Friday, June 10, 2016

Our New Movie 20 Weeks Begins Production!

We are two days into production on our new film! We are filming in Los Angeles and it's awesome to be home making a movie. Though the permit process in LA is intense and most locations require a fee for use, it's nice to be able sleep in my own bed at night.

I am producing Leena Pendharkar's new feature film titled 20 Weeks. Leena and I have been creating content together for a few years now (remember our So Natural TV shoots?) and with the support of a number of people such as our executive producer Renuka Pullat, who has been key to making this shoot possible, and those contributing to our 20 Weeks IndieGoGo campaign, we have been able to greenlight Leena's second feature 20 Weeks.

DP Daud Sani and Writer/Director Leena Pendharkar

The script was inspired by Leena's own experience: 

In the summer of 2014, as I was pregnant with my second daughter and making my short film, Dandekar Makes a Sandwich, my daughter was diagnosed with a serious issue health issue at the 20 week scan called micrognathia, in which the baby’s chin is undersized. My husband and I were just shocked as it seemed to come out of nowhere.

The doctors knew the measurements weren’t coming out right, but they couldn’t definitively diagnose what she had or what the issue might be when she was born. We had to undergo genetic testing, and we also were forced to come in and do sonograms every couple of weeks to make sure her growth was on a typical curve. It was a very difficult experience, so many thoughts were going through my head….

My daughter was born in October of 2014 with a serious but treatable health condition called Pierre Robin Sequence. We didn’t know exactly what her prognosis would be when she was in utero, but the doctors had given us a range from not being able to breathe at all and having to wear tubes in her neck for two years, to something as mild as not being able to breastfeed. Me and my husband told no one we were going through this, I think we were in shock, and both of us on some level, were hoping it was nothing.

But when she was born, all of the in utero testing prepared us to be ready. We gave birth at a major trauma hospital, with doctors who knew how to treat her condition. There was a huge learning curve because we had to learn how to feed her with special bottles, and she had to undergo four surgeries… That first year was so tough… I almost don’t know how we made it through.

Going through this experience, I was really struck by the marriage of science and ethics, and how fragile the balance really is. Sitting in the room, looking at a sonogram the doctors ask you to make decisions that are tough, that are not easy, and you have to go on faith to move forward…

The part that was so challenging for us was just not knowing, staring at these images of a sonogram that feel like nothing but light and sound, and yet… It’s so much more….

I am so honored to be producing this heartfelt story. We have a phenomenally talented cast and crew. Here are a few pictures from set showcasing a few of them:

Anna Margaret as Maya & Sujata Day as Ruby

Anna Margaret Hollyman and our DP Daud Sani

Amir Arison as Ronan, Anna Margaret Hollyman, and Leena Pendharkar 
We have a three week shoot and we already have our editor David Hopper working. But we need your help! We need additional financing for our post production and we have 5 days left on our IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. We have partnered with the Make-a-Wish Greater Los Angeles on the campaign and every dollar contributed will have a portion going toward a young child's wish.

Click on the below widget to be directed to our campaign where you can learn more about the film and contribute toward its creation. Thank you so much for helping us make this important and special film.


Me, Sujata, Anna, Leena - Women Making Movies!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I'm Doing a Reddit AMA Today about Indie Filmmaking!

I'm doing a Reddit AMA about independent filmmaking at 3p PST/6p EST. If you have any questions for me hop on. I'll share link once I have it. More soon!

Here's the link!

Join me!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Help Us Secure an Awesome Soundtrack for Our '80s Film!

We have been editing our new film Pitching Tents this past year - ever since we returned from Connecticut in August of 2015. And we finally have a picture lock - yay!!!

But we're definitely not done yet! We need to sweeten the sound, do some color correcting to smooth out the look, and get those rad '80s songs that will really help us portray the era.

Songs like:


And we have a sneak peek of some of the film in our campaign video! Please check it out and help us finish Pitching Tents and get your own graduation photo in the end credits!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dandekar Makes a Sandwich - A Vimeo Staff Pick! & a new film 20 Weeks

Our short film Dandekar Makes a Sandwich was recently selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick! Thanks so much for the honor Vimeo!

DANDEKAR MAKES A SANDWICH from Leena Pendharkar on Vimeo.

Writer/director Leena Pendharkar and I are over the moon about the staff at Vimeo highlighting our short. It's hard to get films to stand out above the rest so recognition from highly regarded sites goes a long way. We couldn't be more pleased! We hope you check out the film on Vimeo here.

We made this little short film in order to have fun with the Dandekar character who is the main character in Leena's full feature screenplay Days with Dandekar. We had planned to make Days with Dandekar as a follow up to Dandekar Makes a Sandwich, but we soon came to the conclusion that we wanted more resources for the full feature of Dandekar's story and decided to make a smaller feature first.

That said...

20 Weeks

We're tremendously excited to announce that we are in pre-production on a new feature that Leena just completed writing, titled 20 Weeks. This story is very near and dear to Leena's heart. She and her husband recently had a scare with their own pregnancy (everything is fine now and they have a healthy baby girl) and Leena wanted to write a story about a couple going through a similar situation of finding out their baby may have a genetic issue at the 20-week scan, a mid-pregnancy scan to check on the health of your baby. Check out Leena's story on her blog here.

20 Weeks is an intimate romantic drama about a couple dealing with the news that their baby may be born with a serious health issue. Inspired by true events, 20 Weeks goes behind the often-closed doors of a stressful pregnancy and its effects on the mother and father. This story comes from a very honest place and gives a voice to the mothers and fathers who have or are struggling during one of the most joyful experiences of their lives - having a child.

Check out Leena's look book for 20 Weeks here. She is inspired by films like Her, Blue Valentine and even The Notebook.

Please follow us as we navigate the development and creation of 20 Weeks on Facebook and on Twitter!

Thanks for all your support as we continue to make movies!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Writer Duet - Screenwriting Software Perfect for Writing Partners

Along with producing films, I enjoy writing them too. And I really like collaborating with other screenwriters on projects. The one obstacle to collaborating is sharing work seamlessly between writing partners. If you can't work in the same document, it makes it difficult to know if you are working in the most current version. It also slows things down. You may have to wait for your writing partner to finish his or her changes and then email it to you so you can pick up where he or she left off. Not very efficient.

So in my search to figure out a good means of collaborating with a writing partner, I came across It's an online screenwriting software that allows for collaboration. Like Google Docs, it allows you and your writing partner to be in the same document at the same time and it shows the changes your writing partner is making in real time. It's exactly what I was hoping for and then some!

I have shared it with my writing partners and it's been a really wonderful tool for our collaborating. It's a great program in which to write even if you don't write with a partner. And you can save your screenplay in most formats, including Final Draft and PDF. I really can't recommend WriterDuet enough. Below are some video tutorials that will explain more of the features of the software. And at the bottom is a limited-time discount from WriterDuet for my readers. Check out the software and let me know what you think! And more importantly, keep on writing!


Pro v. Free Tutorial

Limited Time Offer!

20% off discount code and direct purchase URL: INDIE, (price is usually $99 for lifetime Pro with free upgrades, or $7.99/mo subscription, so this brings it down to $79 one-time or $6.39/mo - and price is even lower for students!)

Here's to wonderful collaborations!