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.