Back to Beaufort

Beaufort International Film Festival LaurelWe’re super excited to announce that High Heels & Hoodoo has been selected as one of the short film finalists in this year’s Beaufort International Film Festival. We had an absolute blast when we attended last year with Saying Goodbye. The audience members were very entusiastic and all the events were classy and fun. So we are extremely honored BIFF decided to invite us back with our latest film.

High Heels & Hoodoo will screen on Thursday, February 14th at 1:25pm at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, Center for the Arts (801 Carteret St., Beaufort, SC 29902). Click here for the full schedule and click here for ticket information. If you live near Beaufort, we hope to see you there!


High Heel Highlights

We had a whirlwind trip up to Washington, DC, for the world premiere of High Heels & Hoodoo at the DC Shorts Film Festival. Our sister Joanna – paparazza, cheerleader, and nerves-calmer – joined us for the road trip. Although we’ve made the trip up I-95 many times, we had never stopped at the super cheesy South of the Border before, so we decided to take our first pit stop there. We couldn’t believe it when we pulled in and spotted this giant high heel – what a positive sign for our adventure!

Huge High Heel

Once we arrived in DC late Thursday afternoon, we jumped right into festival mode with a Filmmaker/VIP reception at the Gibson Guitar showcase. It was a low-key event, so we didn’t have to shout over music to talk to people, and we ended up meeting filmmakers from Sweden, Norway, Venezuela, and all over the US. It was fun to chat with so many fellow filmmakers about their adventures making their shorts.  

Friday was a full day of workshops packed with helpful information: from finding grant money to casting to behind-the-scenes secrets of festivals to making the jump from shorts to features. By the end of the day, our heads were spinning, but it gave us a lot of ideas for how to proceed with future projects. We also managed to fit in a lunch with Brian’s best childhood friend even though she was so pregnant she had her baby the very next day – congrats Emilie

On Friday night, we attended the City View Party, which was held on a rooftop with gorgeous views of DC. As the party was winding down, Jon Gann (the director of the DC Shorts Fest) spontaneously invited the remaining filmmakers to his apartment for an after-party. One of the highlights of the festival was meeting Jon – the passion he has for short films and supporting filmmakers is inspiring. And this spur-of-the-moment party with filmmakers jammed into his apartment and talking shop was the embodiment of Jon’s generous spirit that makes the DC Shorts Fest such a success. Here’s us with Jon and our pink high heel mascot.

Brian Rish, Jon Gann, Jocelyn Rish at DC Shorts Film Fest

Saturday was finally our big day – High Heels & Hoodoo was scheduled to screen at four at the US Naval Memorial. It was another good omen that we were screening there, since both our dad and our grandfather were in the Navy. We were also lucky to have more friends in town to help distract us from our nerves. Jocelyn’s best friend from high school came out to support us, as well as one of Brian’s close friends from college (who also came to the world premiere of Saying Goodbye). Thank you so much to Jill and Tori for the support! 

It seems to be a tradition to rain at our world premieres, and the torrential downpour started right before our screening. We even noticed a strange “tick-tick-tick” noise during our screening block, which turned out to be water dripping from a leak in the roof onto the stage in front of the movie screen. Now that’s some serious rain! So thank you to all the audience members who braved the rain to attend our block of films! 

Jocelyn Rish and Brian Rish in front of Washington MonumentDespite the damp conditions, our screening went extremely well. People laughed in all the expected places, and we heard a number of gasps at the end (which means at least some people understood the ending – thank goodness), and they burst into enthusiastic applause right after, which made us heave huge sighs of relief. Seven other films screened with High Heels & Hoodoo – an interesting mix of comedy, suspense, drama, and a documentary – and there were representatives from two of the other films on stage with us for the Q&A at the end. It was interesting comparing notes with the other filmmakers in response to the audience questions. 

That night there was another rockin’ party, and then on Sunday there was a delicious awards brunch with all the filmmakers. While we didn’t win anything, it was gratifying to see some of our favorite films honored (yes, in between all the other exciting happenings, we also managed to fit in watching many wonderful short films). And with that, it was time to jump in the car and start the long trek home. The DC Shorts Film Festival was a wonderful experience, and we highly recommend it to the short filmmakers out there!

If you’re interested in seeing more pictures from our trip, click here.

Saying Goodbye Goes Public

We’re excited to announce that after a successful film festival run for our first short Saying Goodbye, we’re releasing it publicly. We are sharing our award-winning film online for viewers to enjoy for free – click here to watch. We are also selling DVDs of Saying Goodbye, which are packed with entertaining extras like deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes – click here to learn more about the DVDs and how to order them.

As part of spreading the word about the release of Saying Goodbye, we’re holding a contest to give away copies of the DVD. It’s easy to enter, so if you’re interested in being one of the five lucky winners, click here for more information.

We really appreciate all the support our fans have given us through the making of our two films. Thank you so much!! We hope you enjoy Saying Goodbye!

Saying Goodbye DVDs

A Capital Announcement

Break out the bubbly!  We are thrilled to announce that High Heels & Hoodoo has officially been accepted into its very first film festival – the DC Shorts Film Festival!  DC Shorts is one of the biggest festivals in the country to showcase only short films, and MovieMaker Magazine has named it one of its 20 festivals worth the entry fee.  We’re beyond excited to be part of their lineup. 

DC Shorts

The festival will be September 6-16 in Washington, DC, and High Heels & Hoodoo will be screening three times throughout the week.  The first screening will be Saturday, September 8th at 4:00pm at the US Navy Memorial.  This will be the only one of our screenings we’ll be able to attend with our smiley, happy faces, and there will be a Q&A with us afterwards.  The other two screenings minus the Rish siblings are: Tuesday, September 11th at 7:00pm at the E Street Cinema and Saturday, September 15th at 6:00pm at the Angelika Film Center.  Click here for ticket information.  And click here for the full schedule plus the addresses of the three theaters.

DC Shorts will be the World Premiere of High Heels & Hoodoo, so if you are going to be near the DC area on September 8th, please join us as our film makes its official debut to the world!

Keepin’ Busy

It’s been a while since we posted, but we promise we’ve been hard at work on both movies.  For Saying Goodbye, we’ve been making behind-the-scenes featurettes for the DVDs.  Yep, we’ve been saying it for a while, but the DVDs are almost here, and we’ve been having lots of fun putting together the bonus features.  We hope to make an official announcement about availability soon.

We’ve been just as busy on the High Heels & Hoodoo front.  After the sneak peeks at the Charleston International Film Festival and the Indie Grits Film Festival, we made a few tweaks to the film, and then declared High Heels & Hoodoo absolutely, completely, one hundred percent done.  Whoo hoo!  There may have been a drink or two to celebrate.  Then we started the nerve-wracking process of submitting to film festivals.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Although we haven’t made a trailer yet, we wanted to give y’all a little taste of the film, so here’s a clip:

Indie Grants and Indie Grits

Brian Rish and Jocelyn Rish at Indie Grits Film FestivalThis past Saturday we had the second of our High Heels and Hoodoo sneak peeks along with the other five Indie Grant winners at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, SC.  Our screening was held at the New Nick – the old Fox theater is being restored into the New Nickelodeon theater, and it’s going to be fantastic when it’s completely done because it’s already pretty amazing just partially restored.  The Indie Grant films were screened in the lower level, and it was only the second day the New Nick was open for business, so we were honored to be a part of that.

It’s interesting how every festival has its own ‘vibe.’  The lower level of the New Nick is a lot smaller than the theater where the CIFF was held and therefore the audience was much smaller.  In addition, they were a very quiet audience.  We did not get the same laughter and other audience cues that we did at CIFF.  It made us very nervous while our movie was playing, but it was the same more subdued reaction for all the films.  But at the Q&A afterwards, they were just as enthusiastic about wanting to know about the making of the films. 

Brian Rish, Sandra Lafferty, Jocelyn Rish at Indie Grits Film FestivalThe absolute best part of the Indie Grits screening was that one of our stars, Sandra Lafferty (the ghostly Nanna), came to town for the big event.  She lives in Alabama, so we were thrilled she made the drive to attend the festival.  We hope we didn’t embarrass her too much when we introduced her to the crowd.  Sandra was in a little movie you might have heard of – The Hunger Games aka the movie with the third-biggest opening weekend of all time!  She played the woman in the market who gives Katniss the mockingjay pin.  We are so happy for her that she got to be part of such a phenomenon, and we’re not above exploiting our tenuous connection to a record-smashing franchise.  But, seriously, it was great to see Sandra again, and it meant so much to us that she was there for the screening. 

In addition to the film screenings, the Indie Grits Festival included many social events with classic southern food like shrimp and grits and bar-b-que, and we had a great time eating and mingling.  Thank you to the Indie Grits Festival for including us!

CIFF Part Duex

Brian and Jocelyn Rish at Charleston International Film FestivalAnother year, another fantastic festival by the folks running the Charleston International Film Festival!  Since we had such a great time at this festival last year, we were thrilled to find out High Heels and Hoodoo would have its very first screening at CIFF.  The sneak peek of our work-in-progress was this past Saturday morning in a block with the five other Indie Grant winning films, and it went great.

High Heels and Hoodoo was the first film shown in the block, and we were very nervous.  We’d shown it to a few family members and our expert advisors had given it a thumbs up, but it’s a completely different feeling when showing it to strangers.  We held our breath as the lights went down.  Within the first thirty seconds, people were laughing (and it was at a point where they were supposed to laugh), and the audience continued to give all the expected responses.  When the credits rolled eight minutes later, we heaved huge sighs of relief at the applause. 

Indie Grant filmmakers at CIFFThen we were able to sit back and relax as we watched what our fellow grant winners had been up to: the film noir Scattered City, the dramedy Jazz Hands, the comedy The Lot, the creepy animation supine: a dream; and the drama We Can’t Help You.  Such wonderful variety in the films, and so fun to finally see them on the big screen.  At the end of the screening, four of the films had representatives there for the Q&A, and we took turns answering insightful questions from the audience.

Afterwards, many audience members came up and told us how much they enjoyed High Heels and Hoodoo – hopefully when we get the comment cards, they will say the same thing!  We were also pleasantly surprised that a few people told us they came specifically because they heard us on the radio – how cool!

During the rest of the festival, we took full advantage of our all-access passes and watched other blocks of short films.  It’s so amazing to see the different things filmmakers are attempting with shorts, and it inspires us to go out and make more movies.

Thank you to CIFF for including the Indie Grant films in your festival and for putting on such an amazing event!

2nd photo credit to Ron Krauskopf with CIFF.

A Helping Hand

Bill Allanson and Brad Jayne

For Saying Goodbye, Susan Hogue served as the liaison between the USC students, the SC Film Commission, and us, and she did a wonderful job keeping everyone on track.  As the administrator for the Indie Grants program, Brad Jayne is the “lucky” person in that role for all six of the winning projects and the TTC students.

Brad was one of the winners the first year the Production Grants were awarded, and he made the drama Song of Pumpkin Brown, which blends a touching story with southern jazz music. 

This is Brad’s second year guiding the Indie Grant winning filmmakers in making their films, and he’s been a great help to us with High Heels and Hoodoo.  Brad’s the one who recommended John Reynolds as our talented DP, he offered helpful feedback on the rough cut and the score, and he even volunteered to make our credits and title cards look snazzy.  We think the title card logo is going to look awesome on business cards and stickers. 

Many thanks to Brad for all his help and guidance.  South Carolina filmmakers and students are so lucky to have people like Susan and Brad willing to help with these grant programs!

Magical Music

Because the folks at Concentrix Music and Sound Design made Saying Goodbye sound so beautiful, we of course wanted them to work their musical magic on High Heels and Hoodoo.  We jumped in the car for another road trip up to Charlotte to meet with Fred Story and Anthony Fedele for our spotting session, where we watched the film together and talked about options for the score and sound design. 

Fred Story with Emmys - picture by his wife Becky StoryWe presented Fred with a tougher challenge this time.  With Saying Goodbye, it was obviously a drama, so it was easier to pick a sound for the movie.  But High Heels and Hoodoo doesn’t fit comfortably into a genre.  It’s too light to be a typical horror movie, but it’s not funny enough to be classified as a comedy.  But as expected, Fred and his team were up to the challenge.  Last week they delivered a score that provides suspenseful texture, while acknowledging the playful moments, and ending with a rockin’ credit sequence.  We think it sounds great, and it’s exactly what we were looking for even when we weren’t sure what we wanted.

We do know we’re not the only ones who think the Concentrix crew does great work.  We were thrilled to learn that at last weekend’s 26th Annual Mid-South Emmy Awards the Concentrix team was honored with two statues.  Anthony won an Emmy for sound design and audio post-production, and Fred won an Emmy for music composer/arranger, both for the documentary North Carolina’s World War II Experience

Congratulations, guys!  We’re thankful to have such talented gentlemen on our team!

Sneak peeks of High Heels & Hoodoo

One of the fun things the SC Film Commission’s Indie Grant Program does is showcase the six grant-winning films in several South Carolina films festivals.  The films will play in a block as works-in-progress to give us filmmakers a chance to gauge the audience reaction – kind of like informal focus groups to help figure out if we need to make changes before we finalize our films.

The first showing of this year’s Indie Grant films will be at the Charleston International Film Festival.  We had an amazing experience there last year with Saying Goodbye and are excited about being part of the festivities again with High Heels and Hoodoo.  The screening will be on Saturday, April 14th at 11:00am at the Sottile Theatre located on 44 George Street, Charleston, SC.  You can learn more about the six Indie Grant films and purchase tickets by clicking here.

* If you buy tickets online for CIFF before April 7th, use the code “5bucks” to get half off the ticket price! 

Then just a week later, the Indie Grant films will be showing at the Indie Grits Festival in Columbia.  In 2010, MovieMaker Magazine name Indie Grits one of the 20 coolest film festivals, so we’re looking forward to participating.  The screening will be on Saturday, April 21st at 8:30pm at the New Nick theater located at 1607 Main St., Columbia, SC.  You can learn more about their schedule by clicking here.

We’re excited to have the chance to show High Heels and Hoodoo to a wider audience, and we hope you can make it to one of the two screenings!

High Heels and Hoodoo