Friday, December 5, 2008

Pioneer Spirit

In June, we had a week-long run at The Pioneer Theater in NYC. The people who worked there were great. They loved the movie, the balloons, and each other - making it a happy place.

We'd spent hours, days, months of our lives trying to book a theatrical run without a distributor and with virtually no budget. No one in NY wanted to take a risk on us. Without a distributor, they knew it would be difficult for us to advertise and properly promote the film, and theaters couldn't afford to lose money. Even small "indie" theaters, seemed to book films with distributors. Several theaters gave us the option to 4-wall - a process by which the filmmaker fronts the money to rent the theater for a week (in ny - this can costs tens of thousands of dollars) and keeps 100% of the profit. This was not a realistic option for us and it was starting to look like a NY run might not be in the cards - a big disappointment.

The first place in the country to book us was The Tivoli, a beautiful Landmark Theater in St. Louis (by the way, we were the number one movie at the theater that weekend). But, it was still hard to gain traction. Finally, Lee, the manager at The Pioneer agreed to watch TWISTED. He called to say he loved it and wanted to screen it... for one night... preferably a week night. We made a strong case (read: plea) for a week-long run. He, too, was concerned that we might not be able to get an audience in. But he finally conceded, offering us one showing a night.

We covered the theater (and much of the East Village) in balloons to promote the film and it seemed to be working (even though we did get our very first ticket for putting balloons where they don't belong). By the day of the first screening, our first few shows were sold out and Lee called to tell us they were adding screenings every day. That night, they ran out of bottled water because there were too many people buying concessions.

Suddenly, we were able to book more cities. The Tivoli is a great, well-respected theater. But, the knowledge that a theater in NY was willing to give us a week gave other theaters the confidence to book us. Before we knew it (just kidding - after a lot more hard work) we had 10 cities booked. That is probably twice as many as we'd have gotten with one of the small distributors we'd longed for. In fact, some of the smaller distributors we'd hoped, months earlier, would take us on, booked films at the Pioneer. But we'd somehow managed to get it on our own - and between that and The Tivoli, the wheels were set in motion.

Now, the Pioneer has closed. Money problems. The only place in NYC that would seriously consider our self-distributed movie is gone. If we'd finished TWISTED one year later, it probably wouldn't have ever screened in NYC.

So, if you live in an area with independent theaters, remember to support them and appreciate the unique entertainment they bring to you community.

Dear Pioneer Friends, Filmmakers, & Film Lovers,
Ten years ago, when we began construction on The Pioneer, we were told we were crazy - that no single screen, indie-oriented, 99 seat theater, east of Avenue A, could possible survive. But for nine years, we did - showcasing the best of truly independent cinema, presenting restored classics (from The Last Picture Show to Ace in the Hole), curating special programs (from Luis Guzman Night to the 42nd Street Smut Show), hosting guest filmmakers (from Robert Altman and Robert Downey to Steve Buscemi and Richard Kelly) and partnering with local film organizations including the IFP, Filmmaker’s Co-op, Cinema Tropical, Fangoria, Women in Film and Television, Cinewomen, Third I, Slamdance, Docfest, and many more...

We’ve been blessed that The Earth Mother, Mel Cooley, The Dude, and the other Two Boots pizzas have been able to support our labor of love all these years, but now, with our lease ending and a rent hike looming, it’s no longer economically feasible to keep the theater going. Friday, October 31st at midnight, will be our last regular screening, appropriately: Night of the Living Dead.
We want to thank our amazing staff, past and present, and we want to thank you, our loyal audience, for your patronage over the years. Please, PLEASE, keep supporting independent films and independent theaters.

Finally, on Friday, November 7th, we’ll be having a goodbye party starting at 6pm - free movies, popcorn, and reminiscences. Please come by!

Monday, November 24, 2008

DVDo's And DVDont's

Here is a picture of our DVD in a lovely Barnes and Noble.
Order your copy now at

- Buy a copy for yourself
- Buy copies for your friends and family for the holidays
- Purchase extra copies as an investment to use for bartering when the economy finally collapses (Our prediction: 4 copies of TWISTED will get you an entire goat)
- Review TWISTED on Amazon and Netflix
- Mention the film on your blog and post a link to
- Let us know if you know of any members of the press who would like to promote the DVD release

- Screw this up. Buy a copy now or be saddled with regret.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Left My Balloon In San Francisco

Sunday, October 19th at 9:30PM at Roxie Cinema
Wednesday, October 22nd at 7:15 pm at Roxie Cinema
Wednesday, November 5th at 9:30 pm at Shattuck Cinema
Part of the San Francisco DocFest

Featuring a How To Make A Balloon Dog Demo with Brian Asman

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back in Bahston

Friday, September 26th at 8:15PM
Sunday, October 12th at 2:00PM
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Q and A with Naomi and How to Make a Balloon Dog Demo to follow screenings!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tallgrass Continued

Kansas continues to show the love, inviting TWISTED back for a 3rd run in Wichita. We can't make it - but we hope someone dances in the parking lot for us!

Saturday, October 4th at 7:30PM
Campus Activities Center Theatre
Wichita State University

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Oregon Trail

July 12-13 & July 19-20
Hollywood Theatre
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
Q and A with Naomi after screenings

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Michigan - Talk to the Hand

TWISTED screened at The Michigan Theater this weekend. Our biggest venue so far, the theater had 1700 seats, though we kept a few empty (ok - at least a few). As usual, we were really pleased with the response from the audience. Ann Arbor is, as Michiganders would have you know, approximately in the palm of the hand. Of course, Michigan is not a hand, it is a state. But that doesn't stop those meshugenna Michiganders from insisting otherwise.

We were originally supposed to have a screening earlier in the week, but the theater had a problem with our screener and never told us until a few hours before the show. We tried everything, to no avail. We thought we'd finally figured it out when our DVD distributor sent a digital file of the film. But a thunderstorm at the theater knocked out the power and let us know that the universe simply did not want us to play that night. We're sorry to those who showed up on Thursday - especially to the wonderful local twisters who worked hard to create sculptures at the theater. But we were happy to find the sculptures still in good shape for the weekend and we were appreciative to the twisters who came back to support the film.

All was well by Saturday, and Sara made a quick trip to Ann Arbor to do Q and A. Host/ former Eliot resident Lauren put up fliers around town and several people we met that morning had already heard about the screening. We were mentioned in some local papers and a few people heard about us on the radio and on The Today Show. One guy at the theater told us that his friend is a DJ who mentioned the film. A few callers complained that the film was filthy. If only they complained on air, perhaps we could have filled all 1700 seats. We don't know if the callers have seen the movie or just read about it, but we continue to be surprised by the attention given to adult balloons, such a small part of the film.

The rest of the weekend was spent eating (Lauren is a baker at the world-famous Zingermans - which is seen below with a balloon dog by the always busy cash register) and getting a quick tour of Ann Arbor.

On Saturday night, we went to Top Of The Park, an outdoor music fest and twisted all of the remaining balloons from that day's screening. Lauren had never twisted before, but made balloon dogs for kids like a champ. She sported the balloon dog T all weekend, though wisely chose to cover it up at home, so her bird would not decorate it.

Thanks to all those who made it out to the screenings. As has been the case in every city, it was great to see friends from childhood and college, and random people we've met along the way, at the screenings.


Last week was probably the busiest and most exciting week for TWISTED since South By Southwest. Naomi came to town on Wednesday night and on Thursday we went to NPR to do a piece for The Bryant Park Project.

It was the first time we were ever in the same room for a radio interview, since we're usually on a 3-way phone call. It was fun to be in the studio, despite Sara being a bit loopy from cold meds. Naomi made "NPR" out of balloons and we filmed a segment on their 19th floor "balcony" (read: ledge that you must climb out a window to reach), a direct violation of Sara's personal pledge to never be in high, scary places. Since we did not die a free-fall death, Sara considered it a success. As we made our balloon dogs for the camera, Naomi's balloon popped (as balloons sometimes do) and a curse-word slipped out, to the delight of the producers, who chose to keep it in the final piece.

That night we met up with our great street team to place fliers and balloon dogs all over the East Village. This would later come back to bite us, as it turns out the city of NY frowns on public postings, rewarding us with a $75 ticket (TWISTED's first run in with The Man). It was all worth it, to see our sweet balloon lady finally taste the joy of public transportation.

We also continued our tradition of Balloons On Parade, placing sculptures in various locations throughout the city.

On Friday, we did The Today Show where we achieved our life-long goal of teaching Kathie Lee Gifford how to teach a balloon dog (it was as sweet as we dreamed it to be). Kathie and Hoda couldn't have been nicer, and they loved the life-size balloon versions of themselves as well as the balloon peacock Naomi made.

As we sat down for the interview, Kathie Lee and Hoda turned to each other, "I didn't have a chance to see the movie, did you?" "No, I didn't see it." But, despite that glaring omission, the ladies managed to act like they'd seen it and loved it. The magic of TV. Sara still was not feeling well and was afraid she would throw up on Kathie Lee. Despite the fact that it would make a great viral video and do wonders for the movie, Sara selfishly decided to do her best to keep it down. The highlight of the day was when we got hair and makeup done the morning of our NY premiere. Did we mention they gave us make-up? Lots and lots. We're talking inches thick. Eww. Matt, Naomi's fiance (aka our entourage), said he didn't recognize us at first and reminisced for a time when he could see our pores.

The premiere was wonderful and kicked off a fantastic run. Friends and family came out to support us and lots of blogs covered the run. On opening night, there were faces familiar and new, and all of the responses were just great. Sheree Brown-Rosner joined us for the Q and A, with her bird puppet on her arm the whole time. It was a great way to start off NY.

Each day provided a new surprise. One night, a woman named Roberta walked in. Matt, one of the guys who worked at the theater, became excited and told us that she was the star of a documentary called "Cinemania". She travels around the city watching movies full-time, and we were told that it was a big honor if she chose your film, as she considered it to be the best thing playing that day.

Another day, Silly Billy, the most famous children's entertainer in NY showed up.

At another screening, an adult balloon twister we'd never met showed up and delighted audience members with some of her special creations.

One night, we saw two women leaving the theater with balloons and asked if they liked the movie. "No, it sucked." Oh really? "Yeah it was terrible." We were a bit puzzled because we were at all the Q and A's, and were surprised by their harsh response. What movie did you see? "We saw ______" (other movie playing at theater). Phew.

We were lucky to have both of our Executive Producers, Lauren Versel and Nick "The Balloonatic" Rotondo attend screenings in NY. Nick made balloons for everyone, including Isabel, one of the staff members at the theater. Isabel wouldn't take off her balloon outfit all night and vowed to learn balloons. She was especially thrilled to have balloon cigarettes, which she temporarily lost when she put one in her real cigarette box by accident.

Thanks so much to everyone for all of the love and support. We absolutely felt it. And thank you to Lee and the wonderful staff at The Pioneer Theater. If you live in New York, SUPPORT THIS THEATER. It is really one of the last truly indie theaters around in NY. Even though we did not have a distributor, they took a risk on our film, and we are so appreciative and glad that it worked out well for everyone.

(drawing done by subway artist who captured us on the way to a screening)

Opening Night in NYC

Thanks to Herschel Rosner for the great photos of opening night in NY!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ann Arbor

June 26 & 28
Michigan Theater
603 E. Liberty Street

Sara will be at the Saturday 4 PM screening to do Q and A!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Balloon Twisters That Never Sleep (NYC!!!)

Sara and Naomi will kick it with Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show on Friday to promote:

June 20-26
Pioneer Theater
155 East 3rd Street, at Avenue A
Q and A with filmmakers all screenings!! Sheree Brown-Rosner, one of the stars of the film will also do Q and A on Friday.

Buy your tickets early!

More Fun than Grunge

TWISTED is coming to Seattle!

June 18-22
Central Cinema
1411 21st Avenue at E. Union
Twister Craig Dos Santos will lead a balloon dog demo at Wednesday screening!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TWISTED at Key Cinemas in Indianapolis!

TWISTED is opening in Indianapolis this Friday June 6th at Key Cinemas! The lobby will be full of fun balloon sculptures for the open--come check it out!

Check out a nice review re received in Nuvo, Indianapolis' Independent Voice Paper.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

TWISTED in Wichita!

This past fall, TWISTED was runner up for the Audience Award at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita. We're so excited that the film will return to Kansas this week:

May 30 - June 5
Warren 13th Ave Theatre
11611 E 13th St N

The Friday May 30th 7 PM screening will include a Q and A and How to Make A Balloon Dog Demo with representatives from Qualatex balloons. Qualatex, one of the largest balloon distributors in the world, is based in Wichita and has supported the film with donations of balloons and pumps for every city in our theatrical run.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New York Times!

TWISTED: A Balloonamentary is profiled in today's New York Times!

Indiana Who?

We just returned today from a trip to St. Louis for TWISTED's theatrical premiere. While another small indie film called Indiana Jones also opened this weekend, we managed to hold our own as the highest rated movie of the weekend in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The film will continue to play in St. Louis and in Madison until this Thursday, and we're so appreciate to everyone in both cities who has come out to support the film!

We began bright and early Friday morning after just a few hours of sleep (Naomi's flight got in at 1 AM). Silly Jilly, a St. Louis twister, arranged to have a news crew do 5 spots on their morning show from the theater, where several twisters met us at 6:30 AM. Unfortunately, Sara's alarm clock was no match for her super sleeping powers, so she woke up at 6:02 AM. After a few expletives and a quick trip to the theater, we were cheerfully met by Dale, one of the managers at The Tivoli, who kindly opened the theater early and brought donuts and coffee for everyone. He even put out a cup of quarters so all the twisters would have money to pay their car meters. You have to love the people of St. Louis.

As the twisters made amazing sculptures that will adorn the theater all week, Tim Ezell from Fox 2 News interviewed us.

We then covered The Loop with balloons and posters. Blueberry Hill, a favorite hangout spot, agreed to hang an amazing airplane designed by another local twister, Sammy J.

The twisters of St. Louis are an amazingly kind, talented, and well-organized bunch. They got us press and audience members, and showed us lots of balloony love. We were particularly touched by one twister, who saw the film a few months ago when we played at the St. Louis International Film Festival. He told us that he brought his parents to that screening, and that the film had completely changed their relationship. Until they saw the film, his parents were disappointed that their son had chosen a career in balloons and it had placed a strain on their relationship. He told us that the movie gave them a respect for the impact a little piece of latex can have, and that now they support his choice to be a balloon artist. Now, he says he gets chills when he hears the film's theme song because of the impact it has had on his life. It was an amazing feeling to hear his story.

The screenings and Q and A's were great. We even heard a few new questions, which is always a pleasure. At each screening, we offered a special prize to the first person who could spell "Balloonamentary" correctly. It proved to be a hard task for many people. The coveted award? Two tickets to the following night's screening (which always got a laugh) to give to a friend.

A few people asked for autographs and pictures, which was fun. Audience members included: people with a new-found interest in twisting, people we met randomly throughout the weekend (including a woman who served Naomi coffee earlier in the day), a woman involved with the children's circus at The City Museum (an amazing group we saw this fall), a lawyer offering pro bono help, a man who was offended by a scene in the film he felt was unfair to the gay community (a criticism we had not yet heard and disagree with), and a whole bunch of Wash U friends who were in town for a wedding.

Last night, as we waited to do Q and A, the guy making the popcorn told us he'd just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend in Ko Phi Phi (Thailand - don't feel bad - we had to look it up, too). She asked him what films were playing over the weekend, and told him that she had actually just watched out movie on TV. He said, "Do you know you're on TV in Ko Phi Phi?" We were all, "You down with wha...?" We had no idea! Our international distributor is taking care of deals in various places and this was news to us.

Thanks so much to Dale, Travis, and the whole crew at The Tivoli, and to Sarah at Sundance Cinemas in Madison for all of your support! And thanks to all of the twisters in St. Louis and Madison for your amazing art!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You!

In 2003, we decided to make a movie. In 2008, it hits theaters! There were many times we thought that the movie would never screen on anything bigger than a laptop. But, after a fantastic run at festivals, we've been lucky enough to book a run in select cities. For an independent film like ours, without a theatrical distributor, the idea of screening in theaters at one time seemed like it might be an unattainable goal. Luckily, several theater bookers really loved the film and are giving us an incredible opportunity. We need lots of support opening weekend in all of these cities to show these bookers that they were right to take a risk by supporting a small, independent film.


And, don't forget to ORDER THE DVD at
It includes a director's commentary and lots of extras.

May 23-29
The Tivoli
6350 Delmar in The Loop
Q and A at evening screenings on Fri, Sat, and Sun

May 23-29
Sundance Cinemas
Hilldale Mall
430 N. Midvale Blvd

May 30 - June 5
Warren 13th Ave Theatre
11611 E 13th St N

June 6-12
Key Cinemas
4044 South Keystone Avenue

June 18-22
Central Cinema
1411 21st Avenue at E. Union

June 20-26
Pioneer Theater
155 East 3rd Street, at Avenue A
Q and A at all screenings

June 26 & 28
Michigan Theater
603 E. Liberty Street

July 6-10
Bijou Theater
Iowa Memorial Union
Corner of Madison and Jefferson Streets

July 12-13 & July 19-20
Film Action Oregon/
The Hollywood Theatre Project
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.

MORE CITIES TBD... Check the site for updates!

Please contact us if any of the following applies to you:

- You live in one of these cities and would like to be part of our street team - handing out postcards and balloon dogs

- You know a member of the press (print, tv, radio, blogs) who might give us coverage nationally or in one of these cities

- You know of another theater that might want to screen the film