The long hours began not long after our last big email/blog update back in August, 2014. Yes, I know, it’s been that long. Feature films take a while to make for a number of reasons and demands, perseverance in the pursuit of what the film is about being foremost among them.
As you may recall in our story, we had just finished our back-to-back marathons: the sound mix and color grading, and needed a break before assembling the finished puzzle pieces.
At the end of the day the context of any film comes down to two things: marrying image and sound into a relationship that serves the story.
At the height of the California summer I packed hundreds of our finished sound and picture files onto a 2 terabyte drive and headed off to join Liz, my exec producer and partner, in Lyon, France, where she had been taking care of business for a couple of weeks.
I called her on the way to San Francisco’s International Airport and confessed I was not looking forward to the 12-plus hours of flying overnight, sitting up. In a consoling way, she said, “These are the long hours.”
After arriving and having dinner in the old city of St. Jean, at a restaurant where the walls are 500 years old, I looked out to the street where we shot scenes for Mandorla, and my sense of time began to shift.
It was always clear that Mandorla wanted to be. All I had to do was surrender and take one leap of faith after another, and, despite the upheavals over the years, it would all turn out. The key, I found, was tuning into that faint thread of inner signal that was all but drowned out and lost in all the chaotic noise and life explosions. And that is exactly, it turns out, what Mandorla is all about.
During our sound mix last summer I saw a listing for an up-and-coming international film festival that struck a chord with me. I wrote to the executive director of the fest, Susan Gorrell, and included a link to our work-in-progress trailer. I quickly had an encouraging response. As soon as we put together our image and sound in Lyon I submitted to their festival, and their 75 member(!) selection committee.
I am very, very pleased to announce, after all these long hours, months, and years, that Mandorla will have its world premiere at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, April 23 – 26. Julien Dubuque was voted “One of the 25 coolest film festivals” by Moviemaker magazine. Mandorla will be “Discovered in Dubuque,” and we’re really looking forward to it. We are also reminded of the line in Field of Dreams, “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa!”
We are in contact with a good number of other festivals in fantastic parts of the world, and hope to announce more screenings as we run up to our release in October – November!
Trabajando para terminar nuestros subtítulos en español con el profesor y traductor Jasmin Banic.
Working in the home studio to finish our Spanish subtitles with teacher and translator Jasmin Banic.
Subtitling program... another very technical endeavor that we had to dive deep into and learn because we wanted to have control over creating GOOD SUBTITLES, which is far too often neglected in films.
Films, if they strike the right chord in you, can make you feel emotion, and think. Right now, I'll let you guess my emotion as I think "How can I get our beautiful surround sound and stunning subtitles on to Blu-Ray and DVD discs...?"
I'll find a way. Don't worry. It's not our first challenge.
[Got it. Blu-rays are burning. The trick was converting our .wav surround file to Dolby Digital's .ac3 format. A musician told me, "Yep. Standards are wonderful. That's why there's so many of them!"
We are preparing for and making film festival submissions and have a synopsis for you here. Coming soon in Spanish, French, and hopefully Portuguese.
narrative feature film
2015, USA & France, 90 min.
Dir. Roberto Miller
Ernesto is a devoted father, mystical seeker, and a visual artist stuck in a corporate job. Worse, he has disturbing dreams at night and is haunted by dark and magical visions when awake.
His life is dramatically turned inside out when his young daughters playfully knight him. He realizes that what’s happening to him eerily echoes the challenge that heroes in myths and legends must face, or he is simply going insane.
Desperate to understand what he is meant to do, he tries to push back on the waking visions and clear his head. He then encounters a guide in the form of a beautiful woman who senses his despair and offers a veiled way forward.
Inspired, he makes a video appealing for support and posts it on the web. An email soon arrives saying that what he seeks will be provided at a bank in a medieval French city.
With his job, marriage, and sanity in the balance, he sets off on a quest and enters a mysterious world where he must find an elusive banker who may be the one to help him unlock his dream.