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Podcast Interview with Leah Thomas and Khaliah Neal Part 1

The compelling documentary 25 to Life won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary of the American Black Film Festival. Here is part 1 of our interview with the producers, Leah Thomas and Khaliah Neal. Listen as they talk about their film experience and some of the challenges in making this terrific documentary.

Part 2 and 3 will be posted soon.


Brasslands Podcast Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of our interview with Adam Pogoff and Bryan Chang of Meerkat Media Collective. Adam and Bryan finished their feature documentary, Brasslands last year. In this part of our interview we hear some of their tips for new filmmakers.

Check out the Brasslands trailer on their website at http://brasslands.com/trailer/

and be sure to rent or buy it on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/brasslands/id892663279

Brasslands Podcast Part 2

Here is Part 2 of our interview with Adam Pogoff and Bryan Chang of the Meerkat Media Collective. In this section of the podcast Adam and Bryan talk about where their film, Brasslands played last year, and about the experience of watching the film with an audience. Also, they talk about balancing the political aspects of the film with the musical aspects.


And be sure to rent or buy Brasslands on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/brasslands/id892663279

And watch the trailer at http://brasslands.com/trailer/

Brasslands Podcast Part 1

Last year we interviewed Adam Pogoff and Bryan Chang of Meerkat Media Collective last year, and they told us about their filmmaking collective and their unique style of producing. You can listen to part one of our interview here.

If you haven’t seen Brasslands yet, be sure to make some time this summer to enjoy the wonderful music and storytelling of this film.
You can now rent or buy Brasslands on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/brasslands/id892663279

I guarantee that you will be up and dancing by the end of this film.
Brasslands will also be playing at the Maysles Documentary Center Friday and Saturday, July 18-19th.

Stray Dog wins LAFF!

We are thrilled to announce that “Stray Dog” has won the award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Los Angeles Film festival!

Director, Debra Granik, whose 2010 “Winter’s Bone” was nominated for four Academy Awards, has rendered a masterful portrait of the life of a veteran living in small-town America, what Variety Magazine calls, “a low-key humanist study of an extraordinary ordinary man.”


Barbara and I had the great honor of working with Debra and editor, Tori Stewart on the sound for this poignant film.

The film takes a stab at the ‘everyday American life’ theme in “Stray Dog.” It captures the world of motorcycle man and U.S. army veteran Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall as he goes about his life running the “At Ease” RV Park while battling PTSD in southwestern Missouri alongside his Mexican wife, Alicia. The film succeeds because of its honesty.


The story’s focus is narrow and simple: a man, his motorcycle, his family, and his very human problems. During the 105 minute film, Stray Dog tries to help other veterans’ families, ruminates about his two tours in Vietnam, visits the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. with other veterans, deals with the everyday hassle of running an RV park, and helps his wife’s two teenage sons immigrate to the U.S.

These are the everyday happenings in Stray Dog’s life. To maintain the honest reality of the film’s subject matter and it’s simplicity, there is no soundtrack and there are no direct-to-camera interviews in the film. Revving motorcycle engines heard throughout become a kind of score that feels real and true. The music we do hear comes from radios playing, or the film’s characters singing and playing instruments. And so we see and hear Stray Dog, the man, laid bare with only the background sounds in his environment to complement his gruff voice.


At first glance, Stray Dog seems like what some might refer to as the stereotypical redneck. But he is far from stereotypical or perhaps our stereotypes are just wrong. The film avoids politics and shines the spotlight instead on Ron Hall: the Vietnam war vet, the husband, the friend, the human in all his simple glory.


When asked about her goal in filming so many hours of Hall’s life, Debra told Indiewire that she wanted to discover the “ingredients of his life.” Along those lines, The Hollywood Reporter writes that “Stray Dog” goes a long way to break down stereotypes and remind us of the humanity common in the East-coast city-dwelling liberal (Debra lives in New York City) and the right-wing Missouri country dweller. Through the film’s candid shots of Stray Dog, we are forced to give him genuine attention and respect, and we can’t help but really like the guy.

Josh Apter Podcast, pt2

Podcast: Download

Here is Part 2 of our talk with our good friend Josh Apter.
Josh is the owner of Manhattan Edit Workshop,

25 To Life Premiere: This Sunday

If you were Will Brawner, what would you do?

William Brawner is a young man who became infected with the HIV virus before the age of 2 years old. His HIV status remained a secret for years, until one day he decided to come forward publicly.

What would you do, if suddenly on the radio you heard that a previous lover was announcing they were HIV positive? Would you be embarrassed? Angry? Seek revenge? Would you be able to forgive?
Think about it for a minute….before you answer.

This Sunday, 6/22, “25 To Life” is showing and you can witness how one young man’s secret can affected his family, his community and himself. And you can see how he made it his mission that other young people will not have to face what he faced by himself.

“25 To Life” screening this Sunday, June 22nd at SVA Theatre at 11:30 AM to 1:20 PM.

Buy your tickets now at:

25 To Life: Sparking Discussions

We worked on a great documentary called “25 to Life” directed by Mike Brown. It is about to make its theatrical premiere on Sunday, June 22nd at the American Black Film Festival at the SVA theater located just down 23rd street from Splash. The film follows William Brawner who kept his HIV status a secret for many years, until making the decision to go public with the news. Brawner was a sexually active, popular young man during his college years at Howard University, and so when people heard his announcement over the radio they were shocked, angry and confused.

You might not agree with everything that Brawner did, but you have to admire his honesty. In one scene he is talking to an ex-girlfriend on the phone who will not forgive him. He feels defeated after the call and calls his wife. Through his tears he says, “Doing the right thing is so hard. It was easy when I was out there doing the wrong thing.”

Often we learn that honesty is not the best policy, and it seems to cause more harm than good. But what Brawner has done is to help other young people talk about being HIV positive, and that is a terrific thing. Creating environments for young people to talk about the issues and problems they face being HIV positive is a good thing because those are the people who need help navigating the world, which is hard enough without harboring a deep secret that can cause shame and fear.

I don’t know if there is a “reward” for acting right, but I think it takes a psychic toll to lie, and as hard as Brawner’s life is now that he is “doing the right thing”, I think it would have destroyed him not to be able to talk about himself honestly.

William Brawner is a young black man, and as an old white woman, I related to him completely. Through the story of Brawner, as well as his mother and his family, this film speaks of love, sacrifice, fear, and forgiveness. Topics we are all familiar with, no matter what our background. If you see this film, I guarantee that you will be talking afterwards. “What would you have done?” “Was he right or wrong?” Brawner’s honesty will spark discussion, and we need to keep talking about HIV and Aids.

For tickets to 25 to Life on Sunday, June 22nd at 11:30am, click here.


Josh Apter Podcast-pt 1

Podcast: Download

Hear Part 1 of our talk with our good friend Josh Apter.
Josh is the owner of Manhattan Edit Workshop, the inventor of the Padcaster (seen here in the Apple Ipad Air commercial), a filmmaker and all around good fella.