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Short Films

Learn more about Russell's short films.


Art. Ambition. Community Theatre.

The Lonely Kiter: A Case Study in Making a Movie With The Resources You Have

My favorite thing about the making of The Lonely Kiter is that I never planned to make it. I was on a kitesurfing vacation with a few friends, only there was no wind – and the forecast the next few days didn’t look good. We needed something to do.

It was perfect timing to try out a piece of advice often heard by filmmakers who are just starting out: just make a movie.

My Love Is Real Is An Official Selection of the 2015 DC Independent Film Festival!

I am pleased to announce that My Love Is Real is an official selection of the 2015 DC Independent Film Festival! DCIFF received over 1,500 submissions this year from filmmakers all over the world, so I feel very special to have My Love Is Real chosen.

The festival takes place February 25 – March 1, so if you can’t make it to Rosebud be sure to come to this festival. Stay tuned for the exact date and time my film will screen in a future post (or even better, like the new City Different Media Facebook page).

The Year Behind, and the One Ahead

What a year. Honestly, 2014 was the year I finally said to myself no more bullshit. Nor more half-assing things. No more starting projects that I don’t finish. No more thinking about writing, or thinking about making.

I’ve never been so creatively productive in my entire life as I was in 2014. How did I do it, you might ask? Meh – let’s not get into that. For now, let’s just celebrate what’s good, and then, look forward to what’s next.

My Love Is Real Accepted Into Rosebud Film Festival

I am so excited to announce that My Love Is Real has been chosen as an official selection of the Rosebud Film & Video Festival!

At a time when it seems like there’s a new film festival popping up on very corner, Rosebud is respected and well-established in the area. Or as they put it: “Since 1990, the Rosebud Film & Video Festival has worked to recognize and honor the innovative, unusual, experimental, and deeply personal in regional film and video making.”

At least I know how I got in – My Love Is Real is nothing if not deeply personal. If you haven’t seen it already, the trailer is here.

The festival will be held in Arlington, VA on January 24, 2015. If you’re in the area, I truly hope you can come see it. 

To learn more about the festival, go here. Tickets will be on sale soon.

How Do You Know Ahead of Time If a Movie Will be Bad or Good?

One of the things I love about movies is that even the smartest, richest people in the room can get it terribly wrong, to the tune of millions of dollars in losses. In movie-making, you can take a fantastic story, cast A-list actors, bring in a proven director, and put all the pieces in place for a great movie, and still completely mess it up.

Right as I was starting to make my movie, Grace of Monaco premiered at Cannes to absolutely awful reviews. A biopic about Grace Kelly, it starred Nicole Kidman and was directed by Olivier Dahan, who directed the wonderful La Vie en Rose. It was apparently booed in the movie theater. Jon Frosch at The Atlantic wrote that Grace of Monaco was “uninspiring from its first frame to its last… a piece of hagiographic fluff… The director drains any potential juice from the personal and political dramas of Kelly’s life as a royal by coating his film in an insipid biopic gloss.” The movie currently has a 9 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Lesson #1: Good Scripts Are Not Falling Off Trees

Since seriously deciding I wanted to make a movie, there’d been a question nagging on me: are there great, undiscovered scripts out there just waiting to be discovered?

I’ve been around enough aspiring filmmakers to know that many of them feel that what they have made is totally awesome, and if only they could get other people to sit down and watch it, they’d agree. These people often feel (not always, but often enough) that they are being shut out of movie-making, shut out of getting funded, shut out of getting a distribution deal, not because they lack skill or because their product isn’t good enough, but because “the system” has conspired to ignore minor artists like themselves, who just haven’t hit it big yet.