an irresponsible jury
The Gimli Film Fest Pitch Contest was a great experience, but giving $10,000 to a pair of barely legal youngsters was frankly foolish. You can see a mix of excitement, bewilderment, and terror in the various photos from the event and the following shoot. In the pitch I remember saying "I hope to look back on today as the day that we pulled ourselves up a notch" and thinking that it would be hyperbole. It was not, in any way, hyperbolic.
That pitch contest funding snowballed into way more money than we knew what to do with. More people were on set than I'd ever had, there was more at stake, and the cheques I was writing were for numbers I would faint at if it was personal funds. Looking at the pitch to screening photos taken almost exactly one year apart it's shocking how different Allegra and I look, like we were strapped into the life-sucking machine from A Princess Bride.
That said, this movie is the reason I dropped out of film school. It was the best education I could've hoped for. A lot has happened since then but most, if not all, can be traced back to The Debut.