Wammo was also featured in our film SlamNation. He visits often when he’s in New York City and offered to write a theme song for the movie, BLAST! while it was still in post-production. The result is this charming, exclusive performance edited by Rina Svet in her early days with DevlinPix.
Could we have ever guessed at the start of this project that it would culminate with my astrophysicist brother appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report? My science adventure movie, BLAST! was very popular internationally. It screened on television all across Europe, Japan, Canada, even had a weekend of global broadcasts that reached 120 countries on BBC World News.
But the United States is the toughest market for independent filmmakers and BLAST! received a lot of resistance from both film festivals and broadcasters in the U.S. – even though the movie was a suspenseful story by an American filmmaker about an American scientist. Was it because of too much science? Too little science? Too much religious discussion? No “Voice-of-God” narrator? Too personal – breaking convention by examining scientist’s family sacrifices? Who knows? But the traditional gatekeepers kept BLAST! from a national broadcast in the U.S.
That didn’t stop my brother and me. We knew there was an enthusiastic American audience we needed to reach. So, we went around the gatekeepers, distributed to regional PBS stations and found other important allies. These included Leonard Lopate of WNYC Radio, Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday, and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. We reached the nation despite it all – the Colbert Nation, that is.
Sometimes it’s about the quality of the people who get your work, not the quantity. Colbert almost never shows movie clips, so I consider it a personal triumph that he showed a clip of BLAST!
Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts 801 Chase Street Annapolis, MD 21401 Tuesday April 17th, 7:00pm Join the event on Facebook Read Paul’s recap on the On Screen/In Person blog!
Cultural Arts Center 15 West Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701 Thursday April 19th, 7:30pm Join the event on Facebook Read Paul’s recap on the On Screen/In Person blog! Press Coverage: Frederick Film Series Looks to the Skies Filmmaker Tells the Story Behind a Telescope Launch in Sweden
I believe it is vitally important for filmmakers to share their experiences. Even failures and embarrassments. These happen to all of us, and it’s good to be reassured that we’re not alone. Whenever the opportunity arises, I like to speak up. And when I think I have enough to say for an article, I publish.
Releasing my science epic film BLAST! theatrically in the U.S. turned into its own epic story. When I wrote it out, I wasn’t sure how such an in-depth piece would work in a magazine. I structured it episodically with built-in cliffhangers, in case it had to be divided up into pieces. I fully expected to have to cut it way down for publication.
indieWire completely ignored my submission, but Scott Macaulay, Editor of Filmmaker, picked it up and published the article in its entirety in Winter 2010. The fact that it was the longest piece the magazine ever published became a selling point for the print edition of Filmmaker. I’m very happy to have contributed a comprehensive New Yorker-style story to our community of independent filmmakers.