Boat Safety begins not with oars, but with determination and courage. Each vessel, port and starboard, must be deemed seaworthy. Each sailor in aforementioned vessels employ must be judged by a court of the deep seas as being buoyant and intrepid. For every barnacle accounted, there must be a jib, pulley, and aft. When the nigh winds howl at ye wooden leg, a boat safety expert must welome them not with merely a grimace, but a defiant scowl, your good eye glistening with the grit of the anticipation of battle. To safely maneuver a boat from one channel to another strait, from these waters to those shores, from bay to bight to tomorrow’s evanescent anchorage, a true practitioner of boat safety must muster an unparalleled depth of knowledge of all things life preserver, choke, and mast. Unto each sail, may ye flap in safe waters, and unto each mooring may ye sway in safe harbor, for where the creed of boat safety travels, thereunto all men shall be safe boating.

Everyone’s Bee Team at Festival Premiere

This past spring, I had the opportunity to work on one of the most fun projects ever.  During one of our routine silly singing sessions, my three year old daughter Mila improvised a song that would become an overnight hit amongst friends and family.  Entitled “Everyone’s Bee is Important”, it was the absolute pitch perfect combination of irresistibly cute and dead-on perceptive.  Amazingly, it even has a chorus.  After the audio file had an overwhelmingly positive first run via email and text message, I decided that it would be a perfect voiceover to use as the basis for an original animation.  A few trips to the cafe later, I had some preliminary storyboards up and running, and moved forward from there.  storyboards fixed 1You can only imagine my excitement when I found out that the finished movie would screen at the Lower East Side Film Festival, whose past and current judges include the likes of Susan Sarandon, Judah Friedlander, and Dana Brunetti.  Regardless of the competitive nature and possible awards, I was thrilled in fact only to have the film show on the big screen, and allow a wider audience than the built in family network to have a chance to see it.  That’s also when I started to become excited about bringing Mila to the screening! LES ScreenshotAfter putting the final stylistic touches on the film just days beforehand, I showed it to Mila at the kitchen table for the first time.  She was thrilled!  The very first thing she noticed was that there were some sounds other than her singing in the background of the movie.  “What are those noises, daddy?” She asked, referring to the stellar sound design created by Carl Sondrol.  Carl approached the sound for this short very organically, describing to me over the phone that he didn’t want to use any prefab sounds, and that every noise included would be recorded specifically for the film.  Knowing Carl to be one of the most creative film-audio professionals I’ve worked with, I informed him that he had carte blanche to do as he pleased, and to make it as fun and creative as possible.  In my experience, this approach yields the best results when working with trusted professional artists.

With the big day finally at hand, Mila and I packed up and got ready to go to the screening.  We headed into Manhattan a few hours early so we would make sure to be on time, grab a quick bite of dinner, and mingle with our fans.  Here are a few shots of the anticipatory subway trip to the big festival. mila subway fixed 1mila subway fixed 2It was a beautiful and sunny late afternoon when we arrived in the Lower East Side, but before the festival we had to grab a quick dinner to recharge our engines.  Stopping in at a local Thai restaurant, Mila ordered her standby favorite of dumplings, and we shared a cool lemonade between the two of us. ice tea sippin fixed 1After arriving at the LES fest, which was being held that night at the Anthology Archives on 2nd and 2nd, we greeted the crew and went on in to inspect the theater (and stash our stroller in the back).  Mila carefully explored the dark and cavernous screening room, making sure that we got the very best seats possible.  This was Mila’s second time in a movie theater, the first having been several months previous to see the children’s animation festival at the IFC center.  2nd time at the movies to premiere your own film? Not bad…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAs we settled in and the screening began, Mila kept excitedly asking when our film would play.  A few shorts in, when the Boat Safety Films logo started to roll, she excitedly pointed to the screen and yelled out “that’s our movie!” And so it was.  Soaking up the excitement of the moment, Mila’s eyes remained glued to the screen.  The uproarious applause from the theatergoers after the title cards concluded brought the perfect touch to an awesome experience.  After the screening was over, Tony Castle, one of the festival’s organizers, asked Mila and me up to the front of the theater for a short Q&A.  I did most of the talking, but I got the funny feeling that I wasn’t the focal point of most of the attention.  Siri Betts-Sonstegard, a festival-goer in the row behind us, snapped this shot of us watching the film.

Processed with VSCOcam with 3 presetAfter the screening let out, Mila and I posed for a few obligatory shots on the red carpet/step and repeat.  What a perfect memento of a story-tale night.  Strolling back to the subway in the crisp dusk, I told Mila that we had to start brainstorming our next project.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWatch the movie HERE


1 Comment

  1. Well, I WAS impressed! A beautiful project and an amazing foundation upon which to build your daughter’s best memories! Giga, please keep me abreast as to when the two of you hit Cannes!


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