Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Road to Sundance: Henley, directed by Craig Macneill

Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?
Our film is titled HENLEY and it will be screening at Sundance in the Shorts competition Program 2. I was inspired to make HENLEY while attending a reading by author Clay McLeod Chapman. He was reading the chapter THE HENLEY ROAD MOTEL from his novel, MISS CORPUS. It only took a couple minutes before I knew that I wanted to turn that story into a film. I was also eager to collaborate with Clay again. Our previous short film, LATE BLOOMER, screened at Sundance in 2005 and the two of us wanted continue that relationship.

How long did it take you to make your film?
It took about a year from start to finish.... Not counting the four years of false starts.

How did you finance your film?
I was extremely fortunate to have been awarded a Jerome Foundation Grant which covered all our production expenses. For post production we created a kickstarter campaign and were able to raise the necessary finances to finalize color and sound design. Kickstarter is an amazing tool and I am grateful for all the support our donors have given us.

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?
Ticks! Deer ticks were one of our biggest challenges by far. Two members of our crew, our Cinematographer and Sound Mixer, were bitten by deer ticks and showed early signs of Lyme Disease. Fortunately the bites were caught early so there are no long term effects we hope.  Our Sound Mixer got bitten early in the week but soldiered on and our Cinematographer actually got bitten at the end of the shoot and took Lyme's home as a parting gift! They were able to overcome it with the help of antibiotics (and some vomiting).

Tell us about your experience getting into Sundance.
I received the call on Thanksgiving day. I was visiting my parents when the call came in. I think I gave them, and their neighbors, a near heart attack with my cursing screams of joy. It's a moment I'll never forget. I spent the next half hour trying to convince our Cinematographer that I wasn't playing a practical joke. It took a lot of swearing on this and that until he was satisfied and as thrilled as I was. I feel honored and extremely lucky.

If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?
I wouldn't have shot the film at the epicenter of a Lyme Disease outbreak.

What’s next for your film? Do you have distribution? If so, when and how can people see it and if not, what are your hopes for the film?
Henley has been selected as one of 11 short film finalists for the Yahoo! Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival! From Jan. 19 - 27, Yahoo will be featuring our film in its entirety online and inviting millions of Yahoo users to vote for their favorite short. The winning filmmaker will be presented with the Yahoo! Audience Award. Please check out and vote for our film during the week of Sundance:

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made and into Sundance?
I'd suggest staying true to your vision and shrugging off all the rejections you'll undoubtedly receive on the way toward accomplishing your goals.

For More Information:
North Lake Films
Craig Macneill on Facebook
Craig Macneill on Twitter

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