CIFF42 Here we Come....

I am pleased to announce that "Mr. Gele" has been picked up by the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) as an Official Selection! The 42nd CIFF, yes, 42nd ( meaning they've been in this festival game for a while) takes place April 4th - April 15th at the Tower City Cinemas in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. A total of 253 short films were selected to represent 72 countries and I cannot deny the excitement I feel to know that Mr. Gele is one of them. I am deeply moved and just beyond thrilled to experience this.  My goal with this film was to reach a wider audience, an audience who may have not even had the opportunity to see a film like this. I have been to so many festivals, seen so many films and find that African stories ( or stories about Africans )  are mostly showcased in a negative light. But I am so glad that for a moment, audience members ( who are not familiar with African culture)  can see a film filled with positivity and inspiration.  Thank you so much to CIFF42 for this amazing honor.  

Click on the flyer below for the program lineup on the CIFF42 website.

In a FUNDRAISING state of mind

Yes, you heard right! We are now in the midst of a fundraiser campaign which was officially launched mid-January 2018. 

I must admit fundraising is not an easy feat. When I began my research about this process, I was hesitant to even get started. All the information I found about it was quite overwhelming and just seemed too complicated and time consuming. And so I procrastinated s long as I could but finally got my act together and started to gradually composing a GoFundMe page in December 2017. I spent so much time working on this page making sure it was perfect (well as perfect as I could possibly make it). 

Most importantly, I was very impressed with myself when I produced a fundraiser video (shown below) featuring myself (*gasp*) which helped jumpstart the campaign. I have always been behind the camera and developed a very comfortable place for myself there :-). But I admit today that  deep down inside, I had fun doing it.  I just had to get out of my head. Once I got over that hurdle, there was no stopping me. 

So without further ado, please do visit our GoFundMe page and DONATE. "Mr. Gele" has been a passion project for me for so long and now that it is completed, I need all the help I can get to push this film further than I can on my own. Funds from this campaign will go towards marketing, film festival submission fees, traveling costs and all the unexpected expenses that occur with promoting a film. 

Mr. Gele's Trailer screens at SCAD!

SCADScreening.jpg

In mid-November, I got an invitation from my dear Associate Producer, Imani Warren to screen the Mr. Gele trailer at the screening of Goddess, a short film by Tiara Luten. A film she served as a Production Coordinator. Of course, my answer was yes and the rest is history.  The Mr. Gele Trailer screened at SCAD's Digital Media Center located in Atlanta, GA. 

A little background - sometime last year, Imani invited me to SCAD to meet with Tiara and her team during one of her production meetings. Shortly after the meeting, we both shared our individual journeys on how we came to the decision to making our own movies. Let's just say, we shared a "sister moment". Now several months after that meeting, we have projects to share with the world. Amazing, how new connections lead to amazing opportunities. Never underestimate the power of networking!!

Back to the present, it was quite exciting sitting with an audience and seeing the Mr. Gele trailer on the big screen, WOW! I cannot even imagine the feeling that will take over me when the entire film is screened!! Yikes!

What an amazing feeling!

Congratulations to Tiara and the rest of her "Goddess" team for a successful screening!

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  Yours Truly with Producer and Director of Goddess. From L-R: Renee Alexander (Producer)  & Tiara Luten (Writer & Director)

Yours Truly with Producer and Director of Goddess. From L-R: Renee Alexander (Producer)  & Tiara Luten (Writer & Director)

  Yours truly with my Associate Producer, Imani Warren

Yours truly with my Associate Producer, Imani Warren

My Top 10 Filmmaking Lessons

Happy Tuesday Everyone! 

So today is an exciting day for me because my Top 10 Filmmaking Lessons article is featured on one of the most popular documentary film resource sites out there, Desktop Documentaries.

In the pre-production phase of Mr. Gele, I came across Desktop Documentaries when I asked Google for the "best resource website for documentary filmmakers". Desktop-Documentaries.com was the first website to pop up. At the time, I was looking for a reliable site that could provide access to contract templates that pertained to documentaries. Upon further research of the site, I came across the Documentary Legal Forms Starter Pack. I purchased the package that instant without hesitation. It was exactly what I was looking for. These set of forms were a giant help to me and once I was able to customize them to suit my project, I was well on my way. And I can't thank Faith Fuller enough for all her efforts in creating this site. Faith is the founder and publisher of Desktop Documentaries and this website is full of essential tools and resources that cover topics on budgeting, fundraising, storytelling, surviving film festivals, distribution, grants, gear, filmmaker forums, you name it, she has it.  For documentary filmmakers like myself, this site is a gold mine! It definitely helped me in my journey with completing, Mr. Gele. 

So you can imagine my delight when she asked me to contribute an article to share lessons that I have learned from making Mr. Gele! Of course, I said yes and now I am excited to share my top 10 filmmaking lessons with you. 

 Top 10 Lessons Learning Making Documentary Short "Mr. Gele"

Thanks Faith for giving me this platform to share these lessons and for all that you do for documentary filmmakers out there! Your site truly ROCKS!!!

In addition to providing resourceful documentary content on Desktop Documentaries, Faith Fuller is a documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on CNN, Netflix and PBS, just to mention a few. Her first feature length documentary, Briars in the Cotton Patch is available on Amazon and streaming on Kanopy.  

The Mr. Gele Film Poster is HERE!

So after months of conceptualizing, designing, re-doing and fine-tuning, we now have a finished poster. I would like to thank the lovely Ms Timi Majek of Skratchaus for bringing my idea to life. 

I met Timi through a mutual friend at a Thanksgiving party. As we began to have more conversations with each other, I learnt that she was a graphic designer. So as soon as I needed a film poster for my film, I approached her about creating one for me and she was fully on board. At first, I did not have a clear vision of what I wanted specifically on the poster but knew that it had to bright, colorful and unforgettable. After searching the Internet for every single documentary-style movie poster I could find for inspiration and wearing myself out, I finally decided to just settle on a simple, unique, striking and colorful concept. Since the film is centered around Segun's craftsmanship of tying the gele, why not include different patterns of gele fabric? But how do we display all these patterns on a poster? And this is how we came up with the idea to incorporate all the beautiful gele fabric patterns within a side profile of Segun. I liked the light golden color text because it's soft enough to allow the patterned gele image to stand out and the emerald green text was selected to incorporate the documentary subjects favorite color.  Everything came together nicely and I am very happy with the end product. Thanks to Segun for taking the time and obliging us by sending all kinds of side profile photos that we asked for. Once he had someone take a photo of him at the airport while waiting on a flight ( smiles ). He is quite the busy man!!

Fun Fact: Timi and I combined a collection of geles that we had in our own closets to make this happen. I took photographs of about 10-15 individual gele pieces which were all spread out in my home office ( this process was fun). I sent all images over to Timi and she did her magic. A few days later, we had this masterpiece shown below. 

A curious designer and paper lover, Timi is the owner of SkractHaus Studios located in Atlanta, GA

 Write here...

Write here...

Submission time!!!

As promised in the previous post, here are the top 10 film festivals on our radar (in no particular order):

1. *Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles, California)

2. *Sundance Film Festival ( Park City, Utah )

3.  Bronze Film Festival (Atlanta, Georgia) 

4.  *South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)

5.  *Atlanta Film Festival (Atlanta, Georgia) 

6.  Raindance Film Festival (London, UK)

7.  Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

8.  Africa International Film Festival (Lagos, Nigeria)

9.  DOC NY (New York, New York)

10. Atlanta Docufest (Atlanta, Georgia) 

*Already submitted

We definitely have more on our wish list but we have to be strategic when submitting to film festivals as this  can become very expensive venture. It is definitely going to be an adventure waiting on the responses from each festival as time goes on and best believe we will keep you posted on the acceptances as well as the rejections (these are sometimes unavoidable). After all, it is a journey and we want you (reading this) to be a part of this adventurous ride. Stay Tuned. 

Thanks for reading!

Gee!

P.S: If you have any film festival suggestions for us, please send us a note and we will be sure to add it to our wish list :-)

Trailer...now released to the universe!!

When the editor told me these words "And here is your final trailer edit", I was over the moon. As a typical producer would do, I watched it at least 10-15 times to ensure it was perfect! It was! Shock was the next feeling and then excitement. I caught myself saying, " You mean, it is finished, it is really really finished." The feeling was quite indescribable. The next step was to release it for the world to see but yet, I held on. Why? I couldn't tell you.  I think in my deepest subconscious I managed to convince myself that it was still not perfect! In the end, I was forced to get out of my head when I heard someone say during a Creative Live Class ( They offer great educational content for creatives. Check them out!!!) ..."Don't wait till your product is perfect...release it and just get into the game." And that I did...and it feels so good. So to all my fellow creatives out there, GET OUT of your heads and your WAY...and just RELEASE those "precious babies" because the universe is waiting!

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Thanks for reading!!!

Gee

 

It's been a long journey....but we are here!

This whole idea started in 2013 and 4 years later it has become a reality! Making a film no matter the length.. short or feature is difficult. First you get the idea, then the doubts, the questioning, the stopping, the darkness, the light and then the darkness, the tears, the frustration, the sweat, the lack of sleep, the planning and more planning, the spending, the losing, the lost friendships, the new friendships....need I go on. Despite all the trials and tribulations, it has been a joy to be the vessel used to bring this passion project to life. 

It all started on July 29th, 2016 and editing locked on September 2nd, 2017. My entire team: Akin Okunrinboye (Director of Photography), Associate Producer (Imani Warren) and Mimi Wilcox (Editor) completely rocks! I have been blessed to have such an awesome team of talented individuals! THANK YOU GUYS!!

Next FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSIONS! Yes, I spent a lot of time the past couple of months composing my TOP TEN festivals that I would like to submit to and I will share those in my next post. 

Continue to watch this space as I take you on our journey from film completion to film festivals submissions. And of course, I cannot forget FUNDRAISING! Oh yeah..my absolutely favorite subject.......NOT :-) But I am determined to crack that tough nut and make it through just like every FILMMAKER has to. Funds raised will be applied towards PR & Marketing, travel , film festival fees and distribution. We also have our eye on T.V too!  

Thanks for reading!!!

Gee