It's been a momentous start to 2010.
Over New Year's my partners and I wrapped the film that we've been shooting in Branson, Missouri for the past two+ years.
And once I got back to Los Angeles, I had a week of mostly nonstop preparations for this year's Cinema Eye Honors, followed by a return to New York and a few days of last minute details before Friday's ceremonies and celebrations.
[You can read about the event in reports by Eric Kohn at The Wrap, Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, Brian Geldin at the Film Panel Notetaker and Matt Dentler on his blog, . Ingrid Kopp has a bunch of pictures over at the Shooting People blog as does the Stranger Than Fiction blog. indieWIRE has a full accounting of this year's winners.]
The night itself was pretty wonderful. Following an afternoon of rehearsals, I walked out into the reception at the Times Center and nearly immediately spotted Barbara Kopple, Ross McElwee and Albert Maysles talking to one another. Then I turned and saw nominees RJ Cutler (who would later win the Audience Choice Prize for THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE) and James Toback, presenters Ellen Kuras, Peter Davis, Amir Bar-Lev, Jason Kohn, Carl Deal & Tia Lessin. And in the midst of it all, some of the folks who've made the films that made me so excited to be a nonfiction filmmaker in 2009 - Bill and Turner Ross, Darius Marder, Jessica Oreck, Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher and Aron Gaudet (all with their debut films).
Forgive me if it sounds a bit like hyperbole, but the moment kind of took my breath away.
Later that night, standing in the midst of the afterparty, seeing the community of filmmakers, programmers, producers, distributors, writers, critics and friends all gathered together, more than one person waved their arm out at the crowd and said, "seeing that must feel pretty good."
And, yes, it truly did.
I am happy to see that an idea has germinated and continues to grow into an event that I think we can all be proud of and take ownership of. And I'm honored to see so many folks bring their own skills and talents to the table to make the event successful.
So kudos to the team at Indiepix - Sally Plourde, Arielle DiGiacomo, Matt Posorske, Jason Tyrrell, Paige Gregor, Nico Doldinger and Bob "Big Daddy" Alexander for their great production talents and amazing support.
And thanks to our Cinema Eye team - my terrific co-chair and co-host Esther Robinson; team leaders Andrea Meditch and Thom Powers; our partner-in-crime/production guru Nathan Truesdell and our stellar design team in Columbia, MO - Ryan Nelson, Ben Chlapek, Jonny Pez and Brock Williams; our musical director, Ion Furjanic; our pals at the Sheffield and Camden fests who threw two terrific parties to announce our nominations and then salute our nominees and to all of our other sponsors - HBO Documentary Films, Thompson LES Hotel, Danish Film Institute, Makers Mark and Leftfield Equipment Rentals - without whom the event wouldn't have been possible.
Finally, thanks for all who came out on Thursday and Friday - some of whom traveled cross-country and over oceans - and to all who have emailed or written or texted in the 48 hours since. Your kindness and support to all of us is greatly appreciated.
It's you that makes the event work. It's you that gives Cinema Eye meaning.
We're here because of the work that each of you does, and with your continued support and feedback and encouragement, we'll keep on doing it.