As is often the case, my lack of posts here is little indication of our ongoing efforts to bring "Mister Rogers & Me" to the big screen. Here's the latest.
Two weeks ago, SXSW Film Festival Program Director Jarod Neece sent a nice, personal email thanking us for our submission, but gently suggesting that the film "just missed" being accepted to premiere there. Submissions are still pending at Tribeca, Seattle, HotDocs and Boston Film Festivals.
Last week, I secured initial rights to a handful of crucial Tim Russert "Meet The Press" images courtesy of a very nice photo archivist at NBC. My fingers are crossed that NBC's video archivist will help us afford the show open (not surprisingly, NBC News footage is not inexpensive to licence).
My fingers are also crossed that Mr. Russert's widow, journalist Maureen Orth (whose essay in The Nantucket Mirror-Inquirer first tipped me off to The Russert's friendship with The Rogers) will find and share some of the great family photos Tim describes to us. We've exchanged a few emails, and should find out in the coming days.
Our next deadline is March 1, at which time we will submit a revised edit to Toronto and Nantucket Film Festivals.
To that end, I'm compiling all of my voice over revisions into a new, final v.o. script as we speak (Susan Stamberg's segment is playing right now). I'm re-recording the whole thing in a bona fide recording studio (not my closet!) this week.
Chris will later drop those new voice overs into the film, while making dwindling a number of small tweaks form my notes, stuff like "17:52 – Remove 'It's anti-life.'"
Meantime, Chris' colleague Aaron Kent is working on a Wagner Bros. LLC logo. He presented us with six options a few weeks ago. I'm partial to numbers 1 and 3, I think. The tree imagery is based on one of our favorite photos, one taken of the two of us at about 6 and 3-years-old climbing a red maple (my grandfather's favorite) in our pajamas. We're unlikely to have the budget to animate the tree's growth (as I suggested), but may audio audio of giggling boys (courtesy, of course, of Chris' sons Ethan and Edward who are currently the same ages).
I'm almost done with the final v.o. script now. I'm considering working a Mother Theresa quote back into the film in an effort to end on an up note, one that suggests progress doesn't have to be immediate or massive, but can be slow and steady -- like making this film.
"We cannot do great things," she says. "We can only do small things with great love.”