Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus is the writer and director of the new film OREN ("From The Mud Grows The Lotus"). In our interview with Tahyna on March 8, we learned about the beginnings of the project and the Kickstarter campaign designed to help raise funds for it. Because of the interest that has been generated by this film, we asked Tahyna if she would share more about it with us. In what we hope will be the first of many blog posts, she talks in depth about the work she is doing and how the work is progressing.
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By Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus
Let me preface this before I start yapping away. I am truly and completely in awe of the support and contributions OREN has had so far. With deepest gratitude I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot describe what this does for my cast and crew.
So, in saying that, we are almost at our halfway mark, and we still have a month to go! Incredible! The whole process has been very interesting. I was so terrified to launch myself out there publicly with my first project. It’s done now! I keep telling myself I took the first leap with writing and now it’s fast becoming everything I imagined it to be.
You may be wondering what is left to do? Well, I still need to keep the support train rolling. That’s first. I have never been on Twitter so much - haha! It’s so strange for me! But like I said the amount of interest and generosity is so beautiful.
Right now we are fine tuning the script so we make sure that we tell the entire story in a certain amount of minutes. For most film festivals the cut time for submissions is only fifteen minutes and that includes opening and closing credits! It is very hard as a writer to cut and let go of certain things in your script. You develop emotional attachments to certain imagery or specific lines of dialog. My producer, Kai, and I did a mammoth script cull just the other day. It was so painful for me but to be honest I am such a “stuck in my ways” human being. He is very liberated and loves change - it works well. Often you need to hear the perspective of someone as an “audience”. Certain parts might make perfect sense in my head but when a reader or audience watches they could potentially be like “What on earth did that mean?”….. So we worked hard and he challenged and pushed me to dive in a little deeper. I am very pleased with the result. I love working with Kai. He is such a creative genius and he is very patient with me slowly developing ideas.
Tabrett and I have been in constant contact of finding ways to increase interest and have direct contact with her marvelous fans that have contributed. Tab is awesome - she works so hard at delivering truthful performances. I have no doubt in my mind she will be a huge movie star! Well she already is!! I am glad I get the chance to work with her. I have known Tabrett since I was was 12 years old – whoa, that’s going back! We were both so young! I did a modeling campaign with her for Billabong surf wear. I am pretty sure I just stared at how beautiful she was, and she was probably like “Who is this creepy kid?” haha! She may even still be thinking it -haha- but she still loves taking risks with me creatively. I am so lucky for that. I am still blown away by her performance in our teaser alone. I got goosebumps as soon as she appeared on screen. Some other great news is that our fantastic cinematographer Larkin Donley’s most recent film “Animals” won special jury prize - courage in storytelling at the 2014 SXSW film festival (South by SouthWest). I have no doubt he will be a sought after DP (Director of Photography), so just another member of our crew that I am so fortunate to work with.
Everyone that has jumped on board has done so out of creative passion and that means so much to me. There is never a guarantee that we will be financially supported yet my whole team threw themselves into 24 hour work days with just the passion to make great films. That is a very special and rare thing these days.
We have updated our incentives. I may have even used my husband and his wonderful talents (with his blessing of course) - I am so lucky! He may or may not have a special appearance in the film (big wink face type of emotive icon here) - just throwing it out there. I’m sure his supporters would love to see him on the big screen. He really believes and supports me in everything I do and as I do with him. Two way street here!
We have also added a few special incentives as we know times are tough for people and the fact that they still contribute in support is something that I am so deeply thankful for. We want to make sure everyone who has supported is personally recognized for doing so.
I finish the same way I started. THANK YOU! Please keep sharing and supporting. My cast and crew are so grateful. We really could not do this without you.
-- Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus
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Read our March 8 interview with Tahyna here:
The Kickstarter campaign for OREN: