My wife Kate and I have deep roots in the arts, which can often be tested when you have two small children. Kate is a renowned painter and published artist, I am an accomplished film & television director/producer, but for the past three years we have pretty much just been “Mom and Dad.” This year we started changing out of our baby-food-encrusted pajamas on weekends and started dressing like real people and actually going to events. As active board members of multiple artistic institutions in Wichita it has been wonderful to have all access passes to the amazing things happening here, but it hasn’t been till recently that we were able to leave both kids with a sitter and actually participate on an adult level instead of just an observer.
Most recently we entered the 2013 Creative Rush Down To The Wire 24 Hour Film Race which you can read about here. 24 hour film races are extremely challenging. Kate and I added one extra challenge to the mix: I wanted to make a film 100% created by, starring, and executed by our little family of four. It was our first family art project. I wanted to make something different that challenged the conventional films we saw at last year’s race and show that an engaging film can be made by a small family for less than $100.
I threw out the concept that we would use special effects, complicated locations, setups that would require large lighting rigs, and any script ideas that would require more than one central character: Kate. I went back to my roots of studying Stan Brakhage and Abigail Child (whom I studied under at Sarah Lawrence College) to provide a film that was visually driven, aesthetically pleasing, a plot line fun to follow, and driven by the motto of “less is more.” The result? Last night I received an email from the Tallgrass Film Festival stating, “Congratulations! Our selection committee has agreed that your short film would be a great addition to the 2013 Tallgrass Film Festival.” Max and Dodge will be walking the red carpet this October! (Technically…the Tallgrass carpet is green).
My film, “Best Hubby Ever,” will premiere at Tallgrass this year as part of the Creative Rush Down To The wire Spotlight. The festival runs from October 16-20 and once the full schedule is released I will post updates here and on Facebook and Twitter. After its premiere at the festival I will release the film publicly online for those who cannot attend the festival. While this little 6 minute film was made in 24 hours and for less than $100…I am extremely proud of it because it was made as a family. As well, I realized that through all my career, Oscar nominated independent films, Hollywood big budget films, awards, and multi-million dollar projects…I had never had a film in a festival that was solely my own. Something I wrote and directed. I skipped that early phase when I took my first major directing gig for Disney my Sophomore year of college. I’ve always been the line producer, or the assistant director, or the director, or the editor, or some other part of the crew. Somehow…I’ve never had “A Ryan W. Gates Film” go to festival…till this one, and I love that it is starring the three people I love most in the world.
Stay tuned for details and hopefully you will be able to attend the festival and see a film made by a family of four that challenges conventionalism. Maybe it’s not “A Ryan W. Gates” film after all? Maybe its “A Gates Family” film. However you slice it, I know I’m pretty lucky to have a wife that supports me and two gorgeous children that allowed me to capture them on camera and be patient for 24 hours while Dada edited at the dining room table. Thank you Kate, Max and Dodge. You are wonderful people and I can’t wait for all of us to sit together in a theater and see our project on the big screen with an audience.
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