I was on unemployment, when I decided to make my first film, Ifé, a 5 minute, 16mm black and white experimental narrative (or mockumentary as it's been called by some) about a day in the life of a black French butch lesbian in San Francisco. Stylistically, it was inspired by Breathless, the 1950's French New Wave film by Jean Luc Godard. In preparation, I did a number of things, including becoming a member of Film Arts Foundation (a San Francisco organization with awesome resources for filmmakers), watched a lot of films, and did a ton of reading, literally everything I could get my hands on about 16mm film production.
I wrote a simple script, a one person narrative, so I could direct it at the level of my experience and resources (which was pretty close to zero on both counts). I tracked down places I could get equipment and services for cheap (or free). I put flyers around for crew and cast (offering experience, food, fun and a copy of the final product in exchange for work). I pulled together a small crew, and hooked up my talent, made up a storyboard, and a shooting script. Then I just went for broke, financing it myself and with the help of friends. Shooting took place over three weekends, and post-production (lab work, editing, mixing sound etc.) took 3 months to complete. Much to my amazement, Ifé became an audience favorite, screening in festivals all over the world, and won Best Short at the Madrid Women's International Film Festival in '94, and has been included on three video compilations, and is distributed by Frameline in San Francisco. The film bug had bitten hard, and I was eager to embark on my second short, which I wanted to have higher production values, and give myself the opportunity to learn more about producing, by having lots of variables to juggle, like lots of locations, equipment, and people to move around and keep track of.
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