Today marks the release of the film! In the spirit of things we decided to extend the discount indefinitely to help entice you to enjoy our hard work. Now that the film is officially complete and available, we’d like to share some thoughts from writer/star William J Phillips on what the experience was like during production, post, festivals, and the release today. Check out his post-mortem below!
Like a Tree in Which There are Three Black Birds – Postmortem
Making a ﬁlm is an endurance test especially one that’s four years in the making. Little by little, step by step, a seed of an idea grows into form, enabling a vision from nothing to something. I never made a ﬁlm before. I want to make another one and then we’ll see. At different times I’ve been enamoured with applying toxic auto paint to panels, then music and now ﬁlm. The latter is a hybrid of the others so it resonates with me. I never intended to make a ﬁlm when I began performing but it became clear to me that there was something I wanted to say and character(s) I wanted to portray. Meeting and working with Uwe cemented that it was doable.
The making of Three Black Birds is intrinsically linked with him. We inhabited a parallel cinema universe where our ideas met and took form. This made that process what it was: intense and rewarding but it was also exhausting. From writing to producing to performing each sequence made for necessary down time before jumping into the next one. I liked our method of working with the actors: mainly asking for their involvement months (sometimes years) before their sequences were ready. We developed and strengthened the story’s intricacies because of them. We re-conceived the story, almost entirely, after meeting and befriending Steven Cree Molison, who’s life’s layers were too good to avoid adding to the mix. His contribution was significant.
The production was separated into two sections: part A – Vancouver, BC and part B – Denman Island, BC. The diverse locations acidly determining their colours. One was cramped and controlling while the other was spacious and enveloping resulting in scenes that were undeniable. What was common throughout, for the very minimal production, was a large dose of good luck. Filming took one year, almost to the day, while post production was another. We scored (pun intended), big time, with the rights to a couple of tracks, from the Finnish electronic musician, Vladislav Delay, who happens to live in Hailuoto, a small Island off its coast. Uwe’s score contributions, especially what I would call our transition scene (i.e. pottery) cemented a vastly important component to the entire project. I had underestimated its significance until the layer was added and its true power duly actualized.
Then it was time to release: Blitz the festivals with zero response but that’s ok just blitz some more and a few respond. Travel a small amount to unexpected places and win an award, that everyone confuses with the other festival in New York City, and be offered a distribution deal, with a promise of access to world markets, by a company that totals one person, who never ever answers his phone and is unwilling to make even the smallest adjustments to the said deal. No problem, you keep the deal and we’ll do it ourselves like organize the odd screening with a post discussion (my favourite) and call any DVD rental shops, who still exist, and who might be willing to stock our ﬁlm. I stopped counting but I gather its in a dozen catalogues from San Francisco to Victoria to Halifax. Truly done in the DIY spirit which I ﬁnd appealing and satisfying even though I think LA is cool.
Now were going to go live! I hope there is feedback. The ﬁlm might be to your liking or may not be but let us know. It’s the ﬁlm that Uwe (he’s told me so) and I wanted to make and I’m very glad we did. Thanks to Greg Winkler for his digital prowess in ﬁnding viewers and to all the others who helped us out.
William J Phillips