Read Hank and Jilann’s Sundance Film Festival blog,

written as they went through the rollercoaster experience of premiering a film at this world-renown documentary film competition for the first time.





Treasures in the Vault

Circle of Stories, the DVD

Great news! Circle of Stories will have its live action premiere on October 10th, 2010 in San Francisco as a part of the Bioneers Moving Images Festival. Its been a long and winding road to get to this version of the project, full of life's road blocks and rest stops. But the challenges of post (and kids, jobs, film projects—Life!) never diminishes the triumph of getting a project done. And seen.

Circle of Stories (COS) was originally a project we did for the Independent Television Service and their Electric Shadows initiative—web original programs that would explore arts, culture and society. COS explores Native American Storytelling in a multi-media, on-line format. In order to make the COS website, in 2002 we traveled to four Native Storytellers across the US, and documented them with photos and video. Eventually the stories were put into Flash using the audio, video and photographs. You can see it still at

We finished the COS website in late 2002, and ever since then have been talking about making an educational dvd of the project—because we had all this material: video, photos and audio. And only a small portion of our footage was used on the website. By making a DVD version we could use all these materials to construct an educational DVD with loads of extras. This is something to always think about with your projects—what are other ways that you can repurpose and promote your film with off-shoot projects.

Well, naturally since we were having to make this version on our own dime, the process to the COS DVD was a slow one. With kids, jobs, other film projects and life intervening at every juncture, the COS DVD constantly kept getting the back burner. But the product was there and mostly edited. (Back in 2002, Jilann had to cut together stories for the website). And a distributor was waiting (and waiting!).

So 2 years ago we shot some narration to tie the whole piece together, and on weekends here and vacations there, I slowly got the project together. And not without the amazing help of our intern Genevieve who came in to help with the finishing and do the DVD formatting. Of course there were technical issues to deal with—the footage was shot on mini-DV (in 4x3—how retro!) and needed lots of audio and video fixes; at one point we lost the project when our drives failed—but at this point we have a 60 minute educational DVD with 35 minutes of extras. And a world-premiere this Sunday at 1:45 pm at the Red Vic in San Francisco! Go check it out if you are in the Bay area.

Now lets see, what else do I have in the vault for off-shoot projects......


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