Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘Sundance’

Documentary Film,Film Screenings

November 30, 2011

Betty’s Latest Post on Sundance and Other Things

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Upon awakening this morning, I decided it was time to write another blog for Bravo! A blog about how grateful Ken and I are for the phenomenal year we’ve had.  Something about the people who have stepped forward in countless ways to become part of the journey of this film.  The kindnesses, the skills, the open doors, the encouragement, the financial support.

Upon arising, I remembered that this would be the day we would hear from the Sundance Film Festival, and we did.  We were informed that less than 180 films were chosen from an astounding 11,700 submissions from around the world, and Unfortunately, we are not able to include Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor in our Festival program.”

Yes, we are disappointed, but we are not discouraged. Many people in the film industry think that this film is worthy of the highest awards. We were told that it will find its way into the world, and that it will remain significant long past our lifetimes. We have been told multiple times that it should be seen by every person in the United States. We believe this fervently, and we believe that the experiences and emotions and wisdom of the men in the film and their comrades will be known far and wide.  That their memories and sacrifices will hold great meaning for the generation that experienced the Vietnam War, and for their families.

People who have seen Bravo! tell us how they feel as if they now know these men from Bravo Company, and that they have come to care about them. Yes, the unabashed honesty of these men in front of the camera is something to behold.  It changes you.

And so we move forward because we know this is important work.  We have been entrusted with something much bigger than us, and we remain determined to honor that.  We have submitted the film to other major film festivals, and are currently seeking a distributor for theatrical release.

We will soon post a list of our supporters on the Bravo! website, along with other updated information.  Thank you for coming alongside with your past and future support, and for your belief in this important project.

Documentary Film

August 13, 2011

On Skywalker Ranch and Sundance

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Last Thursday I filled out the application to submit Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. When I pushed the button to send off the application I felt…what did I feel? Relief? Yes, I felt relief, not like a great metaphorical weight lifted from my shoulders, but a sense of…of…yeah…we did this. We made this movie. We told this story, this old story. And it is old, a lot older than the forty-three years since the Siege of Khe Sanh lifted. This story is as old as mankind, I suspect. Death, fear, sacrifice, savagery. Everything one wants in a good action-adventure flick. But this story is true…or as true as can be after all the time for events to percolate, change, morph, be forgotten and then remembered.

It’s been a wild month. In late July we went to Rochester, MN and showed the film by private invitation first to a group of some of the interviewees and their spouses. Then we showed it by private invitation to a much larger group of men who survived the siege, or who were at Khe Sanh before or after the siege. In some ways, these are the most important audiences we will face, I think. Sure, this story is laden with messages that speak to all humanity about essential and timeless truths we seem to forget again and again. But the men in Rochester lived the essence of the movie and they would feel it more viscerally than anyone else.

After Rochester we proceeded to northern California and Skywalker Ranch to do the final sound mix. To observe longtime professional editors John Nutt and Mark Berger argue and wrangle over how the movie should sound made Betty and I feel as if they really cared.   They cared enough that they got emotional and scolded and sniped at each other, sometimes looking at Betty and me to see which one of them we agreed with.

The tension of the film mixed with the tension created by Mark and John’s disagreements made my torso hurt, like someone nipping at my skin with a sharp bayonet. But art—and even though the subject matter of Bravo! is somber, violent—it is still art. One of the things that helps create art is tension. Art, to succeed I believe, needs friction and conflict. Michelangelo’s art has tension whether it be sculpture or painting; so too, El Greco, and Picasso and Beethoven and Mick Jagger and Werner Herzog and Quentin Tarantino. The tension between Mark and John was part of elevating the art in Bravo.

And in Skywalker Sound’s Studio Mix E it was loud. The resonance reverberated off the walls, through the floor into the feet of the chairs and couches. It knocked pencils out of pencil boxes and—even though I have watched it so many times—surprised me, frightened me, regardless of the fact that I knew what was coming.

So…the movie is loud, and at times brash, speaks to indignations of living like a besieged rat; it is sad, somber, elevating, and in the end, redemptive.