Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We have successfully premiered another film. Rebellion of Thought screened Saturday at the Virginia Film Festival to a sold out crowd. Nervous, anxious and exhausted, Brad and I arrived in time to mix and mingle a bit prior to the screening. We and the team had worked 18 hour days the entire week prior, which culminated with an all night editing race to prep the film for its premiere. With less than an hour of sleep on the editing room floor and another 45 minutes on the carpet of the soundstage I thought I might literally fall asleep during the showing, but fortunately the adrenaline kicked in and got me through it.

The moderator announced the screening, the lights dimmed, the crowd settled in and the Paladin Media Group logo took over the screen... and then for the next 75 minutes the crowd was forced to “drink from a fire hose” in the non-stop assault of the heart, soul and mind that is Rebellion of Thought.

It was an interesting mix of a crowd, including friends, family, old professors, colleagues and strangers. I’ve always thought Rebellion of Thought is a very difficult film to watch, because it is a talking-head picture about a rather esoteric subject. Plus, it’s non-stop with very little room to digest the material during the film. It’s like no film I’ve ever seen in that regard.
Anyhow, the 75 minute screening passed quickly and the credits started to roll. That’s when I noticed that no one moved. Not one person stood to make their way to the exit in the entire theatre. An eerie feeling was in the room as everyone stared at the screen and watched the credits while Will Musser’s music pushed them along. Finally the film faded to black and the Paladin logo signified the very end at which point a rather awkward applause broke out. I imagine people probably uncertain to clap because they liked the film but didn’t agree with everything it promotes or perhaps just glad to have survived the experience. Regardless, it was over and time for the most bizarre Q&A I’ve ever been a part of. This was followed by close to an hour of conversations with a host of people who came down front to talk. Obviously, it is an engaging film about a topic that people want to discuss.

Following the screening Brad and I took our parents, my family, James (our editor), Leslie, (our office manager) and her husband Jimmy to the LimeLeaf restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Great memories were made as we concluded this great premiere.

FYI... yesterday I received an email from the program director of the RiverRun International Film Festival. She was in the audience on Saturday and she requested a screener for consideration at their fest next spring in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, October 30, 2006


It's Monday afternoon - not unlike the usual Monday at work, catching up on all the Monday things that have to be done, but different in the sense that a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders.

Rebellion of Thought has shown publicly for the first time!

Last week was a flurry of activity as we scurried to pull together all the pieces that would make Rebellion of Thought a compelling film. Three editors, James Burgess, Matt Uncapher, and Josh Mcgonigle labored through the night, literally, time and time again to cut and cut some more as we refined the look. Our office manager, Leslie Wood, held the project together by making sure we ate occasionally and had ample supplies of editor fuel - Red Bull, Coke, water, chocolate, mixed nuts, and various and sundry assorted munchies.

All this was confounded by the Brothers Williamson's mutual decision to completely recut the film in a different sequence on Monday, five days before the screening. But despite all the barriers, the technical breakdowns, the discouragment and criticism that we seemed to encounter in spades, we managed to put together a pretty convincing piece by 9 am Saturday morning. The relief was evident as we started dumping the film to tape, since Matt, Kent and I had been up since the morning of the previous day. By noon the film was on tape, and ready for transfer to the cinema for the screening.

Kent and I caught a quick catnap while others tested the film and the projector at the theater. We woke up groggy, but dressed in our best filmmaker uniforms, and raced to the Regal theater on the Mall in Charlottesville.

The theater was packed, a sell out crowd, and the greetings of a few friends we recognized help ease the strain of waiting for the titles to roll. A moderator introduced the film, and then the house lights went down, as the first frames marched across the big screen.

It is hard to describe the emotion of the next 75 minutes. This being our second film, we felt like old hands at dealing with the butterflies that accompany the public presentation of any creative effort. But it was only a few minutes into the film when I realized that I couldn't believe that it was ME up on the screen, and that I was actually saying the things I was saying. I could only sigh and wait for the tarring and feathering.

But suffice it to say that the presentation was a success by almost any measure. Our team had done a wonderful job pulling video, audio, and the musical score of Will Musser together into a piece that exceeded even my expectations for the week we had to refine it. It looked great, sounded better, and carried a message that touched almost everyone in the audience.

Only one person left during the screening, many stayed for the half-hour question and answer period after, and enough stayed after the Q&A that it took 45 minutes to get through all the personal discussion. And the most significant thing, of all the questions that we dealt with during the evening, there was only one of a technical nature. Almost without exception the discussions that followed were about the content, which was what Kent and I had hoped for from the beginning.

We still have tons of work to do to complete the film, finish the bonus features, and put the DVD together, so if you didn't see it Saturday, you'll probably have to wait until the spring for the DVD, or at least for a while 'til it appears at a theater near you. Kent and I will be out promoting it, and if you ask nicely, maybe we can come by your way.

In the meantime, stay tuned here, and remember...

...a new conversation has begun.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We learned yesterday that we'll be screening Rebellion of Thought to a packed house this Saturday at the Virginia Film Festival. This is great news, but it makes us all a little more nervous. Afterall, the film is still not complete!

James Burgess, our lead editor, arrives from Las Vegas today to help us wrap it up. The film is going through a "major overhaul," for lack of a better term. This, of course, might appear like a risky situation with only 4 days left to our premiere, but we move forward in confidence none-the-less.

James reported to us that the footage looks "fabulous" on the big screen. He showed a few clips last week during his presentation at the WYSIWYG conference in San Francisco.

In the mean time... 4 days to go... Brad arrived from Michigan on Sunday night and he, Josh, and I are burning the candle at both ends. Time to go make it happen!

FYI... depending on how the film plays on Saturday and how strong interest remains in seeing it, we may try to set up a follow up Charlottesville screening for those unable to get tickets for the fest. Let us know... your vote counts!