Our #ArtistServices team is moderating a free panel on Saturday, August 10 during NEXT Weekend called The NEXT Waves of Creative Distribution with a surprise lineup.  The panelists will discuss the latest tech and trends in creative financing, digi distribution, guerrilla marketing and independent theatrical releases.

Distribution is always a hot topic when it comes to independent filmmaking and to give a little perspective, here is the synopsis for the Marketing, Distribution and Home Video panel from the 1988 Sundance Film Festival:

The shifting habits of movie-viewing away from theatres towards home video have brought on analogous shift in the marketing, distribution and even production agendas of documentary and feature films. Many companies will now guarantee a hefty production advance – predicated on theatrical exposure – to secure a film for video release.  In such cases, home video is “driving” production, and the theatrical performance of the film becomes, virtually, advertising for its video release.  How this complex situation affects today’s filmmaking – and film-viewing – will be discussed.

Check out more on The NEXT Waves of Creative Distribution panel and NEXT Weekend Film Festival here.

Photo by Jonathan Hickerson


by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels and Karlyn Michelson

USA, 2013, HD, color, 80 min.


Available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play

Netflix release on March 20, 2015

The directors are available for interviews. Vimeo link available for reviews.

NEW YORK – Following a highly successful worldwide festival run (including the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, AFI Fest, CPH:DOX) and a theatrical release at New York’s renowned Film Forum, aviation thriller CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO will now make its digital premiere through Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program.


Originally shot in 3D, CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO takes place in the cockpit of a variety of aircrafts, its dialogs based on actual black box recordings. When you board an airplane, you put your life in the hands of the pilot and co-pilot. What happens in the cockpit when these professionals are faced with impending disaster? 

CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (code for “cockpit voice recorder”) dramatizes six harrowing airline emergencies, using the sparest of elements to foreground the heroic professionalism of these unsung men and women. The film is adapted from a critically acclaimed theatrical production of the same name, staged in 1999, which won two Drama Desk Awards — after which it toured both nationally and internationally for ten years. The aviation community embraced the production, and the Pentagon has used it for pilot training.

CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO is a collaboration between Collective: Unconscious, who originally staged the play, and 3LD Art & Technology Center, where the project was filmed in 3-D as part of a program to produce and distribute experimental art.

The Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program provides Institute-supported artists with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing solutions for their work.

A.O. Scott, New York Times: “One of the most terrifying movies I’ve ever seen.”

John Anderson, Variety“A thriller with arthouse bona fides.”

David Edelstein, New York magazine: “Pulse-quickening You Are There stuff.”

CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO: Co-Directed by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson. Written by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Irving Gregory. Edited by Karlyn Michelson. 3-D Production: NHK Cosmomedia. Cast: Patrick Daniels, Irving Gregory, Noel Dinneen, Sam Zuckerman, Debbie Troche, Nora Woolley. A Collective: Unconscious and 3-Legged Dog production. USA.                                                                    




Sundance Earth Day Selection:  2013 Edition

Today marks the 43rd Earth Day, and Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program is currently offering some special documentaries for home viewing that confront vastly different (but equally alarming) stories addressing urgent threats to the environment.  To observe Earth Day this year, we’re offering a hand-picked selection of sustainability-themed Sundance favorites for you to enjoy.

(L to R) If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, The Cove, Chasing Ice, and Crude.

Check out the full list of films here.

Data — it’s the most coveted property in independent film. While studios base their greenlight decisions on finely-honed models derived from the financial performance of numerous other pictures, many independent filmmakers perilously based investor pitches and distribution decisions on anecdotes and hearsay. What used to be simple extrapolation (“If that film grossed X, it probably did Y on home video”) has become a near impossible exercise in the age of digital distribution, in which paltry box-office returns hide “the real numbers” — a dizzying matrix of VOD stats, download figures, Netflix license fees and more and more obscure sub-categories of […]

via Filmmaker Magazine

How long before #sundance realizes the great chef of #talisker left to open HANDLE? My guess will be their only meal! #HANDLE trade up to one of PC’S best restaurants Handle #parkcity #parkcityresort #acuralive #meettheartist #sundancefest #sundance2015 @sundancelabs #artistservices deervalley #utah #utahpowder #HBO HBOfilms #hp #hpsundancehouse #a&e #realscreen # realscreensummit #thepcmarc #theEgyptian #egyptiantheater #greatfood #uber #sundancefilmfestival #sundancetickets #indiemovie #canyons #boxoffice (at Handle on swede alley)

In Meditation: An Interview with Something, Anything creators Paul Harrill and Ashley Maynor

On January 20, you can find Paul Harrill‘s Something, Anything online at Sundance‘s #Artistservices in association with IFP Films:

Something, Anything – Trailer from Self-Reliant Film on Vimeo.

If you do, and we at iheardin recommend that you do, be prepared to enter into a thoughtful meditation about life, love, grief, renewal, and faith. For Something, Anything is not just a film; it is an experience.

Something, Anything follows Peggy, a Southern newlywed whose perfect life is shattered when she suffers a miscarriage. Suddenly, she finds herself to be a stranger to those closest to her: her not so understanding husband, her money driven colleagues, and her gossip driven friends. What is worse is, Peggy becomes a stranger to herself. Then one day Peggy receives a thoughtful note in the mail from a friend who has become a monk. His simple kindness inspires Peggy. She transforms into a spiritual seeker, and in doing so she takes on a meditative journey of beauty, love, risk, and consequence.

We at iheardin have had the pleasure of sitting down with writer-director Paul Harrill and his producing partner, Ashley Maynor. They shared with us their thoughts about the film, the struggles and triumphs of shooting an independent film in their beloved Knoxville, Tn, and news of their upcoming projects.

To learn more about the creators of Something, Anything, please visit their website:


Jaye: What was the initial inspiration that led you to writing Something, Anything?

Paul: Talking about where an idea comes from is impossible. For a while I had wanted to tell a story about a couple, or a woman, who followed the traditional Southern “path” of getting married and starting a family in her early-to-mid 20s. Around the time that I started developing the idea it, I had been reading a lot of stuff with a spiritual, even ascetic, component — stuff like Tolstoy’s My Religion, a biography of John Coltrane, some essays by Thomas Merton. I’d had an interest in asceticism and monasticism, which goes back to readings I did in college when I took courses in religious studies. And then, on a personal level, I had recently gotten married myself, and when you go through that process you really make a lot of choices that reflect your values — how big your wedding will be, whether you’ll have a gift registry, and so on. And you feel pressure to bend those values to please other people, like your family or even friends. So the story itself came from a lot of different places.

Jaye: As a native and female Knoxvillan, I felt like I could relate to Peggy’s struggles. There is a certain kind of pressure women in their 20s feel to get married and have children. If you don’t do that, you don’t fit in. Did you have to do specific research to get into that mindset?

Paul: I did do research for the film, but not so much about this stuff. The story is set in East Tennessee, which is where I grew up. So the things you see in the film, the pressures Peggy faces, are things that I’ve seen a lot of women face. In some ways, it’s not even necessarily accurate to call them “pressures” because for many women — and Peggy is one of them — this is a life they happily aspire to — getting married and having kids in their early-to-mid 20s. Men, too. Where the pressure comes in is when you start to question or re-evaluate those goals.

Another thing I should say, though, is that even though it’s set in East Tennessee, I do think the things we’re talking about are not limited to that region. Or even to the South. Traveling with the film I feel like it’s something you find all over America outside of the more metropolitan areas.

Jaye: Having seen all your films to date, I feel as though a particular Paul Harrill trademark is capturing individual moments that are more about character life moments than any over arching plot point. This film seems to be an active meditation on life moments. We get to meditate on Peggy’s grief. Could you talk about this style of yours and how it is important to telling of this story?

Paul: Well, if that’s true, that’s very flattering. I’m probably not the best person to comment on whether my interests amount to a “trademark” or anything like that. It’s probably easier to discuss with a concrete example. So, let’s say, in the film we see Peggy fill out a job application, we see her prepare for her job interview… She’s walking around her apartment reciting a few “talking points.” We see how important it is to her to get this job, but we probably don’t need those scenes in any fundamental way to tell the story. There’s nothing especially dramatic happening.

But while those moments may not reveal a lot of conflict, they are private, and they reveal character. And I’m interested in characters’ interior lives. So that’s what makes them important to me. They’re about character. They’re also important because I want to depict things that happen in our own lives, but which we don’t necessarily see in the movies. But I’m not the first person to do this — you see it in filmmakers like Leo McCarey, who was very much a “moments” director.

Jaye: Was cinema an adequate medium for expressing your views on faith and spirituality? 

Paul: The very first draft of the script was a lot more literally expressive of my views on faith and spirituality, but it was also more didactic. So with rewrites of the script I worked to strip that didacticism out. Ashley, and a few other people I really trust as readers, really helped me find that balance. And then when we filmed it, there were times when I was rewriting dialogue on set — where I was trying to bring more openness to how the film represented faith and spirituality. I really wanted to tell a story where anyone — people of faith, agnostics, atheists — could all feel like the story could speak to them, or at least wasn’t shutting them out.

In a way, that openness, that idea of not feeling like I — or the movie — should be offering answers, might be the core spiritual belief of the film. And I’m very comfortable with that.

Jaye: The film is testament to your love for Knoxville. Could you elaborate about the type of support you got from producers, crew, and the local community?

Ashley: We couldn’t have made this film without very generous support from all kinds of individuals and businesses in Knoxville, not mention Nest Features, the production company that financed the film. Our crew ranged in size from 2 to 10 people depending on the day, but there were more than 400 people in Knoxville who contributed to the project in some way—from loaning out locations or vehicles, donating food, or serving as extras in larger scenes such as the wedding.

As just one example, we spent an entire week filming in the Knoxville’s downtown library branch while it was actually open! This required a great deal of openness and flexibility on behalf of everyone who works there and I was incredibly proud of how respectful our small film crew was in honoring the special kind of place a library is.

Jaye: One of the intentions of these interviews is to be a guide for students and aspiring filmmakers. So I like to ask production questions for that purpose. What was your production schedule like?

Ashley: Our production schedule was unusual, especially for a film with such a modest budget. Because the story takes place over the course of a year, we filmed piecemeal over 11 months to match the seasons in the script. We also had a large number of shoot days—around 60 or so—in large part because the script called for 58 different locations. So, some of those shoot days were just a simple pick-up scene at a single location. We initially filmed on weekends to work around the crew’s day job schedules. After Nest Features came on board and we were able to pay crew members, we filmed in small chunks, sometimes with months-long breaks in between.

Paul: When we tell other filmmakers that we were shooting for 60 days their initial response is often surprise, and maybe sometimes some jealousy. It’s almost unheard of even for movies that cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to shoot for that long. We had a lot less than that, but we did it. To do it, though, you have to figure out how to stretch your resources — which Ashley was a master at doing. And you absolutely have to have the whole cast and crew buy-in. Everyone believed in telling this story and everyone had personal motivations for working on it. Even when people did start getting paid on the film, paychecks were never anyone’s motivation.

The upside to shooting that long is that you have time to explore the material. But there are downsides, and the biggest one — especially if you’re doing it micro-budget — is that it’s just grueling, even if you spread it out like we did. The longer you shoot, the more time you have to question what you’re doing, to doubt it, or to be worn down by the process.

Jaye: You have said before it was a challenge finding your leading lady. Do you mind elaborating on the casting process?

Ashley: Paul and I took nine months to cast the film. We looked at around 90 actresses across the Southeast—from Southwest Virginia to Nashville to Atlanta. Paul was interested in casting a lead who would be a discovery for audiences and not come with any prior associations. We stumbled upon Ashley Shelton through Facebook and went through a multi-audition process with her. While she has a strong theatre background, this is her first feature film role.

Paul: Another reason it took so long to do those auditions was that I initially thought I might do a fair amount of improvisation. So the auditions weren’t just “come in, read a scene, and leave.” Many of the auditions lasted an hour per person. That seems crazy, probably, but when you make a movie for so little, there’s a freedom there. At the beginning of the process, it was just Ashley and me. So we were patient. Plus, we felt like any time meeting and auditioning actors is well spent because you find people that are appropriate for other roles, or even other projects.

Jaye: Any future ventures for Self-Reliant Film that you could share here?

Ashley: We’re involved with writer/director Cameron Nelson’s debut feature, Some Beasts, which stars Frank Mosley, Lindsay Burdge, and Heather Kafka. It was one of the films selected for the 2014 IFP Narrative Lab, and we expect it to premiere in 2015.

Paul: And we recently announced Ashley’s upcoming web documentary, which will be released online this spring.

Ashley: It’s called The Story of the Stuff,and it uses video, audio, images and text to track what happens to more than half a million letters, 65,000 teddy bears, and hundreds of thousands of other packages, donations, and condolence items sent to Newtown, Connecticut, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. (More about that is online here:

By Jaye Sarah Davidson

Featuring an array of talks and workshops designed to support working dance, theater, performance artists and their supporters.


FREE* and open to the public. $5 suggested donation.

*NOTE: There is a $40 fee for the CREATING SPACE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS workshop and advanced registration is mandatory.

Due to limited space, advanced registration is highly recommended for all other workshops. Registration is available online.

CHILDCARE IS AVAILABLE (free) by reservation one week in advance for participating adults. Please email with names, ages of children and what time periods you are in need of childcare.

Visit for more information.