Cinema Without Borders interview with Grace McPhillips

Bijan Tehrani:  How did you come up with the idea of making THE OTHER ONE?
Grace McPhillips: My film THE OTHER ONE was originally a short film I had been cast in, but that had never been made.  It was a script that haunted me, spurred my imagination towards different story lines, and I saw the film fit perfectly in a location I knew I had pretty unlimited access to. So when it came time for me to produce and star in a feature, that screenplay immediately came to mind.

The short was only 15 pages and a feature needs to be closer to 85 pages, so we, the other lead actors and the director, took a collaborative creation approach and we developed a storyline and script within 3 months and immediately went into filming.

BT:  You are an independent producer and filmmaker with an extensive background in arts, has that background helped you as a filmmaker?
GM: Having a diverse background in the arts is super helpful for perspective and gumption.  I was mostly dancing, singing, and acting in musical theater prior to film, but choreographed in addition to performing, which is a lot like producing and starring.  It's deciding how you want the cake to be made and then being the one who walks out with it on your finest cake platter.

Epic Producer's Patio- Sundance Panel- Why Female Filmmakers are Good Investments!

Maybe you were there and want to hear the goodness again, or maybe you weren't able to be at Sundance with us, but either way, as promised, here is the recording of the panel discussion!

  BIG THANKS TO HEWLETT PACKARD FOR MAKING THIS PANEL POSSIBLE!   YOUR TECHNOLOGY, HOSPITALITY, AND SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IN INDIE FILM ROCKS!

BIG THANKS TO HEWLETT PACKARD FOR MAKING THIS PANEL POSSIBLE! YOUR TECHNOLOGY, HOSPITALITY, AND SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IN INDIE FILM ROCKS!

 Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela C. Lee, Julie Parker-Benello, Michele Turnure-Salleo, Jennifer Phang, and Grace McPhillips, HP Sundance House 2015

Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela C. Lee, Julie Parker-Benello, Michele Turnure-Salleo, Jennifer Phang, and Grace McPhillips, HP Sundance House 2015

Learn more about the Sundance Successes!

  • Full list of all Sundance Award Winning Films 
    • San Francisco Film Society supported films: U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision: "Advantageous," Jacqueline Kim and Jennifer Phang/ U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Verite Filmmaking: "Western," Directors: Bill and Turner Ross

    • Chicken and Egg Pictures supported films: U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Break Out First Feature -"(T) error" by Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe/ Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary- "Dreamcatchers" by Kim Longinotto 

  • SONGS MY BROTHER TAUGHT ME- PRESS Indiewire
  • DOPE- PRESS New York Times

Technical Note/ Apology- I am a VO Artist and certainly know better, when dealing with microphones, but you will hear a little bauble noise every now and then from, eh ehm... my necklace.  I want to apologize for that but also say it was worth it.  I was wearing the words of Helen Keller "Life is either a great adventure or nothing." If you know me well, you know I grew up not only under the legend of the Fitzgeralds, but in the home of Mildred Tyson, Helen's sister.  The south is full of inspiring women and along with having the honor of moderating a conversation with these inspiring women, I proudly to wore the words of Helen! Words to live by!

Mr. Redford, I feel ya. Mr. Weinstein, we got this.

At this time last week, The Other One began its journey through SUNDANCE 2014!

We were featured twice at the Sundance House, thanks to Hewlett Packard, who's Z820 RED Edition workstation we used to rapidly (as far as workflows are considered) edit the film.  You can read about our editor's work on the station here.  It's a beauty and money saver for the indie producer in time alone!

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On Friday, I moderated a conversation with Rick Hohmann, Senior Software Engineer at HP, and Melissa Lawrenz, Editor of The Other One about working with the Z820.  And on Saturday I told the story of producing our film from "Concept to Completion in 10 months" and shared exclusive sneak peeks of two scenes from the film in 4K (super high resolution!)

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While navigating the flowing crowd, we had great engagement and excellent feedback!

Sundance is an amazing film festival and even most of the general public know it's Robert Redford's baby.  It is a place for filmmaking artists to find community, support, and tell original, risk-taking stories.  It's also a place for new merchandise to be pushed into celebrities' hands (my favorite new item: pasta chips...ok,) exclusive parties to be held in almost every available space, and stars, new and old alike, to show their newest risk-taking projects. 

In the U.S. Dramatic Competition Infinitely Polar Bear and Whiplash were the two films being most buzzed about.

It's great to see more female directors showcased, but it was sad to hear an industry executive at a party say he just "wished women could direct better films."  Yes, the booze were flowing, but really he was rooting for us! Not seeing us prove ourselves is perhaps an honesty female filmmakers should acknowledge, but perhaps in our struggle to gain respect we've pushed the bar so unattainably high, we leave no room for any of us to fail.  I'll keep thinking about that idea.

FAIL.  This was a word for and by Sundance as well this year.  #FreeFail  Unfortunately, I didn't make it to any of these workshops, (meetings, mentoring, and trying to get into exclusive networking events can keep you busy,) but I liked that Sundance was reaching out to the festival attendees, many of which are the general public, and encouraging them to experience what so many filmmakers go through- Failing.  I wonder if next year Sundance will #SuperSuccess and celebrate risk takers sharing how they achieved success.  While I believe failure is essential to risk-taking, innovation, and the creative process, as an independent filmmaker wishing to have a long career, I'd like to focus more on the next steps to success and sustainability. Investors and audiences only dig failure for so long.

 Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producer of  Laggies  and Producer of  White Bird In A Blizzard  both of which premiered at Sundance.

Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producer of Laggies and Producer of White Bird In A Blizzard both of which premiered at Sundance.

If you know me, you know I'm a networker. I'm happy to talk about my projects, career, and where I want to go, hoping that along the way I'll meet people who can share insights, critique, mentor, and give me a helping hand up, so I can one day return the favor.

When talking to more established people in my industry, I am often given directives and ultimatums. "You HAVE to do this,"  "You MUST do that"... kind of thing, comments that mostly feel fueled by profit more than creativity.  Fortunately, because I was graciously allowed into the Creative Producer's Lunch, I was so happy to hear Alix Madigan-Yorkin say "There is no way of knowing what will work" when it comes to producing. THANK YOU ALIX.

Sundance is constant.  You're going non-stop and often eat at odd times when you finally realize you've only had free coffee from the AirBnB house all day.  It's full of fans and industry and while it has consistently grown to be more glam/hollywood, I know the Sundance Institute is committed to the filmmaking artists, and I was even told they wanted to focus on more artists across the nation, not just the typical east and west coast markets. YEAH! This Chicago gal would gladly assist in that goal.

So Mr. Redford, I feel you on "It's none of our business" in regards to your comment about financing and distribution lessons at Sundance. This will stay in mind as I creatively push my projects forward and hold on to our team's vision, trying to not kowtow to the HAVEs and MUSTs.  We'll figure it out and remember there is no right way, especially in this new wild west of distribution and financing.

Sundance is also full of news and big announcements, but on Monday, Martin Lurther King Day, Anita Busch of Deadline put out a big announcement about Harvey Weinstein's comments on violence and why they matter.  So in addition to what people were enjoying in the theater, people in line for the films were musing on our industry's influence on violence and the conflicting profitability of violent/action films. 

Our film, The Other One, would have probably contained more violence, bigger stars, and a puppy if we stuck to the HAVEs and MUSTs of distributors, but it doesn't need that and never did.  We've pre-screened to over 250 people now and have received terrific feedback amidst the sniffles and tears our powerful little independent film has created.  We're not sure where we will premiere, nor what our distribution looks like, but already our team: filmmakers, cast, and funders, are so proud of what we created.  #SuperSuccess  So, Mr. Weinstein, I've got your back.  We're with you in the change.  The Other One could have glorified gun violence, but the story is too real, the public's imagination too vivid, and we just won't do it either. 

Finally, Sundance inspires.  It's a great way to start 2014 and I'm so grateful to have participated more fully this year as a filmmaker, even though I didn't have a film in the fest, and even though that's what I've been all along.

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Melissa Lawrenz talks about the HP Z820

The HP Z820 RED Edition Workstation was a vital element in the post process while on set of The Other One.  Director Joe Steiff wanted me to edit the film while on set to make sure that we were getting everything that was needed for the edit.  Since the shoot was very short and intense, it was helpful to see a cut of a scene before we left the location.

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DIT and Assistant Editor Andrew Niemchick was able to take the dailies from the Red camera and utilize the built in RED Mag reader to copy the footage to our external drives.  The speed of transfer on the station is amazing and it turned a usually slow task into a quick one.  Once copied and checked, Andrew was able to use the installed RED Rocket card and RedCineX to transcode the dailies into Avid MXF media so that I could start editing immediately.

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The speed and processing power of the HP Z820 Red Edition Workstation is incomparable to any other computer setup I've worked with prior to this film and it saved us so much time in the processing of dailies.  I could take a scene that was just shot and start editing it within an hour.  Having a scene to show the director at the end of that day of filming put him at ease and allowed us to discuss the scene and not just talk about the dailies.  I wouldn’t have been able to get that much work done without the use of the HP computer.  By the end of the shoot I had a full assembly of the film and was ready to move on to the rough cut. 

By Melissa Lawrenz, Editor of The Other One

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Our Unique Post Production Process

For The Other One, our Editor Melissa Lawrenz will be living on set editing literally as soon as the RED cards are full.  We are aim to shoot our film in 10 days and time is of the essence, so Hewlett Packard has given us an awesome gift to help speed up the process- the HP Z820 RED Edition Workstation!

Here’s the full breakdown on the HP site.

Friday the 12th, 2013, HP’s Rick Hohmann flew straight from the NAB show to sit down with our Post team, convert the station into the RED Edition and begin walking us through it’s awesome capabilities.  We even have a Dream Color Monitor!