The Spirit Of Independents

So, here we are. It’s Tuesday. The official kick-off day for the Borderlands Film Festival, of which I am one of the organizers. Everything is in readiness. Our opening night film is queued up, along with 80-something other films, spread out over six days of independent film, workshops, seminars, ceremonies and parties. Tickets are on sale now. Fingers are crossed. I’m very excited to be involved in this little venture and hope I can do my partners proud. I also hope I’m up for it.

Five years ago, around this time, I wrote an article about the White Sands International Film Festival called, simply, Essential Viewing. This was before I took over as Artistic Director for that ill-fated venture. I was still very new to the hands-on part of the film industry, having made my mark as a public relations minion for the studios, back in the day. It took a move back to my native New Mexico to truly get me “into” filmmaking. I have a lot of people to thank for that, but none were as instrumental as my friend Kent Harkey, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m pretty sure I’ve already documented this here, somewhere. Just thought I would mention it again.

The WSIFF is no longer, sadly, having been replaced by the slicker, more sensational Las Cruces International Film Festival. I had real plans for that festival, but it wasn’t meant to be. Politics intervened. I won’t go into the details of the underhanded ways in which one festival was crushed to give birth to another’s vanity project. Having attended the “new” festival, I have found its slavish devotion to celebrity to be somewhat distasteful. What happened to the filmmakers? You know, the people who make a film festival possible? Let’s just let it suffice to say, the battle for independents is still being waged to this day.

BFF_Founders Photo_NB
The gentlemen with whom I share this honor, my partners Dave Witt and Michael Evans.

In fact, the goal of my partners and I with the Borderlands Film Festival is to return to those original roots. To remind people what film festivals are really about – the filmmakers, NOT the celebrities. Which makes that five-year old-article timely once again. I’m not one to reinvent wheels. Read that post and you’ll know how I feel about independent film, the festivals that celebrate it and the importance of community attendance. Perhaps not as strongly as I once did. Having lost a few battles and understanding the minds of those who oppose us, I’m a lot warier than I was five years ago. Time will tell whether or not I feel the same way next week,

Which is an interesting segue into the fact that my latest feature, Lady Belladonna’s Tales From The Inferno debuts this Friday evening, too. Will people come out to see it? I don’t know. Friends, acquaintances and peers have been invited. I never feel as though I’ve done enough to prepare and promote, this time is no exception. Still have posters and flyers to get out, social media skills to brush up on, a practiced smile to prepare. None of which will guarantee a good turn out. Five years later and there are still no guarantees. So much for building an industry here.

Two wonderful reasons to catch Lady Belladonna’s Tales From The Inferno: Tawnya Bass and Donny Prosise, as the Dark Lady and her long-suffering minion, Addy.

I was asked over the weekend if I would be making another movie soon, by an actor friend whom I have directed in the past. Without hesitation, my answer was no. I didn’t even have to think about it. I’ll be flogging this movie and others produced by PRC Productions for the rest of the year and well into the next. I’ll be taking a break from directing for a while. It’s hard work and, so far, the returns have been minimal. Concentrating on distribution, marketing and getting my health back in order will be my new pursuit for a while.

I am currently under strict orders not to overdo it. That will make the week interesting. Lots of people depending on me. Ordinarily I’d be stressed, but orders are orders. It’ll be my first full week working since my guts were zapped with protons. My insides are much better, but I’m still not at 100 percent. I still tire easily and have urgency issues. Not sure I’m ready, but the show must go on. And, as I said earlier, I’m very excited that it’s finally here.

Once more into the fray. I shall face it proudly and with every ounce of energy I can muster. It’ll be very interesting to see what my thoughts are after the hoopla has died down. The jury is still out as to whether or not Las Cruces is ready for a real commitment to film. I’m not feeling particularly optimistic, right now. Excited, yes, but the pragmatist in me is in a wait and see pattern. We’ll see how many familiar faces I see, coming out to offer support. Deep breath, Dave. Your future is being determined, whether you’re ready or not.


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