In mid-October, 2012 we received a warm reception from the audiences and organizers of the Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City, N.J. The president of the festival, Bill Sorvino, reported that we had a great screening with very few empty seats. Bill also said his seven-year-old daughter is one of our fans! We’ve been delighted to learn that children are enjoying the film. They seem to especially enjoy the theme park concept artwork, animation, film and TV clips, and scenes with River Jordan (Harvey’s son) and Mimi (the family pig).
The following month we expressed our grateful admiration for the determined and fearless organizers of the 2012 Crown Heights Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY, who bravely held their festival (and our New York City Premiere screening) as planned on November 3, although Hurricane Sandy had ravaged the city less than one week before. Harvey had planned to attend but his flights were cancelled twice during the chaotic aftermath of the storm, so he had to skip this one.
The third annual Crown Heights Film Festival showcased a curated selection of feature length and short narratives, animations, documentaries, transmedia and family films, all held at intimate galleries and performance spaces in Brooklyn (FiveMyles, Free Candy and The Candy Rush). Some of the films were followed by live music performances.
Of all of the press we’ve received at film festivals (TV, radio, newspapers and online), we were the most honored and surprised when Bible Storyland was featured in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on November 1, because Hurricane Sandy had devastated the city several days prior (the Brooklyn neighborhood in particular) and our screening was held three days prior to the Presidential election.
We’re grateful to all of our fans in Southern California who attended our West Coast Premiere at the 2012 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival (HRIFF) in December, 2012! Thanks to you we had our largest screening to date at Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood. To make it even sweeter, Bible Storyland won the Best Documentary Award at the festival! The HRIFF featured over 70 films from emerging filmmakers and accomplished Hollywood names (including Ron Howard) and boasted “the best in new and classic independent cinema”.
We were delighted that, at last, our film would play on the big screen in our home town (Los Angeles) so local fans, friends and family could attend! Our guests included Harvey’s wife, Debi Derryberry, a prolific voice actress who had a very entertaining and integral role in our film. Forty people stayed for the rollicking after party next door at Cayenne Cafe. Among them were the co-curators of the upcoming Architecture and Design (A+D) Museum exhibit, Never Built: Los Angeles, which will feature Bible Storyland this summer (more information to come).
A friend of our director Stephanie (who had previously seen our film on the small screen) observed that Bible Storyland works very well on the big screen, as a more immersive experience. Our documentary has the feel of a theatrical film, which is not true for all documentaries. Harvey and Stephanie fielded some great questions during the Q&A. Afterwards, Stephanie observed that our film seems to be strongly aligned with the sensibility of people in Los Angeles, perhaps more so than in other parts of the country. It was also great to have a screening so close to the intended site for the theme park in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Two days later Stephanie accepted our Best Documentary Award in front of two hundred people. She thanked the HRIFF for recognizing our film about a light-hearted subject (since often documentary films with heavier topics win the top prize). Stephanie also thanked Harvey for being a great collaborator and allowing her creative space as a director. She paid tribute to her father who had died the week before. As a journalist, Stephanie’s dad taught her to ask a lot of questions. His sense of amusement, humor and curiosity were reflected throughout the film.
By the date of our Southern CA premiere, Harvey and Stephanie had participated in seven radio interviews (including four on public radio). However their live, thirty-minute interview on KPFK (90.7FM, Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles) in late November was special, as it was the first time they were joined by Charles Phoenix (the retro pop culture humorist featured in our film). Charles wasn’t able to come to the studio, as he was hosting a tree lighting ceremony in Pasadena that evening, so he called in to join the interview.
Another fun fact: In between promoting Bible Storyland at film festivals, Harvey served on the judging committee for the 2012 International Documentary Association (IDA) awards, which required him to watch over 50 documentary films during the summer months. At the IDA awards ceremony in December, Harvey was fortunate enough to meet one of his heroes, Ken Burns (the Academy Award nominated, Emmy Award winning documentarian who created the popular “Ken Burns Effect” technique), whose “Central Park Five” was up for Best Film.
And that brings us up to date! Be sure to watch our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and check out the Screenings page of our website for information about future festival screenings and other events. Thank you, as always, for your support, and for helping us to spread the word about Bible Storyland!