My love for film goes back to one of my earliest memories. I was four years old when Oliver! was showing at the historic Majestic Theater in San Antonio. I may have been to the theater prior to that, but this was the one I remember. I was captivated by the images, the acting, the music, but most of all the story. Since that day, I have fed my love for great stories told through film. While some of my favorites are the well-known titles – The Godfather, Gandhi, Chariots of Fire – my heart will always gravitate toward the smaller, independent films.
There is something about the off-beat nature of the indie that always strikes a chord with me. Films like Sideways, Lost in Translation, City Island and anything by fellow Texan Wes Anderson. It seems there is a greater commitment to telling well-crafted stories that can get lost in most mainstream films. This month at South by Southwest, one such film will be premiering and will then be in theater on April 13 and I’m excited to have been a small part of this film coming to fruition.
Blue Like Jazz is based on the book of the same name written by best-selling author Donald Miller. The film will tell the story of Don, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at a Texas junior college, tries to escape his Bible Belt upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at the most godless campus in America. While the movie will surely tell a great story, how the project that almost wasn’t came to be is great narrative itself.
There was a point at which it didn’t look like there would be enough funding to get it produced. Then the project was posted on Kickstarter in a last ditch effort to secure the money they were lacking. They needed $125,000. 4495 backers gave $345,992. I gave a modest amount and will be counted, along with other donors, as an associate producer in the credits.
I believe in the power of film to tell stories that connect with people’s lives. Blue Like Jazz will be one of those stories. If you aren’t able to catch it at SXSW, be sure to keep your eyes open for it in a theater beginning April 13. After you see it, leave your thoughts on this blog. I’d love to hear what you think about it.