Film poster

Film poster

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Seattle--and Home

A wonderful event was held on Saturday at the Bellevue Baha'i Center in the Seattle area, honoring the centenary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit. The longest version of our film to date was shown there!

I got to speak in advance and afterwards, and great was the expression of enthusiasm and support.

Zabine Van Ness has done a marvelous job of creating a Baha'i history museum--it was such a pleasure to see it and to be there!

Our poster is now printed!  Back at home, we had a whole staff of people helping today: Ron and Linda helping with the poster tubing and mailing;

Tara working in the green room on the Philadelphia section;

Rebekah working on the last New York section;

Brad creating a behind-the-scenes video of the orchestration of our original music in LA;

Tim, as always, at his editing post

and me--blogging this blog!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Screening of work-in-progress

Mehdi, performing music

We had a screening of our work-in-progress at the Dallas Baha'i Center on Sunday, Nov. 25.  It sort of went well!  Technical problems with the sound caused us to show our previous version (with good sound), and then we showed some new sections, with a mic up to the little speaker coming out of the projector. . . . 

Tim & Anne at podium

Still, there was an overwhelmed response. The audience stood up!  There is still so much to do to finish the film. 

We had our first rejection today from film festival entries--Sundance.  But that just means we're on our path to success! 

Today is a special holy day associated with Abdu'l-Baha, the anniversary of His passing.  May it galvanize us to seize the time, before it passes! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inching forward!

EVERYTHING seems to be taking longer than what we envisioned. We have never made a feature-length film before and had no idea how long everything would take--especially the editing!  However, real progress is being made.

We have printed thank you FILM CARDS & and are sending them to contributors of time, talent, resources, funds.  

We have designed a FILM POSTER and are awaiting "review" and then will do final wording tweaks. 

Brad & Anne in studio
We have recorded the introductions and the pieces for a CD MONOLOGUES project, which I will edit with an audio student, Brad, at the Art Institute. 
Danny, our sound engineer
Brad, recording
Our ORIGINAL MUSIC continues to come in from Australia, where Stan Skora (our composer's husband and sound engineer), is doing final mixing on the orchestral versions of Lisa's music. In addition, we are using music by Ravand Samaeekia, Luke Slott, John Ebata, and Smith & Dragoman.  

The SOUNDTRACK CD won't be ready, however, until the film is complete. 

Animation and graphic elements are evolving; we've worked on the credit sequence and have flourishes, animated maps, chapter titles, and other aspects finished. The opening title sequence and the flashback sequences are taking the most time. 

Last, but not at all least, the FILM ITSELF is taking final shape--well, being edited slowly, by our meticulous editor-director, Tim. We are at the 60 minute mark of the edited film, which will probably end up at 120 minutes.  At this point, we can't predict when it will be finished. This is agonizing for me, but Tim plods away, day after day, adhering to high standards of beauty. I can't imagine that we'll be ready to send screening copies out until January at the earliest. 

We have submitted our work-in-progress to 8 film festivals. 

SCREENINGS of our work-in-progress will be occurring in DALLAS (Nov. 25), SEATTLE (Dec. 15); ORLANDO (Dec. 21); MICHIGAN and the NETHERLANDS (Dec. 27); and (we think) EDINBURGH (Dec. 29). These are all "private" screenings--i.e. for special events or conferences. We will not be traveling to all of these locations, however. 

We appreciate your continued thoughts, support, and PATIENCE as we bring to fruition this work of art and love. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Intern; the home stretch; challenges

Andreas Attai
Andreas Attai was with us for 9 days and helped with several sections: America 1912, New York, Chicago, and Montana--a story from the West.  It was great to have him!  He did not complain about the chaos of our house--script versions taped up on walls, lists of goals everywhere--but did note with surprise that old people like us stayed up most of the night!  He was influenced somewhat but held to his basic sleep patterns--and Tim took the late shift! Of course, I have barely slept in 2 years.

Andreas & Tim setting up for a shoot
Now it is November, and we are pledged to show a version of the film on November 25--the Day of the Covenant. I want the film to be finished, of course, but that may not be possible. Still we are striving, mightily. However, we wish Andreas was still here!

 Andreas, editing. . . .

So--the "home stretch" is basically in sight as various things are achieved. But this project is so large! Many challenges impact us daily. But we've still managed to send a few more film festival entries in. 

 And others continue to help us. One weekend we had Sherry Malone with us. Sherry is an accomplished editor and drove up from Houston to help us.  Mostly what she helped with were the chapter title openings--a kind of dreary job, but it saved Tim numerous hours. She also helped to time the closing credits. Yea, Sherry!
Atoosa Lotfi has been over recently to help find images and scan photos. Diana Rohrback continues to help us with financial records and organization. What would we do without all of these "angels"--in 
this world and the next?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I am woefully behind on posting progress reports. However, the film daily progresses!  Today, Tim recorded some of the final narration.  We have sent our work-in-progress out to several film festivals, and we hope to enter many more! Music evolves; graphics (titles and flashback animation) also evolve. We have a new "intern" coming for just 10 days--Andreas Attai, from SF area. We don't know him, but how lucky we are to have him coming!  And last weekend Sherry Malone from Houston area helped us with chapter titles, closing credits, and the editing of one section.

This coming weekend, excerpts (the trailer plus California section) will be shown at an event in Los Angeles. See flier below!

The following weekend a much longer section of the film will be presented in Beacon, NY.  They are calling it an "East coast premier," but really it will still be a work-in-progress.

Wish we could be at all of these commemorations! 

We did recently go to Glenwood Springs and to the Texas Baha'i School. Everywhere, people are enthralled with celebrating 'Abdu'l-Baha's visit!  It is really a great journey for us. 

In one place, He said, "I am always a traveller to America."  And so, this journey never ends!  But we hope we'll get to the point when we can sign off on our film.  Watch for further updates! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sundance Entry!

We just submitted a version of our film to the Sundance Film Festival!  We thought it was impossible, then read that they would take an incomplete version. So--it's our first festival entry.

Actually, the paper work and the financial payment have been submitted--we are waiting for the 40-min. film version to render--and the computer says 3 hours!  At least we made the west-coast midnight deadline with the rest of the submission.

How many festivals will we submit to? Oh--there are 650 to choose from--if only we could enter at least 10!  But each entry fee is between $55-$100.  We need to do more fundraising!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September Updates!

                                                  So much has happened recently!  San Francisco--a wonderful commemoration in the grand Opera House.  I helped with costumes of the characters portrayed by actors.

 And that night I was able to present film excerpts and speak at the SF Baha'i Center--perhaps 400 people came!

Richmond the night before--we had a film event at Mansour Taeed's theatre--110 people came!

Meanwhile, Tim was in LA at a recording session with studio musicians, recording Lisa Haese Smith's original music for our film!

Lisa's husband, Stan, served as engineer and flew from Australia to arrange everything!

Light upon light! Who could ever have imagined this happening for us?

Then, an interview with Rob Sockett, for 239 Days!  See

Now, we are preparing a version for the Sundance Festival deadline IF we can create something worthy by Monday. Oh, my.

We have animators working on an animating logo, flashback sequences, opening titles. I have been working on the closing titles, which will be enhanced by an animator.

Music is getting laid down. . . .

We are so tired and usually push ourselves to work until about 4 am and then get up too early. How to sustain this pace?

Vitamins and drawing energy from the ethers. . . . And a little help from our friends!

We need to do a bit more FUNDRAISING, especially to cover audio sweetening (around $6000), film festival entry costs ($55-100 each), animation projects, and paying skilled helpers for misc. tasks.  Any ideas for us?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Volunteers! More shoots!

Mary, working on film aspects,
with Diana working on finances
 A wonderful thing happened--a young woman named Mary Okonkwo came to our home from Fort Worth, to help us for a few days. We didn't know Mary--but she readily agreed to come spend time at our home working on aspects of the film, and we had a really great time with her!
Paul Taylor, voice recording

Tim & Paul
During this time we had actor Paul Taylor come over to record one of the voices for the film and also Armando, a student at the Art Institute, come talk to us about doing some animation. How lucky we are to have such lovely volunteers and professionals working on aspects of the film!

Tim, Anne, Manoutch, Melvin
We called our friend Melvin to play the part of Charles Tinsley, a servant of Phoebe Hearst in bed with a broken leg, who gets a visit from Abdu'l-Baha.  Here we are at the home of Manoutch and Karen Kazemzadeh shooting that scene--and we also did a scene at the park, on the porch of a little historic house--and I mean LITTLE! It was only about 12 feet across.  Mary got to be in the scene as well. I am standing in the photo, but I wasn't actually in the scene, even though Tim had me wear a costume that morning--in case I was needed in the background!
We are now getting ready to go to San Francisco to show excerpts from the film (Anne) and Los Angeles to recording original music with orchestration (Tim).

What excitement, on all fronts!