Beverly. Massachusetts video production company Ted Reed TV is working with the US Attorney’s Office Massachusetts District to create the pilot videos for the multi-platform public information campaign titled “#Resist The Risk.” The goal of the campaign is to inform the public and spur new conversations about the dangers and consequences of abusing, selling and sharing prescription opioids that has had a devastating impact on families and communities in Massachusetts.
The segments have been filmed primarily in the North Shore area, and professional actors from TV commercials, stage and film were cast along side student actors from Emerson College, Endicott College, Salem State University and Gloucester High School. Producer/Director and Gloucester resident Ted Reed says, “We want to make each one of these messages have the ring of true life to them. Using actual locations where the opioid crisis has hit hardest in Massachusetts was part of the plan to depict the actual consequences of addiction, whether they be illegal sales, theft, overly trusting parents or babies born addicted to opioid-dependent mothers. Each member of the crew and cast had a story to tell about their own experience of a loved one or an acquaintance who suffered from addiction to either prescription or illegal pain-killers.”
Reed worked with members of the US Attorney’s office developing the scripts for the videos which will be distributed on social media, web sites and other avenues. He and Director of Photography Craig Kimberley developed the look and style of the video campaign to be rolled out by the end of this year. Casting was executed by Joanne Randazza of JMedia of Gloucester.
The campaign was officially launched Wednesday, November 29. Ted Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (978) 578-2834
The City of Quincy, Massachusetts is known as “The City of Presidents” because founding father and second President of the United States John Adams and his eponymous son President John Quincy Adams lived here. John Hancock, a Quincy resident, successful merchant and a President of the Continental Congress was the first and most robust signatory to the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is considered one of the finest documents ever penned by the hand of man. He went on to lead the free Commonwealth as its first Governor.
This City of one hundred thousand proud current residents has quite the birthright and deserves to be in the spotlight of American attention. When men such as Adams and Hancock pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor it was not a light or trivial concern. Quincy is one of the building blocks of American success. Literally; the granite in their quarries was used to build our cities and Quincy citizens transported that rock on the Granite Railway. This granite was
transported to build, for example, the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. This was our nation’s first commercial railroad with access to the sea. Quincy also played a significant historical role in American shipbuilding at the Fore River Shipyard on Quincy Point.
Placing this City in the limelight again to remind the rest of America of its importance is a worthwhile endeavor.
The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit helped bring more than six major motion pictures to this worthy American City in recent years and there are more on the way. The Quincy delegation representing the City on Beacon Hill has been unanimous in unwavering support for the credits and these efforts over many years have paid off for residents and business owners alike on the south shore. We owe a debt of gratitude to House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, Representative Bruce Ayers, Representative Tackey Chan, and Senator John Keenan.
“For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better.” – Owner of the Fore River Shipyard Dan Quirk
The Quincy Chamber of Commerce was an early supporter of the credits working with Mayor Koch. Mark Carey serves Media Communications in the mayor’s office. A working film professional, Mark facilitates filming in Quincy. They all have had success creating jobs for Quincy and boosting
the regional economy. The new Chamber President, Tim Cahill, is equally enthusiastic.
The production industry is currently our country’s largest net export to the world. No more fitting a place to expand than where it all began. The modern day owner of the Fore River Shipyard mentioned in Quincy’s illustrious past is a proponent of filmmaking and the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. As a successful Auto Dealer on the South Shore with fifteen and counting dealerships, he is helping to develop the Bay State’s infrastructure for filmmaking.
Dan Quirk of Quirk automotive has a successful slogan for his businesses, “Quirk Works” to save you money. Outside his office is a sign stating, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that more than six major motion pictures were shot here is not luck. It is a testament to the hard work of the elected delegation, residents and business leaders working together to make Quincy a film friendly environment.
Many major studio productions have found locations in the Quincy area including Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED, the 2006 Oscar winning movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson and featured the underbelly of the Irish Mafia. Nicholson’s character was assassinated in a scene at the Fore River Shipyard recalls the shipyard owner and Quirk Auto magnet Danial J. Quirk. He said, “I was amazed how many people, including my own two daughters, who stood in the rain and the dark to watch the scene shot overnight just to get a glimpse of Matt Damon.
“People are in love with the film industry,” he says. Quirk believes Film Tax Credits are a small investment to pay for the millions that are spent in our local communities. For example, Dorothy Aufiero’s THE FINEST HOURS spent fourteen months in Quincy and put a crew of 150 local contractors and construction specialists to work for the full fourteen months.
“There’s no better way to grow the brand of your own community. For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better. Whether it’s catering, construction, equipment rental – we rent them trucks and cars. And the film people are great to do business with.” adds, Quirk.
Quirk’s Fore River Shipyard is just completing new construction in the Shipyard that includes a warehouse that will be large enough for location sets.
In addition to THE DEPARTED and THE FINEST HOURS written by local luminary Casey Sherman, Ben Affleck located scenes for THE COMPANY MEN, starring our own Oscar winning Kingston resident Chris Cooper, in Quincy. Kevin James filmed HERE COMES THE BOOM all around Boston including scenes in Quincy. GONE BABY GONE, The Oscar nominated film — starring Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Casey Affleck — used scenes from the Quincy quarries as two Boston detectives investigate the kidnapping of a young girl. The movie is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name.
THE BOX shot in 2009 stars Cameron Diaz who is presented with the opportunity to open a box for a million dollars — knowing it’ll cause someone she doesn’t know to die. The movie focuses around the struggle whether or not to open the box. A supermarket on Sea Street, The Adams Shore Supermarket near Houghs Neck, was used for a dream sequence.
Business leader Dan Quirk has the aforementioned sign with his adage, which you can’t miss when entering his private office, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that over a half-dozen major motion pictures were shot here took hard work. Film Tax Credits are working for Quincy.
This great American city earned and deserves the spotlight. Keep shooting in Quincy. Keep Shooting in Massachusetts. Keep shooting in New England. There is much more to come.
First the good news: I am happy to report that my surgery early in March was a complete success! Cancer free and pathologies negative. It has been a long battle for me, but failing has never been an option in my mind. I still have radiation to go, but for now, I’m feeling great and have rolled up my sleeves to defend the Massachusetts Film Tax Credits against H62.
You may recall that IMAGINE Magazine introduced Film Tax Credits to New England in the early 2000’s and I wrote the first definitive piece on why we should pass film tax credits in 2004. As soon as that issue of IMAGNE hit the street, my office got a call from the Governor Romney’s office asking for twenty copies. That changed the nature of our struggle. The rest is history, we were able to introduce legislation, educate all the elected class and pass the Massachusetts Film Tax credits in 2005; and we made them better in 2006!
Since our inception in 1998, film tax credits and growing this industry has been our #1 mission. We have been defending them ever since. It’s a 24/7/365 responsibility, which is why IMAGINE has a full time Director of Government Relations. We need to know where our elected officials stand on our issues all the time.
We have always known that overnight our main attraction of major productions, both studio and independent, to bring their work to our state can be challenged. A recent case in point is Connecticut when in late June in 2013 the Connecticut’s Film Office awoke one morning to find the state’s tax credits for film had been suspended for two years!
Many people do not understand what tax credits are designed to do. What they are not designed to do is easier to understand. Tax Credits are not designed to put money directly into government coffers. Period. The end! Why is it always judged on that misconception?
Tax Credits, and particularly Film Tax Credits, are designed to pour money into an existing economy; money that would not otherwise be available with the purpose of, in our instance, of creating an industry, stimulating job creation and other desired results that hugely benefit the Commonwealth. For example the Commonwealth could not afford to buy the attention, awareness and attraction of the really special visitors to our state, including the productions themselves that create the industry of tourism. Countless new businesses have arrived. I wish we knew how much collectively they paid the state to do business here.
When a production buys, rents or hires everything it needs here, cast and crew, talent trailers, equipment of all kinds, lumber, paint, hardware, hotel rooms, catering, transportation, waste management (yes, waste management, it’s a big ticketed item), chiropractors and much more, too numerous to mention, the desired results are achieved. The point being that every dollar the production spends ends up being business or personal income that will be taxed by the Commonwealth. In addition much of that money will be re-spent here creating more taxes for the state, cities and towns. Ultimately, all those dollars end up in a federal, state, or municipal coffer.
Consider this: As a result, Massachusetts has many very famous new taxpayers.
The film R.I.P.D spent a boat load of money here. Whether or not the film was a success or failure at the box office has nothing to do with the success of Tax Credits. The production was on location in and around Boston for six months, sometimes with five or six crews shooting at once. R.I.P.D. spent more than any other production in the Commonwealth’s history; they also didn’t break anything, they didn’t pollute or use any social services. They paid for everything before they left. Everyone who worked on R.I.P.D., no matter where they are from, paid taxes in Massachusetts! That includes Ryan and Bridges.
There is no exact formula for calculating the worth of a film tax credit. But, we are getting pretty close to being able to do that. I take great exception to being judged by anyone who apparently doesn’t understand what a tax credit is designed to do, particularly those who use the glamour of our industry to write head turning headlines, especially when they have no appreciation of the thousands of names in the credits at the end of the film, the countless businesses that provided services, or just how hard and yes, unglamorous, it is to make a film.
In my estimation there is no doubt we can prove our worth.
The next edition of IMAGINE puts a spotlight on this issue and we’ve designed a special section dedicated to our industry’s success and our importance to the state and region. I believe I am writing another definitive piece – a big one.
If you have an industry related business that began in MA after the tax credits were incepted or you are an individual that moved to MA or moved back to MA to work in this industry because of the tax credits, please drop me a note – I’d like to include your experience in our special section.
We are also focusing on NAB and the Massachusetts high tech industry that exhibits at NAB in Las Vegas April 11th – 16th. We’ll be there with a gigantic bonus distribution and huge presence. And we have Film Festival Previews for you.
If you would like to advertise in this edition please contact me. Ad Copy deadline is Monday, March 30, 2015. Please book space now.
New film by Jim Ohm heads to the Film Festival Circuit in April
Filmmaker Jim Ohm has spent over twenty years editing award-winning documentaries for Turner, National Geographic and PBS, and directed his own independent documentary film, “Spring Training,” about the Red Sox’s pre-season in Florida. Captivated by the stories of human tragedy behind the financial collapse of 2009, Jim began what would become a three-year labor of love, writing a script for a short film entitled PRETEND. The story is a contemporary drama set days before Christmas about an affluent family man, Roger, who’s lost his job, is going broke, but pretends that everything’s all right. The only one who senses trouble is Roger’s pre-adolescent daughter, Maddie.
To bring the film to life, Jim chose established, local SAG-AFTRA actors. Bradley J. Van Dussen led the cast as Roger, his performance expertly capturing the desperation of a man in freefall. Georgia Lyman played his wife, Susan; Ian Lyons his brother, Chris; Cindy Lentol played Chris’ wife, Joyce; Corey Scott played a street busker Santa Clause; veteran actor William Bloomfield – the pawnshop owner to whom Roger, in dire need of ready cash, sells his silver; Paul C. McKinney played the angry driver; and Jack Tracksler played the real Santa. For the role of young Maddie, Jim cast his own daughter, Maddie Ohm, and had the unique experience of directing her first film performance.
As with any low budget project there are huge challenges at every turn. Jim tells us, “I didn’t have a lot of money, but I was able to tap my industry connections and get a core group of talented people who loved the story and really wanted to make a film of the highest possible quality. Led by Director of Photography Matt Thurber and Producer Beth Tierney, we assembled an amazing crew of local professionals.”
That group featured First Camera Assistant Tom Fitzgerald, Gaffer Chris Brown, Key Grips Walter Stone and Tony Ventura, Sound Recordist Djim Reynolds, Set Designer Alexandra Kayhart, and Make Up artist Ashleigh Taylor along with many others from a pool of talented, local technicians.
Jim Ohm continues, “They brought a sense of purpose and dedication, which made for a highly successful shoot and Matt just brought it all together. It shows in the footage”
The nine-day shoot travelled throughout the greater Boston area. As the story moves from the home of Roger to the home of his brother, Chris, Jim was looking for one location that could serve as two distinct interiors. He was fortunate to have a close family friend offer his gorgeous, spacious Lynnfield home to the cast and crew for a three-day shoot. After Lynnfield, the crew set up shop in quaint downtown Dedham—where the drama of an independent film shoot, which closed down part of High Street, made local headlines. Finally, Waltham played a gracious host by providing four separate locations: The Goldcrafters Exchange on Moody Street; the woods of the Robert Treat Paine Estate; the Lyman Estate; and the grounds of the old Fernald School.
Jim says, “Securing locations was quite time consuming, but I had support from friends who helped make vital connections. The story of PRETEND really grabbed people and it seemed everyone knew someone like Roger, whose life had been upended by the financial crisis, and they all wanted to be part of getting this film made.”
Jim’s script for PRETEND has already received accolades from the L.A. Fresh Voices Screenwriters’ Competition as one of only 13 scripts that are semi-finalists in the Short Film category, out of hundreds submitted. Renown Hollywood director, Joel Shumacher (ST. ELMO’S FIRE, BATMAN & ROBIN, A TIME TO KILL) will be one of the judges selecting the winning screenplay which will be announced in April.
Additionally, the D.C. Shorts Festival had high praise for Jim’s script: “The characters really popped and had their own voice,” “gut wrenching at the end,” “writer did a fantastic job.”
PRETEND is headed off to the film festival circuit in April and will have its local premier in May. To get more information on the premiere and the latest news check out the Facebook page for PRETEND.
Apparently it takes a small film to make it big on the global stage. Rhode Island’s own ALMOST HUMAN was chosen to have its world premiere amongst some of the brightest stars in Hollywood at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) early this September 5th through 15th.
Written, produced and directed by former Coventry resident Joe Begos, ALMOST HUMAN, which TIFF describes as “… a raging inferno of axe murders and alien abduction…” and a ”… lean, mean, grisly indie horror flick,” was shot in February of 2012 with little fanfare and no big stars in front of or behind the camera. “I’ve always wanted my first film to be a gritty, dirty, low budget splatter movie made with my friends just like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson did for their first features, and it feels amazing that it actually happened and that people are responding to it,” said director Joe Begos. About shooting in his home state, Joe added, “I love the feeling New England adds, I grew up loving Stephen King and in his stories the setting of Maine is like its own character, and I wanted to elicit that same feeling with Rhode Island.”
Shot on a modest budget, the film was a co-production of Channel 83 Films and the RI based producing team Ambrosino/ Delmenico. “Getting into a festival of this importance is crazy for a small film like this, but it’s a testament to Joe and the rest of our cast and crew, he’s a unique talent and the movie was a ton of fun to make,” said producer Anthony Ambrosino.
Josh Ethier of Channel 83 Films not only served as a producer on the film but as both the editor and lead actor. He added, “Joe and I have been making films together since we were teenagers, and to go from Western Coventry to the Midnight Madness program at TIFF is a dream come true.”
Rhode Island is well represented in front of the camera as well. Many of the film’s stars are from New England with the majority being from the Ocean State.
For more information about this film email email@example.com.
The quaint village of Woods Hole on Cape Cod is perhaps best known as the stomping ground of scientists, Nobel laureates, and vacationers on their way to the islands, but every year during the last week in July and the first week in August the population swells to include a community of filmmakers and film goers involved in sharing stories and insights during the annual Woods Hole Film Festival, which at twenty- two years is the oldest film festival on Cape Cod and the islands.
The eight-day festival, which runs July 27-August 3, features an abundance of riches: five phenomenal filmmakers-in-residence, a record thirty-three narrative and documentary feature-length films, and nearly seventy narrative, documentary, and animated films. Besides the requisite film screening followed by a Q&A it features a rich selection of workshops and master classes with the filmmakers-in-residence, retrospectives, and panel discussions for the true film aficionado. The nightly parties at various restaurants at the water’s edge within walking distance of the screenings also offer lots of casual and relaxed “schmoozing” with filmmakers and fans and top-notch musical entertainment, including a kick-off concert featuring the John Jorgenson Quintet on Friday, July 26. Recently chosen to portray Django Reinhardt in the feature film HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, Jorgenson played guitar with Elton John’s band for six years and is often sought out by artists such as Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt and Earl Scruggs.
The festival also continues its tradition of showcasing and promoting the work of independent, emerging filmmakers, particularly those from or with connections to New England and Cape Cod. “We’ve stayed true to the vision of supporting emerging independent filmmakers,” says Judy Laster, the festival’s founder and executive director. “I think because we stayed true to this vision, it is a very attractive place for independent filmmakers, with many first-time filmmakers returning to the festival with subsequent films or as filmmakers- in-residence. After twenty-one years we have accrued a large and loyal alumni network.”
In fact, nearly twenty filmmakers are returning with their subsequent films this year. Based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher and set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Jay Craven’s (A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT) latest narrative feature, NORTHERN BORDERS, stars Bruce Dern and Genevieve Bujold as a quarreling couple who take their ten year-old grandson in with them with humorous and sometimes startling results (August 2). Boston-based Allan Piper (STARVING ARTISTS) returns with his award-wining documentary MARRIED AND COUNTING about a gay couple who celebrate their 25th year together by getting married in every state with legalized gay marriage (July 30). Festival favorite Bill Plympton returns with his latest animated short, DRUNKER THAN A SKUNK, an adaptation of Walt Curtis’s poem about a cowboy town that torments the local drunk (July 30).
Of the returning filmmakers, two are screening their first feature length films at the festival: Maria Agui Carter (CLEATS), a Boston-based multicultural filmmaker, presents her first feature documentary, REBEL, about a Cuban woman soldier and spy of the American Civil War (July 28), and Andrew Mudge (THE PERFECT GOOSEYS), whose entire body of short films were shown at the festival when he was living in Boston, presents the regional premiere of THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM, a narrative feature about returning to one’s roots that was shot entirely in South Africa and Lesotho (August 1). It is sort of a homecoming for Mudge who earned the distinction of being the first filmmaker to produce a feature-length film in Lesotho.
Even crew members connected to festival alumni make sure to put Woods Hole on their lists: Amir Noorani, the director of SHAYA, a narrative short about a tribal Pakistani family that is sent to live in Los Angeles as refugees, only to find life more challenging than in war-torn Pakistan, was an assistant editor on Justin Lerner’s (2011 Best of the Fest winner THE GIRLFRIEND) graduate thesis film.
Several filmmakers-in-residence are also returning to the festival after either presenting their films or attending as filmmakers-in-residence in previous festivals. Director James Mottern, who brought his first film, TRUCKER starring Michele Monahan to Woods Hole in 2010, returns to the festival to conduct two workshops, one on breaking into the film business and one on directing actors. He recently finished a Boston shoot of his second feature film, GOD ONLY KNOWS, starring Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, and Harvey Keitel and is currently prepping another performance-driven action-thriller set in New England. Documentary filmmaker Heidi Ewing (DETROPIA, JESUS CAMP) filmmaker-in-residence in 2011 and her co-director and co-producer Rachel Grady will conduct a workshop on DIY (do-it-yourself) film distribution, based on their experience self- distributing DETROPIA after they received less than satisfactory offers from distributors when the film premiered at Sundance in 2012.
Two additional filmmakers-in-residence are making their first appearance at the festival: Chicken and Egg Pictures and Working Films founder Judith Helfand, whose BLUE VINYL won the best cinematography award at Sundance in 2002, and Megan Sanchez-Warner, currently executive producer and show runner for “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” who will hold a workshop on storytelling in film and television.
A significant trend this year is films created by, within, and about communities. Oscar winner Ernest Thompson (ON GOLDEN POND), who works out of New Hampshire with a regular community of writers, actors, and producers, brings his group’s most recent effort, HEAVENLY ANGLE, to the festival on August 1, with Thompson and a number of the folks involved with the production in attendance. Set in a small town in New Hampshire, the film is about a down on his luck Hollywood film director who shows up to con the town’s mayor and residents into putting money into a movie he has no intention of making. NORTHERN BORDER’s Jay Craven, mentioned earlier, creates films that celebrate regional character and culture, most often that of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Similarly, Australian director Philip Crawford’s RITES OF PASSAGE was filmed over the course of three years in New South Wales, Australia and features the true stories of six individuals from the region in their struggle to grow up amidst a variety of problems, including homelessness and addiction (August 2). Each of these films enlisted their communities to participate in the filmmaking process. Stephen Silha, co-director and producer of the documentary BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON and formerly a reporter at The Christian Science Monitor in Boston, also communicates in his films about what makes communities and relationships work. BIG JOY illustrates the power of art and poetry to change lives, using the life and work of pansexual poet and filmmaker James Broughton as a lens (August 2).
Besides the filmmakers with New England connections mentioned earlier—such as Ernest Thompson, Jay Craven, Andrew Mudge, Allan Piper, Stephen Silha, and Maria Agui Carter— regional filmmakers, especially those with a Cape Cod connection, are represented in large numbers this year. Although her short film is set in Ireland, LAMBING SEASON writer and director Jeannie Donohoe was raised in Massachusetts and attended Dartmouth College; many of her producers and crew members either live near Woods Hole or are from New England. Boston University student Kristin Holodak’s KILLER, a narrative short about the dangers of waiting for a bus, features an entire cast of Boston actors.
Films made on the Cape or by Cape Cod filmmakers include: Cape born and bred Isaak James’s BY WAY OF HOME, a narrative feature shot in Brewster, Chatham and Provincetown about a woman who returns home to work in her family’s restaurant (July 29); Eastham- based on Joseph Laraja’s THE GOLDEN SCALLOP, a narrative feature about three finalists in the Golden Scallop contest on Cape Cod (July 27); Kristin Alexander’s MY NAME IS AL, the true story of a grizzly, old-timer named Al who started the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Dependency, a recovery program for doctors and dentists (July 28); Sky Sabin’s ART IS A VERB, a documentary short in which the filmmaker asks for advice from three of the most inspirational people she knows- -Stephan Connor, luthier and owner of Connor Guitars on the Cape, Martin Keen, founder of Keen Sandals and CEO of Focal Upright Furniture, and Mike Fink, professor and author at RISD (July 29); Natasha Kermani’s short documentary ATLANTIS EARTH, an artist’s interpretation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Atlantis voyage (July 29); and MASS DOLPHIN STRANDING, a short about 180 dolphins that were stranded on the Cape during winter 2012 (July 29).
Fans of George Romero won’t want to miss BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD, a documentary feature that demonstrates how Romero gathered an unlikely team of amateur actors from Pittsburgh—policemen, iron workers, teachers, ad-men, housewives, and a roller-rink owner—to be part of his revolutionary film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The film shows how the young Romero created a world-renowned horror film that also provided a profound insight into how society really works (July 27, August 2). Romero also has a cameo at the end of Matt Birman’s and Sam Roberts’s A FISH STORY, which stars Eddie McClintock (NBC’s Warehouse 13) as a fugitive on the run whose body becomes inhabited by the soul of a another man (July 27). Birman and Romero are old friends, as Birman has worked as a second unit director and stunt coordinator on Romero’s films since 2004. Birman and McClintock are in discussions to make an upcoming zombie movie under Romero’s aegis.
Screenings and events are held at a variety of venues—including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s modern Redfield Auditorium and the folksy Woods Hole Community Hall—with most taking place within walking distance of one another in compact Woods Hole. Getting around is easy and specific festival parking is available. Admission to screenings, panels and parties are $12 (ticket packages and full festival passes also available). Tickets are for sale online through the festival’s web site at www.woodsholefilmfestival.org on June 29, or at the box office during the festival. For more information, contact 508 495-3456 or <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.
The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) has announced Claire Folger as among six Still
Photographers that have been nominated to receive the award for “Excellence in Unit Still Photography for Motion Picture” for 2012. This award has only been offered since 2004 and is the only industry award that honors the work of Still Photographers.
The ICG Publicist Awards begun in 1964, honor excellence in publicity and promotion for the motion pictures and television programs and spotlight the work of union publicists. Recipients are selected in several different categories and are voted on by their peers in Local 600. No other event celebrates the importance of publicists’ contribution to the
IMAGINE contacted Claire who was on a shoot in Texas to congratulate her. “I got a message to call Steven Poster,” she said, “the president of the Cinematographers Guild, and he
congratulated me on my nomination. I thought he was talking about a nomination to be elected to our National Board, so we were both a little confused until I realized that he was talking about the Publicist’s Guild Award. I was completely shocked, it was something I
never expected, and then I became incredibly excited. I didn’t actually believe it until I saw it confirmed the next day online.”
Claire Folger is one of the most popular Still photographers we know. She has been shooting on independent movie sets in New England for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in IMAGINE and she has appeared on the cover of IMAGINE (see IMAGINE November 2005) When the Hollywood Studios were attracted by film tax credits she quickly became their go to Still Photographer in our region and since they have selected her for shoots everywhere. She shot the Stills for Ben Affleck’s THE TOWN in Boston and as a result also for Ben’s ARGO.
The 50th annual Publicists Awards is scheduled to take place on February 22nd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Tickets are selling out quickly.
Leadman – it’s one of those “what-the-heck-do-they-do?” film credits, like Best Boy or Key Grip, that rolls by at the end of every movie. Even some of us in the industry can be struck dumb when asked about it. So, for your convenience, here are two quick facts about the Leadman: 1 – The Leadman is responsible for dressing all the sets on a production. 2 – Despite the old-school Hollywood appellation, the Leadman is not necessarily a man.
I recently spent some time with Katrina Parsons, the only female Leadman currently working on union jobs in New England, about the skills, details and particulars that make up a Leadman.
Falling under the umbrella of the Art Department, the Leadman is directly supervised by the Set Decorator and is, in turn, the supervisor of the swing gang (another great title!) and/or set dressers. “It’s really an administrative job. On a typical movie I’m in charge of two trucks (three trucks or more on busy days) with Teamsters and set dressers driving around doing pickups and rental returns and getting all of the furniture/dressing to a given set. If I don’t do my job right there is nothing there to film.” (No pressure there.) In addition to scheduling, managing a crew, and working within a budget, the Leadman also needs a good eye for detail, a firm understanding of the story and characters plus an incredible resourcefulness and aptitude for creative problem solving.
Katrina worked her way up the art department ranks on the sets of ZOOKEEPER, EDGE OF DARKNESS, THE COMPANY MEN, PAUL BLART: MALL COP as well as many low-budget indies, TV movies, and commercials. Since becoming Leadman she has run a crew on the first thirteen episodes of BODY OF PROOF, the hit comedy TED and Sandra Bullock’s new movie THE HEAT, currently in post.
Generally, one doesn’t go to college with the dream of becoming a Leadman. It is one of those positions in the movie business that people find through any number of different avenues. Katrina grew up in North Reading, Massachusetts and attended Endicott College. With some forethought she decided to major in Communications, a degree that could lead to several possible career choices. “I wanted to be an artist, but not a starving artist,” she said, “and I wanted work experience and a resume when I graduated.” To that end Katrina took full advantage of Endicott’s strong internship program. In 2002 she was interning at Scout Productions in Boston when they were producing the pilot for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Preparing the apartment for that program would be Katrina’s first official taste of creative set dressing.
Following college Katrina spent the obligatory amount of time as a PA and toiled in many production offices as a coordinator, bookkeeper and auditor. But, those were all office jobs. “I could get an office job anywhere. Telling the story was the fun part, the creative part. That’s what you can’t get anywhere else.” She knew the art department would help her scratch that creative itch, but she had one requirement – “It had to be here in Boston, because this is my home.” This was at the same time Massachusetts enacted a new tax incentive that would attract the pecuniary eye of Hollywood. In 2006 Katrina joined I.A.T.S.E. Local 481 and began working on various shows as a set dresser and properties assistant.
These days Katrina is in charge of a crew and spends most of her time on the more mundane tasks of getting that crew and their trucks from here to there, but it is the time spent actually dressing the sets that Katrina still finds the most fun and rewarding. When it comes down to the small, fine details of the set, “That’s where I also get to play,” she says. “Let’s say it’s a bar. You put yourself in the position of the bartender. Where is the Direct TV box and remote? There should be a million business cards tacked up over here. It’s too clean. We need more bottles. We don’t have enough empties. That’s the fun part.” Other important considerations include how the set will actually look onscreen once it has been lit and making sure the actor(s) will be comfortable on the set. “You want the actor to walk in and feel that they can be their character in that place.”
Whether it’s filling the closets of a teddy bear with tiny suits on tiny hangers for a tentpole summer comedy or creating a “pig-shrine-of-death” for a low-budget Lifetime horror movie Katrina approaches every project as an artist first. “I do feel a responsibility to the integrity of the creative piece that is being put on the screen. At the end of the day it’s about the creativity and the beauty of the product. You are making art.”
What is next for Katrina Parsons? Winter is usually slow. She has been lucky enough to get about one show a year when Hollywood comes to town. She’s heard rumors that something might be happening in January, but so far they are still rumors. So she waits for the phone to ring.
But, Katrina is also looking past Leadman to the next phase in her career, which looks like it may be producing. Katrina has been working with long-time co-worker and friend Roger Danchik raising funds for a low budget horror movie Roger wrote called APOTHEOSIS. (Look it up.) They have made a trailer designed to give potential investors their idea of the look and feel of the film. “It’s got a total sci-fi/horror/thriller thing going on.”
Making films continues to be fun for Katrina. She still enjoys the challenge and charge of each new project, meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. “That’s the thrill of it that keeps you going. Every six months you’re doing a new job. My sister who is a dental hygienist would hate that. But, I like it.”
-Mike Sullivan studied film at Emerson College. Since then he spends
most of his time in edit rooms and movie theaters. He is currently Senior
Editor at Boston Productions, Inc. in Norwood.