Happy August to you all… Just wanted to give some updates on the screenings front.
So, I’m delighted to say that this film did in fact have its world premiere screening yesterday afternoon at the Strong Chance Film Festival
in Brooklyn, NY. The entire festival was a delightful experience, and
I’m so grateful to the festival for selecting this documentary for
inclusion in this year’s slate.
Looking ahead, I was contacted by the organizer of the Sweet Life (Dolce Vita) Film Festival
in Agropoli, Italy, that the documentary is an Official Selection for
this year’s event, being held August 10-14. I don’t have the exact
screening date/time yet, as their schedule (at the time of this posting) has only been released for the first day’s worth of screenings.
And moving into September, CAPTIVATED is also an Official Selection at this year’s Lost River Film Festival,
in San Marcos, TX. This is the fourth year of the festival, which is
held simultaneously across three different venues for a great variety of
programming. Our screening will be at the San Marcos Public Library location, at 10AM on Saturday September 11.
The screening will be free for all who may wish to attend. (Their
website schedule will be updated with this year’s schedule in the next
week or two.)
If the laurel for Lost River FF seems unusual, it’s because the
traditional olive branches have been replaced with diving mermaids. From
their message to me: “Our laurels are
comprised of a pair of mermaid tales, as this magical underwater being
is San Marcos’ mascot with a storied history in our spring-fed river,
which emerges from our downtown and flows 260 miles to the Gulf of
I hope this message finds you all well! I bring some good news… We’ve gotten in our first month’s returns on film festival submissions, and while some of you may have already seen these updates on our Facebook page, I wanted to put out a formal update.
1) CAPTIVATED: THE ALLURE OF CARNIVOROUS PLANTS (2021) is now listed on IMDB. (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14636936/reference) The credits listed there should be complete, but if you find that your name is missing or misspelled, do let me know and I’ll work on getting it corrected. (Those of you with businesses will be listed under either Production Companies or Other Companies.)
4) …but the greatest news of all, for me personally, is that our film is an Official Selection for this year’s Strong Chance Film Festival, a film festival in its 3rd year in Brooklyn, NY, screening this August, with details to follow. I’ll be in attendance, and am very excited as this will be our first official screening! I’ll have more info on SCFF and our screening there, soon… More to follow as events develop…
I’m delighted to report that the film is done. The final version is rendering in 1080p overnight, as we speak. My thanks to the principal subjects, whose feedback over the past week helped to introduce a number of minor tweaks to the film.
With the tweaks, the runtime shortened by about four seconds, but
it’s still clocking in at just over 78 minutes. I’ve started a project
page on FilmFreeway and will upload the full render tomorrow for
festival submissions, and will be reaching out to a few other possible
venues to see if anybody would be interested in screening it.
Once screenings start, we’ll have the streaming links for the backers who had that in your rewards. It will likely be through Vimeo, more info on that as it gets closer.
And once the screenings are through, those of you who had the downloadable copy in your rewards will get the links to that as well.
Annnnd once all that’s done, only then will the film be distributed
wide, so you backers will definitely have a period of exclusivity, with
Alright, I’ll keep you posted… Things are ramping up…
I hope this update finds you all well… If this is TLDR, and you need the key points to skip the rest:
**Movie is basically at picture-lock. Runtime is
79 minutes. Score is done. Currently normalizing audio levels for
dialog, score and voiceover narration. Will submit to cast and to NECPS for screening consideration in July for their fall 2021 annual show. Then festival submissions.**
The full story:
Greetings, all. The last I provided an update was just as the
pandemic was beginning, and I’d been holding off on doing any more
Kickstarter updates until the movie was totally complete, mainly because
I didn’t want to post another “Yes it’s still coming!” message, but
today I received some encouragement to do so, just to provide “Proof of
Life” of this project. In that vein, I’m going to try to give a general
timeline of what’s been happening since the last kickstarter update
about a year ago, so that you’ll all be aware that work HAS BEEN
CONTINUING and is near completion.
March 24, 2020 – A rough cut assembly, including all credits and titles is completed.
March 30, 2020 – Rough cut is sent to composer Adonis Aletras for scoring.
April 14, 2020 – Score is completed.
June 13, 2020 – Completed the “Greater
Good” coda segment, highlighting the “take home” message of the film,
featuring interviews and footage from the non-principal subjects (i.e.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Hall of Science,
Queens Botanical Garden) and rough credits sequences.
September 7, 2020 –
Second pass at edits on rough cut, for clarity and continuity.
Identified problem areas where camera was out of on interview subject.
Began manual unsharp masking of all identified areas. (This would continue for several months into January 2021.)
September 14, 2020 – Final images for end credits requested from Corey Bennett. These are a treat. I won’t spoil them here.
November 14, 2020 – Voiceover narration recording sessions with artist Kristyl Cuenca-Sisko begin.
January 3, 2021 – Based on recommendations
from Adonis Aletras, contracted someone to clean up some of the
interview audio recorded in a greenhouse (with FANS!) in Ithaca. In
hindsight, I had overestimated how well I’d be able to clean up the
audio on my own in post-.
January 14, 2021 – Voiceover narration recording sessions complete!
February 15, 2021 – Video lock on film. Work on normalizing/balancing audio levels on dialog, voiceover narration and score begin.
So, yes, we’re almost there. Working on the audio levels has been
nearly as time consuming as working on the focus issues in post-, but
the end is at least in sight now. As of three nights ago, I had just
made it to the “Summer” section of the film, so we’re getting there…
The goal is to get everything wrapped by July 1st,
to send the final product to cast for them to see, and to the NECPS in
hopes that they’ll find it appropriate to screen at their fall show. I
don’t anticipate posting any more updates until July, at which point I’m
fully anticipating the update to be “it’s finally done” because this project has been five years of my life, and I’m as eager to get it out there as you are to finally see it.
There were two warring quotes that have struggled for dominance in my mind over these past five, long years.
“A work of art is never finished. It is merely abandoned.” (Da Vinci? And I don’t plan to abandon anything.)
The other quote was from Matt Kaelin, from the Spring section of the documentary…
“You can’t keep changing things forever. There has to be a point where you say ‘This is it.'”
And (as I told him two weeks ago when I came across his line again)
that point is fast approaching. But we’re not there just yet.
If anybody has questions, please feel free to post them here in Kickstarter as well, I’d be glad to answer if I can…
I had started two prior updates over the past few months, but never finished either, mainly because I found myself pulled back into editing, which took precedence… So, the good news is we’re nearing the end. It’s finally in sight
All that’s left for the rough cut are 1) the end credits and 2) a bit of temp voiceover for Iván’s autumn segment (which I’m hoping to do in the next day or two), and 3) “where are they now”. The first two should be done in the next week or two, but the Update segment will be a placeholder for now. (More on that below.) But yes, we’re almost there!
At this point, the film is looking to clock in at around an ~80-minute runtime. I’ve been in touch with our composer, Adonis Aletras, whom I’ve alerted to expect the rough cut by the end of the month to begin scoring. Hoping to have the finished score back by the end of Spring or early summer, but we’ll see how his schedule goes, with my deepest gratitude to be working with him again after over a decade. 😀
While he’s crafting his art over in beautiful Cyprus, I’ll be searching for a voiceover artist for the majority of the narration. Budget is tight, but I’ll do the best I can, cheers… And while that’s getting recorded, I’ll be assembling “Where are they Now” footage for the four subjects (pending their availability) and dropping in the on-screen text.
I’m still deciding whether to use text to name every species/hybrid that appears on-screen… I’m leaning towards towards indicating species/hybrid name only sparingly, because 1) I don’t want to mis-identify anything and 2) I’m worried that in most segments it will be a distraction more than an enhancement.
We’re so very close; I’m loathe to take time away from diving back in, but I DID want to share a portion of Matthew Kaelin’s Spring scene (with a temp music track) with thanks for all of your continued patience. I’ll have more updates once voiceover and music are done…
Someone on the outside looking in could easily draw the conclusion
that with no update in over a year, this project is dead in the water. A
reasonable supposition, given the lack of information, but I’m here to
explain what’s happened in the past year, what’s changed in the project
itself and where we stand today.
First, and most importantly: YES. The film is still happening. I’ve spent more than a few years of my life on fulfilling this dream, and you can rest assured I have zero interest in ever abandoning it. The film is still in editing, and as “proof of life” I’m posting this scene from the “Spring” portion of the film, from Eric’s segment. The scene uses a temp music track that was previously used for the trailer, composed by Adonis Aletras, and features Eric Kunz and Lisa Ortlieb, a high school teacher. Think of this as a small window into how the rest of the film is shaping up.
So, why is this taking so long? For three principal reasons: 1)
I’ll be the first to admit that having only worked on scripted short
films, I woefully underestimated how much time it would take to compose
an unscripted, feature-length film. 2) There were work
and life issues. My loving family, new responsibilities at my
career/job, and a brief stint as an elected official to very low public
office were all factors.
…but it was really the third reason that led to an over six-month hiatus from the project.
3)Risk management over rights issues.
Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that there were
some concerns over some footage that was captured at a location that I
mistakenly thought we had permission to use. After a bit of very
amicable and good-natured discussion with the concerned party, it became
clear that this was, quite simply, a miscommunication that we were all
very glad to resolve on very friendly terms and in good faith. So this
was not, itself an issue (with my thanks again to them for their
The bigger issue was rather what OTHER, as yet unknown surprises might come down the line.
I have a friend who was one of the subjects of a different feature
documentary, completely unrelated to the topic of this one. That great
film was completed, released and distributed, only after
which the filmmakers received legal notice from a rights-holder that
their film’s title had inadvertently infringed on an existing trademark.
That was ALSO resolved amicably, but THAT incident gave me pause.
For about six months I weighed the benefits of completing this
project against the possibility of unknown legal problems down the road,
simply for wanting to tell a story. In the end, completing the film
wasn’t something I was willing to simply walk away from. Instead, to
mitigate risk, ***I made the decision that this film will be released for free.***
This is no longer a commercial venture, it is now truly going to finish as a labor of love. CAPTIVATED will be released as a not-for-profit film, likely on free streaming.
I’ve been back in the swing of editing since late last year, and
after unraveling a bit of the film to minimize risk issues, things are
moving forward once again. The wait is admittedly longer than any of us
would have anticipated, but don’t count this film out. It’s absolutely
in progress. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the scene, and I thank
you for your continued patience…
Many of you are probably wondering what’s been happening with this project. Well, truth is, it’s been progressing continuously since my last update six months ago, despite my silence. I finally managed to finish annotating/transcribing the nearly 10 hours of interview footage, and the 1597 different shots that we captured in our year of filming. Granted, the process took me into September, nearly 3 months later than I had hoped, but it did get done.
I started cutting together the rough cut, and I’m about 15% (conservatively) in, but I decided to stop and cut together a trailer to show that, yes, this project is alive and kicking in post-production.
To that end, I’d like to welcome aboard Adonis Aletras, a gifted composer with whom I last had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with on two other film projects over a decade ago. Despite his considerable professional workload, he graciously agreed to score not only the trailer, but the film itself when complete. I can’t begin to express how excited I am to have the opportunity to work with him again, yet again from across the sea. (He hails from Cyprus, and I’ve never had the opportunity to thank him in person for his great work.)
Additionally, I’ve received some great self-shot footage from our cast member Anthony Saporito, which I’m looking to incorporating into the project as well, with many thanks to him! (Screenshots to follow in my next post!)
So, here we are in the middle of 2017, and I figured it was time to give an update on where CAPTIVATED stands. 😀
Yes, we are in fact in post-production! Unfortunately, we’re still earlier in the process that I had planned on being by this time of year. In short, transcribing every shot that we’ve done in 2016 has been far more time-consuming than I originally predicted. But, it’s about 70% done, and it’s absolutely necessary. 😀
Below are just some of the transcription sheets for footage from the first two-thirds of 2016. They basically what was said at what time codes for every shot/file that we filmed. (If you zoom in, you can probably read the text to figure out the subject of each transcription sheet.) Think of each line as a piece to a jigsaw puzzle: you know the finished image should look like, but you need to figure out what pieces are in your set before you can fit them all together.
Anyhow, still chugging along indeed. 😀 Hoping to done with transcription in the next month, and proceed into editing…
In the meantime, with the wonderful Summer weather, I’ve been shooting some pickup shots for the various Dionaea, Sarracenia and Nepenthes segments which will inevitably be edited together. Below are some shots of the footage of Dionaea muscipula ‘Long Red Fingers’ and Sarracenia ‘Royal Ruby’.
More to come, will try to update more frequently… Cheers and thanks for following!
Happy 2017, everyone! I wanted to send a quick update on what’s been happening since that last September update.
Well, October was a pleasant surprise. Ivan and I were graciously permitted to visit the operations of our dear friend and colleague Ryan Georgia up at Native Exotics in Ithaca, NY! We spent the better part of an afternoon visiting with Ryan, who took time out of his schedule to show us around and talk to us a little but about Nepenthes. Due to equipment issues, we lost the footage from the external lav mic during his interview, but the on-camera audio is useable, if a little noisy. 🙂 High five for subtitles.
In November, we went with Eric to a 4H youth event hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension over at the Suffolk County Farm.
We also returned to the New York Hall of Science, where Erin Thelen was gracious enough to speak to us about the importance of science education and the role that carnivorous plants can play.
There’s still few items left to get to… Final “where are they now” wrap ups with Jonathan and Ivan, and Ivan will be getting some footage of his grow setup. But in the meantime, we’re good to go.
January was a bit of a wash, unfortunately. I had a three-week obligation to my career job that took precedence, so I was unable to commit time to much of anything else. One thing that I was able to do was to largely suspend Midtown Carnivore’s retail side, to give me the time that I need to devote to post-production this year. With that, let’s begin…
Believe it or not, for the purposes of this film, September is still considered part of the three-month “summer” block. 🙂
First off, I apologize for the paucity of updates, please don’t mistake silence for inactivity. Quite the opposite, actually. Come visit the website’s gallery, and you’ll see that our latest update has more than doubled the number of screencaps that have been posted, including filming going all the way back to the beginning of July.
July was a busy month for the film, particularly at the height of the growing season. We managed to get footage of Eric in action, doing his thing at one of the area’s largest street fairs, in Nyack, NY.
We also filmed at events at Queens Botanical Garden and the New York Hall of Science, with thanks to them for their permission!
…and Matt and I took our second carnivorous plant walk out in Long Island to see some Utricularia and Sarracenia in their native habitats. Thanks for the opportunity, Matt!
August was sparse, as I was actually travelling for nearly three out of the four weeks of the month. However, September saw a return to production. First, we checked in with Ivan for a status check.
Then, Jonathan and Ivan met for the first time in Union Square, before embarking on a trip to Massachussetts to attend the New England Carnivorous Plant Show for the first time.
Upon arrival, we were given permission by the NECPS to film, with our thanks to them for that, and for putting on an amazing show. Check out the 80+ screencaps in the gallery!
While there, Matt Kaelin gave a talk on his book “The Sinister Beauty of Carnivorous Plants.”
This also gave Ivan and Jonathan the chance to meet Matt for the first time.
And lastly, we were able to interview some amazing staff at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last week, and Jonathan and I caught up as well.
Next up? Ivan and I take a trip to Trumansburg, NY to speak with a fellow retailer/local Nepenthes expert… We’ll catch up with Matt and Eric as well… Teaser trailer to be made imminently as well…