Friday, October 24, 2008

Dry Rain in Missoula

Nathan Gamble & writer Pete Fromm ham it up for the camera on the last day of shooting in Helmville, Montana.

We're in Missoula for the local premier of Dry Rain. We'll be screening at the Wilma Theater tonight. What a cool old theater to screen our film in. It is a place that holds lots of memories for me. I've lived in Missoula on and off over the years, my father grew up here and my Aunts and Uncles and cousins populate the town. Seems like around every corner I run into family or friends. Being in Missoula is special.

One interesting fact (or urban legend) is that famous film director David Lynch use to live in the Wilma when he was a boy. The apartments upstairs above cinema have always been interesting and weird. Seems perfect that Lynch lived there! His family later moved to Spokane and then out to the coast. Clearly living in such interesting places had an influence on the work Lynch would later create. In Twin Peaks, he makes several references to his former home in Montana. Then there is Inland Empire that combines many of his experiences, too.

A big highlight for Dry Rain is that we'll be on Montana Public Radio tonight. Producer William Marcus interviewed me and Pete Fromm last week for the story. If you don't live in Montana, you can check it out on KUFM's website. They'll have it in their library on-line for awhile, too.

The event tonight is apart of the Montana Festival of the Book. We're lucky to land in the prime spot of a Friday night at 7:30. We couldn't ask for a better spot. We're excited. We'll have pictures and thoughts posted here later this weekend.

James Le Gros, as Stil, and Nathan Gamble, as Joey, examine the road tar, pressing it into a little volcano during the 5th day of shooting Dry Rain.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reviews in the Local Papers

Back on Labor Day weekend, Dry Rain played at the One Reel Festival at Bumbershoot. We owe a big thank you to Beth Barrett at SIFF for taking Dry Rain in as one of the films on the schedule. I was out of town that weekend so wasn't able to attend. Luckily, we did get some nice reviews from a couple of the local papers.

The Seattle Weekly was very kind. They draw comparisons to Dry Rain and the work of Terrance Malick. We certainly looked at Malick's work and adopted a similar asthetic. It is interesting that someone saw that influence. Here's what they said: "Matthew Clark’s sparse, effective Dry Rain suggests Terrence Malick with a sense of humor, as a messy custody battle finds perennial hard-luck case James Le Gros and his (rather smarter) son dithering at the Canadian border. It could be a scene from a longer feature."

The Seattle Times had this to say: "Filmed in Montana, it features character actor James LeGros as a melancholy father who reluctantly returns his son to his mother's legal custody. It's one of the most professional films in the festival, but it begs for feature-length expansion."

One thing that comes from the newspaper comments is they both elude to Dry Rain being a longer film possibly being a feature. I have to admit, I never gave much thought to that option. I always felt that Pete Fromm captured a nice snapshot of the moment with plenty to think about that is never scene or told in the story directly, but, the story in Dry Rain is compelling and it could be an interesting exploration in longer form seeing how the two come to be in their current predicament. I'll have to think about that one!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The First Gig Harbor Film Festival

On September 13th, Dry Rain played at the first Gig Harbor Film Festival. We were honored to be selected to play at the festival in a group of really great shorts. The collection of shorts, curated by Amy Dee and Beth Barrett of the Seattle Film Festival, were created by Seattle filmmakers including Dan Brown (Pierre) , John Hilde (Hello), Sean Pecknold (The Strange Hunger) , Mike Standish and Thom Harp (Fortune Hunters), and Douglas Horn (Full Disclosure).

Interestingly enough, Hello, Pierre and Dry Rain were all past winners of the IFP Spotlight Award and Full Disclosure and Fortune Hunters were finalists that didn't win, but went on to make their picture anyway. Just goes to show you that the award actually helps get things made and motivates people to create their film.

You got to check out Sean Pecknold's work. He has done a few videos for the up and coming band Fleet Foxes. The Strange Hunger is a cool animated short. Hopefully I'll be able to work with Sean one of these days. Sean's company is called Grandchildren.

Pierre was a fun film. Dan Brown asked me to shoot that film for him ages ago, it seems. It got good reviews and won the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle International Film Festival last year. You can see the film here on the South By Southwest site. Dan won an award there too.

A big thank you goes to the Gig Harbor Film Festival and especially Paula Lillard for putting so much hard work into getting it off the ground for the first year. Nice job Paula!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palm Springs Baby

Before leaving L.A. for Palm Springs, we made an out of the way stop to the Getty Museum in the Santa Monica hills. It was a great place to wonder around and take in the beautiful landscape, the interesting architecture and an amazing installation of photography from a turn of the century photographer and a mid-century husband and wife photography team. Both collections were inspiring. For me, when I go to a museum with such a huge offering of art, photography and sculpture, I find that I have to focus in on one collection or installation so I don't get over stimulated or burned out on way too much work. Taking in just the photography was perfect.

From the Getty, we rolled down the 10 to Palm Springs. The smog of L.A. gave way to sunny blue skies and puffy clouds just outside of Palm Springs. With the clear skies came the blistering heat. We didn't even get the brunt of it, but I think it was near 105 degrees F! So hot that even with a convertible, you wanted the top up so you could blast the cool air from the AC.

We immediately got checked into our hotel room and got settled. From there, we went to the festival headquarters and got our pass and got the lay of the land. Immediately, we felt welcomed by the staff. There were so many volunteers running around attending to the details. Clearly, this festival had their act together. We made an early night of it and sacked out early. We had big plans ahead of us: poolside lounging, screening films, seminars and more pool time.

Here's the funny thing, it is so hot in Palm Springs that if you want to hang out at the pool, you almost have to be in the water. The water is refreshing, but even it seems a little warm. And no, it wasn't a kitty pool, so not much peeing in the pool. It is basically super hot in Palm Springs and being there in the summer is kind of crazy.

Regardless of the heat, the hospitality and the organization at the Palm Springs ShortsFest was great. We got a chance to meet the curator of the festival, Kathleen McInnis. She was super supportive and very enthusiastic about having Dry Rain in the festival. Luckily, she was also the person moderating the Q & A after the screening, so we had some very good questions to ponder and try to answer.

Q & A's can be a funny thing. You don't know what kind of questions you'll get and then once you're up there, you just hope that you get some questions. In Palm Springs, we had a doozie. This one lady had nothing but negative things to say about all the films. Of the two of us up for the Q & A, she just bombed on both of us. It was actually a funny thing. Kathleen did a great job wrangling her and steering her away and letting other people chime in, but dang, I thought she was going to go for awhile tearing up our films.

Our time in Palm Springs culminated with a great drive up into the mountains for a nice sunset followed up by a party thrown by local sponsors and the film festival. It was a fun gathering with lots of networking going on of course. If any one ever asks about the Palm Springs ShortsFest, I encourage them to submit their work and attend. It was a great experience.

Oh, and lastly, we got invited to the Rhode Island Film Fest while we were there. I should clarify, we got invited to submit. So, hopefully another festival to screen our Film at and share it with a whole new group.

Monday, September 1, 2008

L.A. Shorts Festival - In Person!

Editor Lee Gardner and me just after the screening.

We made the trek down to L.A. for the Dry Rain screening at the L.A. Shorts Fest. It was a perfect opportunity to see some good friends, take in L.A. and see what the festival was all about. We flew in the same day as the screening. We used our mileage plan miles to get cheap tickets, but less than perfect schedule. We flew out of Seattle at 7am. The early wake up and run to the airport hurt, but it was good to be in town early so we weren't rushed.

from R - L: Brittany, Elisa & Jordan with me on the end.

It seems to always take a little time to get accustom to the L.A. scene. I always notice it first when I get behind the wheel. The traffic moves fast, there is always congestion and then there's the hunt to find the fastest route to your destination. Arterial or Highway? Christine and I had fun with that and it was even more California with our free upgraded car: A convertible! Now we were ready to roll in style.
Elise with the thumbs up!

I think for us, the best thing about the screening in L.A. was to see old friends. We stayed with former Seattlites Jordan & Elisa Parhad. Jordan and I use to work together in Seattle. Last year, he and Elisa bolted for L.A. to take advantage of the booming film production market and nearly infinite opportunity for Elise. They were great hosts, showing us the sights, hosting a BBQ in their backyard and just all around good company. We also got to see Lee Gardner, editor of Dry Rain. It is always good to see Lee. My old friend from film school days, Hilly Hicks was in attendance. He and I haven't seen each other since we were roommates in NYC back in '92. So it was god to see him! Other good friends we hadn't seen in awhile were Doug and Jessica Cheney. Doug and Jessica got to know each other when Doug and I worked together. Doug is an inspiring Director/DP. Brittany Klaus was there as well. She joined us in Montana earlier this year for a fun bike trip.
Brittany & Me after the show.

Good thing we brought as many of our friends as we did. Between the late screening time (9:30pm) and the mid week position in the schedule (Wednesday) we didn't have best turn out. On top of that, the festival didn't really seem to be that supportive either. I'm not sure what was up, but we felt a little detached from the whole experience. The post screening Q & A was pretty weak. Thank goodness we found a good spot to have a beer afterward. Our little group had a good conversation about the group of films we saw and I was able to get some good feedback from everyone. The whole night was made just with the good company.
Hilly HIcks gives Dry Rain two, count 'em two thumbs up!

The remainder of our time in L.A. was spent kicking around at museums and hanging out with Jordan, Elisa, Brittany and Hilly. It was great just hanging out and having a relaxing time.
Jordan after the show with the thumbs up!

Saturday, we rolled out for Palm Springs for the next stop on the Dry Rain Tour.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Palm Springs International Short Fest - Screening Times

Producer Brian Homman on location in Montana.

Just got word today that Dry Rain will screen in Palm Springs at 4pm on Monday August 25th. All the screenings will happen at Camelot Theaters. Dry Rain will run in a program, much like in Seattle, with several other films. Expect to see an eclectic mix of films with a similar theme. The theme in our collection is "Single Parenthood."

There's a good chance that I'll heading down as will Brian Homman, Dry Rain's producer. Any of you guys gonna make it? It'd be good to see some friendly faces there.

Speaking of friendly faces, we'll also be showing in L.A. the week before. I know there are several of you guys down there that will come, hopefully. The L.A. Shorts Festival screening is August 20th at 9:45pm at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters. Here's a map to the theaters and here is a link to the theaters' website.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Palm Springs International Short Fest!!

The Crew the day before shooting begins in the parking lot of the Super 8 in Conrad, Montana. From Left to Right: Ted Barnes (Gaffer), Mike Prevette (1st AC), Jason Puccinelli (Production Designer), Oscar Lofgren (Prop Master), Dave Hayes (Best Boy Grip) and Eddie Adams (Production Manager).

We got another under our hats ladies and gentlemen. Dry Rain is now an official selection to the Palm Springs International Short Fest! This is a great honor that we're really excited about. We just got word late last night that we're in! The festival runs August 21 - 27, 2008 down in of all places, Palm Springs.

Now comes the challenging aspect to entering festivals: which one to go to and how to make it there! I'm really hoping to go to L.A. for the L.A. Shorts Fest. I might be able to combine two fests at once since L.A. and Palm Springs pretty much run back to back. Brian Homman, the Dry Rain producer, may go to Palm Springs...we'll see. Either way, we'll represent.

The next challenge is getting the print shipped to both places and dealing with logistics. Since we only have one print and it needs to be in nearly two places at once, we're in a bit of a bind. We do have HD versions of the show to screen, but we'd really prefer to show the 35mm print. It'll look so much better.

When we know more about Palm Springs, we'll let ya'll know the screening times and the goods on when and where. Rumor has it Brian will be hosting a party in his room. Should be really sweet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Screening Time for LA Shorts Fest

Christine McBride keeping the rain off Nathan and James. Luckily the storm didn't last long.

Just got the word today from the LA Shorts Fest. Dry Rain will be screening with a group of films, much like in Seattle, on August 20th at 9:45pm. Typically in these short film festivals, they group a number of films together to get to about an hour and a half or so. It is always interesting to see the other films and who you are up against. Hopefully the 9:45pm time slot will allow lots of people to see it and especially the jury.

So who's going to L.A.? We gotta meet up before hand. I know there are lots of people we know in L.A. We hope to see you all out there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

L.A. Shorts Fest!

I just got the email today. Dry Rain is an official selection to the 2008 L.A. Shorts Fest. The festival runs August 15th through the 21st in Hollywood. L.A. Shorts Fest is one of the premier short film festivals in the world. In past years 30 participating films have earned Academy Award nominations, with 9 filmmakers actually taking home the Oscar.

We don't have exact screening times and location just yet, but we should know within the next couple of weeks. We'll keep you posted on this festival and the many others we've submitted to!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Recording Session Photos

I just came across these. I took some photos during our recording session at The House of Sound back in March. Chris White assembled a great group of musicians to put the score together. Here's the photos: Chris White and Jamie Maker work on a sketch of one of the tracks for Dry Rain. Maggie, my black lab, recovers from a long day on the floor.

Jamie working the pedal steal.

Aaron Saye is the percussionist behind the tracks in Dry Rain. He put an amazing spin on it and really added some great energy to the mix. Aaron's skills as a drummer/percussionist are amazing.

Chris White, the man himself, at the keyboard working his magic.

Jared Dunn jumped into the booth for an improptu stint with us on the acoustic guitar. Jared just came by to talk with Chris about recording an album. We put him in the booth and he rocked. Nice job Jared.

Monday, June 23, 2008

One Reel Festival

Dry Rain was just recently invited to screen at the One Reel Festival here in Seattle during Bumbershoot 2008. The music and arts festival runs from August 30th through September 1st at the Seattle Center.

The One Reel Festival will be the second chance to see Dry Rain in Seattle. Dry Rain first premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival back on May 31st. You'll get a chance to see Dry Rain in HD rather than our preferred 35mm format print, but the HD version looks stellar.

Exact times and dates of the screenings at the One Reel Festival will be posted soon. Keep an eye out here on the Dry Rain Blog or check out the Bumbershoot website.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A look back at SIFF

May 31st was our first public screening of Dry Rain. It was great to be able to sit with a big crowd and hear, feel and see people's reactions to the story. It was a surprise at some moments when people laughed and it was poignant when people sighed or felt uneasy. It is hard to predict those reactions, but I was please by the vibe I was getting from the crowd.

After the screening, we had a Q&A with some of the other filmmakers joining up front. I think that's always pretty cool to be able to hear people's interests and curiosities about a film. The down side was that there wasn't much questioning going on. At one point, I asked questions of the other filmmakers! So the next time you go to a screening and the Director, Producer, Writer or Cast is up in front of everyone, ask a questions! There's always something to learn from the people that have gone through the process of making a film. Just my two cents worth.

One of my more memorable Q&A's with a director was with Oliver Stone. He screened THE DOORS at our school when I was in college. It was intriguing to hear about the heartaches of making that film. He was engaging and funny and insightful. People asked a lot of questions and he obliged with great thoughts on his process.

One of the Q&A's I wish I had seen was when Cinematographer Christopher Doyle (The Quiet American, Rabbit Proof Fence, Hero, Paranoid Park). He's an amazing cinematographer and a very enthusiastic presenter. He speaks his mind and often has hilarious tales of filmmaking. He's passionate about his craft and you feel that when you hear him speak. Of course, I've only witnessed it on Youtube, but I also hear he's great in person!

SIFF didn't recognize DRY RAIN for any acheivements other than placing us in the film. No Jury prizes or anything like that. We did gain some interesting acknowledgement from some other festivals. We've been invited to submit to a couple. More on that as the details unfold.

For those of you that made it out to the screening, thanks for coming! We'll have another at Bumbershoot. Stay tuned for more info on that.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Props from the Stranger

(Nathan Gamble on the set of Dry Rain in Helmville, Montana waiting out some weather.)

Just opened this week's Seattle Stranger. We got our first newspaper reviews! The Stranger's Annie Wagner paid us a double edged compliment. I guess that goes with the territory. Thanks Annie!

Here's the blurb: "...One of the better locally produced shorts in the festival, Matthew J. Clark's Dry Rain is's about a noncustodial parent (James Le Gros) spiriting his unusually bright kid (Tacoma native Nathan Gamble) across the Canadian Border for a "vacation." The acting is great, and the little prodigy isn't even annoying"

Like I said, we'll take all the props we can get!

The Film runs at SIFF on May 31st at 4 p.m. in the SIFF Cinema in Seattle Center. Dry Rain runs in a program of other shorts. So you'll get to see it stacked up against films from South Africa, Scotland, Australia, the UK and other U.S. Films.

Annie went on to say that the program, All in the Family, is the darker family-themed shorts package (if you want kid-friendly fare, see The Family Picture Show). I for one can't wait to see some of the other films. Should be cool.

See you there.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

SIFF Official Selection

Dry Rain is an official selection to the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival! We're really excited about being in our home town fest. The screening will be Saturday, May 31 4:00 pm, SIFF Cinema. Go to the SIFF Website and buy your tickets now!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Final Answer Print

Today, we sat down with the crew at Alpha Cine to screen our first answer print of Dry Rain. An Answer Print is a release print that is created to look at all the technical things to make sure they've come together on the screen and look right. Things like color, lip synch, and other details get reviewed to ensure it looks right.

I tell you, looking at the print on the screen was so awesome. Finally! To see it big and not on a video monitor or worse, on a small computer screen in some low res Quicktime. It was great to see all the subtle details in the image and performance. So we're on to the next step....getting it into the festivals.

At the screening, we had, amongst a couple of friends and some lab employees, Jeff Tilotson, our colorist from Flying Spot Film Transfer, Shane Dillon, the final conform and EQ artist that put the together in its final form at Flying Spot, Mark Brown, the artist that does the film out from digital files, Lisa Cohen, the lab's producer and the lab owner, Don Jensen. It was great to have everyone there and put eyes on the finished print. And my first audience. It was a little intimidating to have an audience of such discernible people, but it went over well.

We'll make a few tweaks to the contrast in a couple of scenes, but we are nearly there!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Final Mix

Tonight, I made my way down to Clatter and Din to do our final mix on Dry Rain. Usually in this session, you review the work, make some minor tweaks, ensure the mix is good (the balance of music and sound efx and the actor's voices) and your all done. Tonight, we had to bring in the music from the music we just recorded at the House of Sound (HOS) and tweak some sound FX. Most of Monday and Tuesday, Chris from HOS mixed the music tracks and engineered them into the final form. He posted the tracks on the Clatter and Din website. Now all of this sounds complicated, but it was super easy. The only thing I feared, with our tight deadline, was that a file might be corrupted or something was just plain wrong. Well, it all worked out really well.

The tight deadline was driven by two factors: 1) we have the opportunity to submit to SIFF by mid March and 2) I am leaving the country to shoot a TV show in Nepal and Bhutan...more on that later, but needless to say, we have to get stuff done!

I sat in with the good folks at Clatter and Din to do the final mix. Vince Werner was the lead designer and engineer with Thad Wharton doing the heavy lifting and final mix. These guys are totally on their game. I sat in with them multiple times over the course of the winter working through the details of the sound. The great thing is I didn't have to spend a lot of time with the guys. They got it dialed in fast, took great direction and we're super collaborative.

Tonight, Thad and I brought in the final mixed music from Chris White. We laid that in and then just attended to a few minor tweaks. Thad and Vince had done so much work up to this point, we hardly had to do anything. The mix went super smooth. I'm looking forward to hearing it and seeing it all on the big screen!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Burns Like Hell Fire

This weekend, we did the final recording of the score for Dry Rain. Chris White, from House of Sound, brought together brought together a fantastic group of musicians to make it all happen. Burns Like Hell Fire is a Spokane based band that has been around for awhile now. They're western flavor and alt country sound merged with Chris' sensabilities was perfect for the score. We recorded over two days at the HOS studio in Downtown Spokane. It went super smooth and we managed to get it all done. Chris had already recorded some of the tracks, so we were just focusing on two or three tracks and touching up another.

It's funny how projects like this always feed on past experiences and relationships. Jamie Maker and Aaron Saye played on our tracks, but they are also members of the band The Makers. A couple of years ago, I directed a music video for the boys for their new album "Everybody Rise." The clip turned out super cool and of course, they were great to work with. Have a look at it here: Fast forward to 2008, Jamie works with Chris White regularily. When Dry Rain came up, Jamie was stoked to jump on board and help out. Aaron manages to crawl into the studio quite often too, and he was down. The rest of the Burns Like Hell Fire crew volunteered too, so we had a band to play out what Chris and I had in our minds.

It was a fun weekend of just working out riffs and sitting back and letting the band run with the ideas. I was fighting a cold that had gotten ugly. I was on a roller coaster of a fever than chills than back to a fever. I managed to pull out of the funk by Sunday afternoon, but I was hurtin for sure!

Special thanks go out to Chris White for putting it all together and making it sound so good! Also, the band. Thank you!

Aaron Saye - Drums
Jared Dunn - Guitar
Jamie Maker - Guitar and Pedal Steal Guitar
Bill Barrington - Bass
Cameron Norton - Drums
Brian Young - Guitar