Posted by:  Len

Cathy and I spent parts of the past Friday and Saturday in Seattle attending forums for film makers organized by the Seattle International Film Festival (the largest film festival in the United States, by the way).  The forums are free and open to the public, and are great resources for film makers of all ages and experience levels.

Friday we attended a networking event and panel on short films, and on Saturday one on the new world of independent film, which covered a lot of subjects including the major changes to film distribution taking place.  Both had excellent moderators and panelists and were provocative and thought-provoking.  Both generated good questions and a lot of good informal discussion.  It was certainly time very well spent for new film makers like ourselves, and we look forward to attending in a few days a forum on social impact films.

Many thanks to the SIFF for taking seriously its support and education mission, as well as to the sponsors without whom the forums could not take place.  We have benefited from these events and look forward to attending others in the future.

Posted by: Cathy

As Len and I work every day on Threads, we appreciate more and more the efforts of independent filmmakers around the world.  We learn something new every day about how many things go into creating and distributing a top-quality film.

Writing a compelling story that works on film is a crucial task, and one that I have been working on for some time.  A number of very experienced filmmakers have offered me good advice on how to tell the story and write the film’s script, but all of them have added that there is no single right way to do this and that each person finds a way that works best for him or her.  So there are probably as many ways to create a script as there are people who write them.

Here is how I have approached the daunting task of telling a story using material that we have already filmed as well as holding places for interviews and images that we still plan to capture.  I took copies of the transcripts of the film footage that we have and cut out the parts that I feel tell the story best.  I then assembled these on a large surface — a bedroom wall, as it turns out.  I can see at a glance all of the pieces of the puzzle and re-arrange them as needed to make the story both interesting to the viewer and true to the reality of Surayia, Bangladesh and the women of Arshi.

The script on the wall.

The script on the wall.

Posted by:  Cathy

We are pleased to see that Maiwa Handprints, of Vancouver, BC, will be featuring kantha, indigo and Bangladesh later this year.  On September 11, 2012, the Maiwa store on Granville Island will host a “Living Blue” exhibit with displays and discussion about indigo.  On September 12 and 13 at Maiwa East Anowarul Haq and Apurba Deb Roy will lead a workshop on kanthas.  On October 11 Mary Lance’s excellent documentary about indigo “Blue Alchemy” will screen in Vancouver, and Mary will be there to talk about her film.

Posted by: Cathy

It’s exciting to report that we had another day of filming done in Dhaka on May 7.  We were able to capture additional interviews with several of the women who worked with Surayia at Skills Development for Underprivileged Women and later at Arshi.  Len and I worked closely with our editor, Rita Meher, as well as with the field producer in Bangladesh, Dina Hossain, and others, to refine the film story line and the questions to ask the women.

We’re excited about the prospect of additional footage of the women since they were there for many of the most important moments of Surayia’s life: when she started working with women and embroidery at Skills Development, when she was asked to leave the project, when she started Arshi, when her daughter Annie died.  They were also there when Arshi became a success and stayed close to Surayia as her health failed and she was no longer able to work.  Their stories are inspiring ones and important to show a complete picture of how Surayia and her art helped change women’s lives for the better.

We look forward to reviewing the footage soon.  Many thanks to Catherine Masud and her staff at AudioVision and to Dina Hossain for helping us to capture the footage we need to tell these wonderful stories.

Posted by: Len

Although we are still hard at work on creating the first rough cut of THREADS, our thoughts are also turning to the next step after we have finished editing and locked the film. That step will be the additional post production that follows editing, where the film is put into final form and prepared for distribution. We need to start planning music and associated sound engineering, as well as the thorough review of the film required for color correction.

Cathy and I recently met with a Seattle post production house to get a better idea of what services we can expect and — importantly for independent film makers — what the work will cost.  It is amazing what can be done with a film to make it truly a professional product worthy of someone who was a perfectionist as Surayia was.  Any differences in lighting, for example, between filming sessions can be modified or corrected so that the final product has a consistent look and feel.  We were told to think of the process as “Photoshop (c) for movies.”

We plan to travel to Bangladesh before the end of the year to work on music for the film, and ideally to record a  soundtrack done by local musicians.  That recording would then be processed by a sound house and ultimately added to the film at the post production house to create a final version of the documentary that is ready for distribution.

We still need to finish the filming and editing, of course, but it is encouraging to know that we can also start to plan for the next phase of this great project.