Thursday, August 19, 2010

Filmmaker, Christina DeHaven

Meet Christina - my homegirl, for more than 20 years.... wow, that's a long time! We attended Central High School together in Philly, and as creative professionals, we worked on a beautiful short film, very close to my heart, The Cutman, written & directed by Yon Motskin, produced by Christina, and
costumed by moi. During that collaborative experience, I was able to see Christina SHINE. Filmmaking is organic to Christina - Its in her blood. She's incredibly gifted, focused, driven, and although she's way too humble to admit, as her friend, I will proudly say that professionally, she's a total heavyweight. :)


Christina DeHaven. Aries. Filmmaker, Educator.

WHAT DO YOU CREATE? By trade I am a line producer. I've done everything from short films and music videos, to feature documentaries. Right now I also make a living helping filmmakers put together packages (budgets, schedules, proposals) to help them finding funding for independent feature films.

I started as a film student at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where I cultivated a niche among my peers as a producer. I produced 5 student films while at NYU, and many more once I graduated. Two of my films screened at the Sundance Film Festival, which I am very proud of. I've also had a feature documentary on HBO. I have been inspired by each and every project that I've done, and I mean that! I have learned so much from each and every experience, and have met so many wonderful people along the way. ne of my most inspiring experiences was working in Los Angeles, as a young college student looking to get her feet wet! I left NYU for a brief stint to apprentice as a director's assistant on a feature film. What an eye opener! I learned so much about what to do and what not to do :) and made some lasting friendships and business colleagues in the process. It's the experience that inspired me to focus on producing.

The community I work in. Everything in the film biz is about who you know. I would not be where I am now if it weren't for the incredibly talented people I work with every day: directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, editors, art directors, gaffers, sound designers. I can't name them all here, but as film is a collaborative art form, you simply can't do everything by yourself and do it well. It's the most tremendous feeling to sit back at a screening and see the work unfold; to know who was responsible for which piece and be grateful that they were so willing to share in the experience with you. Words simply can't describe the feeling!

I'm proud to say that I have made a living out producing, but it hasn't been easy. It's not like Hollywood came knocking the day after graduation. You have to keep yourself open to new projects, and new opportunities to network and put yourself out there. I've figured out the things that I'm good at in this business, I put my focus on those things. As a producer I lend my expertise to helping films get off the ground. As a teacher I get to share my experiences with my film students, and be inspired by their success. It's incredibly fulfilling work. A lot of filmmakers get started by pursuing writing and directing, but you can also create amazing work utilizing a particular, and very vital, skill set. Editing, cinematography, sound, production design, wardrobe, makeup, special effects - these are all areas of filmmaking without which we simply cannot make a film. I have gotten to know some very talented filmmakers who excel in these areas of their careers and do quite well for themselves! We continue to refer one another when good projects come up. Most of my work has come to me through referrals and word of mouth, so I can't emphasize enough how important it is to network!

WHAT NEW PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON? I just finished a very sweet little short film called SMELL THE COFFEE, which is set to air on HBO later this year. It recently premiered at the 2010 New York Int'l Latino Film Festival, and got a great response. I'm currently prepping for a new webisode series called IN BETWEEN MEN. I'm also putting together some packages for two features that are looking for funding.

HOW CAN PEOPLE FIND & SUPPORT YOUR WORK? Until I get my web site up and running people can see some of my credits on IMDB. People can also check me out on Facebook.

To follow up what I mentioned above: get a web site! It's the most inexpensive tool you have to promote yourself and your work. If you don't have the time or capability to put together a web site, Facebook is great. It's amazing what Facebook has done to share our work with the virtual community! People are using it to promote films, promote professional reels, projects. We recently used Facebook to help us find cast and crew for my last project. It's amazing!

My second piece of advice would be to get out there and meet people. Go to film festivals, art openings, networking events. These are all wonderful creative environments within which to make new friends, colleagues, and share work and inspiration. I love it!

My final piece of advice is to keep creating! So what if you don't have the dream job? As long as it's one that keeps a roof over your head, and does not consume your soul so much so that you cannot find the time and energy to create, you're good to go. Everybody has to earn a living, and it takes time to build up to the point where you can sustain a lifestyle on your filmmaking, or your art work. Most of the people I know work full 9-to-5's and go to production meetings at night, or write on the weekends, or use vacation days to shoot a film. That's the life ;)
Do whatever it takes to stay healthy, happy, and creative. Keep love and positivity in your life in whatever shape or form, and the stars always have a way of aligning themselves in your favor.

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