Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Without A Ladder"

My KNIFVES group out of the Inland Northwest - a nonprofit filmmaking networking and educational group - produced a film.  And I was a part of it.

It is a holiday film, so writing about it on Thanksgiving seems to be an appropriate time.  (It is about Christmas, not Thanksgiving, but still - 'tis the general season.)

The film is "Without A Ladder," and was written by Ted Parvin, in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Jack Bannon graciously agreed to star in the film for us.  Young Tiger Ashtiani was Jack's co-star.

The film is described as follows:

“Without a Ladder” tells the story of curmudgeonly widower Mr. Dobbs (Bannon), whose first Christmas without his beloved wife is eased by the presence of a boy (Ashtiani) who shows up on his doorstep. The child helps him prepare for the unexpected holiday visit of his son and daughter-in-law. But in a surprising twist, it turns out the boy is preparing him for an even bigger adventure.
We are an all-volunteer board with KNIFVES (which stands for Northwest Independent Film, Video and Entertainment Society) and so putting together this wonderful film was a long process.  We also used the filming as an opportunity to train people interested in getting experience in the film industry.  As the film credits show, there were many, many people who played a role in the production.  (I personally have credit as one of the assistant location mangers and the only person in charge of locations/art - this latter credit coming due to all the "snow" I made, I think.)

It is a sentimental film that brings tears to my eyes throughout the half hour show.  When I was present for the filming of it, the acting created the same reaction.  In fact, at one point when Mr. Dobbs (Bannon) is waving goodbye out the door, I teared up.  When the director announced "cut," I was slightly chided by my fellow filmmakers for the emotion.  I couldn't help it!

I knew, watching the filming, that it would be a great product.  And it was.  We had a world premiere (!) a few weeks ago in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, with a parade of drummers and jugglers and a horse-drawn carriage for the actors.  We had an actual red carpet.  We had a fundraiser that sold well.  It was a blast.

This is not KNIFVES' only project.  In fact, the film "Root Bound" had shown a few weeks earlier at the Sandpoint Film Festival, and it earned the Audience Choice award.  I have not yet seen the film yet, but am impressed that this film took just a few months to produce.

What is next for either film is unknown.  Perhaps there are more film festivals in the future.

But I am glad to see that the KNIFVES vision is coming to fruition.  I joined KNIFVES in 2009, and almost instantly was on the Board as Secretary.  I am only an honorary board member these days (though I think I'll be searching for film festivals for our films).  Always our Board President (and founder) WJ Lazerus wanted to see films as a final product for the group, with the filming process being educational.  That vision is now a reality.

I was a big supporter of the "Without A Ladder" film from the first moment that I read the script.  Ted Parvin - the writer - had written something special.  There were times when the practicalities of getting the film done by an all-volunteer board seemed almost impossible, but we got through each of those hurdles in part because Ted's story was a special one for us to be able to tell.  Ultimately grants were provided by Mountain West Bank and the State Film Office of Idaho, and Regal Cinemas graciously offered to let us hold the premiere of the film in their theater.  I am particularly proud of the food donations we received for film days (from Texas Roadhouse in Coeur d'Alene and Luigis Restaurant in Spokane) because I was the one who made the requests for donations.  Thanks to all who made this film possible!  From crew to funders.

News reporter Cindy Hval wrote a great news article about the "Without A Ladder" film and the premiere, found here:

DVDs of "Without A Ladder" can be purchased by contacting KNIFVES at   

Without a Ladder

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