Thursday, June 28, 2007

We Are Two Of Life's Winners

TWISTED: A Balloonamentary received "Best Documentary - Honorable Mention" at the New Jersey International Film Festival. Just another reason why NJ is the finest state in all the union.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Newport News

This weekend was the Newport International Film Festival. Naomi kicked things off with a quick trip to RI during the week to put up flyers and balloons. Friday night, Naomi lived it up at a party at one of Newport's famed mansions while Sara sat on a much delayed train (it being her turn for transportation difficulties). At one point Sara received a prank call from Naomi. But, it turns out, it was not Naomi, but rather festival programmer David Nugent who called. Naomi lost her phone during the party and David found it and began calling all of her recent calls, eventually making friends with Naomi's mom. When Naomi and David finally met and David returned the phone, he explained, "I talked to your mom and tried calling some other person. Takhog?" Who's never heard of the name TaksDawg?!

The next day we attended a lovely brunch at another mansion (another day, another mansion... that's just how we roll).

Then, we set out to make our balloon-selves known. But first, a side note, former SNL star Rachel Dratch was a festival jury member and Sara and Naomi spotted her walking into a parking lot. Being the stalker/ aggressive marketer that she is, Sara chased her through the parking lot, handed her a postcard and invited her to the screening.

Balloon twister extraordinaire Sara Krakauer came down from Boston to help out. Naomi and Sara K. started to twist a balloon person while they were standing in the park. Sara T. walked by and thought it looked hysterical sitting on the park bench. So, they decided to finish the balloon girl, tie her to the bench, tape a poster to her belly, and hope for no rain. It turned out to be a great discussion piece and tons of people walked by, took pictures, and asked questions.

We also made a balloon girl for the movie theater and got some prime poster real estate in the theater's front window.

Everyone in Newport was incredibly friendly. People at bars and restaurants asked for balloon hats and even some men who lived in the park asked us for balloons. It should be noted, however, that they also made many comments about how attractive our balloon girl was. She went missing a few hours later and we can only hope that this was not the night that our balloon girl became a balloon woman.

We made a very quick trip to the filmmakers' lounge, where we sat for a few minutes and ate some of the free gourmet chocolate. This is a good time to mention - Newport Intl Film Festival has great free stuff. As filmmakers, there are many things that are special about festivals. Free stuff is way up on the list. Here, we got sunglasses, fancy bags, hand-crafted rings, dvd's, cd's, a T-shirt, and some other stuff that was less exciting but equally free.

Soon, the premiere of the film "Evening" was about to begin. We worked the lines handing out postcards and Sara made a dash for the red carpet, where Claire Danes was walking in. Sara quickly handed Angela Chase, ehem... Claire Danes a postcard and explained that she was a filmmaker. But Claire-Bear said that she was leaving in the morning before the screening - and handed the postcard back saying she didn't want to waste it. And so went Newport celebrity invite number 2.

We were starving at this point and decided to grab some dinner. The hostess informed us that the wait was 1 hour -- uggghhh! Then, she noticed our balloon bracelets and balloon dog T-shirts and asked if we were the same people who'd dropped off balloons during the week (good work, Naomi). She said she'd see what she could do. Right then, Rachel Dratch and co. walked by on their way to a table. The hostess asked, "Why don't you know them? Aren't they with the festival?" We told her that they were kind of big wigs and didn't know us. She gave us a nice pep talk, about how we would one day be the "people to know" and it was only a matter of time. Then, after consulting with a waitress for a moment, she asked, "How would you like to be seated at the table next to them, right now?" And so - the perks of being nice, young filmmakers continued.

When we got to our table, our new neighbors were very friendly. They asked us for balloons, and even though we were tired and intended to take a break - it was kind of exciting to make friends with the big kids.

We then got cleaned up for the night's big party (common folk paid $150 for entry, but we got tickets in the free stuff bag!). The party was fancy schmancy. There were strobe lights outside and a traffic jam to get into the huge tent (adjacent, of course, to another mansion). The crowd seemed to be mostly well-dressed local supporters of the arts. The house was huge and gorgeous and the party was fancy, if a little slow. We ran into our new friends from dinner and started hanging out with them. At midnight, we couldn't stand looking at that empty dance floor and decided we would either make the party fun, or go home. Within three minutes, the dance floor was full. Then, Sara Krakauer decided that what these high-class people really needed were some balloon hats. She started making them by the bunches, as people in fancy dresses, suits, and tuxedos lined up. It was awesome! Even the band wanted in. We danced our little balloon hearts out, and even broke out the air guitars and harmonica.

When the band called it a night, everyone adjourned to the beautiful pool out back. And, then, something we'd only seen in movies happened. People started jumping in the pool. Some in their dresses, some in not much at all. But everyone had at least one piece of attire in common... balloon hats filled the pool!

The next day, we met with our sales rep, Roger. Figuring out distribution has been exciting, pleasing, challenging, and frustrating. It is nice when people like your work. And it is hard to know when you're doing the right thing at the right time.

The day didn't have much breathing time, as we left our meeting and headed straight for the theater. Bruce Kalver, another awesome twister, met us there and did some line work.

We did a quick and very strange interview before the screening with a man who kept apologizing for his bad hangover. He had a mighty fine yellow sports coat, which we can only assume came in the free stuff bag.

The screening was another great one. One woman in the audience saw Naomi putting up balloon sculptures during the week and rescheduled a trip to NY so she could be in town for the screening! Festival volunteer/ college student Eric was able to sneak in to the screening and was kind enough to invite us to a dinner he was having at his place. We already had dinner plans with some friends who came in for the screening - but that just shows how nice people have been!

Also, many family and friends made it out and we thank all of you for coming!

Unfortunately, despite wearing a balloon hat the night before, one person who did not make it to the screening was Rachel Dratch...

With the addition of Rachel Dratch and Claire Danes, we bring you today's installment of celebrities** we've invited to our screening vs. celebrities who've attended:

Number of celebrities invited to screenings: 6
Number of celebrities who've attended screenings: 0

** Please note, for the purposes of this blog, the definition of "celebrities" will be loose enough to include everyone from Adam Sandler and Paul Rudd to Randy Spelling and Jennifer Wayne.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

MI and RI Sitting In A Tree...

Sunday 6/10
Opera House 3 Cinema
Washington Square
19 Touro St
Newport, RI
$10 - tickets now available online:

Saugatuck, MI
Friday 6/8 11:30 AM $8
Saturday 6/9 9 AM $8
Sunday 6/10 7 PM $10
All screenings at:
Venue 2
Saugatuck Center for the Arts
400 Culver Stree

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

News Jersey

Yesterday was the NJ premiere of TWISTED! We had a very warm welcome at the NJ Intl Film Festival - which was attended by lots of friends and family. Special guest Grandma Shel got to see the completed film for the very first time!

Like every other city we've been to, the people of New Brunswick took to the balloons. Sara and her dad, Steve, spent the day Thursday handing out balloons and putting up posters. Everyone was so friendly... One guy shook Sara's hand for completing the film and wouldn't leave until he got a balloon dog and a hat.

After a great dinner, team TWISTED headed over to the theater. NJ marked the first time TWISTED shared the bill with a short film. The film was - hmm - how do we say it? Quite dark. After 20 minutes of watching the short and Naomi and Sara praying, "Please don't let that man attack that girl right before our movie", it was time to segue into a movie about balloon twisting conventions.

But - the audience was up for it and was just as great as all the audiences have been. Thanks to everyone who came and congrats to those who made their first balloon dogs!