Cannes 2015 Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Scheaffer

First of all, YES.  I know how deeply lucky I am to have had another beautiful gown made for me to wear on the Red Carpet in Cannes.  I am such a fan of fashion, love being the canvas, and know that these experiences are treasures!

For this year's Cannes Film Festival, I knew much earlier than last year that I would be on the Red Carpet!  Hosted by Hewlett Packard, I was asked to speak on the panel "Cutting Edge Collaborators: Women Achieving in Film." Our day would finish with the entire panel walking the Red Carpet together.  PERFECT!  I reached out to Veronica Sheaffer, having appreciated her work on instagram, pitched the opportunity and we immediately hit it off!  

Over the next three weeks and four fittings this stunning gown came together!

Grace McPhillips in Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Sheaffer

Grace McPhillips in Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Sheaffer

Aside from the stunning and dramatic effect the dress gives, it was so completely comfortable and made me feel regal, distinguished, and most importantly matched the accomplishment I was feeling.  Starring and producing in a feature film, The Other One, then seeing it through a year of festivals, and into distribution, was no easy task.  Excitement and stress come in equal doses during that process, so to then to be highlighted as a "Woman Achieving in Film," at Cannes, was just AWESOME!!!

Me, Kyle Flavell, and Komal Minhas encouraging the industry to be more than a fan!

Me, Kyle Flavell, and Komal Minhas encouraging the industry to be more than a fan!

One of the things I love about Veronica is that she is all in.  After knowing what fabric we would be working with, and the feeling of the gown, she began e-mailing me links to shoes and jewelry.  More than a gown designer, she is a stylist!  Her vision is all encompassing.  Check out all of the options in this video shot by Chris Rejano of the final fitting the day before we flew to France!

The shoes, that couldn't have been more perfect, were by Adrianna Papelle. Can you see that sparkle on the inside of the stiletto? LOVE!

While you can't beat a custom gown, Rent the Runway is my go-to for other fun, fancy occasions.  In Chicago they now have a store (YES!) and they treated me to amazing jewelry to complete the look.  Working with Veronica at the final fitting we decided on the DANNIJO Avril Earrings and the aptly named Jones Bracelets from Chamak by Priya Kakkar.  

And a note about Flatgate, (not the football debacle, but the female producers being ushed off the red carpet for wearing flats,)  this year, my mother joined me in Cannes and she rocked some silver Sam and Libby's Flats with no problem.  We had a great time, incase you can't tell from the picture. 

Now... it is called the Cannes Film Festival, so what film did we see and what did I think about it?

We saw Valerie Donzelli's fourth feature, Marguerite and Julian, a tragic, incestuous Romeo and Juliet.  The reviews were mixed and interestingly when I spoke to women about it, they understood the modern touches inserted into the film as hinting towards this story being a timeless one, but the men I spoke with were mostly confused by the helicopters, electricity, and modern cars in a story taking place in the 17th century and didn't like the film.

Personally, I thought there were many commendable moments.  The children's performances were so touching and beautiful. I liked the scenes being started in tableaus, not freezing the footage, but freezing the actors, and the sense of play with which she directed the brother and sister lovers was spot on.  

The music, however, was too american for me and when Marguerite is  captured, Valerie chose to "celebrify" the moment by showing it in paparazzi style, still photography.  This felt off.  It's the only time she choses to do this in the film and it feels pushed and insincere.  It took me out of the story immediately and removed the actors from their performances for me.  Aside from that it was beautifully made and a nice story to explore.  Worthy of Cannes? Absolutely.  Groundbreaking?  No, but I think Valerie Donzelli has it in her and I'll be curious to see what is in her future. #SEEHERNOW

There was a lot energy around female filmmakers this year, but there were only two female directors in competition.  Directors of films certainly have the least representation, but the numbers across the board for female filmmakers isn't great, particularly in the upper echelon of filmmaking.

I'd like to see more women working with bigger budgets and will continue to be an advocate for women in film.  It's what I am, so why wouldn't I?  Also the best idea I've heard for creating real change is quotas.  People, and I think, Americans in particular, don't like to be told they have to do one thing or another, but when a history of injustice needs to be corrected, we MUST do things that, at the time ,feel uncomfortable or even unfair.  

Maybe you saw the film Selma?  Blacks had the right to vote, but it didn't mean it was going to happen.  Affirmative action was also an uncomfortable thing for many people, and at times, yes, it was unfair, but the culture wasn't going to change without demonstrative action.  This is the place we are at with female filmmakers.  If you haven't yet, please sign the ACLU petition for investigation into discriminatory hiring practices in Hollywood.  I'm on it.

Latest review on "The Other One" from Indie Outlook


Film critic Matt Fagerholm of The Ebert Company sat down with Grace McPhillips to discuss our latest screening of 'The Other One' at the Chicago International Film Festival, our upcoming special presentation as part of the Beloit International Film Festival, and what 2015 will hold for the film!

"Written and directed by Josef Steiff (“SoulMaid”), the film invites viewers to be an active participant in the ever-twisting plot, unspooling the mysteries along with the characters."

Read the full interview here!

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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Photo Jan 18, 12 23 34 PM.jpg

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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Phase One is Wrapped on The Other One!

13 days of filming down and 4 more to go.  Yes, we thought we were going to film this is 10 days, but alas, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Local support for The Other One movie production in Galena, Illinois

Local support for The Other One movie production in Galena, Illinois

Here are some shots by the crew and screenshots to share from our days in Galena, IL. We’d hope to have shared more of these from earlier on, but… we’ll avoid repeating ourselves.

Phase Two will be be fast upon us for 2 days of pick-ups and then soon after that we will have a whole host of high schoolers join us for our final phase of filming which will also be a stand alone short film titled Eclipse.  Be sure to like us on facebook and click the link to subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know what’s next for our movie The Other One!

Film noir feel during production of The Other One in Galena, Illinois

Film noir feel during production of The Other One in Galena, Illinois

Actor Ron Jenkins with Actress-Producer Grace McPhillips on set in The Other One

Actor Ron Jenkins with Actress-Producer Grace McPhillips on set in The Other One

Reflections from David: Actor Brian Crawford

Crew of The Other One looking in on David (Brian Crawford) looking in on Amber (actress Grace McPhillips)

 What a great day... the sun was shining (no more April snows), the house was coming to life with personal touches, the cast and crew were fantastic and at night we had a campfire to boot.  Being able to watch everyone so carefully and lovingly jump into this project has been a real gift.  As David I am afforded the opportunity to take in, to gently observe. And that state is such a rare one in our busy world.  Plus, I got to do half of this in my pj’s, so thumbs up to that as well.

The shot you see here is one of four angles on the same scene.  I love that.  I love that film affords the opportunity to see things– people, events, etc– from multiple angles. Things shift constantly, and then other times it is just a long, driven continuous shot.