2023! Goals, Gifts and Growth!
Good morning 2023! I’m sipping the hazelnut coffee and happy to report no hangovers or such this morning. I had a few drinks yesterday afternoon in a meeting with a few of our artists, picking materials up. We toasted the victories and those lost, no longer traveling. The beverage sipped was some of the Frankenberry Wine, made from all the berries on the property. But in the eve it was just ginger ale and a peaceful welcome into 2023. I can recall many days of my youth of celebrating too much and paying for it the next morning/day. I get up early and have my productive routines that I follow. I don’t regret most of those party days but I don’t miss the aftermath.
I carved out a day this past week and did film disbursements to our backers. I’m so thankful for all the supportive people who love the Tribe CDI stories. I had a sit down with one of them this week and really enjoyed all the positive feedback. We also talked about future endeavors, of which we have many. I’ve been working to get organized and prepped for a highly productive new year. Being organized is one of the secrets to success. I’ve got a series of end of year tax prep stuff for the films but I have a great team and this year should be quite smooth.
It was a year of hard fought victories and some sad losses. My furbaby Daphne, my second mother- baby sitter Marie DeFord, my friend/family and building mentor Dan Chapin, all powerful losses. Also a slew of artists passed on, which leaves us artists to pick up the torch. SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, was the most complex film we’ve produced to date. Two languages, 1940’s clothes, props and vehicles. Windy, cold days and nights. Extensive VFX and just a few bumps bringing all the elements together on an advanced release schedule. But, we did it. The Algona, Iowa premiere was so full of good energy and the ongoing energy has had the film hold over four times now and expanded into multiple cities with more emailing about booking every week.
We will be having a producers pow wow this week over the ongoing roll out. A special screening in Owosso, MI is in planning. We will be exploring a few choice film festivals and we really want a few German screenings. We have a few VIP’s awaiting to view the film which could really assist the home video release. We’ve had many people talk about merchandise and swag and we will be addressing that and hope to have that available with the home video release later this year. We’ve already received so many nice emails about the emotions stirred by watching this story based on true events. Some reflected the deep pain and hate that some carried from their own war (Vietnam) experiences and that this film gave them a new perspective that allowed them to let go of that hate. That is powerful. A story made them let go of poison and replace it with understanding. We’ve had many of these notes sent to us. The community is alive with history. They are all talking the stories once told and almost forgotten. The museums in town being part of family trips into Algona, to watch the film. We had a beautiful letter from the museum boards about the quality job CDI did. And the interest has brought a new awareness that will help these places not just survive but thrive. I’m beyond proud.
We will have an amazing 2023 journey with this film and I cannot wait for each and every one of you to experience this story.
Once I get past the state filings, K-1 send outs and any 1099’s for the films- we’ll be forming the new company to produce Harsens Island Revenge. If you liked CDI tackling WW2 and the 1940’s, wait until CDI gets after the roaring 20’s! I plan to get with our director and finish our writer/director draft. We’ll be putting the casting breakdowns together soon and that will be an enjoyable process. We were lucky to do some location scouting and found many great places to use in the telling of our story. Stay tuned to many new updates on this film.
SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE – In 2023 we’ll be doing some passive development which might include the building of a few period cabins. This is a spring 2024, Iowa shoot if everything stays in the right direction.
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Battlefield) – Working title- Following the success of the documentary film FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH, directed by Curran Jacobs, edited by Adam Towner, produced by CDI and The Red, White, and Blue Project Inc.. The film will now have the first sequel documentary going into production this Spring/Summer. While the original was a much needed summary timeline of the history of professional grappling, these follow up films will go more in depth with various aspects of the history. It’s very exciting to continue this journey.
Furthermore, CDI is considering the first “in association” in a while, with an exciting supernatural thriller. An animated feature is heating up and more…
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I too, feel that rush of the fresh energy. Every year I write out my goals. Personal goals, business goals, home improvement- It is good to get those out in front of you. You won’t always make all your goals but you’ll be surprised at what you did achieve.
I JUST took a pause for my first 2023 eats. Eggs from our girls, 4H bacon and protein waffles with MI made syrup. If I had the right trees I would be boiling sap. Okay. Goals….bacon…back to goals.
A few of my goals as an example-
- Design and have new deck built – it is getting close to that point of need vs want
- Produce two feature length film endeavors
- Act in one outside CDI project- that said, I MUST connect with the material and role
- Better plant and garden bed growth and harvest
- Looking to increase strength and flexibility training for a good soccer season ahead
- Finish two feature scripts
- …you get the picture.
Even this blog is very helpful in me deeply thinking through my TO DO’s for the week. Communication continues to be a key to success and I find it can always be improved upon. I see or read about several people being overwhelmed by the waves of life’s hardships. Here is to the hope that 2023 becomes an island to get your footage, regain your balance and readjust your sights. I will keep trying to communicate better to serve as an example of respectful collaboration. Preserving history and stories, lessons to be remembered and to grow from.
Cheers to growth in 2023!
Keep following your dreams. Die creating, reaching, growing and giving! SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA Premieres!
This entry into the old blog outlining the journey is unusual in that I’m typing it first a day late. To be fair if you also follow me on social media’s Facebook, you knew I was traveling back from Iowa on Sunday. But I’m here at 9:30 pm drinking some hot tea and eating trail mix, recollecting on my last few days. A whirlwind to be sure. Members of our production team traveled to Algona, Iowa almost 80 years after a group of German PW’s gifted something special to the small town. German PW’s, you say? Yes. For many in the USA and elsewhere abroad, they were unaware of the large amount of German PW’s kept in camps across the midwest. Most ran by WW1 officers pulled from civilian life and the injured American soldiers taken off the front lines and sent to homeland MP duties. At this one camp in Algona, Iowa something special happened. A unifying endeavor of captives gifting captors, while the world is at war.
This story, SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA– was meant to be told now. Based on true events, this film was created by our hardworking CDI tribe. A group of artists that I hope will be recalled for their contributions to preserving history and storytelling – entertaining and occasionally educating. Education by offering perspectives, often unseen, causing rifts in people. By looking at multiple perspectives, a more full picture can be established. A better understanding could be achieved.
This first set of premiere screenings were the most important because it was accomplished with the help of these folks and it was their history. The laughter and the crying followed by more laughter, I loved that. Someone described it as a rollercoaster of emotions as you bounce between perspectives. I’m just very proud of it. We had a killer opening with added theaters and expanded screens. There are good folks watching the film as we type this. I love that feeling. Out storytelling is happening with communities of people. This is the added joy of a theatrical watch. We have many new updates on screening opportunities. We have theaters reaching out and that is because of all of you. Thank you.
The Bitter of life– Someone very close to me, a mentor for sure in several areas, has been eagerly awaiting this film’s release. A lover of history and WW2, he always wanted updates on the film. Somewhat unexpected, he started having complications when we were in studio mixing SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA, and had a stay in the hospital for tests. A BEAUTIFUL Iowa snowstorm the night before our premiere, made Algona into a winter wonderland. Radio, TV and newspaper interviews in the morning followed by a great hearty brunch. An afternoon to prepare and rest a few beats before the activities start. Two hours before we unveil this inspirational and joyful film to the town where it all happened, a call. Unbelievable news. He’s gone.
Perspective. I greeted many beaming faces that night and sincerely enjoyed the glow of pride emanating from these wonderful people. The loss I was reeling from was also an artist in percussion and woodworking. He would often share stories of ZZ Top, Chicago and more, often ending in- the show must go on. It did go on. I was bathed in the good energy of all these people, inspired by the actions of their own past citizens and relatives. The SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA project and I had suffered an emotional hit a few years earlier with Rance Howard’s passing. He was passionate about 1940’s farming. Hours talking about farming- and many other life things, from that era. He loved the story, but sadly passed before we went into production.
The film will travel to Michigan next week- a premiere showing in Lansing and GR, with a TBD afterglow for folks to mingle and talk. I will not be at the premiere next week. I am going to be with family putting someone special to rest. But I’m very proud that we’ll be showing our cast and crew and our home state in this wonderful story. It will start playing next Friday –
One of my favorite questions to some of our oldest in attendance, was asking if we captured the time period. Their overwhelming squeal of delight, the confirmation I care about. Not perfect, motion picture is an illusion, best when the audience lends its imaginations and opens their minds. After watching it a few times on the big screen, we found even more to polish before home video (DVD, streaming and broadcast TV) later in 2023. That is how the artists at CDI roll. I’m just proud of the artists and the stories being preserving and assuring it is not lost. This movie is the next Iowa ‘Field of Dreams’ as special things do seem to happen in Iowa. But many states have their own stories that deserve to be remembered.
It has been a long few days and still much to do this week. IF you have recently watched our SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA in the theatre please go to http://www.imdb.com search our film and leave your feedback. We’ve had so many people reaching out who had heard fragments of stories from a grand parent or great grandparent, about German PW’s. I’m excited for Germans to see this film and we will be targeting to show somewhere special in Germany in 2023. We will do a Hollywood showing next year as most of German actors are out there. It will be fun sharing this film around the world and in time for Christmas 2023 you can own it.
If you watched Silent Night in Algona and enjoyed it, you can watch others by our troupe/tribe like BEST YEARS GONE, WILD FAITH, LOST HEART, MAN’S BEST FRIEND, WICKED SPRING, ASHES OF EDEN, FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH (Iowa) and The Quest Trilogy (FORTY NIGHTS, CHASING THE STAR, THE CHRIST SLAYER) – You can explore http://www.cdiproductions.com and we’ll be updating even more for the first of the year. MERCHANDISE?
And while you enjoy, we also will be preparing more stories to tell – casting and crewing up in 2023
Also strong development meetings in Iowa on the new script SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE, looking to shoot in 2024. Just blessed to be able to do what I love to do, affecting millions, with the power of a story. I have another talk this week on another film that would have me reuniting with a filmmaker from my past. Truly, a special weekend in Iowa and I’m just sad, one special person did not get to see it, or-
Keep following your dreams. Die creating, reaching, growing and giving. I’ve been inspired by both the comedy and tragedy of life. Don’t take people, time and kindness for granted. Until next Sunday-