Tag Archives: Citizen Kane

“The Happiest Place in America”

by Gail Mooney
March 6 2012

Did the title get your attention? I’m not surprised. Aren’t a lot of Americans interested in knowing where the happiest place in America is? But what about the people who live in the happiest place in America and aren’t happy?  Wow – it must be awful to know that even though you live in what is deemed the “happiest place in America” –  you still aren’t happy. Happiness isn’t about the “where” as much as it is about the “is”. What “is” right for one – “isn’t” right for someone else.

Regardless, tomorrow I’m boarding a flight to a place that has been called the “happiest place on Earth”, San Luis Obispo, CA. San Luis Obispo has already made me happy. Our film has been selected for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. I’m quite psyched about the whole thing. I admit it. It will be a first for me – having a film in a film festival. What an honor it is to bestow on a project that I have put my heart and soul into for more than two years.

It will be fun, with all sorts of festivities planned. One particular event that I am really looking forward to is the screening of Citizen Kane at the Hearst Castle! It’s the first time this film will be screened at the castle and one of William Randolph Hearst’s grandsons will host the evening. I am a huge “old movie” fan – always have been even as a little kid, so this is right up my alley. There will be lots of celebrities there but I will be more enamored with the historic attributes of the night – than the glam.

Festivals are definitely an ego thing. But they also bring awareness to films, which is the whole reason filmmakers make them, especially documentaries. Why make films if no one sees them? It’s a great opportunity to get audience feedback too. One of our subjects, Gina Low will be there too, which is wonderful. She’ll be in attendance for another festival that we have been invited to later in the month, The Los Angeles International Women’s Film Festival. It’s a competitive business, getting into festivals, so I will cherish every minute of both experiences.

This is the fun part of the process of making a film, seeing it screened in a theatrical setting and dialoging with the audience. The payback, after so much hard work. I am “happily” heading out the “happiest place on Earth” and get to share the experience with my wonderful team – my daughter, my husband and my special friend Angel.

I’m already happy and I haven’t even gotten there yet.

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“If You Want a Happy Ending…….”

by Gail Mooney
January 5 2011

Erin in Kathmandu

Orson Welles once said that if you want a happy ending, it depends of course on where you stop the story.

It was a year ago today that Erin and I started this blog and our journey.  It’s also 24 years ago today that I gave birth to Erin.  When I got my first look at her, I remember thinking she had such long delicate fingers and big bright eyes. And I remember thinking that she looked like such a wise soul. Over the years, I’d try to imagine what experiences lay ahead in Erin’s future, but I never imagined that we’d be taking a journey together around the world and creating a film.

So, today we’ve come full circle literally and figuratively as we complete the year.  But our journey isn’t over.  We still have one (or more) stories to tell in North America. We have a couple subjects in mind but we are always open to hearing about other people who are following their passions to create change. And I am still working on the first edit of the film. It has been a long and tedious process as it always is when doing the first edit.  I need to look through 150 hours of footage and sort through, separating out the good from the bad. But first I must import the video into my editing software, name files, add metadata, sort clips and sync sound before I can even begin to build the story or stories.

I’m happy to say that I’m at the point now that I can start creating the story.  I will lay down the first rough-cut and then hand the project off to a professional editor in late January.  I have spoken with a few editors as well as composers. After the editor makes his/her cut, a musical composer will score the film. Music adds a powerful and necessary element to any film.

Today is also the day that our project expires on Kickstarter.  I am happy to say that we made our goal and in fact exceeded it. Officially, our project will be earmarked “successful” at midnight tonight so I don’t want to jump the gun and celebrate quite yet.  And there’s still time to make a pledge.

It’s been a memorable year because of this project.  It has changed me in many ways.  There have been lows, which made the highs that much better.  Some expectations were abandoned due to things beyond my control but many dreams were realized.  Opening Our Eyes turned out to be more than just the title of this film.  It personifies the whole experience and how I look at my life going forward.

I’m looking toward late spring to complete this film. So the story isn’t over – quite yet. Thank you all who have stuck by us through our journey.  Here’s to a happy ending.

Happy 2011 and Happy Birthday Erin

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