Friday, December 19, 2014

The Royal Road Premiering at 2015 Sundance Film Festival



I'm so thrilled that my new film, The Royal Road is finally complete and set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January. I'm extremely grateful to the hundreds of people who have supported me and the project financially, creatively and emotionally over these past few years! The Royal Road is a lyrical feature-length cinematic essay set against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes. The film offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, the pursuit of unavailable women, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner. Please check out the short teaser above and visit the film's official website at RoyalRoadMovie.com for more info or just like, follow, etc. on social media to stay updated!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Royal Road — The journey ahead


It's July 2014 and time to admit that my days of regular blogging on this page are over. If you're reading this (and I hope you are) please come visit my Facebook or Twitter accounts. Or click to learn more about the project that will be consuming the next year or so of my life, my new film The Royal Road (you can also follow the film on Facebook and Twitter).

On that note, I'm thrilled to announce that I have just started picture edit on The Royal Road.  Thanks to all of my friends and supporters for helping me get this far. I hope to be finished by the end of the year and look forward to an early 2015 world premiere. I do still need to raise more funds for finishing — tax-deductible contributions can be made via my fiscal-sponsor, the San Francisco Film Society by clicking right here: http://www.sffs.org/filmmaker360/project-development/the-royal-road.

Friday, July 12, 2013

VOTE for The Royal Road Now!

I'm very excited to report that my new film project, The Royal Road is up for Project of the Week on indieWIRE!

Even though the Kickstarter campaign is over we can still win a free digital distribution consultation with SnagFilms (and the prestige of triumph). Plus, if we win Project of the Week we move on to compete for Project of the Month and a possible consultation with the Tribeca Film Institute.

Please click thru to VOTE RIGHT NOW for The Royal Road. It really only takes a moment and will be super helpful to me and the film.

And speaking of Kickstarter... I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the inspiring generosity of our MANY supporters. Our crowd-funding campaign for The Royal Road ended at Midnight on July 10th with a grand total of $24,038 with contributions from a whopping 424 backers! In addition to these funds I'm very happy to say that many more people also contributed to the project via our fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society — adding another roughly $2,500 to that total.

Which reminds me — if you know of anyone else who might still want to contribute it is not too late to give via the Film Society link right HERE.

I'm really excited to put the funds to use towards the next steps of production (three more shoots, finishing the script and voiceover recording are all on deck). In fact, I will be in Los Angeles next weekend to do a shoot there during Outfest!

I promise to keep everyone updated as the project progresses. And we'll be fulfilling all the Kickstarter rewards as swiftly as we can.

Please be sure to come LIKE our official Facebook page and/or follow me on Twitter! You can also click thru to subscribe to my personal newsletter (I promise it is only quarterly or so).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Online Panhandling for My New Movie

Still from The Royal Road

I recently explained the Latin phrase carpe diem to one of my daughters. Parenthood is packed with these wonderful opportunities — the pure joy of countless emotional, intellectual, artistic experiences shared so intimately. The gentle conveyance of basic bits of knowledge, that one has accumulated from mere longevity. And in these moments (completely predictable, of course) we as adults are doing as much of the learning as the children.

Seize the day — I am reminded. Seize the day. Nearly ten years have elapsed since I completed my first feature film, The Joy of Life. It is time to make my new movie!

The Royal Road is a lyrical new film contemplating butch lesbian desire, nostalgia, Casanova, a history of the Mexican-American War and so much more.

The Royal Road has already received generous support from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Herbert Family Filmmaking Grant, as well as from many individual donors. However, it is also clear that the time has come to reach beyond conventional grantmakers to find the funds to fully bring my vision to life. And so, I am now turning to my friends, my colleagues, the likeminded appreciators of the special kind of filmmaking that I feel so compelled to create and to watch.

Without further preface, my request is a simple one. Please contribute as generously as you can. This is a wonderful opportunity to be a patron of the arts and I promise not to let you down. If you've liked any of my previous work (or if you have an affinity for experimental, unconventional, non-traditional cinema and storytelling) please click through to donate now )and to read more about the project) — the campaign ends at Midnight, Wednesday, July 10th. Here's the link (and please share it with friends if you can and urge them to join you):

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jenniolson/the-royal-road-a-film-by-jenni-olson

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

575 CASTRO ST. Harvey Milk Day Update

I have two exciting bits of news to share about my short film, 575 Castro St. today.

Harvey Visits the 8th Graders
First and foremost I just have to share that I had the opportunity to present the film to the 8th Grade class at Brandeis Hillel Day School this afternoon and had a fantastically inspiring experience with the kids talking about Harvey as the gay (and Jewish) hero that he was. Here in California, the law that set out May 22nd as Harvey Milk Day also encourages public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises.

In my introduction to the film I spoke a bit about who Harvey was and how FilmInFocus.com had asked me to make this short film for the Milk website back in 2009; and then asked the kids to think about why Harvey was so focused on how important it is for people to come out.

I confess I brought along a box full of HRC equals sign buttons to hand out to the kids afterwards — yes, I have some political bones to pick with HRC but the ubiquitous and highly meaningful symbol was too valuable to resist. It was incredibly moving to see most of the kids pinning the buttons to their jackets and backpacks without hesitation, and to know that they and their generation are literally making the world safer for LGBT people.

For any of you California educators out there — I have a great little double-sided one-page hand out you can use to present the film to your class as a Harvey Milk Day activity next year. You can use the handout to guide the discussion and show the film directly at the FilmInFocus.com 575 Castro St. page or the Sundance Screening Room YouTube page (just send me a Facebook message and I will get you the handout).

Watch at the Sundance Screening Room & Elsewhere
I’m also proud to share that there is a brand new opportunity for everyone to see the film by visiting the Sundance Screening Room YouTube page where it is being freshly showcased for Harvey Milk Day.



As always, San Franciscans and visiting tourists can view the film in the most perfect venue I could ever have imagined: The HRC Action Center & Store which is located at the now legendary address of Harvey Milk's old Castro Camera shop (yes, that would be 575 Castro St.).

Working with our awesome GLBT Historical Society the HRC folks have created a wonderful historical display about Harvey Milk and Castro Camera. A prominent part of the display is an installation of my film, 575 Castro St. exhibited on a continual loop, with a set of headphones so you can listen to the soundtrack while you watch.

Of course the most amazing thing about this is the fact that not only was my film footage shot at this address (in 2009 when it was the empty Castro Camera Store set of Gus Van Sant's Milk) but the audio of Harvey Milk talking about his wishes in the event of his assassination was also recorded in this very room (not upstairs in his apartment as fictionally depicted in Milk).

Big continuing gratitude to everyone at FilmInFocus.com, the GLBT Historical Society, HRC and also the Harvey Milk Foundation for their ongoing work maintaining the legacy of Harvey Milk.