Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spotlight on the Texas Competition

If there's a perfect reflection of how the Internet has helped filmmakers, it's Eve of Understanding, screening as part of the Texas Competition at the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival.

Alyson Shelton's feature about a woman coping with the death of her mother and her own bad decisions, was put together on a shoestring, a prayer and a good dose of Web 2.0.

Relying on the goodwill and enthusiasm of others, Alyson and her Open Plan Films crew accepted donations via her Web site and sold them on ebBy to raise funds for the film.

"We started this whole thing with a blog in 2004," says Alyson. "And now we have more than 1,000 people. A lot of filmmakers feel alienated, but we're not working in a vacuum. We're interested in this community that wants us to do well. It's about more than ticket sales. And I want to continue to make films this way."

The film shot on locations in Katy and Austin before taking to the lonely highways of the West Texas desert, as the main character, Donna, makes her way to the inspiring red rocks of Arizona.

"We shot in Texas because we have a lot of support there. A lot of friends and family that we could rely on," says Alyson. Her husband, CODEY's family lives here, as do many of the cast and crew. The location is also a character in story.

"There's one scene where she's sitting on the car and just looking out into the emptiness. The scenery reflects the isolated place she’s in," says Alyson.