Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pride of the Ocean goes to Hawaii

After my film A Last Farewell won the audience award at the Bear Film Festival in Vermont, I was invited to come along and screen the film at the Pride of the Ocean Film Festival on a cruise ship in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. This is my 4th trip with this amazing festival. There are some great people running Pride of the Ocean and we had so much fun; watching films, talking about films, group dinners, and of course exploring the different islands of Hawaii where the cruise ship took us (though I have to admit - I also spent quite some time of the trip working my current Kickstarter campaign). Anyway, I would highly recommend other filmmakers to apply to the festival and hopefully get to go on next year's cruises to the Caribbean or Alaska.

Good morning Big Island!
Programming Director John Scagliotti with Susi Walsh and Bob.

Spending time at the wonderful "Little Beach" on Maui. 
Some of the Pride of the Ocean group.

Leaving Kauai early in the morning.
Thanks Susi Walsh for catching me in the act...
...of taking a fabulous selfie!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kiss Me, Kill Me, Kickstart Me!

I'm so excited to be working on my new film KISS ME KILL ME. I've always loved a good murder mystery and it's going to be so much fun to make my own. The script is great, our actors are tremendous, and I can't wait to get started shooting!

For the first time I'm raising the bulk of the budget on Kickstarter. The way the independent film market looks like these days, funding a movie with the help of people who want to see the project happen seems to be the only way to make a film like this.

It's very exciting to see that over 200 people have already supported our film in just a few days. And all the amazing feedback we have been getting makes the whole endeavor to make another feature film seem worth it -- something that I've had reason to question at times when declining DVD sales, illegal downloads, and streaming services that pay filmmakers next to nothing makes the film business look like anything but a sustainable business.

Do you want to see this film made?  If so, please support the campaign by donating and/or posting this link on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Fan artwork! 
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported the campaign so far!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall getaway to Connecticut

I spend a lovely time with friends in Connecticut this past weekend. It was beautiful (even though the leaves where not as red and yellow as we had hoped :)) My friend Michael Trapp, who we stayed with and who does interior design and gardens, had his annual fall party in his magical farm house - that he of course designed himself. We also went for a couple of hikes and got quite a nature-fix before heading back to the city.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Film Festival wins!

It's been a busy summer for my short film A LAST FAREWELL. It has been playing festivals all over the world and is playing even more of them this fall. We have now been accepted into over 80 film festivals! I think that is a record for any of my films. My current goal for the film is to reach 100! :)

This coming weekend I'm off to Qfest in Philly to present the film. Over the summer I was able to personally attend and present the film at Pride of the Ocean going to Bermuda, Palm Springs Short Film Festival, Frameline in San Franscisco, Outfest in Los Angeles and Newfest in New York. Its been amazing to meeting audiences after screenings and receiving a lot of wonderful feedback.

Today, I found out that we won the Jury Award for Best International Short Film at Outflix in Memphis. Another award that I'm super-excited about is the Audience Award at the Vermont Bear Film Festival. I didn't think of my two leads as "bears" until festival director John Scagliotti suggested I submit the film. I'm glad he did, and that the audience agreed, and awarded the film the Paw Award -- that this year included an invitation to the Pride of the Ocean Film Festival in Hawaii next month! That's right -- I'm heading to Hawaii to attend a film festival! Thrilled! (Visit the website if you'd like to learn more and perhaps join!) I had an great time back in June at the film festival on the Bermuda cruise and I can't wait to do it again.

Here is the complete list of all the awards that A LAST FAREWELL has received:

Best Short Film, Audience Award - The Torino Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Italy

Best GLBT Short, Jury Award - Cleveland International Film festival

Best Short Film - Connecticut GLBT Film Festival

Best Short Film - CineSlam Film Festival, Vermont

Best International Short - FilmOut, San Diego

Best Short film, Audience Award - Vermont Bear Film Festival

Best International Short, Jury Award - Outflix, Memphis

Special Mentioning - Pink Apple Film Festival, Zurich, Switzerland

Best of Fest - Palm Springs International Short Film Festival

With the whole Pride of the Ocean film festival group at the Bermuda cruise, June 2014 

Attending Outfest in Los Angeles, July 2014

At Newfest in New York, July 2014

With my producer David Färdmar at the Palm Springs
Int Short Film Festival, June 2014

Enjoying Bermuda! Pride of the Ocean, June 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Join me on a Film Festival Cruise to Bermuda in June!

My short film A LAST FAREWELL has gotten into a bunch of festivals this spring. Next month we will play the Cleveland International Film FestivalRoze Filmtagen in Amsterdam, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. In April we will play at the Torino GLBT Film Festival, as well as the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Garden State Film Festival. And it looks like we have many more lined up in both May and June!

One of our festivals in June is The The Pride of the Ocean film festival that takes place on a cruise ship leaving New York City on June 1 and going to Bermuda for a week of cruising. Both me and my producer David Färdmar will be attending. I've been part of it before and it's a lot of fun! Each day at the festival there will be film screenings, seminars about filmmaking etc and you are welcome to join. 

Check out the festival website to learn more: The organizers also set up a "Friends of Casper" page that gives discounts on the bookings:

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it. 
Hope to see you on the cruise!! 

Me on "Pride of the Ocean" in 2010 when I was invited with "Violet Tendencies"

Me on the beach in Bermuda in 2010. Can't wait to go back! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Good times at Gothenburg Film Festival

I'm back in New York after a great time in Gothenburg, Sweden where I presented my short A LAST FAREWELL at the Gothenburg International Film Festival. It was my first time watching the film with  an audience. The screenings went quite well (lots of tears and laughter!) and it was really nice that most of our crew were able to join us, as well as many friends and family. It was also fantastic to have our actors Ivar Wiklander and Tomas von Brömssen joining us on stage at the screenings.

Me at the Göteborg Film Festival, 2014. 

Crew and cast get-together prior to the premier screening of the film. 

Me, producer David Färdmar, and star Iwar Wiklander  at the Swedish premiere of the film. 

Post-screening toast with crew at Sky Bar, Hotel Riverton (the regular festival hangout spot!)

Star Tomas von Brömssen joined me and David on stage for our second screening. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My thoughts on the Oscar nominations

I haven't seen all the films yet and I'm certain I will have a lot more to say on the subject, but here are my initial thoughts reading the list of nominations:

Best Picture:
I’ve been underwhelmed with many of these films including “American Hustle”. I don't think most of them deserve to win best picture of the year. Is "12 Years a Slave" really original enough to be the winner? It's a great film but kind of by the numbers (though I'm voting for it for Best Ensemble for the SAG awards -- all great performances!).  I did like "The Wolf of Wall Street" a lot (though bothered by its misogyny and its herofication of DiCaprio's character). I'm seeing "Philomena" and "Nebraska" today or tomorrow before voting for the SAG awards, and I'm yet to see "Her", but out of this bunch I think I will have to pick "Gravity." It certainly was original, and though it’s an action film it's also quite moving. 

"12 Years a Slave"

Best Actor: 
I always love Leonardo DiCaprio and he was amazing in this role. But should he win for this? Leo was not nominated for the SAG awards (if the film hadn’t come out so late I'm sure that he would have been), so for the SAG awards I'm voting for Matthew McConaughey -- who did an amazing job. But I'm kind of hoping Leo will take home the Oscar. He was pretty incredible in this role. And he’s been snubbed so many times. 

"Dallas Buyer's Club"

Best Actress: 
I really liked Meryl Streep in "August: Osage County," but since she is kind of expected to always be excellent I think I'm voting Sandra Bullock for the SAG awards. It’s a really touching performance, and considering that she acted mostly by herself in a green room! I don't think Amy Adams performance was that special. I did like Cate Blanchett a lot in "Blue Jasmine" also though.  


Best Supporting Actor:
I was really touched by Barkhad Abdi’s performance. Jared Leto's performance too but not as much as I had hoped. I think they could have done so much more with that character. The scene when she coughs blood and says that she doesn't want to die had me though. Bradley Cooper and Michael Fassbender both did outstanding work, and for the first time I actually liked Jonah Hill. But I think I’m voting Jared. 

Best Supporting Actress: 
Sally Hawkins for this performance? Really? Why? And Oprah Winfrey was snubbed! She is really good in "The Butler!" I didn't see "Nebraska" yet, so I’m going with the excellent Lupita Nyong.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron

Best Documentary:
"Blackfish" was snubbed. 

Best Editing: 
Why is not "Wolf of Wall Street" nominated? Great use of editing to tell that story! "Dallas Buyers Club" so does not deserve to be here and "Gravity" was mostly done digitally, so no. 

Hair and Makeup:
The hair and makeup (and the costumes!) were the best parts of "American Hustle"  why was it not nominated? 

"American Hustle"

Original Screenplay: 
"Dallas Buyers Club" has so many problems in the storytelling. It does not deserve to be here. Watching this film one would think millions could have been saved if McConaughey's character had gotten it his way (Watch the excellent doc "How to Survive a Plague" for a different take on that). "Blue Jasmine" – really? The overall idea for the story was good but so not original as it was completely stolen from "A Streetcar Named Desire".