to our audience(s) for Lost In Sunshine, I thought it was a nice little thoughtful piece to digest and nod along with in agreement...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost In Sunshine production blog

Jentri Chancey is the writer/director of Lost In Sunshine, the movie I'm currently producing. Just click on the title of this posting to go to her production blog, where she writes about her creative process, pre-production, and directing her first feature.

Also, here's an excerpt from one of the essay questions I answered in applying for a Creative Producing fellowship offered by the Sundance Institute:

I came on board to produce this project because I admire and respect the talent and determination of its writer-director, Jentri Chancey. Jentri impressed me with her ability to take script feedback and turn it into better-defined characters, a more compelling structure, and a more uniform tone. And, she was quick and focused about it, too! I like the themes she’s working with, and she’s so fueled by an inner creative fire, that it’s infectious. She’s really trying to articulate something meaningful and universal with her characters and their journeys, and that resonates very strongly with me.

My vision of the film is for it to be a tight little drum of an art house indie by a first-time filmmaker. It will be made with the lowest budget that can afford name actors for our two lead roles, one supporting role, and a cameo. It will aspire to Terry Malick’s cinematic vision, Rick Linklater’s characters’ searches for meaning, and Robert Rodriguez’ (and Elizabeth Avellan’s) DIY-and-kick-some-ass-at-it production methods.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just checking in...

Hello, hello.

A quick note here to say I'm currently still researching and writing about DIY theatrical distribution, direct sales of DVDs from filmmakers' websites, and indie/art house cinemas across the country in my business plan for Lost In Sunshine.

I'm also working on an application for a producing program at the Sundance Institute, which is due very shortly.

I promise to write many posts about what I've put into our plan for LIS, as soon as I FINISH it. Agh. Agghhh!

I told my husband tonight that it takes so long, because I'm trying to plan out the whole lifespan of the film, refer to hard data where I can, articulate assumptions and projections as clearly as I can, and oh, figure out how to execute on an emerging indie film distribution paradigm while I'm at it. No big thing.

No time for links at the moment, but Google the following:

Stu Pollard

Good Dick, the indie movie, as well as Lance Hammer's Ballast