Filmmaker Adi Lavy Reflects on Day One of Open Call Orientation

Posted on July 27, 2009

ITVS’s Open Call provides finishing funds for single non-fiction or animation public television programs on any subject and from any viewpoint. Last week, ITVS hosted 17 filmmakers who were recently awarded Open Call funding. Adi Lavy, filmmaker of SUN KISSED, shares her thoughts about her first day at ITVS.

Our journey in the public television maze is about to kickoff. My co-director Maya Stark and I arrived at the ITVS offices in San Francisco on Tuesday to attend ITVS’s Open Call orientation and needless to say we are thrilled to be part of it. The days ahead are expected to be filled with meetings and discussions––varying from financial reporting and budgeting, to content meetings and a tongue-and-cheek presentation about producers' wardrobe (I kid you not). The highlight of today is a reception and screening of all the Open Call finalists. 

This year there are 10 chosen films, which vary from eco-terrorism in the forests of Oregon to one of China’s first citizen reporters, a quirky blogger documenting late breaking news and personal observations. In between, there are films dealing with issues from India, Iraq, Indonesia, Yemen, Ethiopia and our own film about the Navajo Nation. When meeting the other filmmakers, we were happy to find out that they all shared the same enthusiasm and excitement to be accepted into the ITVS clan. Our journey of making an independent documentary and applying to ITVS has been a long one––filled with many ups and downs. All of our emotional, intellectual and economic resources go into making our film. Add the fundraising process to the equation and it’s hard not to feel nostalgic and be a little melodramatic. The Beatles said it best in their song the Long & Winding Road...

Many times I’ve been alone And many times I’ve cried Any way you’ll never know The many ways I’ve tried The long and winding road That leads us to your door Will never disappear Lead me to you door So yes, we made it. Thank you ITVS for leading us to your door. Thanks for the faith and the vote of confidence. Also our credit agent, banker and landlord send their love and ask when will they receive their first payment installment! 

But I digress. Running a tight ship, making all of this happen is ITVS's motivated and outspoken team. Never have I met such a professional, intelligent and well-dressed bunch. It feels good to be in such capable knowing hands, especially when considering that this will be my film's home for the next 15 years. As a first time filmmaker, I feel proud to be part of this prestigious group. Although it is just the beginning, I have learned many important lessons. And a few anecdotes to end:

  • It’s time to shatter a long time ITVS rumor that claims that first time applicants and filmmakers aren’t chosen for the Open Call. This year four out of the 10 chosen projects were submitted by first timers. So don’t despair young ones, your day is soon to come.
  • Out of the 17 filmmakers attending, eight work and live in Brooklyn. Respect.
  • Although it’s mid-summer, the locals seem to be accustomed to the freezing weather (50 degrees in the end of July). Bring a coat!
  • A big thanks to one lovely ITVS staffer (no names will be named) who directed me to the famous ITVS film library, a docu enthusiast heaven, where a countless collection of DVDs are waiting around for a new home, aka my personal film collection.

-Adi, filmmaker of SUN KISSED

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