13 December 2007

And now...the feats of strength!!!

In this update: we hear about festival number 3, we put our mind on our money, a quick tour around the collective, and maybe--just maybe--we'll finally get somewhere in this whole bagel strike...

First..."he finds tinsel distracting..."

Word in my email box this morning is that gravida is an Official Selection in the inaugural Festivus Film Festival, which runs from 11 January until 13 January in Denver, CO. This is obviously cool for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Festivus episode of "Seinfeld" is one the favorites of the McNelly household. It's another Festivus miracle!

If you're scoring at home, that makes gravida 2 for 3 in the festival circuit, with the one negative being Sundance, which was a long shot anyway.

And if for some strange reason you haven't yet seen gravida, don't forget that we're having a Christmas, etc. sale at the store where you can get FREE
Shipping on the DVD and the
"un filme" shirt. The sale runs until 22 December and both items would make excellent presents for everyone you know (including yourself)

On to the section of the update where we pimp our friends & fellow artists...

Ilona V's old band, the Arrangement, has posted one of their old songs (written and sung by Ilona) on the Studio Eight Boston MySpace page. The song, "Sisters of the Storm" is from the point of view of a religious extremist.

Amy Crawford is playing another show at the Bitter End in NYC on Sunday, 16 December at 9pm. Tickets are $5. To quote Amy, "I'm *thisclose* to getting a featured night there, so I would REALLY appreciate it if you came out to support!!" So, you know, go and be supportive.

Check out Amy's MySpace blog for more info:

If for some reason you're going to be anywhere near Franklin, PA tomorrow (like, say, you got lost on your way to the middle of nowhere), Jerome Wincek is going to be playing a show at the Summerhouse Coffee Shop with a special guest, the ultra-reclusive singer/songwriter/folk hero Matt Reed. There are dead musicians who play live more frequently than Matt, so don't miss out on this rare event. Doors open at 7pm. Go to Jerome's MySpace page for info, and to purchase some of his new tunes.

Our good friends far beyond frail have yet another tour lined up, this one visiting such hit towns as Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, Austin, and Ambridge, PA (yes, Ambridge). Check out their MySpace page to see when (or if) they're coming to a town near you.

Ok, that's it. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy an aluminum pole.

03 December 2007


Hi all,

2 things that happened within hours of each other this weekend:

1. Yours truly broke his nose assembling IKEA furniture. It's not Owen Wilson bad, but you can see where it happened.

2. Contrary to our wildest hopes and dreams, gravida did not make the Sundance cut. This is not a surprise at all, but still. There were over 8500 submissions for 200 spots.

So it goes.

Remember, the Free Shipping sale contines until 22 December. Load up on Christmas presents for everyone you know.

That is all.

01 December 2007

"un filme" number 4

Levi Stahl, Pittsburgh, PA

26 November 2007

every Friday is Black Friday

Here at d press Productions we believe that you should be allowed to
celebrate the religious holiday of your choice, so while most of us around here observe the sacred traditions of Festivus, we understand that others might not. So, in the spirit of cooperation and...um...togetherness, we've decided to offer...wait for it...

A CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY SALE BLOWOUT BONANZA!!!!!!! (or Hanukkah, if you prefer)

From now until the randomly chosen date of 22 December, any and all items purchased from the Store will be shipped to you for absolutely free. That's right, free. A savings of up to $6 on a DVD/shirt combo.

What do you have to do to realize such amazing savings? Simply go to either the DVD page or the "un filme" page and follow the buttons.

What an absolutely perfect way to fill your shopping list and support your favorite film collective at the same time. And if you've got any moody teenagers floating around, word out of a certain high school in Pennsylvania is that the kids love the "un filme" shirt. Everyone wants one.

Also, if you're in a shopping mood, our good friend Jerome Wincek has a new album that you can purchase directly from his MySpace page. I've heard it. It's awesome.

That's it. Get thee to the internets. Happy holidays from your friends at d press Productions

12 November 2007

thoughts from 3rff

In case you'd forgotten, last night was the first half of the competetive Shorts Program of the 2007 Three Rivers Film Festival right here in Pittsburgh, PA. The rest of the 21 films will screen on Wednesday, but they were kind enough to make sure we saw the winning films from that group, so we've got a pretty good idea of where gravida falls overall.

Sadly, we did not come away with any prizes, but you'll have that.

The program was a mix of narrative, documentary, and avant-garde, so it's difficult to compare, but here goes. The judges were all film professors from the city, and the shorts program is more or less put on by Pittsburgh Filmmakers, an organization known for focusing on "art" over narration, which is part of the reason I thought L'Attente would get in and gravida might not.

Anyway, the best film of the 3 winners was clearly Adam Taylor's Adam Taylor's Dracula, a simple comedy that images Count Dracula as a janitor at Pitt. It was a simple premise that was well-written and didn't strain itself in trying to get your attention. The audience loved it.

But it didn't win. The winning film was Elizabeth Henry's Through These Trackless Waters, a montage of wildlife footage representing sex. There wasn't a single shot in the film that didn't come from stock footage, meaning at no point did she use a camera. Some would call that less filmmaking and more editing (actually, it's entirely editing). Numerous people walked out, and I don't blame them. It wasn't very good, even for what it was trying to be. It's the type of film that makes people hate avant-garde cinema.

Third prize went to A. Wallace's El Otro Lado, a documentary about the fence on the U.S./Mexico border. Basically a series of voiceovers paired with a long, tracking shot of the fence, it was interesting, but hardly award-caliber.

Other notable films were Kun-I Chang's Fission, Justin Crimone's Wooden, but wonderful, and Jose Munian's Sampsonia Way: City of Asylum.

As for gravida, something was amiss in the projection, as the film was very dark and the color washed out so that the red light at the end was mostly pinkish. It certainly didn't look as good as it did at the premiere. Despite that, audience reaction was pretty good. You could sense that they were uncomfortable at times, and no one booed, which is always nice. I'd say it was probably one of the 3 or 4 best films of the 12 shown last night. So it goes.

Of course, you can always purchase your very own copy of gravida from the webpage

In other news, Trent Wolfred tells me that the "un filme" shirt will be featured more prominently in this week's "Something to be Desired", so keep an eye out for that.

It isn't up yet (well, it might be, depending on when you read this), but it should be sometime today. Make sure you check it out.

And buy one of the shirts for yourself.

That's all for now.

23 October 2007

as seen on .tv!

In this email: d press merchandise shows up in an unlikely location...people play songs live on the radio...more on the festivals...and, as always, rambling from yours truly

As I'm sure some of you are aware, Pittsburgh has it's very own web-series, which films all over the city on a budget of, like, zero. Despite the complete lack of a budget, they've managed to film 4 complete seasons (now 7 episodes into season 5) and score a cover story in City Paper, among other places. So, when earlier this summer I was in an award-winning play with Trent Wolfred, one of the actors in Something To Be Desired, I got to thinking and we got to talking about films in general and, lo and behold, look who's wearing an "un filme" shirt in the latest episode. So, go, check it out. I'm told Trent will be wearing the shirt over a couple of episodes, meaning a hell of a lot of people will see it in action.

Oh, and when you watch the series and don't know who any of the characters are, don't ask me. I don't know either.

And I know what you're thinking now, "gee, I sure would like a shirt like the one I saw on .tv". Well, you can. Just go to the webpage and buy one already.

Upcoming shows:

24 October (Wed), Steve Vesolich plays live at Club Cafe at 6pm ($5). If you can't make it (and with LOST not on right now, you don't have a good excuse), it'll be on the radio. Check it out on the internets.

27 October (Sat), Steve again plays Club Cafe, but on a Saturday. 7pm. $5

Much thanks to everyone who went to the far beyond frail and/or Any Crawford shows recently. Some of you saw the far beyond frail shows in Boston and NYC (in fact, probably more of you than did in Pittsburgh), which is very cool. Isn't supporting artists fun?

Also fun is film festivals, such as the Three Rivers Film Festival, who's full schedule is now online. Peruse it and you'll find some nice stuff (in addition to gravida), such as Frownland (recommended by David Lowery), Grace Is Gone (that John Cusack film about war), a new print of Woody Allen's Manhattan, and Strange Girls, a Pittsburgh film featuring our very own Joanna Lowe and crew work by some of the crew from gravida (maybe all, I can't be sure).

Tickets for the Three Rivers Film Festival can be purchased all over the place. They're $8 each, or for $40 you can get 6 tickets and a free t-shirt (oooohhhh.....aaaahhhh)

So, that's it for now. Watch the web series. Go to Club Cafe. Buy stuff.

16 October 2007

"un filme" number 3

Everett Lowe, Pittsburgh, PA

13 October 2007

Manny, and Amy, and Shar...oh my

Howdy, all.

The Red Sox are scheduled to continue their romp through the American League tonight (by the way, has anyone seen the Yankees lately?), but before that, here's a quick reminder of some stuff you have to check out.

** Amy Crawford's set at NYC's The Bitter End will be webcast Sunday, 14 October at 9pm. Word is it will not be archived, so if you want to catch it, you gotta catch it live.

** far beyond frail will also be playing at The Bitter End on 13 October ($5), but more importantly, they'll be making their triumphant return to Pittsburgh on Monday, 15 October at the Garfield Artworks (4931 Penn Avenue) for a mere $8. Some of you who don't recognize the name will remember Sharylnn Verner from days past. I expect to see you all there. No excuses.

Also, we have a date now for the Three Rivers Film Festival. gravida will play as part of program A on 10 November at the Melwood Avenue screening room.

Of course, you can still purchase a DVD from the website and the ever-popular "un filme" shirt as well.

And I don't want to be a pest (well...that's probably not true), but a recent glance of our records shows that 6 of you (you know who you are) said long ago, "oh sure, I'll definitely order a shirt" but haven't yet. **sigh**

05 October 2007

going to the show

Dear reader,

As if the day can't get any better, what with the Red Sox winning
yesterday and the Yankees getting blown out tonight, there's this bit
of film festival news, courtesy of my inbox:

Dear Lucas,

Congratulations! Your film, Gravida, has been selected to screen at
the 26th annual Three Rivers Film Festival. The festival will be held
from November 2nd through the 15th. Our Shorts Program will be
presented in two parts with one screening each night, Sunday, November
11and Wednesday, November 14, at the Melwood Screening Room at 477
Melwood Avenue in Pittsburgh. For more information please visit the
festival's official website, www.3rff.com.

The Three Rivers Film Festival has, in the past, had a local shorts
program, but that doesn't appear to be the case this year (this, of
course, could change). If I'm not mistaken, last year's shorts program
contained a film by Canadian auteur Guy Maddin but, again, that's just
off the top of my head.

Anyway, if you haven't bought a DVD yet, now might be a good time.

04 October 2007

"un filme" number 2

Katy Kirkpatrick, Sunbury, PA

26 September 2007

putting the "c" in collective

While there are a hell of a lot of you on this email list, I think it's pretty safe to put you in 2 groups: 1) You're saddened, nay distraught, that you haven't heard anything from your favorite film collective recently. This, of course, is keeping you up nights and affecting your job performance. 2) You're glad, nay thrilled, to have a break from all these damned emails.

Love us or hate us, here's a quick update, powered by the new Breathe Owl Breathe album.

First, some bits of cross-promotion for our good friends:

14 October 2007: Amy Crawford is playing a short set as part of a NYC singer/songwriter thing at the Bitter End. It'll be broadcast on the internets. Tickets are $5

15 October 2007: far beyond frail plays the Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh as part of their on-going tour schedule. While based out of Kansas City, the band has significant Pittsburgh roots (Sharlynn Verner went to school with us) and this is their very first Pittsburgh show. Tickets are $8

27 October 2007: Steve Vesolich
has a couple of shows coming up, most notably this one at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh. Tickets are $5.

Occasional musician Matt Reed has a new song, "Hymn to Liberty", available at his MySpace page.

For those of you with time to kill at work, there's 2 (!) groups for you to join on your favorite social networks. Both are titled "i [heart] d press Productions", and while we haven't yet figured out what to do with them, surely we will soon. There's one on MySpace and one on Facebook. Join the fun.

And if you're wondering what we've been up to lately over here at d press....well....we're trying to set up some "gravida" screenings in different cities like Philly and New York and yours truly has been working on the next script, although perhaps working is the wrong word. Do you remember the piano player on Sesame Street? The one who would always bang his head on the keys and wail, "I'll never get it right. Never!"? Yeah, it's kind of like that.

But you know what would help? If we sold some DVDs and t-shirts. At very least, it couldn't hurt.

Oh, and if you've bought a shirt, send us a picture of you wearing it and we'll post it on the webpage. And if you reserved a shirt but haven't purchased it yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

27 August 2007

gravida and the infield fly rule

A quick little update while I take a break from packing stuff up for a move across town and drink brandy out of a coffee mug because that's all I can find.

A note on moving: you want to make sure to keep all of your adult beverage stuff together. For example, you don't want to pack the corkscrews apart from the wine, especially if the move is spread out over several days.

There's another gravida review up at the influential blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule (that's 10, if you're scoring at home), and like the other nine, it's a thumbs up:

"[McNelly] and Shaw effortlessly illustrate the moment when she grasps the temporal fleetingness of this comfortable, familiar sort of pain and longing, which is about to become but a wistful memory. In the end, the movie slips through our fingers, like a memory itself, which is, as it turns out, its most impressionable, poetic quality. gravida marks the first sure steps in what one hopes will be a long and
fruitful filmmaking career for its director." (Dennis Cozzalio)

In addition to the review, Dennis was kind enough to do an in-depth interview with yours truly about the origins of gravida, as well as tidbits about L'Attente and guard duty. It's quite interesting stuff, if I do say so myself.

After you read Dennis' blog, head on over to the d press store and get yourself a gravida DVD, the coolest DVD out there (not counting all the Criterion DVDs).

Also, don't forget to pick up your "un filme" shirt. We're running low on certain sizes, so get yours before they're gone. And don't forget to send in pictures of you in your super cool shirt for the webpage. Be one of the cool kids.

14 August 2007

the tshirts are here. get yours today

So vacation is officially over and it's back to work at d press Productions, filling DVD orders and catching up on all the things that we let slide during the run-up to the gravida premiere. Stuff like paperwork. Ugh.

Some of that paperwork is the invoices for the DVDs and the "un filme" shirts that have to be paid. So, if you've pre-ordered or reserved or whatever a "un filme" shirt, now's the time to actually purchase it, either via the internets or via mail or in person. There's a couple of reasons for this (in no particular order):

1. That way you can get your shirt and start wearing it proudly.

2. You can get your shirt before the size you want sells out. For example, we are nearly out of the women's mediums, so if you're a medium woman (or just a guy who enjoys dressing like one), you want to act quickly, lest you be out of luck and have to wear a men's size.

3. We can send the rest of the money to the people who made the shirts.

4. You can get your picture taken with you wearing the shirt and we can add it to the webpage, thereby proving both that you are an important and hip person and that we have important and hip people wearing our shirts. Everyone wins.

5. We don't end up selling the shirt you reserved, which we'd rather not do and probably wouldn't, but mistakes happen.

So there you have it. Five reasons you should quit mucking about and purchase a shirt (and a DVD, while you're at it) already.

Also, go see our good friends Steve Vesolich and Jerome Wincek play at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on the 15th at 7pm (I think). It's a mere $5. That's tomorrow, by the way. You really should be there, and if you want to complain about the last-minute notice...well...we announced it at the gravida premiere, so you should have, ahem, heard about it then.

...moving on...

Around here, we've half-jokingly started calling gravida "the best reviewed short film of the year", because, well, there are no bad reviews, some of them are glowing, and how many short films get reviewed anyway? (answer: not many)

If you're scoring at home, add these to the review pile:

"gravida is an excellent short film. Beautifully photographed with a terrific lead performance by Rachel Shaw. Called "A Study In Loneliness", the film effectively creates a very somber tone that it is able to sustain throughout. It almost works as a silent film, as the visuals are so strong." (TalkingMoviezzz.com)

NOTE: this review also contains an interview that looks at some of the creative process of both "gravida" and "L'Attente"

"Filmmaking in general could use a little bit more of Lucas' talent because he uses the medium perfectly: revealing pieces about characters in matter-of-fact glimpses, letting the audience in on what the other characters don't know just yet...The camera work is also a perfect compliment to the story. Long static shots and few edits help capture the stillness of Kristin's life. The camera rarely moves, instead it sits there often from a distance, letting us take in what we are seeing." (LAZY EYE THEATRE)

Just so you don't think we're only picking and choosing reviews (we aren't. you're getting them all), this is the most negative one we've gotten yet (and overall it's still positive)

"gravida fails to explore its subject matter in any great depth, but it undeniably represents a big step forward for its director...I merely feel that he could have penetrated deeper into the underlying causes and nature of his protagonist's despair...That said, I definitely enjoyed the film (which, incidentally, holds up to repeat viewings), and it contains a number of moments that I like quite a bit." (Andrew Horbal)

"Lucas McNelly has made a serenely confident short film, with which he shows a real facility as a director. He never tries to dazzle the audience with flashy technique or camera work, preferring his style to be dictated by his material. Despite his obvious budgetary constraints, he's capable of some lovely low-key touches, like his use of colored lighting in the climactic revelation scene...gravida is small film in the best sense, one that's exactly the right size for the story it tells. McNelly's direction is subtle enough not to overwhelm the film, but strong enough to assure us that there's a firm hand on the wheel." (Paul Clark)

"[McNelly] has produced a film of understated elegance and thoughtfulness that allows the viewer to glimpse, ever so briefly, a moment in time that will be burned for eternity in the heart and mind of its protagonist...He's the best kind of filmmaker there is, the kind driven by a love of the art not a desire for a contract..."gravida" is not a perfect film but considering the budget and time limitations it is quite an achievement." (Jonathan Lapper)

What's that, you say? You haven't seen gravida yet? What the hell
are you waiting for? Get thee to the store and buy a DVD already. It's
only $8. Most of you will spend that much on lunch (or at least
dinner) and/or watching Matt Damon run around with amnesia. And let's
face it, Matt Damon doesn't need the money. He gets to hang out with
George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

01 August 2007

"un filme" number 1

Jen Blyler, Montreal, Canada

15 July 2007

so...how did it go?

The online reviews are good-to-glowing (with more to come). It was mentioned in City Paper. The city was covered with posters. The emails bordered on annoying and overbearing. But how did the premiere go?

In addition to the crew and other various people who worked on the film, we had 45 paying customers at the beautiful Hollywood Theatre. I'd guess about half of them were people I knew, which means we drew roughly 20 people who I've never met.

The evening started with the music of Jerome Wincek (with special guest Nate Custer). Jerome rocked out on the banjo and mandolin, while Nate played the guitar. Despite some tuning problems with the banjo, the set went over well and a lot of people got introduced to some great music they might not have otherwise.

A quick note: Jerome and Nate will be playing Club Cafe on 15 August at 7pm, followed by our good friend Steve Vesolich, so be sure to check that out.

After Jerome and Nate was an intermission, with a charming little movie with dancing hot dogs. You know, the type of thing you used to see when you went to the movies as a kid.

The three films followed immediately after. All played without incident and looked fantastic on the Hollywood's high-def projector. I dare say it's the best digital projection I've ever seen in Pittsburgh. The response to all three films was very positive. I overheard one person say, "that was tremendous" as the credits for gravida rolled.

Then we all drank wine and socialized.

Almost as soon as the film was over, people started talking about encore screenings and future screenings in the city (and elsewhere), so you could take that as an indication that the word of mouth will be pretty strong.

Thanks to everyone who helped get the word out.

So, the question then becomes, "how can I see the film?" Well, that's easy. For the small sum of $8 you can purchase a DVD of gravida, L'Attente, and guard duty. One of the first things you'll notice is the DVD cover, designed by the brilliant Ryan Davis, the guy who also made our posters. If you have paying graphic design work you need done, you couldn't do much better than Ryan.

To buy a DVD, either get me $8 (checks via mail payable to "Lucas McNelly") or purchase them via the website. Oh, and if we have to mail it to you, there's a $2 shipping charge.

And don't forget the super hip "un filme" shirts. They are here, in a box in my apartment. Get yours now. Plus, if you take a picture of yourself wearing the shirt, we'll post it on the webpage for the world to see.

Those of you who've purchased stuff already, you should be getting it sometime this week.

And now, if you'll excuse me, Tuesday I'm going to Maine for a week of doing little but laying in a hammock by a lake.

12 July 2007

critical acclaim

In case you've been living in a cave the last couple weeks, here's one
more reminder:

tonight (Thursday)
the World Premiere of "gravida"
The Hollywood Theatre in Dormont
1449 Potomac Ave.

Music by Jerome Wincek (plus special guest Nate Custer)
3 fantastic films

all for just $5

Reserve your tickets either by phone (724.544.6417) or email
(lmcnelly@gmail.com) or purchase them at the door.

And to wet your appetite, 3 more reviews from across the globe
(spoiler alert in the full reviews):

"Like the best films about intimacy, it draws you in close but leaves
out enough that you can project your own hopes and fears onto the
characters. This allows for conflicting sympathies and ensures that
not everyone in the audience relate with the characters in the same
way. Loneliness is a mysterious beast, hard to tame. Resisting the
temptation to simplify, gravida invites us to ponder the complexity of
the choices we make, the unreliability of human connections." (Matt
Riviera, Last Night with Riviera

"Watching gravida, I gained a little more faith in ultra-low budget
filmmaking...it shows that you don't need a lot of money to make a
smart, personal, interesting movie. To do this, Lucas McNelly's film
utilizes the writer-director's ear for dialogue and some intriguing
subtext in it's look at a woman who's dealing with something very
familiar: loneliness." (Bohemian Cinema)

"gravida deals with a delicate subject matter, and could have lost the
audience's interest and trust without a careful hand, but [McNelly] is
certainly up to the task. [McNelly's] camera is never obtrusive,
acting more as an invisible observer even when the story's emotions
peak. Actors Rachel Shaw and Adam Kukic find their stride as the story
builds and are able to sell the idea that their characters are facing
troubling, adult decisions." (Adam Ross, DVD Panache)

For those of you keeping score at home, that's 4 reviews ranging from
positive to glowing. That's enough to safely affix the label
"critically acclaimed"

So, don't miss the World Premiere of the critically acclaimed
gravida. Playing one night only. It may just be the best film you'll
see all year.

Bring your friends. How often can you see a local film with this much
critical acclaim on the big screen?

10 July 2007

loose ends and the like

So the premiere is a mere days away, which means either you're very, very excited to see the film that's already been called "A Huge Achievement", "Artful and Poetic", and "F*cking Fantastic" by some limited test audiences (that would be all of you), or you're really stressed out (that would be me).

Tell all your friends. Drag them to the theatre if you have to. This is something you don't want to miss.

Those of you who've been to screenings via digital projection at Lowe's, let me just say this: the Hollywood has a high-def system. The footage looks crisper there. Hell, L'Attente looks better there than it does on my TV.

And because sometimes that's how life works in no-budget cinema, we've just now finalized the music. Welcome to the gravida soundtrack Amy Crawford who's been generous enough to lend her song "All I Want" to the film. Go to her webpage. Be her MySpace friend. If you're in New York City, go check out her live shows. Tell her I sent you.

In case you were wondering, yeah, that's kind of last-minute.

Thanks to the kick-ass street team, there are now roughly 65 posters scattered around Pittsburgh. One of the store owners even asked me to sign the one in their window. So how's this for a game: if someone can show me a picture of the signed gravida poster, I will give them their own personal signed copy, signed by at least me, and perhaps others, depending on circumstances.

Finally, the media is starting to file in. Those of you familiar with the indie film universe may have noticed the gravida image on the front page of GreenCine Daily, which is pretty cool. Much thanks to Andrew Horbal, who's interview with me was the reason for the prominent placement. You can read the interview at Andy's new blog.

Also, some of you may have noticed the listing in the film section of City Paper. If not, pick up a copy.

That's all for now. See you all on Thursday.

05 July 2007

I [heart] antibiotics

In which we talk about the premiere, music you can purchase on vinyl, poetry, and some clothing (yes, clothing)...

The Rue Snider Cliff Notes (link edition):
Bracken Records
un filme

Well the July 12th premiere fast approaches, perhaps faster than I'd like (does anyone have a working way-back machine I can borrow?), and the posters are starting to pop up all over Pittsburgh, thanks to our dedicated street team. Tell your friends. Hell, drag them there. The theatre seats 282 people. Let's see if we can't fill it up.

We've still got some posters if people want to put them up. Personally, I've been battling strep throat for the last couple of days, which has made it difficult for me to do much of anything that doesn't involve being in a chair, so we're not as spread out as I'd like, and I don't have my voice back yet, so it's been a major headache. We're thinking of referring to gravida as "the film that nearly killed me". All the more reason you should all come see it. And buy copies. Lots of copies.

Ok, real quick. Ilona V, who's awesome song "Good Morning" makes up the opening credits of gravida, has a new single out on vinyl, coincidentally enough it's "Good Morning". So, for a mere $7 (shipping included) you can get yourself a copy of this and spin it on ye olde turntable. And if you don't have a turntable? Well, get one, man. They're coming back. Haven't you heard? These iPods are a fad. Seriously, though, buy a copy. Support the arts.

Now, on to the important part of the email.

Remember when I wrote out the statement of purpose for merchandise? No? Well, it was because we were working on this very thing: t-shirts. And not just any old boring t-shirts, but L'Attente t-shirts. Or, as we like to call them, the "un filme" shirts.

Want to see a picture? Sure you do:

The back is the same font as the front and says, simply: www.dpressproductions.com

The design would not have been possible without the help of our good friend Ryan Estes, who helped me brainstorm the idea over photoshop and email, and Adam Woods at Dotted Line Shirt Company who must have run 20 tests on this and answered hundreds of stupid questions from yours truly.

A word on the shirts. They're made by American Apparel, a very cool clothing company that adheres to some of the same ethical standards we do, meaning they don't employ sweatshop labor. The shirts are all made in the U.S.A. (for those of you on a patriotic kick) and are 100% combed cotton. As someone who wears a t-shirt virtually every day, I can assure you the shirts are nice. Very nice. As in, nicer than any shirt I own. They're incredibly soft and comfortable. We made sure of this. Adam, as part of his tests, got a good screen print which should pretty much last forever. So, those of you who have been burned by blindly buying t-shirts in the past (and I know I have), rest assured. These are nice shirts. They aren't cheap things you'll never wear. Also, American Apparel shirts fit tighter than traditional t-shirts. There's a link to a sizing chart on the webpage.

Which brings us to the price tag. The shirts will cost $16, plus if we have to ship it to you, that will cost extra, of course. If it sounds a little high, believe me, we aren't making a killing on them. There's a reason cut-throat businessmen use sweatshop labor, you know.

You can purchase them either by going to the store and doing the PayPal thing (ideal if you live far away, but not if you live in the Pittsburgh area, especially since PayPal takes a cut), or you can get one at the premiere (assuming they're ready in time), or you can email me now and reserve one, on the chance that we sell out of your size, and get me the money later.

Obviously, if you have any problems whatsoever, let me know.

I should point out that these are NOT the fundraiser t-shirts. Those are still in the works and, well, completely different.

The shirts are being printed as we speak and hopefully (fingers crossed) will be ready in time for the premiere (but the strep may have thwarted that plan). We've done an initial limited run of 50, as a means of limiting our exposure and minimizing the scenario where my brother gets one for Christmas every year for the next decade. Hopefully the demand will exceed the supply and we'll gladly make more as needed.

Finally, in order to have a little fun with the t-shirt roll-out, we commissioned poems from some of the world's great unknown poets (also, I wrote one), taking care to assure them that the actual literary quality of the poems was not all that important. And, really, who else is going to try to sell you t-shirts with poetry? Only d press Productions, the film collective that doesn't shy away from being pretentious. We embrace it. Enjoy.

by Matt Reed

a bottle of wine, a book of verse,
wandering the south hills (and how!)

wearing a "un filme" t-shirt:
a t-shirt is happiness for now...


a poem about a t-shirt about a film
by Ryan Estes

I've not been to Pittsburgh
in a very long time
(years, not months)

Yes, and my taste in cinema is on the decline
and even Battlestar Galactica (oh the horror)
suitably entertains

as do films with
car chases, shiny things
or stuff that blows up

and much as I like the starving artist ethos
I am not starving and am unsure
If ethos is even the right word

despite all this
I would still pay $16 for a t-shirt
Telling the world of
un filme de lucas mcnelly


Le chemise a'la filme de lucas mcnelly
by Joshua Edenhofer

The shirts are black
like my soul
they feature Matt & Dan
Is he eating a roll?

"L'Attente" makes my heart throb with pleasure
the shirts cover my body with cotton
or is that a polyester blend?
I sure don't like sweatshop labor
these shirts are a godsend

these shirts won't keep you warm
on a blustery sub-zero degree day
but they will let you freeze to death
in style.


Lucas vs. His Health
by Lucas McNelly

Last week I had strep throat
(believe me, it sucked)
I couldn't talk for three days
and some people seemed to prefer it
that way, I suppose

But worse than the strep throat
(well not really, but work with me)
was the caffeine withdrawal headache
from not drinking any coffee.
Seems I have an addiction.

I'm like that guy in "L'Attente"
(only, not bald)
who can't function without his coffee.
It defines who he is, how he functions
Addictions are like that.

Also, I can't speak French at all
(but I do know some Spanish)
Maybe just some ooh-la-la's and
other quasi-seductive guttural noises
but I don't think that counts

Still, I really wish I knew French
(and Italian)
But I'm lazy, so instead I wear my
"un filme de lucas mcnelly" shirt, hoping
people will think I do.

I don't think I've fooled anyone yet
(how could you tell?)
but that's ok because the shirt is wicked
cool and one of the nicest I own
and I'm not just saying that.

26 June 2007


a poster, courtesy of our good friend Ryan Davis:

18 June 2007

a hot date with your secret crush

Ladies and Gentlemen, gather the kids around ye olde computer and pull out your calendars. It's the moment you've all been waiting for, perhaps even anxiously anticipating.

That's right, we have a release date for gravida. Are you excited? Relieved? Thrilled? Because we are.

The date: Thursday, 12 July 2007 at 7.30 pm at the Hollywood Theatre in Dormont. Our good friend Jerome Wincek will perform for the first time in Pittsburgh in a very long time. In addition, you'll get to see two additional short films and hobnob with the very elite of the Pittsburgh community. Some are even calling it the social event of the year (Ok, so no one's saying that). The cost? A mere $5.

So, what does your ticket get you, in a addition to the first ever public screening of gravida?

A live performance by Jerome Wincek
Some Analog Lines, a film by David Lowery
L'Attente, un filme de Lucas McNelly

By the end of the week, we should have some kick-ass posters ready to be plastered around town.

That's all the key info, but chances are that you have questions. Ergo, we have answers.

Q: What the hell took so long?

A: That's a good question. Buy me a drink some time and I'll tell you all about it.

Q: Where is this place, anyway?

A: The Hollywood Theatre is a classic theatre that's recently been restored. It's at 1449 Potomac Avenue across from the big church in lovely, scenic Dormont.

Q: I would like to pre-order tickets for every single person I know. How do I do that?

A: That's a very good question. You email yours truly, Lucas McNelly, at lmcnelly[at]gmail[dot]com and reserve the tickets that way. Or, call me at 724.544.6417 and leave a message. Feel free to pay when you show up. But fair warning: if you pre-order tickets and then don't show up, we're going to make sarcastic, smart-ass comments about you while you aren't there.

Q: Is this film any good?

A: We think so. The internet buzz is pretty good. In the near future the critics will weigh in.

Q: Can I still donate to the gravida fundraiser and get tickets that way?

A: You sure can. If you donate in November, we'll add it to the fundraiser total. But, if you want to donate and end up with tickets, you gotta do it before the premiere.

Q: A Thursday? But then I won't be able to watch "My Name is Earl" and "The Office".

A: They're in re-runs and if you didn't catch it the first time around, that isn't really our fault. Anyway, here's what you'll miss: Earl helps someone while rocking the best mustache currently on TV, and Michael Scott does something embarrassing. Nothing else is on that night. We checked. Also, your other plans cancelled.

Q: You're playing a short film by the guy from Cracker?

A: Nah, it's a different David Lowery. He's a very talented filmmaker from Dallas.

Q: Does the film have explosions, car chases, and/or buddy cops?

A: Sadly, no. But there are some special effects.

Q: Can I bring my dog/cat/hamster/goldfish/small child?

A: You probably don't want to bring the pets, but feel free to buy each and every one of them a ticket anyway. As for kids, you're responsible for their upbringing, not us.

Q: I mean, is the film appropriate for children?

A: Probably not, but none of us have kids, so we can't be sure. It can't be much worse than what they already watch on TV.

Q: Where can I eat a hearty meal before and/or after the film?

A: Dormont has a number of fine eating establishments within easy walking distance. Also you could go to the gas station down the street. If you get there early enough (as in, early in the afternoon), you can eat at Fredo's Deli next to the theatre and support a business that gave us a catering discount during filming.

Q: Will any celebrities be there?

A: We can't make any promises, but chances are good.

Q: Can I help you put posters, etc, all over town?

A: You sure can. We can use as much help with that as possible, even if it's just putting a poster up in your car window. Email me and we'll figure out how to get some to you.

Q: I am not in Pittsburgh, but would like very much to see the film. Should I fly there just for the occasion?

A: Probably not. But, contact us, as plans are under way to bring gravida to a city near you.

Q: I am unable to have fun without alcohol. Can you help me?

A: Why, of course. After the film there will be wine and socializing (pending the final details) and Dormont has a number of bars that can easily quench your thirst.

Q: My life lacks purpose and focus. What should I do?

A: Come to the premiere, obviously. Oh, and buy a DVD when you get there.

01 June 2007

now in the palm of your hand

Bad news, Rue.

The people have spoken. The short version "is not ok for me" (Sandra Naranjo), and "I personally enjoy the long satirical monologues." (Matt Hunt), and there are more. Looks like you've been overruled. But that's ok, a little reading never hurt anyone. And if you still don't want to read, we're here to help. Just let us know and we will summarize the proceedings for you in an easy-to-read format.

Hell, if I remember, maybe I'll even put it at the bottom of the email.

First things first: Monday, 4 June, yours truly will be turning 28. And while I've got mixed feelings about the whole thing, it gives me a chance to give back to our wonderful fan base (yes, I'm sucking up). Call it my birthday gift to you. Of course, if you want to give me a birthday gift still, by all means. Don't let me stop you.

Right, on to it. You, dear reader, can now watch two of your all-time favorite films on your Ipod or other portable video device--for free. You heard me. Free. Courtesy of those wonderful people at Google, you can now download guard duty and L'Attente for viewing either on your computer or iPod, allowing you to watch them wherever and whenever you please. All you've gotta do is go to the d press store where you'll find all the pertinent information, like directions. Meaning, don't call me asking why it doesn't work, because I won't have a clue.

And for those skeptics out there thinking, "gee, I wonder if this is free because he couldn't figure out how to charge money for it", the answer is yes. Most definitely. I freely admit that I am not the most computer-savvy person in the world. But here's the thing, eventually I will figure out how to charge money for it, at which time it will cease to be free. So, don't mess around. Grab it while you can. Show your friends. If you don't have friends, make new ones and show them. Then (and here's where it gets fun), when the d press fan base is overflowing with people eager to jump on the bandwagon, when we've got more people on the email list than I actually know, you can act all aloof and say things like "This pales in comparison to his earlier work" and "I was a fan back when he was giving things away, back before it was all about money." Won't that be fun? Just a warning: say that too much and you may get beat up.

Ok, enough of that. On to the gravida news, powered, as always, by caffeine.

We realize that you guys are starting to get a bit restless, wondering what the hell is going on with gravida. Fair enough. Here's where we are as of right now.

We're waiting for final confirmation on the third song. Hopefully that'll happen soon. If not, we may have to go to plan B, which is finding a different song. (ugh)

We're also waiting for the score to be finished by our good friends from Memphis, The Futility Parade. But this is more our fault in that we're not 100% sure how much music we want over the final third of the film. Plus, they've been touring, so they're busy. But it's in the works.

I've just now started color correcting it, which is something you do pretty late in the game.

Theoretically, it could be finished as early as next week, even taking into account that I probably won't do anything on my birthday.

There's a 26 minute edit right now that's pretty close to a final picture edit. It's been viewed by 2 people other than me who I trust to give me an honest opinion without worrying about hurting my feelings (so, if they thought it was terrible, they'd say so). The reactions thus far are "pretty good" and "really good". Of course, both of those people were on-set, so this morning I sent the file to a filmmaker friend of mine in Las Vegas who's a lot more detached from the process, but an equally trustworthy source.

So, if that's any indication, you can safely assume that the end product will be one that can at least be placed in the plus side of the ledger, in terms of quality. Now whether or not it ends up eking out a profit? That's an entirely different issue.

Practically speaking, what does that mean for the premiere? Well, we think we've found a really nice location, so it's just a matter of nailing down the specifics for a late June (fingers crossed) date. The plan, as of this moment, is to screen gravida, L'Attente, and possibly another short or two, in conjunction with a live performance by the one and only Jerome Wincek. There will be posters, reviews by esteemed film scholars, and (with a little luck) some local media coverage. We think it'll be a pretty cool evening of cinema and culture and something you do not want to miss.

That reminds me: any of you loyal fans out there who have mad promotional skills or contacts or pretty much any other method of ensuring the premiere is a success, let us know. We have some ideas ourselves, but we're pretty much willing to consider anything.

Finally, for those of you just chomping at the bit for anything gravida related, there's now a "semi-official gravida imix", which those of you who buy your music from iTunes will recognize as a legal mix CD. It's got 17 songs that should put you in the right frame of mind. The thing is, we're not really sure how to point you in the direction of it, so we'll just give you the track listing, and you can do what you want with it. Hell, you might even be able to find it yourself.

1. The Lonely 1--Wilco (Being There) **originally the version from the "Chelsea Walls" soundtrack, but iTunes doesn't have it**
2. Jealous Guy--Jimmy Scott (Jealous Guy) **ditto**
3. Sovay--Andrew Bird (And the Mysterious Production of Eggs)
4. Beyond the Sunrise--Belle & Sebastian (Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant)
5. home--Breathe Owl Breathe (climb in)
6. The Bitter One--Spider (The Way to Bitter Lake)
7. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues--Nina Simone (Best of) **yeah, that's a Dylan cover**
8. River Man--Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left)
9. Christmastime is Here--Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
10. What You Wanted--Bill Ricchini (Ordinary Time)
11. Lonely Lonely--Feist (Let It Die)
12. Winter Song--The Velvet Underground (The Velvet Underground)
13. Buckingham Rabbit--Silver Jews (American Water)
14. I Shatter--The Magnetic Fields (69 Love Songs)
15. All Mixed Up--Red House Painters (Songs for a Blue Guitar)
16. Sea Green, Sea Blue--Jaymay (Sea Green, Sea Blue)
17. Radio Cure--Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)

That's it. Enjoy the sunny days.

16 May 2007

less is more

Our good friend Rue Snider was kind enough to point out to me that the email updates are often too damn long. So, in his honor, a short one.

"gravida" teaser number 2 is now up. Go. Watch it. Enjoy it. Get excited.


that's all for now.

09 May 2007

POW! WHAM! BOP!, and new music too!

Boys and girls, gather around ye olde computer as we prepare for another gripping tale of life in the indie film world! Watch as our heroes battle villains large and small, real and imagined, in the eternal quest for artistic integrity! Cheer them on as they join forces with other artists in the quest to topple such foes as poverty and malaise! That's right, it's another edition of the d press mailing list, brought to, as always, by Paul's Super-Sharp Razor Blades. Get a clean cut every time with Paul's Super-Sharp Razor Blades.

First, as some of you have already learned, Joanna Lowe's "Body Beautiful Project", the vehicle in which gravida was set to premiere, has been pushed back to the fall due to a pregnancy that's thrown everything out of whack. So, that leaves us with two choices. We can either hold gravida until the fall or find a way to premiere it ourselves. The consensus around here is to go with the latter, as the fall seems like an awfully long time to hang onto a film and gravida is really too long to distribute online. However, it isn't long enough to play by itself. So, the date and the format in which you'll finally be able to see it is, at the moment, completely in flux. If you have any good ideas for formats, locations, etc., we'd love to hear them. We're compiling lists in-house, but this is a very recent development, so it's still in the brainstorming process.

Rest assured, though, it will play live, in Pittsburgh. And, chances are sooner rather than later. We just, as of now, have no idea of the when and where. I'm now pushing for June and, at very least, we'll make it available for a DVD purchase. On the positive side, now we get to move away from competing with "Spider-man 3", so that's something.

Lest you worry, not all news on this Wednesday is bad news. We're excited, nay, thrilled to tell you of a musical addition to gravida. "Good Morning", a song by New York City's own Ilona V, will appear in the opening sequence. It's a lovely song by a talented artist and you audiophiles will be interested to learn that "Good Morning" will be release on vinyl this June by Bracken Records. You should, of course, purchase numerous copies of this album, as it's sure to become a collector's item. To find out exactly how, head on over to Ilona's MySpace page where you can listen to several of her songs and keep yourself up-to-date on the precise drop date.

Remember that storm we promised you? It's still coming, just be patient. The pregnancy thing has thrown us all for a loop (and, no, I had nothing to do with it...I've been holed up editing for weeks). That, and there's been some other delays we hadn't counted on. So it goes.

I'll give you a hint: There will be media coverage. And it probably won't be limited to this country.

Finally, a word about the fundraiser. You may notice we've gone over $500, which is obviously wonderful, but something tells me we can do better. No pressure, I'm just saying...

Until next time, when hopefully the news will be all good.

13 April 2007

the calm before the storm

this is an email sent to the d press mailing list

A short word before we begin: As I'm sure you've all heard by now, the great Kurt Vonnegut passed away recently. Vonnegut was a major influence on the way we do things around here. As he once wrote, “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”

So it goes.

In Kurt's honor, and in anticipation of the still-pending news we promised a couple of weeks ago, we're going to unveil a little document we like to call, "The d press Productions Statement of Purpose in Regards to Merchandise and Other Potential Revenue Streams". Catchy, eh? Don't you love how it just rolls off the tongue? The idea behind the Statement of Purpose is to set up some guidelines as to how we can turn films into merchandise that doesn't make you roll your eyes in disgust. Effectively, it's a safeguard against selling out the art in pursuit of profits. Will it hurt the bottom line? Almost definitely. Is holding ourselves to a higher standard worth it in the long run? We think so. As you might have guessed, it's on the webpage.


Matt Reed's a big fan of this document because it affords him the opportunity to make Citizen Kane jokes. The document itself will be more relevant in the near future.

On the gravida front, we should very soon have some promotional art for you to peruse, as well as an actual premiere date and a new teaser as we approach the hectic stretch to come. What you're seeing now is the calm before the storm. But we do have this:

Nothing has been finalized yet, but it looks like one of the songs in gravida will be provided by the one and only Jerome Wincek. Go to his MySpace page and check out some songs. Or, better yet, go here and buy a CD. Jerome, as some of you know, is an insanely talented musician, a former Geneva College student, and one hell of a nice guy.

You'll notice when you go to the d press webpage that there's a larger number on the fundraiser icon, but that doesn't mean the fundraiser is over, just that it's starting to pick up momentum. Quick, get your donations in before you're left out, sitting outside on the steps, muttering to yourself that you should have contributed when you had the chance. Look through the window. You know what that is? It's the cool kids, patrons of the arts. Don't they seem happy? That, my friends, is the inner glow one gets from being a charitable soul.

25 March 2007

some media coverage and the re-emergence of something long-ago forgotten

And now...the update:

Yours truly was profiled this past week on Adam Ross' film blog DVD Panache as part of the Friday Screen Test series. Adam was kind enough to throw in a d press mention. You can read it at the following link.

Some of you have asked how you can promote gravida on blogs, websites, MySpace, whatever. The following code will put the most current gravida promotional image on, say, your blog sidebar and direct people to the dedicated gravida page. Feel free to tweak the size as you see fit, just remember to keep the ratio of height to width the same, or it looks weird. As the image we use changes, so will the image on your end. Pretty damn cool. (also, change all the brackets "[]" to html code "<>")

[a href="http://dpressproductions.com/gravida" title="gravida"][img alt="gravida" src="http://a632.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/36/l_6197234f24879a8bf80ceb3149d40807.jpg" height="133" width="230" /][/a]

Or, if you prefer, grab an image of your choosing from the brand-new gravida media page. If you want a similar image for the fundraiser, let us know and we'll hook you up.

There's a pretty big and pretty exciting announcement coming soon. Perhaps as early as next week. Some of you have an idea of what that is, but in the interest of getting all the details hammered out, I'll hold off on that until it's all sorted out. But be on your toes anyway.

I should mention that we really have zero expertise in the area of business and marketing and such. We're artists who realize the business end is important, but are figuring it out as we go. So, if some of what we do is strange or off-putting, stay with us. We're just trying stuff that we think has potential.

On the fundraiser front, there's been a small change, a tweak, if you will, to the gifts we're giving out. As you may remember, at the $25 level the gift was previously a compilation DVD of guard duty, L'Attente, and gravida, which is a pretty good gift, but we've decided to sweeten the deal with this addition...

For the first time ever, we're going to "open the vaults" (as they say at Disney) and add the poetic and perplexing window shopping (2003) and the rarely seen Joanna Lowe film 4 minutes, which is easily the most obscure film we have on file, to the Special Edition DVD. I'd be surprised if more than ten people have ever seen 4 minutes, to give you an idea of just how obscure it is. Just to reiterate, while you will be able to purchase some variation of a gravida and L'Attente compilation DVD, this Special Edition DVD is unique to the gravida fundraiser. I wouldn't count on these two films being made available for purchase in the near future, if ever.

There's also been some question about the top level of the fundraiser, the one where for a $250 donation we make a zany film for you. If a group were to gather up $250 amongst themselves and donate it, that would work just as well as a single donation from one person. We aren't picky. And to answer another question that's come in, there are some topics we wouldn't be able to do, as they would run contrary to what we stand for. A film about how wonderful genocide can be, for example, ain't gonna happen.

And finally, speaking of the fundraiser, Joanna Stocker, one of our leading patrons, had this to say about her role at d press and the fact that her donation still accounts for over half the total raised [edited for clarity and relayed here at her request]: "...tell [people] that I live with my parents still because I can't afford to live on my own, yet I faithfully tithe from every paycheck and I do my best to try to assist my dear friend Lucas in his pursuit of art in film making. These stingy bastards surely spend more then $50 a year in movie rentals and ticket purchases - so why not donate to someone who is actually working at creating the very media/literary/performing art they so readily throw their not-so-hard earned money into?"

"So i'm a assistant visionary. at least I know my place ;)"

The gauntlet, as they say, has been laid down.

It sounds like hyperbole, but a truly independent film collective like ours cannot exist without the support of people like Joanna. Long-term, it just isn't possible. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just one more reason why Joanna Stocker is so very awesome.

20 March 2007

d press mailing list: a d press update....now with footage!!!

No, it's not your imagination, you're getting a lot more of these than normal. But that's because we've got a lot going on at d press central these days, what with a new film on the horizon and another one starting to get some notice around the country.

That, and we've re-dedicated ourselves to growing our fan base (such as it is), and keeping people better informed.

So, what's happening this week at d press? Why, I'm glad you asked.

There were some weather issues concerning Thursday's screening of "L'Attente", which prevented the masses from overwhelming the screening, but Sujewa tells me that overall the screening went well, despite the small audience. At very least, no one had anything bad to say about it, so that's something

In the more here and now category, we've added some stuff to the webpage. There's a promotional photo for "gravida", some production stills, and...wait for it...the first 30-second teaser. Excited yet? Of course you are.

You can find the teaser here on MySpace, YouTube, and more importantly, the d press webpage:


As of yet we don't have the music lined up, and the trailer is quite rough, but we wanted to get the early promotional stuff out there as soon as possible.

And that's because we're hoping a peek at the finished product will enliven the "gravida" fundraiser, which is off to a start, but not much of a start. Thus far we've gotten nearly $100 (and some tasty food) in donations from the most unlikely of sources. But our patrons understand that indie films can't exist on an island, and for that we're eternally grateful.

15 March 2007

a quick reminder about tonight's screening

For those of you in the Maryland area who won't be glued to March Madness today, remember that L'Attente will be screening with Sujewa Ekanayake's Date Number One tonight at 7.30 in Kensington, MD. The screening costs a mere $5.

I won't be able to be there, but Sujewa will be there, answering questions and whatnot. Date Number One is self-distributed, so feel free to pick his brain about how all of that works.

more info here

The gravida fundraiser is off to a less-than-impressive start, but a start nonetheless. Our largest donation thus far comes from one of the poorest people I know. So there goes your excuse of "I can't afford it."

So go to the webpage and make a donation. It'll take you a grand total of like 5 minutes.

the d press Store

the gravida page, now with some production photos and an early promotional image:


13 March 2007

the official gravida fundraiser

This is a copy of the recent d press Productions mailing list email, re-posted here because, well, I want to, and because some interested parties aren't on the list.

As some of you may very well know, we here at d press are hard at work on our next film--gravida, which we are billing as a study in loneliness. 99% of the film is in the can and the footage looks pretty spectacular, thanks in large part to the work of cinematographer Dave Eger and gaffer Don Yockey, who composed some pretty cool images. It's pretty exciting, actually. Expect a teaser to show up on the webpage (www.dpressproductions.com) in the near future.

The dedicated gravida page is: here

Of course, while it's pretty easy to shoot a French New Wave film like L'Attente (2006) on the super, duper cheap, a film like gravida has different requirements, stuff like dolly moves and professional lights and a better camera for shooting at night and food for a crew of 10-12 people. Some of it (like the dolly) we were able to build using good old Yankee ingenuity and a trip to Home Depot, but a lot of it had to be rented. Throw in a far-too-close encounter with a certain deer, and we're looking at a budget in the $800-$1000 range. Not bad at all for what's looking to be a 20 minute film, but not exactly pocket change either.

And even though the film will have a Pittsburgh premiere and later be sent out of the festival circuit, it has little to no chance of ever making that money back.

So the idea struck me: we're starving artists. Why not hold a fundraiser? So that's what this is: "the official gravida fundraiser". Your kind donation can help defray the costs of the film and give you the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with being a patron of the arts and allow your favorite film collective to do what we do best. Plus, at parties you can refer to yourself as a "patron of the arts". Chicks dig patrons.

Already fellow artists have donated a great deal of their time and abilities to make this film happen. Your simple donation would be a greatly appreciated signal of support. I know, I know. I hate asking for money as much as you hate being asked. But this is the world we live in.

Should you decide that it couldn't hurt to create some good karma, there's a couple ways you can do this: You can give us the money in person. This is of course easier if you actually see us in person. You can go to the d press webpage (www.dpressproductions.com) and in the store there's a button where you can donate using PayPal. You actually don't need a PayPal account to do this. It's incredibly easy. Or, you can send it using the US Mail to this address:

Lucas McNelly
d press Productions
1466 Kelton Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15216

Consider this: if everyone on our email list were to give just $5 (you probably have more than that in spare change laying around), we would raise over $250, roughly 1/4 of the entire budget. But any amount, even $1, will receive our sincere and profound thanks (and mad props...everyone loves mad props), in the credits of the film no less. If you're a shy type, you can donate anonymously, but if not, we'll profess our gratitude in a hip, happening way.

Think of this as a PBS drive, only without Big Bird.

$25 or more, and as a gift, we will send you a DVD with gravida, L'Attente, and guard duty on it, so that you can show people just what sort of awesome films you support.

Updated, 24 March 2007: For the first time ever, we're going to "open the vaults" (as they say at Disney) and add the poetic and perplexing window shopping (2003) and the rarely seen Joanna Lowe film 4 minutes, which is easily the most obscure film we have on file, to the Special Edition DVD. I'd be surprised if more than ten people have ever seen 4 minutes, to give you an idea of just how obscure it is. Just to reiterate, while you will be able to purchase some variation of a gravida and L'Attente compilation DVD, this Special Edition DVD is unique to the gravida fundraiser. I wouldn't count on these two films being made available for purchase in the near future, if ever.

$50 or more, and we'll send you not only that awesome DVD, but also a mini promotional poster of gravida, designed by our good friend Ryan Davis and signed by, at the very least, director Lucas McNelly. Stick it on your wall and be the envy of your apartment building.

A gift of $75 or more and we'll not only send you the DVD and the poster, but also a t-shirt. That's right, a soon-to-be-revealed, custom t-shirt. That's right, custom. Wear it with pride around town, knowing that you've supported a progressive, innovative production company. We can't even describe to you how cool it'll be. We should warn you, though, that someone might be so jealous they'll try to steal it.

If you can find a way to part with $100 or more, we'll not only kiss your feet, but we'll send you the DVD, the poster, the shirt, and you'll get two (2) tickets to see gravida on the big screen as it premieres in Pittsburgh as part of "the body beautiful project", courtesy of Cup-a-Jo productions. (dates to be announced)

And how's this for super cool? If you're feeling way generous and can put together $250 or more, as a special thanks we will make a 2-3 minute film, shot guerilla-style using stuff we have laying around, on any topic or theme you choose. So, if you say "make me a film about aliens", expect to see paper plates spray-painted and hanging from string and a high camp factor. Other topics would probably yield higher-quality results. Regardless, we'll put the film on the webpage and, time permitting, the DVD.