Not too long ago, my co-conspirator in filmmaking, dreaming and gourmet guacamole-creating, Whit Hertford, posted a heartfelt reflection of Sneak Attack’s first feature film, DREAMWORLD, on the eve of our first public screening, which was the magical and unforgettable night of March 9th, 2012. It’s been some three months and three festivals since then and it seems that I’m now ready to finally write about the experience and the the film and what it means to me. (Perhaps coincidentally, I’m writing this the very day that we’re set to shoot our first few frames of the project known as The Caper Kind, but I don’t really know if that has so much to do with anything.)
More to the point, DREAMWORLD has very much been at least three things for me, not in any particular order of significance.
The film: It’s a deeply personal film for me and I care about it very much. So much of the feel comes from my love of the French New Wave and Jean-Luc Godard’s refusal to play by the rules. The scenes are lengthy and performances are showcased fully, allowing the actor and audience to completely connect, or perhaps, I dare say, become lost in the illusion. For example, when an actor is allowed to run a scene from beginning to end, they really can inhabit a space that is rare in film, but common and special in live theater and oral storytelling. I suppose that’s my aim as a director - to never take anything away from that - the tradition of storytelling around the campfire.
The experience: It was difficult to make at times, inspiring and wildly exciting at other moments, but always exciting, unique and fun. I’m not exactly sure I’ll ever sit in the backseat of a gold Volvo again. More on this in the DVD commentary!
The reception: I don’t know if I ever knew what to expect, but I’ve been surprised almost at every corner with how this film has been received by audiences. It has been nothing short of supremely fulfilling, and I suspect, will continue to be as we slowly and surely crank up our distribution engine. As such, DREAMWORLD needs to find more audiences and I will push it to the corners of the universe forever - the film is just too damn universal to not be given a chance to connect to people. Almost everybody who has seen it gets something different and special out of it for them, and by “them,” I mean octogenarian grandparents, teenage hipsters, middle-aged fathers, cinephiles, animal lovers, aspiring carpenters and so on. Clearly the audiences are connecting with Oliver’s quest to fulfill his dreams, Lily’s desire to find someone who understands her and all the different ways they explore love, adventure and loss. I have been repeatedly honored and excited by this part of the journey and am endeared to do what it necessary to share the film with anybody with the time or inclination to watch it.
All of these things that DREAMWORLD has been (and is) are such gifts. I am keenly aware of the treasures that I’ve been afforded - to make films and have people see them. I can assure you, Dear Reader, that my gratitude and excitement keeps me focused and humble, especially now, as I set out yet again to tell another story.