November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014

Today is the “national theatrical premiere” of PELICAN DREAMS and I’m officially closing this production blog, because production is over and distribution has begun! Please check this site for updated theatrical bookings, press kit, trailer, photos, and lots of reviews:

Hope to see you at the theater!


September 25, 2014

September 17, 2014

Below the photo is an updated list of theatrical bookings to date. In addition, you’re invited to these special events:

October 3rd (Friday): Festival Premiere at “Doctober” Film Festival in Bellingham WA.

October 8th (Wednesday): Preview clips from “Pelican Dreams” and Q&A with filmmaker Judy Irving in Sonoma, CA.

October 25th (Saturday): Q&A with filmmaker Judy Irving at the Rialto Cinemas, Elmwood, Berkeley

November 1st (Saturday): Q&A with filmmaker Judy Irving at the Sebastiani Theater, Sonoma

November 2nd (Sunday): Q&A with filmmaker Judy Irving at the Rialto Cinemas, Sebastopol, accompanied by raptors from Sonoma County’s Bird Rescue Center, thanks to Executive Director Mary Ellen Rayner.

Dani offers Morro a stick

Dani offers Morro a stick

The film has so far been booked in 35 theatres across the country! Dates below are opening dates; runs will last at least a week in most venues, depending on audience turnout. Please tell friends!

24-Oct San Francisco Balboa theatrical premiere
24-Oct Berkeley Elmwood theatrical premiere
24-Oct San Rafael Rafael theatrical premiere
31-Oct Sonoma Sebastiani
31-Oct San Jose Camera 3
31-Oct Sebastopol Rialto
7-Nov NYC Angelika East Coast Premiere
7-Nov NYC Lincoln Plaza East Coast Premiere
7-Nov Santa Cruz Nickelodeon
7-Nov Santa Barbara Plaza de Oro
7-Nov Los Angeles Royal Los Angeles Premiere
7-Nov Pasadena Playhouse
7-Nov Encino Town Center
7-Nov Santa Ana, CA South Coast Village Theater
7-Nov Palm Springs Camelot Theater
14-Nov San Luis Obispo Palm “Morro” on Nov 15th!
14-Nov Modesto CA State Theater
14-Nov San Diego Gaslamp
21-Nov Larkspur CA The Lark
21-Nov Hartford CT Real Artways
21-Nov Washington, DC Angelika Pop-Up
21-Nov Santa Fe NM The Screen
21-Nov Missoula MT Roxy Theater
21-Nov Fairfax, VA Angelika Mosaic
28-Nov Arcata, Ca Minor Theater
28-Nov Portland OR Cinema 21 Pacific NW Premiere
28-Nov Seattle WA Sundance Pacific NW Premiere
28-Nov Seattle WA SIFF Pacific NW Premiere
28-Nov Ashland OR Varsity
28-Nov Portland ME Movies at the Museum
28-Nov Pittsburgh PA Regent Square
5-Dec Dallas Angelika Theater
5-Dec Plano Angelika Theater
5-Dec Honolulu Kahala Theater tentative but probable
5-Dec Waterville Railroad Square Cinema tentative but probable

September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014

We have a DCP! (Digital Cinema Package: theaters project DCPs these days instead of film prints). It looks and sounds great! Here is an updated list of theater bookings to date:

24-Oct San Francisco Balboa
24-Oct Berkeley Elmwood
24-Oct San Rafael Rafael
31-Oct Sonoma Sebastiani
31-Oct San Jose Camera 3
31-Oct Sebastopol Rialto
7-Nov NYC Angelika
7-Nov NYC Lincoln Plaza
7-Nov Santa Cruz CA Nickelodeon
7-Nov Los Angeles CA Royal
7-Nov Pasadena CA Playhouse
7-Nov Encino CA Town Center
7-Nov Santa Ana, CA South Coast Village Theater
7-Nov Palm Springs CA Camelot Theater
14-Nov San Luis Obispo CA Palm
14-Nov San Diego CA Gaslamp
21-Nov Washington, DC Angelika Pop-up
21-Nov Santa Fe NM The Screen
21-Nov Fairfax, VA Angelika Mosaic
28-Nov Seattle WA Sundance
28-Nov Seattle WA SIFF
5-Dec Dallas TX Angelika Theater
5-Dec Plano TX Angelika Theater
5-Dec Honolulu HI Kahala Theater
5-Dec Waterville ME Railroad Square Cinema

July 24, 2014

July 24, 2014
theatrical movie poster

theatrical movie poster

Thanks to 356 Kickstarter backers, we’re now able to finish post-production on “Pelican Dreams,” including all those pricey items like: final sound recording, editing, and mixing; transferring standard definition footage to HD via “Dark Energy” and “Teranex;” transferring film shots directly from 16mm negative to HD; color finishing with wizard Gary Coates; designing a theatrical movie poster; working on a theatrical trailer and press kit; and starting outreach to long-lead-time publications like Audubon Magazine and Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Living Bird. Could not have done it without you! Bookings so far:

World Premiere – October 24th, Balboa Theater, San Francisco, and Elmwood Theater, Berkeley.

San Jose Premiere – October 31st, Camera 3 Theater.

East Coast Premiere – Nov. 7th, Angelika Theater (downtown NYC) and Lincoln Plaza Theater (uptown NYC)

Southern California Premiere – Nov. 7th at the Royal Theater (LA), the Playhouse (Pasadena), and the Town Center (Encino)

Santa Cruz Premiere – Nov. 7th at the Nickelodeon Theater

San Luis Obispo Premiere – Nov. 14th at the Palm Theater – with a special appearance by avian film star “Morro” on Nov. 15th!

More bookings to come. Check back for details. The film will play at these theaters as long as people come to see it, not just the first day, so please help spread the word. We will plan something special for the San Francisco World Premiere: Maybe we’ll meet out at the beach, look for pelicans soaring along the coast, then walk up to the Balboa, see the movie, and have a party nearby afterwards. Save the date!

May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

Our Kickstarter campaign is LIVE today! Please consider contributing, and spread the word. Thanks!

April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014
draft movie poster by Zina Deretsky

draft movie poster by Zina Deretsky

flier by Zina Deretsky

flier by Zina Deretsky

Thanks to the graphic talents of fellow Southender Zina Deretsky, we have a movie poster taking shape and a lovely flier publicizing the May 9th preview screening of “Pelican Dreams” (see both, above).

Our Kickstarter campaign launches May 1st, runs for the month of May, and will hopefully result in $50,000 finishing funds. Shadow Distribution, the same company that distributed “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” will do the same for “Pelicans,” but we have to finish it first, and you can help. There will be 8 Kickstarter perk levels, ranging from $10 to $10,000, so there’s surely a level that can work for you.

We previewed our new 3-minute Kickstarter trailer last night at the Aquarium’s Pier 39 theater, and it looked great (I can say that because I didn’t edit it; Andrew Harmon, who has a gift for the short form, did a wonderful job with the edit, and Bruce Kaphan, our esteemed composer, provided a custom score.) The trailer will go live on May 1st and we’ll link to it from here. Stay tuned and please help us with this last push! All donations are tax-deductible.

February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014
pelicans roosting at Sutro Rocks, San Francisco

pelicans roosting at Sutro Rocks, San Francisco

The photo of pelicans roosting on Sutro Rocks above was taken in December, our second attempt at that location to get a “sunset-roost-settle-in-for-the-night” sequence that could be a backdrop for the rolling credits at the end of the movie. Finally got it!

The Aquarium of the Bay screening was “sold out” (even though it was free) within a few days of tickets becoming available. Not only was it a big audience, it was responsive, enthusiastic, and very helpful; about 175 people filled out questionnaires afterwards, which inform my final editing. To everyone who shared in this creative process, thank you!

One person suggested that I include a normal-speed pelican feeding frenzy in the film, since all of the diving footage was (then) slow-motion. I happened to have some normal-speed shots from a feeding sequence at Half Moon Bay, and put those in. The new sequence fit easily into a slot after Monte says, “Two things a pelican has to be able to do: it has to be able to see, and it has to be able to fly. And I mean fly well.” Many thanks to that anonymous audience member who made the suggestion. It shows us how wild and crazy it gets out there, how fast they actually fly and dive, and how easy it is to get hurt; and it comes before a sequence about Morro, who hurt his wing, probably while diving.

We now have what they call in the film business a “fine cut,” and we’re on our way to a “picture lock.” Kickstarter campaign details coming soon!

December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013
Hope you can come!

Hope you can come!

December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013


“A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican”

by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1910 (not Ogden Nash!)

A wonderful bird is the pelican

His bill will hold more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Food enough for a week

But I’m damned if I know how the helican.

I’d been trying to figure out how to include this classic limerick in “Pelican Dreams,” and two serendipitous events over the past month made it possible. First, Donna Shore sent me the photo above, taken by Tyrone Crossman. This pink-backed pelican with his wild and crazy hairdo made me laugh. I contacted Tyrone, a professional photographer in Durban, South Africa, who generously allowed me to use this photo plus several additional shots of the same bird to illustrate the limerick (which he remembered from his childhood also).

Next, a friend in Ireland, a radio/tv broadcast personality whose soul is essentially comedic, agreed to record the limerick at his studio in Dublin and send me the tape. So now I have a wonderful recording from Myles Dungan to go with Tyrone’s fabulous pictures!

Many thanks to the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation and to Bob McIntyre of the Wheeler Fund for recent grants that will help us get to the finish line. Lucy Massie Phenix, consulting editor, has been suggesting subtle tweaks to the movie’s structure and tone. As I mentioned in my last post, it really helps to have a fresh set of eyes on this footage. And speaking of fresh eyes:

“Save the Date!” We will have our final “Pelican Dreams” rough-cut screening on Thursday, January 16th at the Bay Institute’s theater at Pier 39 in San Francisco. I’ll hand out questionnaires and ask for written feedback from the audience.  The screening is free. We hope to have a reception beforehand. Come be part of the creative process! Details to come.

October 22, 2013

October 22, 2013
dani's back yard

A goose, a duck, a chicken, and a pelican!

That’s Dani Nicholson in her “magical kingdom” yard in Cayucos. We just got back from a trip to southern and central California that included some lucky film shoots, including a visit to Morro in his yard, and a visit to Pebble Beach, where we finally got some slow-motion shots of pelicans “surfing” the wave crests. Lovely!

adult surfs crestA

When a pelican’s life in the wild is going well, it goes very very well. They were so clearly enjoying themselves, it was a joy to watch. Pelicans are such accomplished fliers!

Meanwhile editing and fundraising continue. We’ve now shot almost everything we need and are working out the final structure. Lucy Phenix, a friend and colleague, has been consulting on the editing and it’s great to have another set of eyes on the footage.

We still have major lab expenses ahead of us, and look forward to working with “pelican angels” to bring in the funds we need.


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