A couple of weeks ago I promised you all the answer of how this project began. I'm afraid it's rather a long story, so bear with me!
I've actually been interested in filming my whole life. When I was a newborn baby my father and uncle made this really cute film about me- not a home video, an actual movie with a plot and interviews, etc. So I can really say that I've been a filmmaker from the get-go.
My first really serious project came at the age of 15. My friends and I came up with the idea to make our own version of a popular fantasy film (If I tell you it was not Harry Potter, you should be able to guess what it was). Before I knew quite what had happened, I had become scriptwriter, producer, director and one of the only significant female actors. Woweee!
That project ended up taking about 15 months of my life, was two hours long, was shot in half a dozen locations across the state, had over 50 people on camera, and premiered at our church to an audience of about 125 persons.
As you can imagine, after that I was ready for a break.
The very next summer, the year I was 16, my fellow filmmakers and I were introduced to the first Vision Forum Film Festival, held down in San Antonio Texas. We decided that we needed to submit our own film to the contest, and quickly set to work writing another script. Or rather, I wrote it and they picked it apart.
This one was an original story, had a smaller cast (about a dozen people) was filmed completely in five days time (with a few pick up shots) and was edited in one month. The total running time was about 50 minutes.
So yes, you could say it was a smaller film, but we were still able to do cool things like film at our State Capitol and the nearest International Airport.
(Incidently, we found out later that the Coen brothers had started their film career filming at that same airport!)
Two films in two years. Were we ready for a break NOW? Well, sort of. We had plans for a film about the Scottish Rebellion of William Wallace that we had been tossing around for awhile. However, it was a pretty big epic scale project that was taking a while to come to fruitation. And while we were working on the script for that...
...I visited this amazing house.
Seriously. The family that owned it had decorated it to fit the Victorian period. The furniture, the wall paper, the curtains...everything was so perfectly period! I stared at it, turned to my friend (who lived there) and said "I need to film a movie here."
And that was how we began "Little Women."
Originally we'd planned for a small, half hour film to take place over that January. What happened was that we spent the next eight months filming, with another year of editing, shot the whole thing on a Canon XL2, had an original score composed, and had another premiere two years after the beginning of the project with another 100+ audience.
I pretty much realized that I was never going to be able to do a small film.
Over the post-production period on Little Women I went off to college and enrolled as an English Lit Major and Film Studies minor. I had plans to go off to L.A. for the fall of 2008. I also read a book called "The Shadow of the Bear" by Regina Doman.
God seemed to have plans other than movie making for me, however. In 2007 I realized that going into film was not compatable with my other dream, raising a homeschooled family. So I dropped the film minor, came home from college and took up a nannying job, and focused on directing and costuming local church and community theatre productions.
Before this point I had fallen in love with the Fairy Tale Novels. By the time I read "Waking Rose" (which has so many similarities to my life at the time) I was reading Regina's blog regularily. It was there that I realized that Regina had a really vocal and loyal fan base who didn't have a good way of communicating with each other. So I stepped out on a limb and asked Regina for permission to start a fan forum. She agreed, and now a year later we have a vibriant and thriving community of over 300 members.
But it didn't end there.
This past summer, while I was involved with a community production of Beauty and the Beast, God started bringing some interesting things into my life. Through a friend of mine he told me that I needed to go back into filmmaking. I was pretty stunned by this, as I had more or less given up my filmmaking dream. But there was one thing I knew. I wanted more than anything to make a film version of "The Shadow of the Bear." And I knew the author well enough to ask her for permission.
And I had just met a guy who seemed to fit the description of Bear exactly- something I had never dreamed I'd be able to do.
So I sent off an e-mail to Regina, which was quickly followed by permission and a series of e-mails that determined just how this would work. I began to realize that, yes, this could really happen. Within a matter of days I also realized that I knew three other people who would fit the parts of Rose, Blanche and Fish. So I talked to the four potential actors, recieved a series of positive answers, and knew that, for some reason, this was actually meant to happen.
Since then God has continued to send a parade of "yes's" and people my way. There is little doubt in my mind that this is God's project and God's will and that he means for all of this to happen. I don't think I can even begin to explain how humbled I feel by all this, or how much it has already done for my own life.
We're a week away from filming now, and just about everything seems to be in place. There's still a part of me that can hardly believe that it's true.
And yet, it is.
Welcome to "The Shadow of the Bear" movie blog!
We are an independant young adult-run production based in the U.S. Midwest. The film has been in pre-production since summer 2008, and wrapped up filming on August 26th, 2010.
We premiered the project on June 23rd, 2011 at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis, MN to a delighted audience of over 100 viewers.
For details about the future of the project, click here.