Boy, a lot has happened since my last blog entry.
Our New Orleans Film Festival experience was amazing. Impeccable hospitality from the festival staff. A gaggle of new friends and filmmaking compatriots. Great audiences and totally pristine projection. We also got some wonderful support from critic Peter Labuza, who covered the festival for RogerEbert.com, including this choice tweet:
SABBATICAL (Colvin, 14) Masterfully economic in both narrative and (4:3!) framing. Auspicious and acutely realized as any Bresson.— Peter Labuza (@labuzamovies) October 19, 2014
Peter even included the film on his list of the Best Undistributed Films of 2014, with SABBATICAL coming in at #3 on his responses to the IndieWIRE and Village Voice critics polls. It was a real thrill and an honor to wind up receiving that sort of recognition from Peter, who wrote insightfully about my work.
A few other folks included us in their favorite films of 2014, including some hometown supporters. Jim Healy, head programmer of the UW Cinematheque and the Wisconsin Film Festival, placed SABBATICAL on an eclectic list of films -- contemporary and classic -- that he enjoyed throughout the year. Additionally, Jake Smith, who wrote a glowing review of the film during Madison Film Forum's WFF coverage, gave us a lovely shout out in his year-end wrap up, which I'll quote:
"At the time of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival, I said that I had given SABBATICAL more thought than any other film at the festival. I can now say that for the year as well. The only thing this film is short on is the run time. It is long on craft, long on maturity, and long on thoughtfulness. In other words, it is the very definition of what independent cinema should be. Film festivals and art house theaters everywhere, take heed: this is exactly the kind of film you should be showing."
It really doesn't get much better than that!
No Film School's Micah Van Hove included us in his year-end Top 20, and a few friends included the film on their personal lists -- all sentiments I hold close to my heart.
This past weekend (on Jan. 4th), we kicked off the New Year with an exhilarating screening of SABBATICAL at the Texas Theatre in Dallas (our Texas premiere!). The event was organized by Daniel Laabs, Frank Mosley, and Cameron Bruce Nelson as part of their Family Movie Night film series. We had a large crowd full of folks who really engaged with the film and had a lot to say about it afterward -- all of which left me smiling from ear to ear. It was truly exciting to chat with everyone who came out, to see the emotions, still fresh on their faces. I made a lot of new friends and found a new city to love. HUGE thanks to everyone at the Texas Theatre for helping us put on a great screening.
Thankfully, our Texas Theatre screening is not an isolated incident. Family Movie Night sort of unofficially kicked off our 2015 "tour" of SABBATICAL to various US cities for one-night screenings and/or limited engagements. We've got screenings in the works for Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Knoxville, New York City, and more between now and the end of spring. The great thing is, if you want to organize a screening of the film in YOUR CITY, you can do so by using Simple Machine, where SABBATICAL is now listed for booking non-traditional and traditional public screenings.
Additionally, we'll be releasing the film through various online video-on-demand/streaming services in mid-February. A very limited run of hand-made Blu-rays (approx. 100 copies) will also be available for purchase through this very website! We should get our online store up and running in the next couple of weeks, and you'll be able to pre-order discs at that time.
Phew, that's a lot. And, last but not least, SABBATICAL will be screening at the Beloit International Film Festival on Feb. 20th and 21st. If you're in southern Wisconsin or northern Illinois, you can get your tickets now!
Love to you all and Happy New Year!
P.S. Check out the photo below of SABBATICAL on the Texas Theatre marquee alongside Frederick Wiseman's NATIONAL GALLERY and the esteemed FORCE MAJEURE!