Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh to appear less broke than I am...

If you are an indie filmmaker, more than likely you are struggling financially. It happens. But, you still have to put your best and most professional foot forward and not look like a disheveled mess when meeting people who might be able to help you along the way. Unless, of course they are trusted mentors or something but thats not what I mean.

After the Expo there was the VIP party in some chic Soho club. I had already bought my ticket to go. But then as I was wrapping up I heard rumors that there was a dress code at the party and freaked out. Id been working all day, I was in jeans and a buttons shirt and to make matters worse, I was wearing my Mary Jane MBT's with the girliest socks. Not so chic.

So, while wheeling my little suitcase full of left over display items, I pass a Body Shop store. And I realize they sell make up. Aha!
I go in and I want to at least freshen up my face, as that mornings makeup was gone or smeared. So i go in pretending to be interested in an item I already own (shimmery green eyeshadow) and ask if I can test it out. Got a whole make-over out of it! I even used their hair products to tame my messy unbrushed hair. I left in great terms with the girl who works there, claiming to be more interested in the purple than the green eyeshadow, but they were out of it, so I would try again another day.
I took off my girlie socks and went to the party. party was great and I doubt anyone would have really noticed if I was wearing socks or not but you never know. And better yet, I felt better and more confident knowing that I had freshend up a little before arriving.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The ShowBiz Expo NYC

I had though of some witty title to call this entry, since it is going to be about the ShowBiz Expo that I was at yesterday, but I forgot it. No matter.

So basically the ShowBiz Expo was a big room/hall at the Hilton with fair-style booths that were rented out to companies and organizations that offered services for the entertainment industry. There were also rooms which had seminars you could (pay to) go to, round table discussions where you could (pay to) meet others in your profession, a "film festival" of constant screenings and a cyber lounge which no one went to because even the girl at the door looked bored and warned those curious about the lounge that it was nothing but a bunch of empty tables and two computers.
What I had was an LCD screen on a clothed- table which was looping my promo. I decked out the table with my giganto post cards and my business cards and had a box for people to drop their business cards and join my mailing list.

I give the event in general a C+. It was like a film festival without the best parts of a film festival. It was flat and lacked the excitement and buzz of other events. It was mostly would-be actors trying to get noticed by casting directors and big shot producers that dont go to events like that. But whatever, I suppose. I got something out of it.

I met some good people, I had some good conversations, I got great advice, I traded business cards and I spread the word about my doc to many many more people. So I call the event in general a success.

Indie Film Boot Camp


phew what a weekend! After a week of working hard to make sure everything went smoothly for the events, the weekend started of on Saturday with Indie Film Bootcamp.

Sure, I was working and therefore getting paid for being there and helping, but it was quite the valuable seminar and I would have gladly paid to see it!

I think most valuable for me was to see Pete Chatmon's business plan and fund raising strategies for his movie Premium. Pete also put out some flyers advertising his services as a consultant for production and charges like $150 an hour. I am hoping to be able to take him out for coffee and pick his brain for free.

I really do want to start putting together that business plan. I started researching the success of similar documentaries, such as Manda Bala, but I stopped first of all because I need to watch more documentaries that are similar, and also because it was depressing how little money they made.

I was looking for documentaries that also dealt with Latin American topics but are not pro activism. For example Crude is a great documentary that got a lot of praise, but it also is all about "oil is bad" and people want to watch that.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Relief and Inspiration at IFpS2s

Today is the second and last day of the IFp's Script to Screen Conferences.

I came here with Joey, despite the fact that I am working on a documentary and this Conference is geared towards writer/directors. However, panelists and industry people still deal with more than one part of the industry so I still figured I could get something out of it.


First day here, guess who I of course ended up running into but Mr. Milton Tabbot, programmer of IFp. At first I was a little hesitant to go up to him. For some reason it has been awkward in the past because I seem to always see him at film events.

Anyway, we passed eachother in the hall and he actually stopped to talk to me. After a cordial hey-hows-it-going he said "You know what happened with the labs is that you only submitted the trailer!"

Indeed I had. The date to mail in the trailers came when I was away from New York and asked my editor Alan to send them in for me. There was a misunderstanding and he sent in only the 8-minute promo trailer and not the 40-minute assembled scene of the kidnapping. My application was incomplete!

I did not know how to feel when I found out my application was incomplete- better than I was not rejected because of lack of quality or stupid that I got rejected over my own mistake.

However Milton asked about the missing scenes. Said that the trailer looked good but he needed to see the scenes. Expressed interest in seeing them!

I felt a lot better. He had seen my cut, he had recognized it as mine and come to talk to me about it. They are just now starting to announce that submissions are being accepted for the Independent Film Labs in Sept. Deadline for early submission is May 7th. I am catching it at a great time to be totally prepared and they know who I am, that I am submitting, that I am committed and I might be able to get some notes beforehand.

Keep on truckin...

70lbs worth of postcards

There was panic on Friday. panic!

I was expecting all of my postcards from Overnight prints which I had to get to the Mariot on Sunday (today) in order for them to be included in the little gift bags. I find out at 730pm, after a pretty leisurely afternoon, that the boxes were delivered but for some reason, despite there being people home, no one went to get the door and the little notice they left said that they would re-deliver on Monday

Monday? No, i couldnt do Monday! I needed them NOW! So i call and get frustrated at the stupid automated voice of 1800-Ups or whatever, and finally talk to an "agent" who ultimately tells me that it cannot be re-delivered before Monday. But they would call me back.
they call me back and tell me that if I can get to their office in the Bronx before 9pm I could pick them up. SIGH

So we did, Joey and I, and got lost and only found the office in this hidden alley hidden by the High Way in the Bronx thank to his Iphone's gps. Aaand then we had to carry 70lbs worth of post cards to some corner where a Car might find us.

Then today I realized that they do not have to be in until NEXT weekend....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ok, So, what else can I apply to?

Ok, I didnt get into Tribeca All Access.
*breath in... breath out*

Thats ok. It was the first year I applied and everyone is poor this year so more people are applying for grants instead of looking for investors.

But there are other things to apply to and other funds to seek:

Latino public Broadcasting Open Call: deadline is June 1st- perfect!

Cinergia- I didnt apply at the end of '08 because my family was going to trial and life was too hectic. Applications for this opened three days ago and go through July 16.

McArthur Foundation?

Sundance Documentary Grant is unfortuanatly closed for the Spring. :( deadline was Feb 9, which I could have made but lamenting wont help. They will open up applications again in June or July and I will apply then.

From The Heart
(question mark?)

more later

Tribeca All Access

Dear Christa,

Thank you for applying to the Tribeca All Access program. Over the past seven years, we have seen a positive increase in submissions and industry participation, making it more competitive each year. As a result, we’ve had a tremendous response from filmmakers this year, which made the selection process harder. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that your project, The View From Bellas Luces, was not chosen for the program this year.

We recognize that it is not an easy task to make a film and especially in today’s world. We’ve selected 20 U.S. based filmmakers out of 450+ submissions resulting in rejecting several projects and filmmakers we genuinely see the need to support. We are working towards creating new initiatives and innovative opportunities at the Tribeca Film Institiute to address the needs and concerns of today’s filmmakers. We strongly urge you to continue to develop your career and check back with us throughout the year on upcoming events and opportunity. Also, submissions for the 2011 Tribeca All Access program will be open again in September 2010.

Please note that unfortunately we are not able to give feedback to every project.

We wish you the best of luck and we hope to hear from you again soon.

Kind Regards,

Tamir Muhammad

Director|Tribeca All Access

CC: Dhwani Patel, Filmmaker Coordinator

Ekwa Msangi Omari, Industry Coordinator

Chloe Walters-Wallace, Program Assistant

Monday, March 15, 2010

New applications- Moving On

FIRST OF ALL- I almost posted this up on the wrong blog! Ah! since I have access to both this and the Down & Dirty DV blog and they are both under my gmail/blogger account I clicked "new post" on the wrong one and didnt notice until i TRIED TO pUBLISH IT but some random error and stroke of luck didnt let me. Good god that would;ve been bad!

Ok ok, so I didnt get into ifp. i wrote a couple of letters to Mr. Tabbot and Ms Vincelli but Joey intervened and pointed out that it wasnt the best idea to send them. Sigh. so i didnt. BUT

big things coming up.

I just finished my application to Fledgeling Fund. It is a foundation that gives money to projects that are socially relevant and have some sort of message. My only concern is that they also give a lot of money to other foundations including Chicken & Egg. And they ask what other programs am I applying to? Well, for better or worse I listed Chicken & Egg. I hope they are not mutually exclusive!

But still coming up soon is the ShowBiz Expo. I got an email that the postcards are printed and on their way in two separate packages weighing 52 and 14 lbs. yey.

I also bought some things at Staples to jazz up my little area at the Expo. I got a little desk businescard holder, a pamphlet/postcard holder, a little box like the ones where you put change in at mc donalds to support child diabeties or whatever that has a slot on top and a space for a sign and has a lock so that what goes into the slot can only be opened with the key. I will use that for a "join my mailing list" box for people to drop business cards in. And a postcard holder that swirls to display my cards

someone recommended i have candies at my stand. So i might do that. Mints or something.

Oi, this expo is costing me.
While the event is free to go to it cost me $99 to get my postcards put into all of the gift bags and another $60 for my screening booth area thing.
the things at staples were like $30
The postcaards cost me like $350 with shipping. I should have done it here in manhattan so as not to have to pay shipping... wait, as i type that i remember that i looked up some places and it srelaly came out to be about the same.

And now i am going to buy candy.. oh and i still need posters.
I really really hope something good comes of this...

Friday, March 12, 2010

For every 9 rejections....

For every 9 rejections you get 1 positive result.. Sayings like this go around a lot in film school and in independent film because, guess what, you get rejected a lot. Their loss, right? Twenty-third one's a charm? Next time you'll get 'em!
None of them make it easier to swallow.

March 12, 2010

RE: The View From Bellas Luces

Dear Christa Boarini,

Thank you for your submission to IFP’s Documentary Independent Filmmaker Lab. We regret to inform you that your project, The View From Bellas Luces, has not been one selected.

Please be assured that all submitted projects were reviewed by the IFP Lab Screening Committee. This year we had more submissions than ever, and it was a very competitive application process, with numerous strong projects not selected. Final decisions were based on a range of criteria, including the project’s stage of completion at this time and the perceived ability for each project to benefit from the Lab.

Thank you again for your application and interest. We wish you the best of luck on your project and look forward to seeing your work in the future.


Milton Tabbot, Sr. Director, Programming, IFP

Rose Vincelli, Program Manager, IFP

Just to add to my disa
ppointment is the fact that Mr. Milton Tabbot has known about this documentary since the first time I ever publicly announced that I was taking my short film, A Return on their Sacrifice, and making it a feature that told the story of my mom's kidnapping and Maximon's involvement.
I have seen Mr. Tabbot in event after event after event during the last two years, I have emailed him about my doc, I have asked for advice. Sigh. This is third time I get turned down by an IF
p program. Better luck next time, I guess....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Presentation at NYU¡¡

Those are upside down... I am on a friends computer and she apparently has the spanish keyboard settings.

Anyway I just finished my talk for the NYU PostProduction Colloquium Class. It went over very very succesfully¡ I was very nervous at first, I couldnt get my hands on a camera, I didnt feel that prepared.

But it went over quite smoothly, they asked questions, they seemed interested, they liked the material. I was able to answer all of their questions.

I will be editing together some of the appearance and posting in on the blog. Stay tuned for updates¡

New Postcards On Their Way

I just ordered 2,500 Postcards from Turns out theyre cheaper than VistaPrint.

Check them out:


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

One of my best friends and my voice of reason answered my "WTF do I do with Twitter" dilema. (Id love it if all the comments I get showed up on the blog for others to read and realize that there are readers of the blog that have comments, but I write something on blogger and it shows up everywhere and so I get an email response, or a comment on the Google Buzz thing, or a facebook wall post or a tweet or one of so many different mediums I am now following that it is dizzying!)

In any case, I thought I would share her comment:

"you can connect twitter to facebook, and reach people both on twitter and facebook. Find people in film and stuff and follow them, learn about what they do, and get a few of these people to friend you and then overwhelm them with pertinent messages."

Will do!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I have a twitter... Now what?

Yey, so I now have a twitter. @BellasLuces

I am following Alan my editor, my aunt, the IFC and a few others. But I am not entirely sure how I am supposed to use it for my own devices.
It has been hard enough getting the blog running.. how do I make the blog appear on Twitter? Is that wise?

i was asking some people at NYU about it and pete Chapmon recommended I read this article in the NYTimes:

It didnt really help. So, if anyone has suggestions of how to use Twitter or Tweets to follow, let me know!

Christa will be at the NYC ShowBizExpo!

The ShowBix Expo is an event that happens in both LA and NY to bring everyone in the business together in a sort of "fair" that has booths and seminars and parties and mingling.


Yes free, so if you are in NYC on March 28th and are interested in film at all, REGISTER TO ATTEND HERE!

Amongst the booths featuring new technologies and production companies, there will be a section of screening booths for filmmakers. And among them will be The View From Bellas Luces!

Also, if you are attending and get a little gift bag, LOOK INSIDE and you will see an oversized TVFBL postcard in there! Hurray for publicity.

So come one come all, and you will be able to see the screening of the 8-minute promo for The View From Bellas Luces that was made for investors and fundraising purposes only and will never be released to the general public or online.

Here are some thumbnails of previous Expo's:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I am watching you...

I love looking at this graph. This is the graph that one of my traffic tracking websites gives me to show me the traffic for my blog. I mean, it is modest traffic and considering most people get their updates on facebook, I am not surprised the numbers there are low and the numbers for my website show traffic is higher too.

But these are they ways I see how many of you out there see all this stuff. In the past few weeks that I have really been making a push on Facebook and in person there has been a lot of activity. It is amazing to me to see the whole social networking thing really take off!

I use but I also recently discovered Google Analytics and thats very good and intuative. And of course, Constant Contact for the email newslblast that tells me who opened it when and how many times and who opted out etc.

So while it is creepy in a way that I can see who opened my emails and how many people went to my site, it is always flattering to see the numbers increase and it warms my heart to see people spreading the word.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It really is a pretty view...

I have been so psyched about my new site that I look at it all the time. I cut my knuckles a few times figuring out how to do that on Dreamweaver and upload it and get the damn favicon to appear.

And just now, while talking about something else I saw the header with that amazing shot of the view on it and had to stop and think just how breathtaking that view really is. And how much I miss seeing it for real.

BRAND NEW WEBSITE!!! Read all about it!

Did you see? Did you hear? Did you notice!?

The new website is up!

This time it actually has crew bios, pictures of the people involved, pretty new buttons that I made myself in photoshop (hey, for someone who didn't know photoshop before, I did a pretty good job!).

Now also you can sign up to the mailing list directly from the website (so if you have not signed up already, do so now. It's only one email a month).

And now any Facebook followers of my Blog through Networked Blogs will appear straight on the website too! So FOLLOW THIS BLOG to see a thumbnail sized photo of you on my main site that proudly makes you my fan √


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Making Changes, Making Progress!

As you may have noticed, the look of this blog has changed yet again. That is for the greater good!
Now it looks integrated into the new official website!

Ha! You can't see it yet because I have not yet uploaded it. But trust me, it is pretty cool. It actually has content in all pages except for the "Media" page but I will fix that soon.

I was in a rush to finish the website, not just because my Dreamweaver and photoshop trials end within a few weeks, but because I am about to finish my application or "Letter of Inquiry" to Chicken & Egg productions Finishing Funds! Woohoo I actually have things to say in most of their boxes! Anyway, I wanted them to see the new website after I submit.

Anyway, I have a good feeling. I wanted to go watch Judith Helfand's doc at the IFC's Stranger Than Fiction series, since she is one of the spearheads of Chicken & Egg pics, and she was going to be there speaking. But I was so pooped after putting out postcards for the Indie Film Bootcamp that I didn't make it.

Ill post some snippets of the Letter of Inquiry here since it asks you to describe some interesting aspects of your film.