I recently returned from my trip up to Corvallis, OR to attend the da Vinci Film Festival, what a cool town and awesome festival! I had a blast meeting the other filmmakers and watching some great films. Some of my favorite flicks were the short films, of which I thoroughly enjoyed The Mouse That Soared and Sebastian’s Voodoo – both animated shorts, entertaining and incredibly well done.
Down The Road screened twice over the weekend to full audiences and was warmly received – so much so that it won Best Documentary!! I was honored to accept the award on behalf of the whole team and represent us at the festival. The weekend served as a wonderful reminder of how awesome it’s been to be a part of this project. In ways big and small this film continues to make an impact out there wherever it goes. A special thanks to all those who have taken time to provide us feedback and encouragement, we’re continuously grateful! And another thank you to da Vinci Film Fest for the gracious award and recognition – keep it up, you’ve got a great thing going.
Here’s to the next festival, project, and beyond!!
Posted by Chris Gordon
It was pretty neat being back on campus at the University of Richmond. It’s been three years! Wow, time flies. I wonder if the students running around the “suspended track” in the new Wellness Center ever pay tribute to the fact that my classmates and I were shoved into two little racquetball courts if we wanted to get a work out in!? Probably not:)
On Friday Joel and I had the privilege of speaking to a Doc Film class, full of motivated students, some already engaged in their own “down the road projects” of sorts. We then made our way to the Greek Theatre where Alex Mejias and his band jammed out. Afterwards we showed the film under the stars to a gathering of students and locals. It was a great group to cast some vision for where Down The Road is headed. Thank you so much to everyone that made it out!
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was on Saturday when Joel and I visited my friend of 7 years, Garang Yai, and his family (wife Nyibol and two boys, Kenyang and Lual) in their apartment home just miles from campus. I met Garang my freshmen year at the University of Richmond in the bathroom of Freeman Hall- he was mopping the floor and I was mopping the shaving cream off of my baby face with a razor- A great friendship was born. Garang is a Lost Boy of Sudan and now works in housekeeping for UR. Sometimes my jaw gets tired from dropping when I’m with him listening to all of his unbelievable stories. He is such an awesome man and an incredibly loyal friend… Anyway, this trip was so special because after 4 years of devoted prayer and tireless effort, just months ago Garang was able to bring his family over from Kenya to live with him here. We got to meet them in person for the first time – it was beautiful. The moment was captured with this pic:
Posted by Joel Christensen
Last Wednesday, March 11 was perhaps our best screening yet of the film, Down The Road. This event was held at the classic Encinitas theater well known by the locals as La Paloma. I grew up coming to surf movie premiers here and always associated the place with heroic people and amazing adventures. So for me it was a little nostalgic and humbling that I was premiering my own film here and sharing it with my friends, family and a decent amount of perfect strangers. All in all, it was such a positive and friendly group of people who came out – we really enjoyed the atmosphere and the opportunity to hang out with you all.
It was amazing to share the lime light with Joel P West who played before the screening. He provided a great set of melodic folk and the string accompaniment really added depth to his music. He was joined by a violinist, a celloist, and an upright bassist. Very cool sound all together. I can’t say enough good things about Joel P West, he’s got a fresh sound and an even more fresh attitude towards his art.
If you made it out to the premier, thank you so much. We had an absolute blast. If you didn’t make it, hopefully we’ll find plenty more opportunities to bring the film your way.
Below is a video I put together recapping some of the night’s events, thanks to my good friend Jeff Peressini who manned the camera. This piece is set to Joel P West’s “Pinhole”. Enjoy…
If you would have told me two years ago that we would take Down The Road to the nation’s capitol, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. So the past five days were a bit surreal for me, especially considering that it was my first visit to D.C. (I know, I need to get out more). Let me just say that it was a very full visit, and very blessed. Chris and I had an absolute blast.
The schedule of events was as follows:
- National Prayer Breakfast – Chris attended (4,000 people from all over the world, President Obama and Tony Blair were guest speakers among others)
- Senate Screening – our film competed with the gigantic stimulus package on the floor, so the turnout was fewer than hoped, but all the same, an incredible privilege.
- Free Day – we spent half the day brainstorming in a coffeeshop figuring out ways to take this project “further down the road”… sorry, i had to do it. The other half we spent monument browsing.
- Collegiate Fellowship Conference Screening – we presented the film to about 60 college student leaders who were in town for the National Prayer Breakfast, the response was very positive and will hopefully lead to several college screenings in 2009.
- Ebenezers Coffeehouse Screening – about 70 people filed in to a cozy downstairs theater beneath a very chic coffeehouse in the heart of DC. This was one of our best screenings yet! Here’s one guest’s response that was submitted on our website: “Thanks for the film, guys. I was having a really rough day but you made me feel a lot better. Such contagious joy and laughter! I was a huge fan of you passing on la tortuga and let the blessing (in disguise) keep on blessing others!…”
Below, we have gathered several people’s responses to the film that were submitted through our website. They have been extremely encouraging – so keep ’em coming! Positive, critical, all feedback is welcome and very much appreciated. Also included are some pictures from our Malibu Premiere last October. Enjoy…
“I was completely moved by the entire film. Not only was the story well paced and seamless, the depth of the emotion and beauty of the journey were so richly delivered. I am honored and humbled to know these guys, and I wish Down the Road all the success in the world. Big love.” (Blake Lown)
“That film was sick. It inspired me from wanting to take a trip to planning the trip. thanks for the inspiration i want to get a copy of that thing man. ” (Scotty Siman)
“I thought it was a small but huge step in helping those in need in Central America. The most impacting part was seeing La Chureca and how those people lived day in and day out. Also, just the fact that three men had the courage to step out on their own and create their destiny and make a difference in doing so; that has had me thinking ever since I saw the documentary!” (Kelsie Wilber)
“Awesome story that is well-told in word, picture and music. Thanks for being a stand for justice and caring in the world. It will be hard for anyone to see this film and not be changed.” (Dale Gauthreaux)
“I thought it was great, especially since I’m trying to do a similar trip, albeit longer. The only issue I had with the video, it made me want more out of what I’m trying to produce! Thanks for setting the bar, I hope I can show the life of South America just as well as you guys have shown Central America! I’d also be interested in hearing any help, tips, tricks you guys learned on the way as I didn’t get a chance to chat with you guys afterward.” (Brendon McCarthy)
“I really enjoyed the section of the trip where the crew stayed with the mechanic. The family was so loving, it was great to see such joy in people and love of companionship.” (Bryan)
Thank you to all the people who have shared your responses with us. You have kept us continuously inspired and your feedback is much appreciated.