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Movie Making Not for the Faint of Heart
These Two Denver Women Have Been Friends and Partners for a Long Time, but now they are about to Release the Independent Film - “Walk Ins Welcome” - A story about "Alien Visitation" in a small town Colorado setting, filled with characters, wild events and true not so alien Romance.
In 1988 Christofer French (aka Christofers Flow) met Kim Ricotta in the Denver Legal World. 25 years later she and a friend brought their creative forces together to produce an Independent Film of Romance, Humor, out of this world “alien love” in a Colorado village full of strange characters. Not forgetting that Christofer was raised in the theatre, Kim and Pam got together and gave a “reading” to Chris for a genuinely kookie and fascinating character to fill out the cast.
This interview is a chat with these two women. As the two prime movers in this marvelous arduous film project, Christofer thought that an extended chat with these two principles would be enlightening and inspiring. Take a trip with them down their long road, filled with challenge, determination and creativity and art.
Is “Walk-ins Welcome” your first production?
Pam - It’s our first feature film. We’ve done other things -- some music videos, short films, a short documentary. But our primary interest has always been features.
How did your interest in movies come about?
Kim – It’s always been there – at least, as far back as I can remember. Movies have always held a kind of magic for me.
P – Ditto there. I lived in Paris as a kid, and my father would take me to see all the American movies. He was a fan of westerns, but other genres as well. When we moved to the States, I discovered all the old movies – the classics on TV. Like Kim said -- magic.
How did you two end up as a production team?
K - We kept running into each other at screenwriting and filmmaking functions and started realizing that we shared a common vision. We got along well too, so I guess it was inevitable that we would eventually work together.
Some say that producing an independent feature film is an act of either courage or foolhardiness. What made you believe you could do it?
P - Like you said, you have to be willing to step out on that limb. The desire has to be strong. Otherwise, you’re bound to fold at the first sign of trouble.
K – Foolish is what people call you when things don’t work out. Brave is what you are when things go right.
A lot of people talk about wanting to make a feature film. But actually making one is a different story. What was that like for you?
P - – Let’s see… grueling?
K - Daunting.
P - Exhilirating.
K - Deeply satisfying. There’s so much more to making a film than most people imagine.
P – I completely agree. Movie-making isn’t for the faint of heart. It helped that Kim and I share a never-say-die spirit. Not all filmmaking partnerships can survive the hard times with their friendship and spirit intact.
The hard times? Explain.
K – Well, obviously there are going to be hard times on any set, and ours was no exception. But in reality, we had a relatively smooth ride with this film. I think when Pam says “hard times”, she’s probably referring to a previous feature film..?
So what made you decide to go low-budget this time?
K – No one likes raising money, but the truth is, it can be just as hard to raise ten million as it is to raise a fraction of that. That being said, we did initially set out to make a union film. As things turned out, our funding came from an unexpected source, and we gladly took the challenge to make the film for a lot less.
K – The one that immediately comes to mind was the night shoot in Brighton when the temperature was 4 below. The roads were frozen and visibility was terrible. It was an outside scene and we had no access to an indoor facility of any kind. The scene included the dog, the police officer and the lead male. We were all the way up to our location when we realized we’d forgotten the officer’s jacket in Denver. I’m still not sure how, but one of our Sherpas was able to get the jacket to us at the last minute. Meantime, the dog and his owner were having a hard time enduring the extreme weather, so they had to leave before the scene was finished. We had to pull some tricks out of the hat to finish up, but we succeeded. We were all frozen by the end of the evening.
P- That’s an understatement.
P – When we were scheduled to shoot the wedding day scene, we woke up to one of those cloudless Colorado skies. I use the words “woke up” lightly, as we’d probably gotten 1-2 hours sleep, if any. But we were in good spirits due to the
P – Which is sweet and campy …
K – Funny. Whimsical.
P – A mystery. But quirky and romantic too. Science fiction.
K – To some degree. Our scripts are in place and we’re totally excited about each one of them. We may end up launching a couple at once. Stay tuned…
Tell me a little bit about “Walk-ins Welcome” - where was it shot?
K – It’s a Colorado film. Brighton and Denver. Mostly Brighton. I have to say that the City of Brighton was amazing to work with. Not to mention all the local business owners we worked with, both Denver and Brighton. Really friendly and cooperative.
P – It’s always been our heart’s desire to make films in Colorado and to remain in Colorado as a production company. This is where our home is, and really, you couldn’t ask for better weather and more spectacular scenery. It was so rewarding to have the support of local talent and businesses.
So how is it working together? Are you still friends at the end of the day?
P – What day are we talking about? No, I’m kidding. Kim is still the best partner ever. We’ve only had one quarrel to speak of, and that was in New York while on our way to see a distributor. It was over an umbrella. She’s short and I’m tall and it was raining sideways. You get the picture. We laugh about it now. But the fact that we get along doesn’t mean we always share the same opinion. We’re just good about talking things through and respecting each other’s point of view. I tend to be all over the place. Kim is more linear and keeps things real. It just seems to work.
So when is “Walk-ins Welcome” going to be released?
K – Because of the Halloween theme that runs through the film, we’re hoping for a late fall release, but it could be as late as early next year.
© 2012 Christofer French