This year at the Seattle International Film Festival, I saw a movie called Layover, which tells the story of how a young Parisian named Simone gets stuck in LA on an extended layover and ends up learning more about her hopes and dreams than she had anticipated. At the time, I wrote about the film at /Film:
Layover is a film in the tradition of Linklater’s Before series, and I found that it perfectly captured the paradox encountered by many a millennial: feeling trapped, while also realizing that the possibilities for your life are still endless. It’s a beautiful, moving, and wistful film.
Not only was I impressed with the film, I also loved the story of how director Joshua Caldwell made the film for about $6,000. Layover is a testament to what can be accomplished with a solid script, a strong directorial eye, a single Canon 5D Mark II camera, and sheer willpower.
In fact, I enjoyed the film so much that I signed on to become a producer for it. So what exactly does that mean?
In this instance, since Layover was already completed, there were very few conventional production duties that I could help fill. Instead, I helped provide finishing funds for the film and consulted on several elements of their distribution plan and publicity. You can read more about how Caldwell made the film here and here, and also read about his decision to directly distribute the movie.
You can probably guess: The fact that the film was only made for $6K made it much easier for a person of my limited means to invest in it. A few thousand dollars of my money could go a much longer way on Layover than it would on a production that cost $100K or $500K. But beyond that, I saw several unique opportunities that becoming a producer would present.
Firstly, since I'm directing a film myself this year -- and one that will very likely require self-distribution -- I felt being involved with Layover would give me a front-row seat to all the challenges involved in getting the word out about a movie. Thus far, I have already learned a lot about what platforms to use to distribute, the advantages of each, and what the most effective ways of driving publicity are. Undoubtedly, these learnings will require a whole other blog post to cover.
Secondly, and more importantly, every year thousands of movies like this screen at indie film festivals around the country and are promptly forgotten or never heard from again. They are movies with limited appeal on the mass market - maybe they don't have big stars, or maybe (in the case of Layover) they are shot in a foreign language and presented with English subtitles. I knew there was a risk that Layover would become one of these films, and with the audience I have via /Film and the /Filmcast, I saw an opportunity to bring attention to a film that would otherwise never have received it.
Finally, I saw it as an opportunity to get involved with a promising young filmmaker. I don't know where the careers of writer/director Joshua Caldwell and his producing/writing partner Travis Oberlander will end up. But even if this is the only thing they make that I ever love, I'm very proud to have my name on it.
You can buy Layover right now for $6 with promo code "filmcast", DRM-free. If you'd like to support an exciting new filmmaker, the concept of indie distribution, or my work in general, I would be grateful if you could check it out. Thanks!