Yes, it’s been too long since we last spoke... but we have good reason for that, we swear! Although the documentary’s physical side hasn’t rolled forward at the pace we wanted, there still has been an abundance of “background” that’s been done – unfortunately, it’s just not that interesting for the public as it doesn’t involve visuals or the hardcore story research. Instead, it’s all “legal”, “crew”, “planning”, and “chain of production” related – all things that most filmmakers don’t exactly kick down doors to let their adoring fans know about. Why? Cause it’s boring.
But alas, it does seem like some of that has been sorted out. Our production schedule is in place, and we’ve lined up most of our locations that we need to shoot in to fill out all the details of our 4 stories. It took us a bit of time to actually nail down all the cities we’ll need to go and shoot in – and we’ve got it down to 4 US cities (the most important city, somehow, is Baltimore – can’t imagine the last time someone said that!), all of which are on the east coast and not particularly far for us to travel from our production home in Southwestern Ontario. The Canadian cities (if you want to call them that, since all but one have a population well below 5000) are also in place. The research trip is nearly planned (March 1st-10th in the USA) as well, and the post-production schedule is also in place. Of course, this is all dependent on one large factor: funding.
On that front, we ran into quite a few unforeseen roadblocks – the first and foremost being “how do you structure a film production as a company when it’s controlled by two people”? The answer wasn’t nearly as straightforward as you’d think – and involved multiple calls to entertainment lawyers, insurance brokers, copyright lawyers, and so much paperwork that you’d want to cry. We’re still working our way through it, but there’s finally a light at the end of THAT tunnel. It looks promising that we’ll have everything in place to actually receive proper funding in time for our scheduled shoot dates of next spring. We’ve found multiple parties are interested in funding portions of the project – all from various facets of business, government, grants, individuals, and more. We’ve been highly fortunate that interest from prospective funders has never really been the problem – something that’s EXTREMELY rare in the film world – but it’s been us getting a structure in place that was the biggest wall. Now that we’re close to solving that, the funding should come together soon. We’ve actually got 3 proposals one deck but had to get our structure in place first.... now if it all comes together as we suspect, it could be a very “merry Christmas!” None are offers to fund the entire project, but if we can piece them together properly it could make up a substantial chunk that we need – and most importantly – could fund the entire shoot and all the research time. Here’s hoping!
Finally, we are also happy to share some great news – the Slave Chapel that started this whole journey for us at long last was successfully moved to its new home, saving it from potential destruction and a small fire that nearly swallowed it just weeks before it’s move. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief on that front, and it was a cool and unique experience to see a 166 year old building roll down the modern downtown streets in the middle of a busy work day in London. And of course, because of our special connection to the Chapel and the film, we acquired some footage that no other cameras (which included a few broadcast stations) could dream of getting.... including the last footage shot inside the building before the move, and a nifty timelapse of the Chapel being backed into place at its new property. That’s all we can reveal on that front at this time, but suffice to say that it was a humbling experience to be a part of such special history for the region and the film. While the Chapel needs quite a bit of restoration work to get it back up to snuff, it’s at least in the right home and the biggest task has been completed.
Here’s a sneak picture of the Chapel arriving at the new grounds, complete with one of our cameras capturing the move...
We’ll be in touch soon – hopefully with some great news to share – fingers crossed!