Posted by: michellemuldoon | October 20, 2021

Last Stand to Nowhere Pilot: Results

Great news for the pilot script for the limited series based on the concept film, Last Stand to Nowhere. After an acceptance into the City of Angels Women’s Film Festival, the script went on to be named Best Teleplay at the Festival. I love City of Angels. It’s a Festival that truly commits to supporting women in independent film. My thanks to everyone at the Festival!

On top of this great news, A hearty thank you to the team at the Las Vegas International Film and Screenwriting Festival for also naming Last Stand to Nowhere, the pilot script, as an official selection. Here’s hoping the results will follow City of Angels.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | September 10, 2021

City of Angels Women’s Film Fest Acceptance

Thank you to the City of Angels Women’s Film Festival for accepting the Last Stand to Nowhere Pilot Screenplay into competition. What started with the short concept film has now grown into a limited series that takes liberties with the mythology around the Gunfight at the OK Corral, to craft a tale that speaks to every woman who grew up watching Westerns with their father. That’s who I am, and who so many women I know also are.

The Western has often been a boys’ club, and Last Stand to Nowhere pushes the envelope as far as we can to show that it doesn’t have to be. Great storytelling includes all of us within the myth building of iconic characters.

The limited series concept comprises of six episodes, each lasting one hour. A Pitch Deck is available for producers interested in seeing more of the Last Stand Universe.

Photo of Majo Aro as Morgan Earp, by Michelle Lamberson

Posted by: michellemuldoon | June 17, 2021

Last Stand to Nowhere on YouTube

A Woman’s place is in the Western
Art work featuring Chelah Horsdal and Johannah Newmarch by Felice House

LAST STAND TO NOWHERE has had an incredible journey across six countries through twenty-two festivals and four distribution platforms, but now, we’re going for wide and easy access through YouTube.

I’m incredibly proud of how the film has done, and even more proud of how many people have seen that Westerns can be turned upside down and recreated for a twenty-first century audience. I’ve met some incredible people on this journey, and been honoured by the efforts of so many to make this film happen.

My thanks go out to cast and crew and long-standing supporters and collaborators. I could say the amount of people who believed in this idea was humbling, but the truth is it wasn’t the amount, but the quality of people.

There are people out there who want to support and be a part of a daring endeavour, and I think we were just that. So many individuals, from sponsors to producers to the audience, saw the value in making something that drew attention to the toxicity of Western film representation of gender while still making something fun and engaging.

I hope you’ll continue to share our production by watching and sharing our link. It would mean a lot to me if you supported everyone’s efforts, plus I’m always hoping that the audience will be noticed and heard, and we can make something bigger one day.

Thank you!
Michelle

Posted by: michellemuldoon | April 15, 2021

Screenwriting Workshop

I’ve been asked a number of times if I would take my one day workshop to Zoom for an online version and today I’m happy to share the details of my first online Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop.

I like to refer to the screenwriter’s toolbox a lot. There are basics that need to inform how you approach a screenplay. These are the things that other workshops assume you already understand. If you want to start writing but are unsure how, or you have been frustrated with why the work you’ve created isn’t actually “working” then join me in a small group setting where you can learn, share, and find a group that you can feel comfortable with.

I want to be a part of the start of your journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | February 19, 2021

WIDC 2020 Story and Leadership Program

Last year was a trying one for all of us so when I was able to finish the year with a major opportunity, it made the uncertainties and fears of 2020 shrink in the face of a 2021 inspired by the hope that new opportunity brings. I was accepted into the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) Story and Leadership Program and the Whistler Film Festival WIDC Industry Immersion Program. WIDC is put on by the Creative Women’s Workshop Association.

The Program accepted eight female directors from across Canada and allowed us to not only advance our skill set through work with Actors and Directors of Photography, but also empowers us to understand story and the marketing of story in a more complete way.

I’m grateful to the instructors and to Carol Whiteman, President and CEO of Creative Women’s Workshops Association, who is also one of the co-founders of Women in the Director’s Chair. (WIDC). Carol works tirelessly to create advancement opportunities for women directors.

I’ve finished the last phase of the program and I can’t thank Carol and the organization enough for the opportunity and all the instruction that came with it.

Posted by: michellemuldoon | July 29, 2020

Last Stand to Nowhere to ShortsTV

More great news for Last Stand to Nowhere. The film has found a cable home in the North American market at ShortsTV.

ShortsTV is the home of many of last year’s Oscar nominated films and can be found on DirectTV, A T & T U-verse, A T & T TV NOW, Google Fiber, Frontier Communications and Hotwire. The channel is the home for quality short film programming and we’re proud to be a part of the SHORTSTV family.

The film’s journey has been a special one and this is another step in that special journey!

Posted by: michellemuldoon | June 15, 2020

Last Stand to Nowhere Distribution

Staying home and hunkering down in safety from covid-19 has been the mantra of 2020 and that has brought major change to the plans of independent filmmakers everywhere. Like many of my filmmaking brethren, I watched a planned 2020 film festival year disappear in the wake of the virus’ global path. That’s okay because the safety and health of our communities is what truly matters. What it meant though, was a sharp pivot into a brave new world of distribution for Last Stand to Nowhere.

I’m proud and pleased to share that we have bounced back and found several online homes for the film.

For our Western fans please check out Great American Westerns, a streaming service that hosts only Western content and has become the landing page for all the indie short film Westerns made in the last few years. We have some great company, including several short films I saw last year on the film festival circuit. The monthly cost is a reasonable $5.99 a month.

If you’re looking for more women focused content and want to support female filmmakers, please check out the Reel Women’s Network. It’s a new site that has been adding content at a furious pace. There are several multi-award winning short films on the site as well as a Crystal Chappell fronted web series. The monthly cost is a reasonable $7.99 but they are currently running a deal for your first three months.

If you don’t want to make a big commitment to another streaming service then you can zip on over to Vimeo on Demand and find Last Stand to Nowhere for rental and sale. Available at a steal of a deal price of $0.99 USD as well as a $1.99 USD purchase, there’s no simpler way to saddle up to our unique and raucous re-imagining of The Gunfight at the OK Corral. If you purchase, then please head to the bottom of the page to check out the two mini-interviews with Luvia Petersen and Johannah Newmarch. They unlock automatically with your purchase.

We’ll be adding at least one more distribution portal this month, and who knows about the future. After twenty-one festivals to date, twenty-three nominations and four awards, there’s no time like yesterday to saddle up and hitch up with our wagon train.

 

Posted by: michellemuldoon | October 25, 2019

Almeria Western Film Festival

I recently returned from the Almeria Western Film Festival in Tabernas, Spain where Last Stand to Nowhere received a great response. I grew up watching Spaghetti Westerns with my father and to screen in the home of the Sergio Leone classics was a dream come true.

Be prepared, this is going to be a long post!

It nearly didn’t happen. After a great festival summer for Last Stand, the coffers were bare but fifteen Facebook friends e-transferred me the cost of flights and before I knew it, I was booked and going. Why was it so important? The festival screened twenty-one films. One of the other shorts was a directing duo, with one of the duo being female. The only other woman director in the festival was me. Representation matters.

I arrived in Tabernas the morning of the festival opening. I was picked up at the Airport and driven to the village of Tabernas in time to meet my filmmaker liaison, Cristina, and then off to get my room at the hostel. The town was sold out and Cristina kindly found me a room in an apartment in a hostel directly across a narrow pedestrian street from La Puente Cafe. All I can say is, I miss the place every day; every morning began sitting outside with a coffee and a tostada of tomato and serrano ham for two euros. It was heaven.

I quickly learned that the festival is really a village wide event. There were free concerts, shows at the Western towns, and re-enactment fans from far and wide attending. The whole village took part, with the opening day films screened strictly for students. Tabernas is proud of its film heritage and the festival is a celebration of its Western roots. The full event kicked off with a parade to the plaza for the opening ceremony. Lucky me, the parade ran right past my hostel and La Puente.

Almeria Western Film Festival Parade on Vimeo 

From there it was off for lunch with approximately twenty other people, including festival honoree Alex Cox. Yes, the man who made Repoman and Sid and Nancy has a long relationship with the region. He not only lived in the area for a number of years, but has also filmed a number of other projects there.  I met and became fast friends with Daniel Camargo and his wife Rosa. Daniel hails from Brazil but now lives in Italy.  His film is an excellent documentary on Spaghetti Western star George Hilton called George Hilton, the World Belongs to the Daring.

I’m not sure if it was that day or the next but I had the great fortune of meeting two exceptional young animators from The Netherlands, Wiebe Bonnema was joined by Anselm Oettel. The five of us quickly became inseparable.  It helped we were the English speaking contingent but honestly, even if I could barely understand these guys I would still have hung out with them. I learned so much from them about European cinema, the industry and what it means to be an independent filmmaker in Europe.

I didn’t realize until the end of day that the volunteer that greeted me at the theatre was the Mayor of Tabernas, Senor Jose Dias, or that I was sitting next to the Festival Director, Senor Eduardo Trias, at lunch. Senor Trias told me he loved my film, thanked me for bringing it the festival and finished with, “We need more women in Westerns”. I still don’t think I’ve recovered.

When we say Representation Matters, this festival was proof of it. I did have one negative experience with an attendee. I met a gentleman that was there with a feature. He asked why I was at the festival and I told him that I had a film in the short film competition and the response was, “Good for you”. I’m proud to say that my new friends were quick to disappointment.  Every other man I met found the response both condescending and disappointing.  Filmmaker Alberto Romero, the director of the award-winning Argentinian feature film Infierno Grande, was quick to comment several days later that he wanted to know where the women filmmakers were.  I told him he was looking at her. The conversation that ensued gave me great hope for the genre and for women in Westerns. Alberto wanted to see more of us, and was as supportive as the other men I was spending my time with.

On the second day at the festival, I had a roommate move into my hostel apartment. I couldn’t have been more fortunate with who it was; Pierre-Alexandre Chauvat from France. Pierre-Alexandre quickly joined our group and as our table grew, so did the conversations over beer and tapas at La Puente. Piere-Alexandre, Wiebe and I all screened in the same block. It was a special feeling to have all three of us sitting in the theatre together, cheering for each other; something I never expected to happen in a theatre on the other side of the planet.

As an aside, I want to share my gratitude for how we were treated by the festival. I don’t think I paid for a meal in the first three days. There was a cocktail party each evening and the tapas were never ending. The festival had beer and wine sponsors and the El Gringo representatives were always around. We were never treated like emerging filmmakers, or independent filmmakers. We were treated like filmmakers, as professional as anyone with a big budget. It was amazing to experience.

Throughout the week I continued to meet people from all over the world who loved the genre and loved the idea of women asserting themselves into it. I was told by several women that making Last Stand was an act of bravery, and the actress that won Best Female Performer in a Feature lamented the fact she didn’t get to brandish a pistol and be that self-actualized character that you know I believe in. I was also told by someone that they thought that Last Stand to Nowhere and Pierre-Alexandre’s film The Legacy were the best of the bunch. There was an award for Best Western and Best Neo-Western. The Legacy won Best Western and I like to think we were right behind it.

We met a lovely couple, David and Carol, who had a great understanding of the European Western re-enactment community. I had no idea how big it was. There are Western towns in several places in Europe, including Great Britain, and the re-enactment community takes their costumes quite seriously as they travel to events at all of them. The community is less about re-enacting history and more about re-enacting Western Film, which I thought was fantastic.  I think this is a community that needs more exploration on my part and I was so grateful to learn more about how Westerns are valued on the Continent.

The first concert Wiebe, Anselm and I attended in the Plaza was by Sarah Vista and her band. David and Carol were enthusiastic about the concert so we knew we had to attend. Sarah hales from the UK and plays both country music and western music.  I appreciated that she has a clear point of view on how those two categories differ.  Meet Sarah Vista via her video for Killing Fever:

 

There are two Western towns in the area, both built by Sergio Leone. Oasys or Mini-Hollywood is the more commercial of the two. It has full buildings and is open to tourists with a show in the saloon. There’s also a cinema projection museum in the main building. It’s quite simply, spectacular. Fort Bravo is mostly facades but has a full saloon and cafeteria and group booking space. There are several cottage-like buildings on site so if you’re filming, you can also stay.

Fort Bravo was built for The Good The Bad and The Ugly but never used. Most recently, The Sisters Brothers filmed on location. All the performers at Fort Bravo and Mini-Hollywood were background performers in the film. You can’t help but feel the magic in both places. I’ve never wanted to film in a location more than I do Tabernas. To be a part of that heritage would be spectacular.

Oasys, Mini-Hollywood

Fort Bravo Western Show on Vimeo

Fort Bravo

Thoughts, lessons, experiences… too many to list so I’m going to itemize what comes to mind:

1.  We met some other young men from France who graduated film school then banded together to make film and grow a company. Their film was a neo-Western called Le Blizzard.  They were enthusiastic to talk about Last Stand to Nowhere and the process of making it. We chatted about the struggles to get their company going, how they run their collaboration and what the ultimate goal of financing and larger projects meant. They had a great relationship where they floated between duties. If one of them wanted to work more with camera, then they made that happen. It was refreshing to see people who were less focused on how they, as individuals, benefited than how, as a group, they could progress. Every young man I met from Europe was supportive of me and my project and open to hearing that many women are tired of the girlfriend/wife/harlot roles. I never felt talked down to, or ignored.  I have such great hope thanks to the young men I met.

2. Canadian filmmakers share issues around funding with our European and South American friends.  Financing is still connected to cultural relevance and there are also doors that open and close depending on where you went to school. What’s worse is that crowdfunding is scoffed at.  It’s considered begging for help, so many of my fellow filmmakers were making their films out of pocket and what investment they could raise. Everyone was amazed at how much we raised with crowdfunding and I found myself giving short lectures on how we ran a successful campaign. That being said, there is money in Europe and South America through government funding agencies but it’s just as hard to tap into as it is for us.

3. Spain has a longer history of film creation than I realized. The first production to film in Tabernas was Lawrence of Arabia. After that, Cleopatra arrived. Then came the Spaghetti Westerns after Sergio Leone built sets for his Dollars Trilogy. Most recently Tabernas and Almeria has been home to Queen of Swords, Game of Thrones and the latest season of The Crown. The skilled crews are there and they are hungry to bring production to the region.

4. People don’t talk about themselves or the industry in Europe. They talk about film, cinema and the masters that influence them. Not once did we talk in terms of status in the industry or the business of film, other than how we financed our own projects.

5. Women are starved for better representation in Westerns. This has been a building realization for me but when I add the voices of European women to those I’ve heard in North America then I know without a shadow of a doubt there’s an untapped market for women in Westerns.

6. It’s not just other filmmakers that matter at a festival. I learned about my market overseas from David and Carol and I made contact with someone attending the festival who passed along Last Stand to someone in the industry in Britain.

7. Which means… be open to everyone you meet at a festival. Don’t sleep unless others are sleeping. If other filmmakers are going to something, then you should too. You have no idea who you’ll meet or when. I slept maybe 4-5 hours a night thanks to events going on and jet lag. Either way, I was not going to miss a conversation at breakfast or a chance meeting at an event in the evening.

8. Don’t isolate yourself or assume that what you see, hear, experience at a local festival is how the world sees you. We must think globally, while acting locally to make projects move forward.

9. Status is not a replacement for a genuine relationship. It doesn’t matter how high up someone is, find your festival tribe and together build your network. I found mine and consider myself incredible fortunate to have met Daniel, Rosa, Wiebe, Anselm, Pierre-Alexandre and Alberto. It’s hard to put into words what I learned from them, but I think it can be summed up with; look at your choices with a global perspective, and strive for a sense of sharing and collaboration.

10. Off topic, let’s talk about climate change. The region is receiving less and less rainfall. When it does happen, it often results in flash flooding and you can see the gullies created by them. The desert is stunning, but we do need to be aware that this is one of those places that knows just how much we need to be more aware of our future use of the planet.

Spain and Tabernas caught hold of my heart and taught me I have a place in film. I don’t know if I ever felt a greater sense of belonging as I did on this trip. I went to AWFF acutely aware that I was probably the only female director there, but not once did anyone make me feel that way. If that isn’t a testimonial to how special the Almeria Western Film Festival and the international community it gathers is, I don’t what could be.

 

Posted by: michellemuldoon | August 20, 2019

Nominations Galore!

So appreciative of the recognition Last Stand to Nowhere is receiving.

CITY OF ANGELS WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL:
Screening: August 28th, 2019

AUSTIN REVOLUTION FILM FESTIVAL:
Screening: September 7th, 2019

THE WILD BUNCH FILM FESTIVAL
Screening: October 4th, 2019

Posted by: michellemuldoon | August 8, 2019

Festival Update

You can find Last Stand to Nowhere at the following Festivals over the next two months.

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