Friday, May 11, 2012


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reviews Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson's new film SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS.
"Adapted, appropriately, from a web series, “Small Beautifully Moving Parts” — an award winner at the Hamptons Film Festival — is effortless in its merging of 21st-century techie stuff and that most basic of beta systems: our own hearts."
Read the full review here.

Small INDIE FILMS like this one need your support! Opening weekend is CRITICAL for small films -- please help us spread the word on Facebook and TwitterCOME SEE THE FILM THIS WEEKEND!

Tickets and Showtimes are HERE.


A Screenwriters Colony Alumna has a film in theaters this weekend – please come out and support Annie Howell’s film SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS, which opens May 11th at Cinema Village in New York City and then moves to over ten cities nationwide. 

When technophile Sarah Sparks (Anna Margaret Hollyman) becomes pregnant, her uncertainties about motherhood trigger an impulsive road trip to the source of her anxiety: her long-estranged mother living off-the-grid. 

A 2011 SXSW premiere, the film is the recipient of the Sloan Feature Film Prize, an Audience Award from RiverRun, and has played at over 20 festivals. It is currently a New York Magazine Critics Pick. We spoke to Co-Writer, Co-Director and Producer Annie Howell about the film’s creation.

Q: Can you talk about the process of conception; where did this idea come from, how did you get started?
A:  We were both really interested in the ways in which technology has infiltrated our lives -- not only in terms of day-to-day experiences but also in our imaginations and relationships. Using that as the context around which to build a protagonist who is facing a major life change (becoming a parent) and has a few big obstacles (overall uncertainty, and a difficult relationship with her own mother) seemed intriguing. Then just the act of pairing biology with machinery -- a baby developing movement and small machines moving, too, was sort of unusual and irresistible. 

Q:  What was it like to write (or not write) this film?
A:  It was almost all scripted. We included a documentary element that clearly was happening live, but in the fiction part, which is most of the film, we stuck closely to the script. We co-wrote, and basically passed the script back and forth. It was written very quickly – in a month or so, which shocked us.

Q:  What was it like co-directing? How did you guys meet? How did you guys agree upon ideas?
A:  We met in the grad film program at NYU, and were friends long before we started collaborating.  Co-directing was a satisfying experience! We found that two brains worked better than one and that bouncing ideas back and forth tended to improve the work. The conversation that might have simply been internal was just happening live between two people. We divided the work in the moment: "Okay I'll take this part, you do that." There was no firm designation of duty as we both basically like it all.

Q: Talk about production; any funny stories? How was it raising the money?
A:  Production was a little atypical in that we fit the entire crew into one van, which also served as the production car. We were like something you could imagine buying on ebay -- "movie in a van!" As a road trip film, when we arrived in a city we would pick up crew, then shrink back down and get back in our van. Lucky for us, our actress Anna Margaret Hollyman seems to have a GPS built into her brain. Overall it was both a pre-planned and seat-of-our-pants experience as we were truly on a road trip ... making a road trip. Oh, and raising the money was a breeze. Ha!

Q:  What was the post process like? Traditional 'edit and show' or were there stages of revision spread throughout time?
A:  We each were living in different cities during post so our process was somewhat virtual – we would ichat in via Final Cut's live edit function, while Lisa and our editor Jenny Lee were together in New York. Other than that detail, it followed a fairly traditional post path with a continuous block of time for the edit that then moved to sound design and scoring.

Q:  Now that the film is about to be released, what are the lessons learned? What would you do differently? What do you hope to find in your audience and their experience with the film?
A:  We're still learning! We've decided that for the next film, we really need an A.D. ... and an on-set producer would be nice too. We hope people will experience a light movie that still engages serious, universal issues: difficult relationships; big life transitions. 

Q: Can you talk a bit about the release of the film? How's it being done? What's the ultimate goal or your biggest dream for it?
A:  We're with Long Shot Factory, a relatively new and fantastic company based in New York. They've mostly released documentaries and we are one of their first fiction films. It's been nice to examine how docs reach an audience -- focusing on the themes and issues addressed in the movie and trying to harness that audience. To that end, we've been working on two fronts: the parenting community and the tech community, and trying to build from there. What's the big goal? Of course, getting it out there as widely as possible and we're working hard on that -- plus focusing on taking this day by day and trying to enjoy the ride.

Q: How did the colony influence your process on the project if at all?
A: I have great memories of the Colony. The little room to the left at the top of the stairs is the best one and I don't care what you say, Bryce Kass. I think I learned a lot about writing discipline at the Colony. It seemed very high stakes at the time; I was away from a one year-old and every moment felt important to be productive and take advantage of the amazing opportunity that was being offered. I try to bring that to my writing now ... recreating the stakes, even if only in the Nantucket of my mind. 

Small INDIE FILMS like this one need your support! Opening weekend is CRITICAL for small films -- please help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter? COME SEE THE FILM THIS WEEKEND!

Tickets and Showtimes are HERE.
(Post written by Jennifer Grausman)