By Donna Scott, Executive Producer, Aphasia
I was thrilled to receive a Regional Artist Project Grant to provide marketing and networking aid to my first film effort as an Executive Producer. Aphasia is a 40 minute narrative short film about the true story of actor Carl McIntyre, a well known Charlotte actor, who, after suffering a stroke at age 44 and losing his ability to read, write and talk, must redefine his life.
Carl plays himself in the film, which was written by his Charlotte friend of twenty years, Jim Gloster. In February 2010 during a meeting with Jim Gloster, I offered to pull together a venue for a staged reading of his script and also suggested that we could arrange an ask for donations as a fundraiser for the production of the project. Jim Gloster asked me to executive produce the project on the spot and I agreed. After two fundraising readings, we successfully filmed the project in eight days in and around Charlotte in March and April of 2010.
With an extensive background in sales and marketing and having spent the last 7 years as an independent theatre producer, I understood how to garner local press interest. What I wanted to learn was how this could be applied on a broader scale across the country and ultimately worldwide, to the benefit of over 200 NC artist involved in the making of the film. I developed a screeningsales program for the film that that includes the 40 minute film plus an appearance and motivational speech from our star, Carl McIntyre. With the help of my partners we developed a digital press kit for the film and Carl that contains interchangeable marketing pieces that I use for film festivals or booked screening events that we may have for Universities, Rehab Centers, Hospitals, and conferences. I attended a workshop with a large marketing and social media component and have been able to target and utilize face book and twitter creatively to increase our online presence and awareness within both the film, aphasia and stroke communities nationally and internationally.
The grant also provided the funds for entry into film festivals which has truly broadened our national awareness. Often we are selected for film festivals but are unable to attend due to monetary constraints; with the support of this grant, I was able to actually attend the Feel Good Film Festival in Los Angeles, California and strengthen our contacts within heart of the film industry. We went on to win the audience award for Best Short at this festival in Hollywood and held an additional screening of the film while we were there on the California State Los Angeles campus. The contacts made with the Feel Good Film Festival in LA have led to open invitations to submit the film to other festivals directly without the typical fee, which has been fantastic. We got our NYC premier of Aphasiathis way, and are screening at the ReelAbilities Film Festival with our New York City Premier on February 11, 2012. (http://newyork.reelabilities.org)
We continue to book screening events with Carl McIntyre and Aphasia and at this point have screened the film over 30 times, on both coasts of the US and in four countries including the US, Canada, Ireland and Germany. We have booked events scheduled throughout 2012 including an August premier date for the film in Australia with a Aphasia screening event with Carl McIntyre for the Stroke 2012 Convention in Sydney. Currently we are planning a DVD release of the film here in Charlotte for spring 2012- stay tuned for the date! Want to know more about the short film Aphasia? Check us out on the web-
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