Grand Jury Prize Winner at Atlanta Film Festival
We are thrilled to announce that I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS recently won the GRAND JURY PRIZE for BEST FEATURE at the Atlanta Film Festival!
We look forward to continuing our film festival tour and hope to see you soon...
Unicorns World Premiere! SXSW
The reviews from SXSW have been rolling in and we are blown away by all of the magical words about our film!
"Young love is typically treated one of two ways in feature films made by adults: either as gauzy, treacly fairy tales of first kisses and two-straw milkshakes or as raunchy comedies where losing one's virginity is a requirement for high school graduation -- and in most cases, the protagonist is male. That's what makes I Believe In Unicorns such a refreshing change of pace." -Huffington Post
"I Believe in Unicorns is this magical-realist journey hosted by an imaginative protagonist, but for all the delving into Davina's subconscious, the film represents an experience that is all too common for young women, to varying degrees. It rings true, resonates as real even in its fantasies, because it is rooted in a place of authenticity, in subjectivity, in emotion and in storytelling. And that is what makes a film like this work so well." - Indiewire
"A dreamy and quirkily twisted coming-of-age story, Leah Meyerhoff’s I Believe In Unicorns may well tread very familiar territory, but it does so in a unique and gently striking style, resulting in an appealing left-field story of teen love, adventure and trauma." - Screen International
"Even with the layers of imagination, the film’s authenticity sustains itself because of Meyerhoff’s creative attention to detail and the small cast’s top-notch acting." - Austin Chronicle
"Unicorns is a poignant and heartfelt story of what it means to be a teenage girl. Beneath the beautifully whimsical fantasy sequences lie truisms of awkward, vulnerable, and complex adolescence." - Filmmaker Magazine
Tribeca All Access
Unicorns director Leah Meyerhoff recounts her experiences at Tribeca All Access
I was delighted to be in the company of such talented filmmakers as Ondi Timoner, Nate Dushku, John Christou, Lily Greenfield Sanders, Ryan Koo, Isaac Chung, Andrew Bujalski, Grainger David and Dara Bratt and enjoyed getting to know them and their projects better as the week progressed.
Mentors Dara Bratt, Leah Meyerhoff, Ben Dickinson
The program kicked off with a Film Fellows session where established filmmakers were partnered with aspiring high school students for a full day of mentoring activities. I was lucky enough to be partnered with two brilliant teenage girls who were full of enthusiasm and ideas. By the end, I think I had learned as least as much from them as they had from me.
Dyana Winkler, Leah Meyerhoff, Tamir Muhammad
Next up were the industry sessions, which basically entailed meeting a new producer/distributor/sales agent every half hour, all day long. It was a hectic format to be sure, but surprisingly effective. I made some fantastic connections and already have had several productive follow up meetings.
Natalie Mooallem, Lucy Mulloy, Leah Meyerhoff
I saw my friend Lucy's film Una Noche opening night which was absolutely stunning and it was exciting to see her pick up so many awards by the end of the festival. Other movie-going highlights included Bradley Rust Gray's Jack and Diane, Harmony Korine's 4th Dimension, Kat Coiro's While We Were Here and Ben Dickenson's First Winter.
Megan Billman, Joe Stillwater, Leah Meyerhoff, David Kupferberg
Perhaps best of all, the festival brought together many members of the I Believe In Unicorns team from far and wide. I would like to thank Natalie Mooallem, Tamir Muhammad and Dyana Winkler for welcoming us to Tribeca All Access. This film has been a labor of love from the beginning and it is experiences like these that make it all worthwhile.
Inside the NYFF Artists Academy
I am honored to be among a dozen filmmakers selected for the Emerging Visions Artists Academy program at the 2012 New York Film Festival.
NYFF’s Artists Academy will offer an immersive creative experience for 12 up-and-coming filmmakers. Taking place on Wednesday, October 3 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, established filmmakers will "delve into the creative process and artistic collaboration through case studies and talks."
Confirmed participants include writer/director Paul Schrader, cinematographer Ed Lachman, and avant-garde filmmaker Robert Lepage . Film director, screenwriter and former film critic Schrader will present a case study of his latest project, "The Canyons," walking filmmakers through the entire process of production, including a successful Kickstarter funding campaign. Visionary film director and playwright Lepage created a spectacular new Ring Cycle for the Metropolitan Opera last season. As he rehearses a new opera for the Met, he will talk to filmmakers about his vision for combining creativity and new technology.
Regarding the new program, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Executive Director Rose Kuo said in a statement: “Artists Academy will nurture emerging filmmakers to develop their creative skills and to discover new approaches to storytelling with moving images. It will be a collaborative workshop in which master filmmakers will mentor new talent.”
The 12 filmmakers selected (and their latest projects) to take part in the NYFF Artists Academy:
Rodney Ascher, ROOM 237 (documentary feature)
Daniel Carbone, HIDE YOUR SMILING FACES (narrative feature)
Russ Harbaugh, LOVE AFTER LOVE (narrative script)
Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau, WITHOUT ARTIFICIAL TITS THERE IS NO SALVATION (feature script)
Ana Lazarevic, BACHA BAZI: BOYS FOR PLAY (feature script)
Leah Meyerhoff, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS (narrative feature)
Olivia Newman, FIRST MATCH (narrative feature)
Lucas Smith, GHOSTS OF THE ARAL SEA (documentary feature)
Kim Spurlock, THE WHISPERING GIANT (feature script)
Musa Syeed, THE DOCTOR (feature script)
Greg Vander Veer, MISS HILL; CHURCH FOREST (two documentary features in post-production)
Susan Youssef, MARJOURN AND THE FLYING HEADSCARF (feature script)
Read more about the Emerging Visions Artist Academy here
Amy Seimetz, from Unicorns, Breaks Out
Amy Seimetz is an Artist to Watch
Unicorns actress Amy Seimetz is featured in Indiewire's Breakout Artists to Watch
"Over the last few years, Amy Seimetz hasn't come anywhere near threatening to crack the mainstream, but has served as a sort of "Zelig"-figure for a particular kind of American independent film, crossing paths with many of the most notable players in the scene in some way or another. The latest is Shane Carruth; the actress stars in the "Primer" director's sophomore feature "Upstream Color," and while the filmmaker's work doesn't quite serve the actors in the way of some of his contemporaries, Seimetz has picked up strong enough notices that it could see her go on to bigger things from here on out."
Read the full article here
Unicorns Nominated for Gotham Awards
I Believe in Unicorns is nominated for a Gotham Award.
We are thrilled that I Believe in Unicorns has been nominated for the Calvin Klein "Live the Dream" grant at the 2012 Gotham Independent Film Awards
and Unicorns actress Amy Seimetz has been nominated for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" for her debut feature Sun Don't Shine.
2012 Gotham Award Nominees:
The Loneliest Planet
Middle of Nowhere
How to Survive a Plague
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present
The Waiting Room
Best Ensemble Performance
Safety Not Guaranteed
Silver Linings Playbook
Your Sister’s Sister
Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky for Francine
Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin for Now, Forager
Antonio Méndez Esparza for Aquí y Allá
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild
Mike Birbiglia in Sleepwalk with Me
Emayatzy Corinealdi in Middle of Nowhere
Thure Lindhardt in Keep the Lights On
Melanie Lynskey in Hello, I Must Be Going
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You
An Oversimplification of Her Beaut
Sun Don’t Shine
Tiger Tail in Blue
Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant
Leah Meyerhoff, director, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS
Stacie Passon, director, CONCUSSION
Visra Vichit Vadakan, KARAOKE GIRL
Check out more about the awards here
We have wrapped second unit photography on Unicorns!
From fields full of fireflies to time lapse memories of sunsets, ferocious six-toed cats to swans sailing across swamps, each day brought a new adventure and each night ended with a home-cooked meal and a promise of magic to come. This portion of the shoot was like being at filmmaker sleep-away camp and I never wanted to go home.
I was lucky to be surrounded by a group of hard-working, talented, like-minded people who stuck with it night and day, rain or shine, with smiles on their faces and laughter on their lips. We trudged through marshes, carried balloons through windstorms, commenced stop-motion animation in the middle of a lightning storm and shot flaming arrows into the night sky.
At one point after everyone had gone to sleep, I found myself standing in an empty field at dawn, having been awake for what seemed like days, with bandages on my fingertips from working with fireworks, holding a lone umbrella over the camera to protect it from the morning dew. And all I could think about was that I could not remember a moment when I had been happier.
Ahh, the things we do for film.
In the Edit
Dispatch from the edit room.
We are still deep in the Unicorns edit, weaving together the footage from principal photography into a beautiful tapestry of film. Continuing our partnership with The Edit Center, we recently collaborated with Mollie Goldstein (Pallindromes) and a team of young editors to explore some of the more fantastic possibilities in the dreamscape of Unicorns.
Editing just below a poster of Frozen River, a previous Edit Center project and major film from our Producer Heather Rae, reminds us the finish line is on the way.
Every day is inspiring working with masters of film and mentoring the editors of tomorrow.
Animated dragons and unicorns oh my!
For the last month I have been living inside an animation cave. Literally.
We have been busy building a miniature forest in my living room, lighting smoke bombs on the roof, melting ice cubes in fast motion, making a dragon puppet breathe bursts of sparklers, igniting doll parts with flame throwers and exploding a cupcake or two.
As always, the process is at least as important as the product and if filmmaking isn’t an adventure then what’s the point?
Unicorns in Indiewire
I Believe In Unicorns is featured in Indiewire
Bryce J. Renninger writes:
IFP's narrative lab focuses on low-budget features, with budgets below $1 million. Past projects have included Lucy Mulloy's "Una Noche," Terence Nance's "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty," and Dee Rees' "Pariah." The 2012 lab will be IFP's eighth edition.
Films included in this year's lab include Stacie Passon's story of a lesbian prostitute mother "Concussion" (produced by Rose Troche) and Leah Meyerhoff's "I Believe in Unicorns."
Read the full article here
That's a wrap!
We have made it to the end of the beginning. Last month we wrapped principal photography on Unicorns in the San Francisco Bay Area.
From underwater aquatics to aerial acrobatics and fire spinning to disco dancing, each day of shooting brought a new adventure. We carried dolly track over a mountain, built a circus in a windstorm and drove a muscle car leaking mysterious green fluid. Our pathological optimism guided us through endless days and sleepless nights with smiles on our faces and fireworks in our back pockets. Film-making is as much about process as it is about product and this experience could not have been more magical.
Our lead actors Natalia Dyer and Peter Vack were an absolute joy to work with, charming us both on set and off. They were joined by Julia Garner, fresh from Perks of Being a Wallflower, Amy Seimetz, who has been touring the world with The Off Hours and Joshua Leonard, whose directorial debut The Lie hits theaters this fall.
Behind the camera, cinematographer Jarin Blaschke sculpted a fantastical world of light which production designer Katy Rusch promptly filled with glitter. Costume designer Emily Batson sewed scraps into miracles, sound mixer Joe Stillwater wove tapestries of whispers and assistant director Scott Larkin held it all together with chewing gum and laughter. Producers Heather Rae and Mark Mathis led us from underwater depths to trampoline heights, with executive support from David Kupferberg and Robin Leland and production help from Vinay Singh, Stacia Warren, Clio Tegal and Megan Billman.
Meanwhile Jeremy Wong, Satsuki Murashige and Gordon Arkenberg followed focus where fate led them and Brian Gonzalez loaded film with his eyes closed. Ryan Thomas, Matt Stouppe, Michael Lapid and Julien DeBenedictus built complex glowing contraptions and Grace Sloan created a world of whimsy which Rhea Cutillo propped up with dinosaurs and doll parts. Morgan Johnson watched over the wardrobe, Evan Kenward pondered continuity conundrums, Antoinette Yoka crafted eyelashes out of feathers, Simon Lake scouted secret locations, Robin Griswold printed miniature treasure maps and Gentry McShane lured extras into the back of a van while Heather Power and Kevin Wong sprinkled magic everywhere.
All together, we had an incredible cast and crew without which none of this would have been possible. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to those who have helped us thus far and open our arms to those who will be joining us in the future. We are currently gearing up for an additional fantasy shoot and extensive stop motion animation before heading into post production. If you would like to get involved, please drop us a line.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.