2011 Feature Film shot in Camden, ME
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Category — Camden Film

Thank you for The Strand.

This is a very belated ‘thank you’ to all the people who came out to see our movie when we screened it in Rockland Maine this August. It was an evening that still gives me a  rush when I think about it; ‘Like the Water’ on the marquis, a line of people around the block, such a great and enthusiastic response after the screening.

It was thrilling to screen our movie in a theater I had spent so many hours in growing up. One of those moments where you think: “Ah, if only my younger self could see me now.” It is a satisfaction devoutly to be wished. But beyond the full-circle pleasure of screening our film at the Strand, the true joy of the evening was the incredible turnout; the people who showed up by the dozens to support us and witness our work. While there were some in the crowd who were strangers to me, the majority of the audience I knew well and have known most of my life.

It is a humbling experience to make a movie; the number of people required who come together around a single purpose never fails to awe. It often feels, on a movie set, that there is a kind of perfect storm of industry; that somehow everyone knows where to be and what to do and all these efforts combine to create the  miraculous moment the camera can roll and the director can call ‘action.’

It has occurred to me that – if you’ll forgive the metaphor – my life as an actor has been in many ways akin to a movie set, and that any accomplishment I have made, is due in such large part to all of the hands and voices and talents and love and support of all the people I have been lucky enough to know. Particularly, particularly all of the people who were in the theater on August 8th.


If you weren’t lucky enough to come from a small community, with little nightlife and one hell of a community theater scene, then let me tell you: the people who come out to watch you perform in your bad and usually long and usually musical performances, are an invaluable gift to any wannabe child actor. When you walk onto the stage at the local opera house and the seats are filled, you feel a little infinite, a little famous, and really proud and excited to be a storyteller; you feel that this thing you love very much is indeed a worthwhile pursuit. And that feeling will sustain you, years later, when you are living in LA and out-of-work and wondering why the hell you have subjected yourself to this career path.

The trouble with being an actor is that you can’t do it without an audience, and to those who took the time to be an audience me as a child I have to just say Thank You Thank You Thank You. So many of you were there at the Strand that August evening, and I can safely say: I would not have had the gumption or the desire to be an actor let alone make a movie of my own had I not had a lifetime of support from all of you. It is a gift beyond measure and I strive every day to make you proud and return that gift in this way that I know how. Thank you.

September 14, 2012   No Comments

Big Girl Panties

Last summer scared the shit out of me.

I believe in fear.  I believe that it can be an extremely creative energy.  I know that when I get asked to do something and it scares the hell out of me, I have to do it.  Why?  Because every time I have felt extreme fear and moved through it, I have had the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Last summer was one of those experiences.  As the time to go to Maine drew near, what kept running through my head was: who the hell do we think we are????  We were 6 friends who had a bold vision, but no practical experience of getting a film made.  We were sure to fail miserably!!!  Oh God what have we done????

This is what I told myself and the other actresses on set:  it’s time to put on the big girl panties.  It’s time to live a life of bold dreams, no regrets, full of life force and vitality.  We pushed ourselves to our edges, and demanded that of our tribe members.  I did many things I have never done before:  acted with my students (terror!), howled and keened and wept and stormed (horror!), swam naked in the lakes (nausea-inducing!), took a Zumba class (?????!!!)… the list goes on…

Here’s what I learned:  every day I was scared, and every day I went to sleep feeling more alive than I ever have.  This idea of the big girl panties is so useful to me-that when I feel the little bratty part of myself taking over, when I feel fear and I start a little temper tantrum inside, and I fight to keep myself safe and small, I think of Maine.  I think of how I witnessed the women in my tribe stepping up in a big way.  I believe in their bigness, and I believe I stepped up too.  I believe in my bigness.   I silence the brat by taking bold steps despite the fear.  I believe in my big girl panties.

May 29, 2012   No Comments

All Roads Lead to Maine.

Tenants Harbor, Maine.

I received the news of the Maine International Film Festival invitation while at my parents’ home in Exeter, New Hampshire, only a short 15 minute jaunt to the border of the great state from where our film was born. With not a moment of hesitation, we jumped at this serendipitous opportunity to bring our film back to the state where the incredible generosity and spirit of its residents allowed our work to come into existence and constantly surpass our (already high) hopes at each step of its life.

As I drove to Maine this past Friday night, a wave of nostalgia and excitement hit me as I returned to LIKE THE WATER territory. This past weekend I went to Portland to attend the Camden International Film Festival’s screening of Tyler Hughen and Kahlil Hudson’s LOW AND CLEAR, an exquisitely shot and edited portrait of two men, their friendship, their expeditions fly fishing. LOW AND CLEAR was the SXSW Audience Award winner at the 2012 festival for Best Documentary and very worthy of its accolade. CIFF, under the great leadership of its Founder Ben Fowlie (who we lucked out to get as an extra in some long overnights and hot days last summer in our film) brought LOW AND CLEAR and one of the film’s talented co-directors Kahlil Hudson on a tour of Maine to Portland’s Space Gallery, Rockland’s The Strand and North Haven’s Waterman’s Community Center. I got to catch this film at its kick off in Portland.

Seeing a great film in the state of Maine? What more could one ask for on a Friday night!

After a packed screening and Q&A, we headed to a brand new bar in Portland, LFK, launched by some folks involved with LIKE THE WATER, including Johnny Lomba who led the way with music for our film during our shoot and last Fall and Kate Smith, our talented Production and Costume Designer. LFK just opened this past week and in the massive crowd that was a Friday night out in Portland, I got to meet the owner of the home on Tenants Harbor, where we shot the Lobster Bake scene in our film. An easy consensus among cast & crew, this Maine picturesque location quickly became a favorite two days of our group. We found ourselves having to take moments to ask one another if this was actually our reality – this place too beautiful for words (snap shot above!). Because of his friendship with Kate and his naturally generous disposition, this man had given over his family home to a film crew for two days of intense shooting –never having met us, no questions asked, no hesitation, simply saying “Yes, by all means. It’s all yours.” Incredible.

Maine. The state that has not slowed for one moment in its generosity and support of our work there. It was good to be home. I hope others find such incredible luck in their lives to find a road to that leads them to Maine.

May 20, 2012   No Comments

Exciting News All Around!

Well, we did it! Like the Water is complete. It seems that the hard part is over but we know it’s still a long road ahead. We’ll of course keep you updated about festival premiers, and let you know as soon as you can see the film.

Caitlin is having wonderful success. Damsels in Distress is getting wonderful reviews and great press, some of which we have already posted. (We’ll post more, don’t worry.) AND she was just in NY to shoot a pilot Masters of Sex. We hope it’s as awesome as it sounds. You can see here more about the project and her involvement. It was lucky for us because we managed to overlap and get her in the ADR booth in the last weeks of sound post.

Ask anyone. ADR is so weird. Here are the ADR bandits, Caitlin FitzGerald and Susan Main in the recording booth.

We can’t wait to share the final product with you!

 

April 9, 2012   No Comments

Caitlin FitzGerald in Town and Country

Caitlin had just finished her work in Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress when we rocketed up to Maine to make Like the Water. She was just in an awesome photo shoot with her cast mates from Damsels in Town and Country magazine. We love it! Especially the “wickedly smart and poised to school Hollywood” part.

March 15, 2012   No Comments

Caitlin in Zink Magazine!

March is proving a big month for Like the Water’s co-writer and star. Here she is in Zink Magazine, being called “The next Audrey Hepburn.”

March 9, 2012   No Comments

Caitlin and Like the Water in Paper Magazine!

March 8, 2012   No Comments

Caitlin FitzGerald’s closing night films (plural)

In honor of our lovely writer and actress’s birthday today, I want to share (I feel like a proud parent) some exciting news regarding Caitlin FitzGerald’s recent film work outside of ours.

As many of you know, Caitlin starred with Ed Burns in his latest film NEWLYWEDS which was Closing Night film of the Tribeca Film Festival. It took every ounce of integrity I have not to share this news with Caitlin when I learned she was closing our festival – I’ve never kept a secret like this and hope no one asks me to keep one like that again. It was the greatest pleasure to join her for the party with the cast & crew, the red carpet and sit with her and her family in a house of 900+ New Yorkers who came out for our closing film, where Caitlin’s performance shone. (Also those I work for let me play hookie for a night to be a guest at the festival, which was not a bad perk to the evening!). Earlier this month Tribeca Film (Tribeca Enterprises’ distribution leg) acquired the US and Canadian rights to NEWLYWEDS, so you will be able to see Caitlin in a theatre near you or on DVD shortly thereafter.

Read the news here.

For more from Caitlin in ELLE Magazine during the festival, click here.

As if closing one festival were not enough, another of Caitlin’s films from this past year, VIOLET WISTER’S DAMSELS IN DISTRESS from the great Whit Stillman (the man who brought us THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, BARCELONA, METROPOLITAN) is closing Venice Film Festival, exciting news we learned during our shoot. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the worldwide distribution rights to the film last Spring but have yet to announce the release date.

Caitlin has not one but two films closing major international film festivals this year, and we have a gorgeously shot and acted film from our summer in Camden, Maine that will soon be heading with me into the editing room. Much to celebrate on your birthday, Caitlin. Happy birthday!

August 25, 2011   No Comments

The Grand Finale.

While the incredible work and spirit of our actors and crew has never ceased to amaze me in how much work outside of their roles everyone is willing to take on to get through the shoot and have a great film result, it is really the dedication to the story that constantly moves me. We are a young group, freshly (many of us first timers at our positions) into the world of filmmaking and the respect, patience, generosity and flexibility with which we all merge into each day on set never slows. The actors and crew serve as art department, props, costumes, clean up, our DP arts, our AD grips. We started this project as simply a project and it quickly developed into a film as our script evolved and as the film we needed shoot to capture this story grew exponentially. Our crew and cast remained the same man power and as a result, it is the biggest collaboration and most work I’ve ever been a part of. Successfully so with what we have shot this summer. I feel honored and indebted to each person I get to serve this film with every moment of every day.

I have to share the work around our final shot that began at dinner last week and resulted in Wednesday night’s magic. While the shot was a huge success, it really was the spirit about which this came about and was executed that tells the most about how this film has worked. Under the incredible leadership of our DP Eve Cohen, our crew has been working long hours and stepping into bigger roles than they had signed up for. Even with all this work, they took the time to make Eve and my dream come true of the last shot being from the middle of the lake looking back to the dock. Over dinner after 12 hour days, Eve, Liam, Ryan, Ari & I daydreamed, drew, plotted until we had a plan. Most of my contribution to this was simply beaming, eagerly nodding, asking how I could help and buying drinks. I will not do justice to all the steps that went into pulling this off (and hope Ryan shares his brilliance in this coming about) but in brief, our crew dedicated their day off to pick up a boat in Camden’s harbor, Alli & Conor drove it in her truck out to Jefferson, while the rest of us caravanned (with bathing suits, towels & beers in tow) and we spent the afternoon setting up the boat, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and shooting rehearsals of the scene with our handsome crew posing as the beautiful girls. It was the most fun I’ve ever had. Though we did wrack up: a canoe overturn (almost a concussion), a foot sliced in half, many debacles with the boat, massive spiders & general hilarity which added to the greatness of the day.

The day of the shoot there were thunderstorms, so we waited a second day. Cables, the Sony F3, the EX3, lenses were not going to be put in the water when lightning was overhead. The next day we went down to the water, the crew working with the greatest focus and care. The actors, so used to helping anyway they could, were landlocked while the rest of us were in kayaks, canoes, boats in various formations for both scenes. Our other essential crew who were not in the water hid behind trees along the shore, their work an equal part in bringing this moment about.  We shot the scene and then the finale (which had to be a one take wonder due to actors & wardrobe getting wet) we had one chance for it to be pulled off. Eve & Ari took their positions with the cameras, the rest of us formed a line to hold up the cable between the two so it didn’t land in the water and we were ready to go. The actors’ and crew’s shared passion for all the creative, logistical work to bring about this moment and all the work of the actors to get to this shared space was so thick in the air, that we got the shot.

With actors like Caitlin FitzGerald, there are so many moments when everyone on set is moved to tears. I experienced the most beautiful acting moment, yet again on this set, when our four lead actresses approached the lake and shared a word-less scene on the dock before our finale. The crew’s baited breath and the space they created for these actors to step into as well as the actors tender care of one another and admiration for the crew brought this moment to fruition. On the other side of the dock in the water, I sat in a kayak, pulled by Sheldon, as Ryan pushed the canoe with Eve & Ari who were shooting this scene from our man-made (literally) water dolly. The crew’s, actors’ and my joy at what the crew had pulled off to bring about this moment was palpable on set and as a result in this moment in the film. We are each a filmmaker serving this story and I am one lucky, lucky girl.

The crew of our film sets up for the final shot.

August 6, 2011   1 Comment

Cooperation.

So we knew this would be difficult, making our first film. I do not think we could have fully appreciated just how much work it would be for our small crew given that we are ALL pulling double duty. Our very normal-length days feel particularly tiring because there’s not much down time like there might normally be on a set (anyone who has spent any time on a set knows perfectly well there’s usually a lot of standing around). That being said, we managed to pull together a crew who has really risen to the occasion. It brings to mind a song I learned a long time ago that has stuck with me forever:

The cooperation on and off set (as we are all sharing housing, cars, meal times) has been phenomenal to experience and vital to the success of this first week and a half of shooting. And, it even comes from the most unexpected places. Like from Olive, the FitzGerald’s aging and sometimes grumpy (but always ADORABLE) dog. Olive decided she wanted to be in a scene. Lucinda, her owner, seems to have trained her exceptionally well (or Olive REALLY wanted to get a start in her movie career), because once Olive was placed, she stayed on her mark through five takes. Incredible.

Olive on her mark.

July 22, 2011   No Comments