2014 was full of change. Colin and I moved to a new office (in the same building, but still, lots of packing was involved) and a new apartment, which after 10+ years in the old place, in his case, at least, was a major ordeal.
Our old apartment was fantastic – cheap, homey, cute, perfectly located, inclusive (with laundry!) and the best landlords anyone could ever ask for (they were at our wedding, that’s how much we like them). But after three years of accumulating stuff together (and let’s face it, neither of us were minimalists before we got together) it was way too small, and the lack of space was beginning to wear on us. It wasn’t harming our relationship, but it was definitely causing a sort of general malaise.
I didn’t have enough space to actually put away all my clothes, so I’d just leave them in a big pile on top of and all around my full-to-bursting dresser. I’m not a very tidy person at the best of times, but not even having the option of being tidy felt like defeat. The kitchen was spacious but every inch of counter space was crammed with appliances and stuff, so over the last few months there, I slowly stopped cooking as much as I used to, and fell into a depressing habit of getting take-out. Since we’ve lived here, I’ve been cooking so much I’ve even started blogging my recipes. The sense of excitement over the new kitchen (with its acres of space, fancypants stove and dishwasher) has not worn off, and I hope it never does.
In 2015, I resolve to turn this new apartment into the grown-up home I have been daydreaming about for the past few years. And keep it clean. That too.
On the work front, 2014 was about as busy as I ever want to find myself.
The progress on Birdland has been great, but also very stressful. We got money from some major government sources this year (hurray!) which put the pressure on us to tie up all our loose ends (ugh!) nail down a lot of complicated legal agreements and other paperwork, and get moving so that we can shoot in 2015. I’ve been managing ok (I mean hey, I did put together those successful funding apps) but honestly I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water 90% of the time, because there’s so much to be done that I have no experience with and don’t know how to do. Thank goodness for our Exec Producer and our (new) Line Producer, both of whom I will be leaning on a lot in 2015.
The other project that’s closest to my heart is of course Rite of the Witch Goddess, which we may or may not retitle in 2015 (so as to not give away some of the film’s secrets). The feedback we got in July at Fantasia was fantastic, but the progress of rewriting the script based on all that feedback has been slower than anticipated. Mostly because I’ve been too busy to give it the kind of attention that it deserves, which I am constantly frustrated by.
Over the holidays, I’ve dedicated a bit of time to it and managed to write 30 pages in just a day or two because the ideas have been stewing in my brain for months and were dying to get out. I’m looking forward to finishing our millionth draft and passing it to James for his input sometime early in January. We promised a lot of people that we’d send them something new to look at in the fall, and we’ve blown through that deadline, but I know that we’re better off handing in our best work late, rather than a rushed version on time.
I quit working full time in order to pursue producing about two years ago and I have yet to actually produce a film from start to finish. That’s been a bit frustrating, but I can’t deny that there has been lots of great progress. Plus, I’m very, very proud of my involvement with some films that are already done. James Sizemore’s The Demon’s Rook came out on VOD and DVD this year through Tribeca. Jason Bognacki’s Another had its festival debut(s) and was ranked as one of the Top 10 horror films of the year by The Daily Record in the UK. Jason is so talented and I can’t wait to see what he does next. WHY Horror? played some festivals too and took home the Audience Choice award at Toronto After Dark. Those dudes were so great to work with, I hope we come up with another project to do with them. I might get down sometimes about not getting enough done, but it has been an exceptionally productive year.
Last month, Colin and I also celebrated a full year of programming The Royal, which has been a hell of a learning experience (fun, too). I now get how film exhibition works and my understanding of distribution has deepened immeasurably. I vacillate wildly between loving the Royal gig and being incredibly frustrated by how much more work we’re doing than we thought we would be (and not because the programming is so much more difficult than we thought, but because we’re constantly taking on tasks that are way outside our job description just because they’ve gotta get done and nobody else is on it. It’s a constant juggling act and even though I have an “aarrgh, they don’t pay us enough for this!” moment at least once a week, I really love the place, am super proud of the dedicated, smart, funny and film-savvy staff we’ve got, and am looking forward to another year of great programming. Honestly, getting to watch Labyrinth on the big screen for my birthday with 30 of my friends, or getting to talk to my best friend about how much she and her boyfriend loved The Dance Of Reality, the new Jodorowsky film that we were the only theatre in Toronto to play!!! – that makes it feel worth it and then some.
A couple of months ago, Colin and I picked up another freelance gig, doing some programming and consulting for a new VOD channel that will be launching in the US in 2015. When it launches, I’ll tell you more about it. For now it’s a much needed source of additional income (gotta be able to pay for that new apartment, right?) and a fun challenge / great learning experience.
If you’re thinking right now “gee, Kat, that sounds a little bit too busy”, you’d be right. But honestly, if Colin and I were only being paid by TIFF and REEL CANADA (with whom I do still do regular consulting work, bless their sweet little hearts), we’d be living below the poverty line. Producing doesn’t pay (yet), so we really need all these jobs, but having them does also mean that I don’t see most of my friends nearly as often as I’d like to. Hell, I don’t even get out to the movies most weeks (months). We programmed Whiplash at The Royal in part to give ourselves a chance to see it, and guess what? It played, and I didn’t see it. C’est la busy-ass vie.
In 2015, I’m making a resolution to take more time off. I don’t mean taking more beach vacations (although that would be nice). I mean keeping regular work hours and rebuilding the totally-destroyed boundary between work time and personal time. Working for myself and working with my partner-in-life is a really slippery slope to working all the damn time. What do Colin and I talk about when we’re sitting around at home watching TV? Well, sometimes we talk about books or music or feminism or current events or how to make a dining room table out of reclaimed lumber. But there are also a lot of evenings on which we find ourselves talking about work at 10pm, because hey, it has to get done. Sure, we have an office. But I also work from home, from coffee shops, from my parents’ house, from the Via Rail train on the way to visit family for Christmas, from just about anywhere I find myself. Sometimes, it’s hard to stop.
I’d like to travel less, too. The past few years have been truly wonderful, travel-wise. I love to travel and getting to go to Germany, Austria, France, Estonia and the US countless times has been a blessing. And getting to see friends who don’t live in Toronto (or even on this continent!) once or twice a year is truly wonderful. But I’m tired. I miss having regular home routines, cooking for myself, being a member of a community. 2015 will be the year of reconnecting with home and with Toronto.
I’m also making a resolution to document the events of my life in a more tangible and meaningful way. I don’t mean more Instagram. I mean keeping a journal, and spending more time reflecting and writing those reflections down, in it and on this blog. As I get older I’m finding that my memory has gotten strange and spotty. I read a book and three months later can barely remember the plot. And yet, if I spend a bit of time thinking about the book I’ve just read, talking about it with others, and perhaps even writing those thoughts down, I have no problem at all remembering it months or even years later. Perhaps the problem isn’t really memory, but the amount of attention and focus I give to things while I’m doing them. In 2015, I aim to be more focused and more mindful, to think more deeply about the things I’m spending my time on, so that they may have a more meaningful impact on me. And I resolve to multi-task a lot less. I’d banish the concept from my life entirely, if I could.
I’d also like to start paying more attention to my physical wellbeing while reducing the amount of anxiety I have about my health. I am (knock wood) a healthy person, but every ache and pain makes me spiral into a vortex of panic about my mortality. What a waste of energy! I should be focusing on the fact that I’m actually getting older and my body is getting creakier, and while the sporadic hip and back pain I feel is not a symptom of anything terminal, they are all symptoms of “wake up and start stretching and exercising more right now or be a limping, hobbled hunchback by the age of 40, you out-of-shape idiot.” It’s not about looking a certain way or losing weight or developing superhero shoulders (although I do want those). I’m actually old enough that getting enough physical activity has become about health and mobility. Welcome to middle age, me.
My last resolution is to spend less time on the internet and more time reading books. Over the past few years I’ve rekindled my lifelong passion for fiction, which for a few years in my 20s I’d (horribly!) let dwindle away. There were years during which I was doing all kinds of exciting things, but could count the number of books I read on my hands without running out of fingers. That was horrible, and I’ve worked my way back up to being a regular (avid, even) reader in my 30s, but there’s always room for improvement. This year, I might even incorporate a bit more non-fiction into the routine?
I think that’s it, resolution-wise? 2014 was a good year for me personally. I accomplished and learned many things, and I made it through a lot of big changes. I look forward to many more triumphs in 2015.
Oh, projects. Why are there so many of you?
On this week’s agenda:
- Locking the August (and, to a large extent, September – because, y’know, TIFF) programming for the Royal and emailing all the distributors to request various titles for various dates. Colin is doing most of the emailing, thankfully, but I helped map it out. We have some cool stuff in store!
- Help Colin lock his TIFF films. I’m not a TIFF employee and I have no official role in this process, but I know how much of Colin’s time it will take over the next few days, so I’m trying hard to figure out ways to help, so that he can be TIFF-distraction-free when we get to Montreal, because I will really need some moral support.
- Finalizing my Fantasia pitch presentation (notes, slideshow of images, trailer, etc). Now that I’ve booked my manicure appointment and requested all the meetings, I can move on to the less crucial stuff like, y’know, making sure we have a poster to put up.
- Scrambling to figure out interim / gap financing for a project that is in the “waiting to hear from funders” stage. One of the funders called me today to tell me our package is very strong (yay) but that we’re disadvantaged by the fact that we only have about 30% of our financing secured, whereas many other applicants are in the 60-100% range (boo). I’m not sure what I can do to beef up those numbers in the next two weeks, but that is my timeline. Good luck, me.
- Updating the U8P slate brochure for Fantasia so that I have something to leave with the people I meet with. This involves sending updates to a graphic designer, because my layout skills pretty much topped out at MS Paint, and also checking in with various filmmakers to see if it’s ok to continue hawking the projects we’re working on. Some are on hold as other things move forward, and others are being pushed to the front, because I want to prioritize them. I should have done this weeks ago.
- Moving (most of) the U8P office from our fifth floor space to our new, brighter, more awesome second floor space (thankfully, within the same building). I’m hopeful that this can happen within the next few
- Having a birthday! It’s tomorrow. I’m not a party type, so I’m not having a party, but I am also going to try hard to not spend all day tomorrow working. I work all the friggin’ time.
I’ve also been averaging like five trips to the gym per week, which I’d sure love to keep up in this final seven-ish days before I zip off to Fantasia, because I want to be in peak physical condition when I hit the stage for that pitch. If I can squeeze it into my days, that is. Last year, the presentations were held in a classroom with a pull-down screen and a little projector. This year, they’re taking place hereThe new venue makes it feel way more nerve-wracking. I don’t usually get stage fright (five years of self-inflicted torture in the form of high school drama classes, many years of playing in bands, a toastmasters course once upon a time, and years spent making presentations to large groups of teachers for REEL CANADA) but this is my first time ever pitching a film, and especially one that I had a hand in writing. That freaks me out a little. I know I’ll be prepared, but I don’t want to involuntarily let anyone see me sweat. Y’know, like when you’re freaked out and your voice gets shaky? That. I don’t want that to happen. Maybe a shot of whisky 15 minutes before I go on stage? Or some breathing exercises.
Well ok, I don’t do it alone – Colin helps out too. After months of working in the shadows on trying to beef up The Royal’s programming, marketing and outreach efforts, it’s finally officially-official. The press release went out today via our awesome friends at Clutch PR, and I’m reprinting it here for y’all.
The Royal announces new programmers
and five first run titles
Colin Geddes & Katarina Gligorijevic join Toronto’s historic
The Royal Cinema as programmers
July 4, 2014, TORONTO – Historic movie house The Royal (608 College St.) is thrilled to announce Colin Geddes and partner Katarina Gligorijevic as its new programming directors. Veteran film industry professionals Geddes and Gligorijevic bring a diverse, fresh roster of first run premieres, special events and classic genre films to the beloved theatre.
As one of the international film programmers for TIFF for over a decade, Geddes is best known for the Midnight Madness and Vanguard selections, delivering one of a kind programming with TIFF. Gligorijevic is a Toronto based writer and producer who has worked in the music and film industry for over a decade and was Festivals Manager at REEL CANADA for eight years. The pair will bring their sharp eye for unique, captivating film to their programming at The Royal.
Along with new programming and unique special events, the pair are bringing in five first run titles exclusive to The Royal throughout the month of July. They include:
Opening: Friday, July 4, 2014
A dark suburban fable, Borgman follows an enigmatic vagrant who enters the lives of an upper-class family and quickly unravels their carefully curated lifestyle.
Radio Free Albemuth (2010)
Opening: Friday, July 11, 2014
From sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report) comes his most prophetic thriller to date. In an alternate reality, Berkeley record store clerk Nick Brady begins to experience strange visions transmitted from an extraterrestrial source he calls VALIS. (To buy tickets click HERE)
The Dance of Reality (2013)
Opening: Friday, July 18, 2014
A full bodied and mischievous autobiography in the spirit of Federico Fellini’s Amarcord, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s return to filmmaking after 28 years explodes with great ideas. (To buy tickets click HERE)
GMO OMG (2013)
Opening: Friday, July 25, 2014
How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet and our freedom of choice? These questions and more are posed in this hard-hitting doc.
With a new program introduced each month, tickets priced at $10 and $8 for students/seniors, the unique setting of a vintage theatre, The Royal is unlike any other Toronto cinema.
If you’re a member of the Toronto film/arts media and you’re reading this, please send your physical mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a VIP media pass.
About The Royal
Originally built in 1939, The Royal Cinema is a historic Art Moderne movie house located in the heart of Toronto’s Little Italy. Following extensive upgrades and renovations, the 480-seat indie/art house theatre is also a digitally equipped event venue suited for live concerts, screenings, film festivals, corporate events, multimedia exhibition and more. http://www.theroyal.to
Theatre D Digital
During the daytime, Theatre D operates out of The Royal as a film and television post-production studio. The main theatre becomes a Dolby-approved 5.1 mix room and four picture editing suites are located upstairs. Esteemed Canadian directors such as Atom Egoyan (Chloe, Adoration), Deepa Mehta (Heaven on Earth), Bruce McDonald (The Husband), Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) and Kari Skogland (Stone Angel) have mixed and/or edited their projects there. For more information visit: http://theatred.com