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Post Sundance Euphoria

I’m back and armed with memories of the moments my life got changed. Will you indulge me as I address the highlights? I’ll actually focus on one day, because during this day there was an odd series of highlights that scrambled my grey matter and re-made me into a whole – new – guy.

January – twenty – seventh was an early morning because I was invited to sit on a Cinema Café panel moderated by John Nein, with fellow filmmakers Benh Zeitlin and Marialy Rivas. Ben made Beasts of the Southern Wild, which literally jumped inside my left ventricle and made my filmmaking heart continue to beat.

Marialy made Young and Wild, which aside from making want to be a teen girl in Chile, excited me in ways that are probably not super appropriate to talk about on this blog. I can’t really get into the details of the panel because hopefully Sundance will post video of it soon. What I am very excited about is the fact that I now know these two artists and we know each other’s work. I’m in debt to the festival for fostering an environment where artists can walk away with new artist friends.

AFTER THAT I went to the Sundance ASCAP Café, Sundance’s premiere music venue. I was lucky enough to perform my music there a few days before. I went back to the green room during the lineup on the 27th, my plan being to meet one of the musicians performing that day. I was trying to meet Flying Lotus, my favorite musician right now. Myself, my brother Nelson – Mandela, and one of my DP’s Matthew Bray were successful. It was great connecting with – let me re-iterate – my favorite musician since Stevie Wonder. Ironically his name is also Steve.

(Random thought: The score from Beasts of the Southern Wild was perfect, but I want to curate a “Cine-Concert” during which Flying Lotus does a live score for the film. I’d love to see what he brings to it.)

I didn’t see many movies at Sundance but the ones I saw changed my life, each in a specific way. I saw Middle of Nowhere after leaving the music café. I can’t express how proud I was of Ava after watching the film. It is truly an accomplishment and like Beasts an EXTREMELY refreshing look at Black culture. I was lucky enough to meet Ava at the festival and this triumph couldn’t have happened to a more gracious, deserving, and hard working woman.

January 27th 2012 may go down as the greatest day of all time. I may have to wait for marriage or some children to top it.

I screened my film for the last time at Sundance on the 28th, It was the end of a great run and the audience response was maybe the best of the festival. I must thank Sundance for the opportunity that changed everything, especially the programmers, coordinators, and volunteers. It was a great way to introduce my first feature film to the world and I will never forget the experience.

I also MUST thank Filmmaker Magazine and IFP. I am a proud alum of the IFP Narrative Rough Cut Lab and without the Lab experience I would not have finished the film. There would be no Sundance, Rotterdam, or subsequent release, just some video on a few G-RAID’s so thank you Amy, Rose, Scott, Gretchen, and all my fellow ’08 alums for your support in the long road to getting this thing done.

Also I’d like to thank my wonderful cast and crew: Cat Miles, Chanelle Pearson, James Bartlett, Nelson-Mandela Nance, Andrew Corkin, Matthew Bray, Shawn Peters, Hannah Buck, Namik Minter, Talibah Newman, MoCADA, Shanté, Shantrelle, EVERYBODY love ya’ll.

Till the next time. ONTO ROTTERDAM! (who has the greatest logo/laurels of all time)

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