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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



'Around'... and around again...




Writer/Director/Producer/Editor David Spaltro shares his thoughts and vision about his film, Around (2008), which despite being two years old now, is coming 'around' again.


me: "David, can you please start by telling us about the symbolism around Around? And what it means to you?"

David: "...Around is a very personal story, auto-biographical but not auto-biography and an all around love-letter and valentine to New York City and a certain time, place and group of individuals in my life that helped shape who I am today. It's about a young man who crosses the Hudson from NJ and flees a dyfunctional family life to attend film school. Unsure of himself and what he's actually doing, he messes up his loans and begins a dual life living out of Penn Station and various subway stations while attending school. It's during this process he forms multiple relationships and identities, trying to juggle them all while still running from personal and family demons he believes he's left behind. The pressures become too much and eventually he's forced to confront everything and find his place or 'home' in the world, even if it means redefining it and himself.
"I had decided on making a film and after talking to friends about what the story could be I decided to combine a bunch of experiences and stories from going to school and NYC, writing the first draft of the script in 30 days while teaching English in South Korea during a monsoon season. It started out as a personal mission, kamikazee style to find out if 1) I could make a film 2) this was what I wanted to do and could commit myself completely to it; and while making the film I fell in love with the cast, crew and process and decided that I'd fight for it to the last drop to help get it out there, for myself and for all of them and the tremendous work and blood they gave to it."
me: "Whoa! What a journey! You see, that's exactly the kind of films that should be seen in the US and yet ironically rarely do. Did it get good distribution?" 
David: "Around being a small first-time non-genre film with no names to help sell it I saw an opportunity in simply getting it out to the masses; and by the time I was offered a deal by CRM, a division of John Sloss's Cinetic Media, to platform release the film digitally online through Amazon, VOD, Netflix and various other outlets I jumped on it. It was never about making huge bucks or getting a giant theatrical or pay-tv release as the film is more of a business card to show what I'm capable of and the best way to go about using it and promoting it was simply having it available. Once out I was able to do a full-on promotional blitz utilizing social media, blogs, critics, and the particular DIY nature of the financing and funding of the project (150k on 40 credit cards) during one of the worst financial credit crunches of our time that has still had ripple effects on the industry."
me: "Could you tell us a bit about how you feel about indie cinema today and how hard is it to make an indie film in US today?"
David: "I think making a film is hard on any level; always has been and always will be. You've got to really love it and want to do it at all costs and know that it's at it's best a three year long haul process where even with other things going on in your life, the shadow of the film will surrounded you. I think the hardest part of making an independent film today is the various glut of projects out there, the financial state of the industry and the fact that it's in a flux of transition with the old models being broken or ineffective and the new forms not quite perfected and tested. We're living in a bit of the wild, wild west again when it comes to putting together projects whether they be micro-budgets or just under the studio radar films, and I think the result is you either let that deter or terrify you from going out there and trying to make a film or you understand what's going on and try and use that to your advantage or plot your strategy on accepting those facts. I think there are some great DIY indie film communities and movements out there but I also believe there are all these lies and misinformation being championed by people who'd rather sit around talking about dreams, passion, hope and circle-jerking each other's egos then talk about facts- what it was actually like to make a film, logistical and promotional opportunities that actually exist, market strategies, how to project one's interest and caring out a path for themselves.
"I also think it's easy to talk about churning out film after film and "DIY" indie film, but at the end of the day there really is no Do It Yourself film... even the smallest crew is more than one person and a lot of these micro-budget films people aren't getting paid or are promised things that aren't going to actually come and I'm not a fan of that and misleading people. I'd rather support and help but be honest about the industry out there and the opportunities so one can be properly prepared rather than just giving 'love hugs' of support and earnest."

me: "I think you're totally right. I mean, art changes as time change and thus there are as many nuances in art as there are individuals and new generations. So, what are you working on since Around?"

David: "I've been developing several projects, TV Pilots and ideas, but my main focus is on doing another smaller independent film, bigger budget than ...Around called Things I Don't Understand (2012) that I'm currently financing/producing for a January 2011 start date in Brooklyn. It's got similar themes and tone to ...Around but in a lot of ways is completely different, allowing me to stretch some directorial and story-telling chops and show more of a range on what I can do. It's also an important story to me in that it's deals with questions that I've had for a very long time on life- death and what it means to protect the home you've found once you've found it. It's also a chance to prove that what I achieved with my first film was not a fluke and also not all that I'm capable of, that I can keep going and telling stories and pushing myself further. I'm excited and eager to get back to my 'home' on the set that I'm capable of so I can keep going and telling stories and pushing myself further. I'm excited and eager to get back to my 'home' on the set."
me: "Well, and there it is! Thanks, David, for sharing your experience and time with us. Good luck on Things I Dont Understand, another captivating title. Can't wait to see it!"


Interview by Vanessa McMahon, July 19 2010



see film trailer here:


 David Spaltro, director/producer/writer/editor...



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