I was informed last night by the Film Racing web site that our entry into the 24-hour film race last month took home not one, but two juried awards!
I want you to take a good look at the picture at the top of this post. That is Mike Burns, and he deserves every little bit of the best leading actor award that he won. He was incredibly dedicated, going so far as to rub raw onion in his eyes between takes to keep the tears coming, and sold his character with true sincerity. Most of us had not met him before 8:00 on the morning of the shoot, but he just walked on set and wowed us all. It was a pleasure directing him.
This is the first time one of my actors has taken home a performance award, and I have to say that it feels really, really good. So good, in fact, that I didn’t notice until just now that there was a best direction award and that we didn’t win that, but I could care less. To paraphrase Robert Altman, I don’t know what a “best director” is. What reflects on the director is the quality of performance and the overall production. And yes, I’m riding on Mike’s coattails for the duration on this one, but it gives me quite a thrill to think that maybe my direction had even a slight impact on this award.
We also took first runner-up for best film, which isn’t quite the same as winning best film but still means a lot, considering that ours was the most depressing film of the entire festival. We couldn’t fall back on a joke to sell the thing. We had to make it really good. And it is. I am in awe of what we accomplished, and I think it is our duty to shop this around to a few more festivals to get it some more exposure.
My thanks to all involved: to Parker, for netting me into doing this and the terrific job he and Matt did lighting and shooting the film, to Ethan, for keeping us all on track and making sure nobody got too carried away, to Ella for grounding us in reality, to Bobby and Mike for tremendous performances, and to the rest of the team for telling Matt and me that we couldn’t do a movie with psychedelic bananas on strings (really).