Oh yes, I’m still here. And yes, this film is still happening.

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 understanding.)

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…

The Trailer is Live

Greetings, all, and happy new year!

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!)

In the meantime, while I continue to press forward with editing, I’m pleased to present to you the Trailer for CAPTIVATED: THE ALLURE OF CARNIVOROUS PLANTS, embedded below, and viewable on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXll_910VEE

My many thanks for your continued patience. Rest assured, progress may be silent, but it is steady…


Still chugging along…

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’.

Dionaea muscipula 'Long Red Fingers'
Dionaea muscipula ‘Long Red Fingers’


Sarracenia 'Royal Ruby'
Sarracenia ‘Royal Ruby’

More to come, will try to update more frequently… Cheers and thanks for following!

Principal Photography has wrapped!

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…

In the meantime, check out the full range of great screen captures on our Media page! http://www.captivatedthefilm.com/gallery/

Summer update…

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.
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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.
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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! vlcsnap-00021 vlcsnap-00027 vlcsnap-a00004 vlcsnap-00006

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. vlcsnap-00005

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!vlcsnap-00094 vlcsnap-00003 vlcsnap-00005 vlcsnap-00012 vlcsnap-00017 vlcsnap-00041


While there, Matt Kaelin gave a talk on his book “The Sinister Beauty of Carnivorous Plants.” vlcsnap-00058 vlcsnap-00065

This also gave Ivan and Jonathan the chance to meet Matt for the first time.vlcsnap-00070 vlcsnap-00074

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.
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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…

Spring progress

May has been an interesting month! We were able to film Matt Kaelin as he took the time to walk us through some of his amazing artwork.


Eric Kunz then followed up on the year’s progress so far when we stopped in at Seemore Gardens. The Sarracenia are popping up beautiful pitchers, so they’re certainly awake now!

Coming shortly: we’ll be accompanying Eric as he presents a workshop at a local school. More to follow. Kickstarter backers: Seeds and plants, for those of you with those rewards, will be on their way in the next few weeks, updates to follow!

Goodbye Winter, hello Spring…

March has come and gone, and with it were our set of winter interviews with our subjects! All four participated in interview sessions, and we were able to follow Iván Lacroix on a family outing to Governor’s Island as he helped to care for the local livestock on the weekend of the 25th.

Yes, it was definitely a busy weekend as we also made a trip out to Long Island to interview Matthew Kaelin, author of the forthcoming book “The Sinister Beauty of Carnivorous Plants” due to be released this July.

On to Spring!

On to Spring!

Two more!

It’s Saturday night, and the weekend has already been very long. But good news: we’ve been hard at work on Production. I had the good fortune of filming with our youngest subject, Mr. Iván Lacroix, who was a delight to work with for his Day 1 interview.

…and this was then followed up by the Day 1 interview in the sunny Bronx with Jonathan Mejia of The Sarracenia Forum. We talked about the board’s annual charity auction (which started a week ago!) and this year’s beneficiary, as well the site’s goals for the next year.

Coming up next: I’ll be shadowing Jonathan and Iván for a day or two in the next few weeks and filming with Eric at an event on March 20, and Day 1 interview with author Matt Kaelin (tentatively) on March 23.

Day 1 is in the can!

So, we had our first day of Production this past Sunday, a week later than originally planned, but still completed. 😀 Spent about half a day out at Seemore Carnivorous Gardens with Eric Kunz, who was interviewed for his ‘Winter’ segment. A good time was had by wall, and a few screen grabs (raw footage, resized) will follow below.

We captured some great insights, some interesting perspectives, and plenty of shots that will help accent the interview.


We’ll be following up with Eric on March 20th to round up his winter segment as he gives an educational presentation at a nursery. We’ve been given tentative permission to be on hand, so I’m excited to share what happens then!


In the meantime, next up will be Jonathan Mejia of The Sarracenia Forum, who I’ll be working ith on February 20th! (Keep an eye out for The Sarracenia Forum, which will hosting its annual charity auction shortly. Listings will start going up this Sunday, bidding starts the following Saturday


Keep an eye out on our website which continues to slowly grow… Gallery and news will be updated soon, but more importantly, you can follow our progress (and see more images) on our social media as well. Twitter @captivatedfilm, Instagram @captivatedthefilm and Facebook @captivatedthefilm.