Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Big Deal screens in Boston

The Big Deal is screening on 11/22 - 8:50pm @ The Boston Latino International Film Festival

BLIFF 2011 Closing Program
US Latino Program (education & adolescence)
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Hispanic/Latino and the Latin American Caucuses Harvard University – Kennedy School of Government
Weiner Room
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snip Snip - New Cut of The Big Deal

The original cut was almost 14 minutes long and the new cut is almost 9 minutes long. I applied to 10 festivals, got into four and won the 2011 Imagen Award for Best Theatrical Short.

Friends and family were surprised that me, their favorite optimist would be so devastated by this. Of course I am grateful for the festivals the film has screened at and winning the Imagen Award BUT, I want more for The Big Deal. My team and I worked too long and too hard on this film to have the film’s life end there.
I am a dreamer, an optimist and I am proactive. If I was  an optimistic dreamer without the hard work supporting those dreams then I would be very happy with the small successes that The Big Deal has been showered with. I worked too hard and too long putting this film together for me to be happy with just that.

The film has been well received by the audience but it was rejected by 6 of the 10 festivals.  I kept asking myself why. I asked some filmmaker friends for feedback and I think they were being polite because not one of them gave me the answer I needed.  
As luck would have it, one of my friends was raving about a book she had read and the book changed EVERYTHING.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Broad Humor

The Big Deal will screen on Saturday, October 1st, 2011  at the Broad Humor Film Festival. The film is screening in the Food & Family Program at 1:00pm.

The primary venue for the festival is the  Electric Lodge Performing Arts Center at 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, California 90291.

I hope to see you there.



Monday, August 15, 2011

My Reel

Here's a link to my director reel - the second scene is my favorite scene from The Big Deal. This was the last scene we filmed, we did three takes even though we nailed it on the first. The last scene is from Love Song, my first film. Enjoy.
Lucy Rodriguez Filmmaker Reel

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Imagen Award Winner Best Theatrical Short - The Big Deal

I am beyond words right now. All I can say is follow your dreams - I'm following mine and it feels great.
I met so many inspirational people tonight.  I share this award with my friends, family, the cast, the crew, my Mateo and my Chicana Role Model, Michele Serros.

Now back to work on preproduction for The Brown Widow and Alone.



That's me with Esai Morales who won Best Actor for Gun Hill Road - the film also won Best Picture

Friday, August 12, 2011

Imagen Awards Tonight

I'm super excited and I can't believe it's finally here. Any excuse to get dressed up is a good one. My husband and I are going to make a date night out of it. I wish my sister was coming with us but she's filming an episode of Against the Wall (Lifetime) in Toronto. I'm looking forward to meeting all the nominees.  It is an honor to be in such great company.

I'm currently writing the next short - The Brown Widow, my first horror script my sister and I will be producing and I will be directing. We've cast the film  (now we need to ask the actors) but they are our friends and we know they will jump on board - more on that soon. Ona doesn't want to be in it,  she wants to focus on the producing aspect. We are projecting an end of year shoot and then Alone in NYC either April or late June of 2012.

I'm developing two feature scripts and I'm looking to option one that's ready for production. I'm also taking a writing class at UCLA and contemplating enrolling in one of their certificate programs. I'm undecided whether I should go for the screenwriting program or the creative writing nonfiction program.  I need to make sure I can juggle this along with my full time job and still have time for directing classes with Judith Weston.

I'm looking forward to tonight. I'm so grateful for the reception this film has received.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grateful & Humbled

The Big Deal finally made it home to Los Angeles. We had a great screening at the Egyptian Theater. The film was part of the Family program at the 15th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

Pretty much everyone who is dear to me, people I consider my west coast family was there. I am humbled by the support this film  has received. It was very gratifying to have people tell me how much they enjoyed the film. I let a sigh of relief when the audience was laughing and clapping. It was a gratifying moment.

The Big Deal shared the screen with amazing films from Spain and Latin America. I was able to meet the other female director Bel Armenteros, her wonderful film Sin Palabras was very inspirational. I think we were both ready to die and go to heaven when we got a chance to speak with director Fernando Trueba. His kind words were encouraging.

I am so grateful for getting the chance to work with such a gifted group of people, my cast and crew are like family to me. None of this would be possible without the support of Michele Serros.

I'm looking forward to the closing night gala of the festival and then it's back to pre-production on Alone & The Brown Widow.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Screening Times for the Los Angeles Premiere

The Big Deal will premiere in Los Angeles at the 15th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. The film will screen at the Egyptian Theater on Monday, July 18th at 7:30pm and again on July 19th at 3:30pm.

I am super excited to attend the gala tomorrow night. I planned my carmageddon avoidance route to make it to the red carpet on time. I am wearing a gorgeous black dress and my husband got me really nice earrings and  a matching ring to go with my outfit.

I can't believe that eight months ago I was in pre-production. There was a time when it felt like the film would never get done. The production was challenging but we got through it and now we get to celebrate.

I am grateful for my amazing cast and crew. Especially my sister who was such a help in producing this film with me. We are planning our next two projects. Not sure which one will happen first.

There's Alone, which I've spoken about and we are putting together our short horror film, The Brown Widow.

This week we will party and next week we will get back to preproduction on Alone and The Brown Widow.

I will post pictures so stay tuned.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Imagen Award Nomination

The Big Deal has been nominated for an Imagen Award in the Best Theatrical Short film category. Check out the link below to see all the nominees - I'm proud to be sharing the honor with so many talented and prolific people.

I'm currently in NYC scouting locations for the next project. I'll post some pictures so you can get an idea of how amazing this film is going to be.

Onward & Upward.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

We're Going to Ventura

The Big Deal will play at The Ventura Film Festival July 8-16. The story takes place in Ventura, the characters (based on Michele and her family) still reside there. I can't wait to meet them.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Next Project – Alone

The script was inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name. The story is about a thirteen year old Latina who is plagued by thoughts of suicide.
I got great notes from an industry professional on my short script. Her notes were very specific and helpful. I am currently revamping the script and hope to have it ready for her to re-read and give me more feedback.
I will be location scouting in Washington Heights (uptown Manhattan) at the end of June. There’s a lot of ground to cover. I need to find a Catholic school that will let me film in one of their classrooms and in the office of a guidance counselor. Hopefully, I will be able to use kids from the school and have them wear their uniforms. The other locations are an apartment, a therapist office (maybe can use a room in the school that can be dressed to look like one), permits to shoot in Riverside Park (Washington Heights) and inside the Little Red Lighthouse.
The main purpose of the trip is to get community support, secure locations, and charm the powers that be so I can get the school and the lighthouse.
I need to come up with a realistic budget and a strategy to raise the money. I want to have enough money so that I can have my Big Deal crew with me in New York.
Working on this script has made me terribly home sick. I love living in Los Angeles but New York will always be home. I can’t wait for production to begin.
In the meantime, here’s a list of things I’m looking forward to this summer:
My sister in law Peggy Hanley becoming Peggy Hanley-Dzida on June 26, 2011
Location scouting trip to NYC – possibly two trips this summer
Celebrating my first wedding anniversary to the wonderful Matt Hanley
The Los Angeles premiere of The Big Deal at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
I have to say that life is pretty great, I am grateful that the hard work does pay off.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Los Angeles Premiere

The Big Deal has been selected by The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). The festival will take place from July 15-17, 2011. I will update as soon as I have a date and time.

I hope to see you all there.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Waiting to hear from festivals

I spent the last six weeks participating in the Actor/Director Labs at Two Light Studio. I presented four scenes, the first one was from my next film, Alone (more on that on the next blog).

I was not able to attend the premiere of The Big Deal in Austin. My family came to visit me and they arrived the night the film played. I was a little sad that I could not attend but I was happy to see my mom, my sister and my niece.

On May 9th, I was able to see the film in front of an audience, the film screened at Two Lights Studio with five other great films. It was a fantastic feeling to see the film with an audience. The response was even better than what I was expecting.  I workshopped scenes from The Big Deal at the Actor/Director Labs. Some of the actors  who participated in the workshops came to show their support. I felt so humbled that they were invested enough in the work we did to come and see the film.

Today, I'm on my way to my first rehearsal for Alone. In the meantime, I wait to hear from festivals that want to screen The Big Deal.


Friday, April 1, 2011

World Premiere

I am thrilled to let you all know that "The Big Deal" will premiere at The 14th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival in Austin, TX. The festival runs from April 21-28, 2011. I will keep you all posted. If you are in Austin or know people in the Austin area, please spread the word.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Catching Up

Sorry for the long absence. I took "time off" to catch up with life. Last year was a super busy/crazy whirlwind of a year. In December 2009 my car was stolen while I was spending the Christmas holidays in NY. I found the car two weeks later a few blocks away from my house. I was relieved that I did not have to spend money on a new car. In March 2010, my place got broken into w/out any sign of forced entry. The police felt that someone had the key to my place. Matt came over that night from his place in Costa Mesa and changed my locks. I did not feel safe because my bedroom window was huge (from floor to ceiling) and it was pretty easy to open from the outside. I moved out as soon as I could.

I got a great apartment a few blocks from the beach. The cost of moving was expensive and the rent was higher than my previous rent. The Big Deal was supposed to shoot in early May but due to the move and having to replace my MacBook, the film got pushed to December. Matt and I got married in July, we went on our honey moon in late August and then went to Dominican Republic in November. As you know from reading this journal, I shot The Big Deal in December.

The rest of December and January was spent finishing up the movie. I threw my back out in mid January and after it healed I got the flu for about two weeks and then my back went out again! Turns out I had a pinched nerve. Last week I got a cortisone shot. I'm finally healing and will be able to start working out again.  I believe that things happen for a reason and in this case, the reason was that my body needed a break. In the last six weeks I've read, watched movies and have been cooking pretty regularly. In that time, I did not do much writing or anything pertaining to my next project. I have to admit, the "rest" felt good but now it's time to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty again.

I don't like sharing too much personal information but the point of this blog is to tell it like it is. It's not easy for me to make films while I work full time. Sometimes, I wish the days had 36 hours because maybe then, I could get through my "to do" list.  I like my day job and I am grateful that in a time when so many are out of work I have a great job that pays for my art.

I am starting pre-production on my next film. I have the two main parts cast. I start a new directing workshop at Judith Weston's next week to workshop "Alone".

 My goal is to make Alone and two more shorts before I direct my feature film. I am outlining the script and will start writing the script after I complete Judith's class. I know it sounds crazy but ideally, I'd like to shoot my feature when I'm on maternity leave sometime in 2013.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Festival Submissions

I spent about $350 on festival submission fees, that's the quickest $350 I've spent online shopping. I used for six of the seven submissions. Some festivals were more expensive than others. There were two festivals that I applied close to the final deadline and those fees were $50 & $75. It's almost like playing the lottery in the sense that you are spending money without the guarantee that you'll win anything. At least the lottery costs $1!

I chose festivals that I hope will embrace the diversity of The Big Deal. I think the story is universal and most people will find it easy to relate someone in their family to someone in the film. The cast is Latino but that story would have worked with any ethnic group. I think every family has a Tia Alma.

Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picture Lock

I will pick up the hard drive from the editor this weekend. We used two drives, one for the master footage and one for back up. You should always have at least one extra drive to back up your media.

Brian Sorbo (my gaffer) will do the color correction and the sound mix. Yes, the man has many talents.  I am hoping to have it all done in two weeks or less, depending on Brian's schedule.

In the meantime, I am planning my next film, see previous post for more info. I have the two main parts cast and I know who I want for the other roles.

I am very excited about the speed with which things are progressing. I want to shoot my feature film in 2012. I have an idea of what I want to do so I need to start outlining the new script.

Thank You all so  much for reading the blog and following the progress of the film.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Almost Time for Picture Lock

I gave my final notes to the editor today. We will lock picture sometime this week (when all changes to the film cut have been done and approved). Next step is sound mixing and color correction.

I am happy with the cut and I hope you all enjoy the fruits of our labor. I'm in a bit of shock, it's hard to believe this moment is finally here. This process has been so much easier in comparison to the hurdles we went through and are currently going through for Love 10 to 1 (the feature film I co-directed with two other female directors in 2008). As I said before, I went to film school making Love 10 to 1 and the experience has paid off.

I am planning pre-production on my next film, my last short before I jump on my feature film. I will begin preproduction on Alone at the end of January. I can't believe it's two weeks away. The film is named after an Edgar Allan Poe poem that inspired me to write the script.

Alone is about a twelve year old Latina who is bullied in school and abused at home. She is plagued by thoughts of suicide and seeks refuge in an unlikely place. I wrote the script in 2009. I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits and Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies. I was in a dark place emotionally, what came out was a very personal script, some based on me (the bullying), the rest, based on statistics about the rate of Latina girls and suicide. I equate the writing of Alone with walking naked in Times Square. It was a challenging script to write.

The film takes place in New York. I will shoot the interiors in Los Angeles and the exteriors in NYC. I wish I could afford to shoot in NY but crew costs more there and I can't afford to pay for travel and lodging for the entire cast and crew.

I am putting some thought into my crowd funding campaign...



Sunday, January 9, 2011

First Cut

Yesterday, I was able to watch my editor's assembly cut of The Big Deal. It's hard to describe my feelings and emotions as I watched the first cut of the film.  Something I've been working on for the last two years has finally come to fruition. I need to give some minor notes to the editor, I am happy that she was able to find the story and shape my vision.

I'm glad my husband was able to share the experience with me. He watched it as an audience member and laughed a lot. I watched it looking for ways to make it better. I've watched it over twenty times by now, composing my notes.

Today, I threw my back out and I've been on the floor or couch, munching on vicodin and ibuprofen. Matt and I were supposed to go shopping and run errands but I've been home all day. At least The Big Deal has been a good companion.

I am very proud of the film I see taking shape before me. I hope the cast, crew, Michele and fans of the book share my pride and enthusiasm.

Throughout this whole process I've never stopped saying Thank You and letting the universe know how grateful I am for this opportunity.

I can't wait to share this film with the world.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Workshopping The Big Deal

Back in 2007 I won a fellowship to Film Independent’s Project:Involve. PI (as it’s often referred to) is Film Independent's signature diversity program, dedicated to increasing diversity in the film industry by cultivating the careers of under-represented filmmakers.

The program offers its fellows the opportunity to attend panels/seminars hosted by industry professionals. One of the people who spoke to us was director Billy Ray. He was kind, generous and a really nice guy. He told us of his path as a director and shared his experiences directing his first film, Shattered Glass. One of the most important resources Billy shared with us was his secret weapon to being a good director; her name is Judith Weston.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Adapting "The Big Deal"

I have a deep admiration and appreciation for a great book.  When Michele Serros gave me the OK to adapt “The Big Deal”, one of the chapters from her LA Times Best Seller book, How To Be A Chicana Role Model, I was flattered, grateful and scared. I wanted to make an adaptation that was true to the story Michele wrote.

I’ve reluctantly come to understand the need for a screenwriter to change things to make a book more cinematic, visually stimulating and/or to tell the story better. As a filmmaker, I had a responsibility to tell the story in the best way possible and as a fan of the book (one of my favorite books of all time) I wanted to see a film that was true to the story in the book. 

I wrote about 10 drafts of the screenplay. The first few drafts had Michele’s voiceovers (as they appear in the book) and in the last 5 drafts I did away with them. Everyone who gave notes on the script told me to get rid of the voiceovers and figure out another way to convey that information. It was hard to get all the juicy tidbits in the script without those voiceovers.  So I made the first change.