en espanol
Trashborn WINS Mary Austin award for Best Director for Documentary!

Last week at the Idyllwild International Film Festival of Cinema, in a mountain town just outside of Los Angeles, we screened our premiere of Trashborn.

Trashborn was then nominated for both Best Cinematography for Documentary and the Mary Austin Best Director for Documentary.

We ended up taking home the Mary Austin Award for Best Director for Documentary!

Baffle Their Mindswith Bullsh*t WINS BEST EDITING AWARD!

We are so excited to announce that "Baffle Their Minds with Bullsh*t" wins Best Editing Award at the BAWIFV Film Festival last week!

Sarah and I weren’t expecting this, so it was a lovely suprise. We thought the film was at the end of its great festival run, but maybe not…

Festival-wise, it was a small, charming and packed crowd – we couldn’t ask for more. Lots of good energy, and the other films screening were extremely high quality. We were super impressed.

Here’s us being happy!

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Annapolis and Bethesda Film Festivals were a success!

A week ago we had a double screening of "Baffle Their Minds with Bullshit, Kerry Leigh" (www.baffletheirminds.com) in the same state on the same day – one in Annapolis and the Annapolis Film Festival and the other screening in Bethesda at the Bethesda Film Festival.

Annapolis Film Festival was amazing – they picked up our main character Kerry Leigh with a limo from the airport, and that was just the beginning. The screening was in a huge beautiful theater, and we had a snappy Q&A with a beautiful reading of a new piece Kerry Leigh wrote. Participating in this festival was a dream, and I only wish every film festival would do the same kind of taking-care that Annapolis has done!

Bethesda Film Festival had a packed house – always satisfying! – and an honorarium for us filmmakers – WHO DOES THAT? AMAZING – and the audience was rip-roaring ready to LAUGH. We got a tremendous reception, not to mention the lineup of films was so good. It’s always nice to realize you live and breathe in a community of filmmakers – here I’m giving a special shout out to the Kramer brothers at Meridian Hill pictures.

Very satisfying on the whole! And one very funny thing which happened is an overlap of my characters from various films happened – so Kerry Leigh and two other characters (who will stay nameless for now) met each other and asked questions on how it was liked to be filmed by me… it was a strange meta filmmakers moment. :) What would you do if your various (documentary) characters all came together in the same room?



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From Collegetown to Annapolis to Bethesda Film Festival Run


We just finished a great screening with the College Town Film Festival, a brand new festival which had its first setting at Penn State. It was wonderful, and the directors of the festival bent to my annoying request to have a separate Q&A for us as the film following was a wonderful-but-very-different bromance feature. Kerry Leigh, as usual, whipped the audience awake and into shape.


Annapolis Film Festival, Saturday, 1pm


Bethesda Film Festival, Saturday, 8pm SOLD OUT

Come one come all!!!!!



TRAILER HERE!  https://vimeo.com/36829964

The Finish Line

On my way to a visit to Cuba this past August, I stopped in Dominican Republic to capture an update of the buzos as a last possible hurrah to finish the film. On my first day I tried to enter the dump but got stopped by a troop of armed guards. A few phone calls later, a friend got me permission to enter, but it was clear I wouldn’t have any kind of the same freedom I had had years prior to move around (see picture below where I ham it up with the guards).

On my last night in the community, I did a private screening for only the characters involved in the film. The only place we could find where we wouldn’t attract a large crowd was a shut-up boarded pitch-black empty house someone had recently vacated, and it had no electricity. We brought in a candle, a little wooden stool to prop up my computer, and everyone sat on the concrete floor to watch. At first they called out the people they saw on screen, "Look it’s Ramon! Pablo! Arisleyda!" They laughed. But then they grew serious. At the end, I asked them, "Did I represent you fairly? Is anything exaggerated or mis-stated? Is this the real story?" It’s the moment of truth for a filmmaker when you hold up a mirror of your work to the participants of your film. I had chewed off all my nails during the screening, nervous about what they would say.

They looked at me and said, "No. You showed us as we are. This is the reality. Our reality."

Sometimes films take a long journey. Having started this film in 2007, I cannot believe I am in 2012, nearly 5 years later. It is an expedition however that has taught me much in the way of filmmaking, approach, process, mistakes, lessons. It also taught me the meaning of magic.

I have birthed, along with life-saver magic-maker (aka editor) Sarah Cannon, this documentary now. IT IS FINISHED!

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Leaving Havana, Arriving in Santo Domingo

Upon leaving La Havana yesterday, I arrived at the airport with $35 dollars left in my pocket. This disappeared in paying the taxi and the exit visa fee, and with not a cent to my name I flew out of Cuba 3 hours later. I hadn’t eaten much of anything in the last day, just some rice and eggs and was very hungry. On the plane I received the same meal I had gotten two weeks earlier, which I had looked upon with disdain: pan con queso (stale white bread with cheese and "ham"). This time, I devoured it. Upon arriving to Dominican Republic – a total reverse culture shock: I went straight to the ATM and with relish got crisp Dominican Pesos; I rented a car; I stopped to buy gas, and paid with my credit card just because I could; going inside the gas station store I felt like a kid in candyland… Lays potato chips! Hershey bars! I was overwhelmed. Yesterday night entering a grocery store was almost a spiritual experience. Shelves and shelves teeming with a seemingly endless variety… SO MANY OPTIONS, SO MUCH FOOD!!!!!!!! It’s like seeing two sister islands back to back, but feeling like I traveled to another planet. I went to sleep with my belly full, and 10 hours later, awake again for the next adventure. I am going to drive today to Santiago, 2 hours north, and visit the trash dump for the first time in four years.

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Day 1

My faith in airplanes is pretty solid. I remember as a girl that we used to clap when a pilot landed a plane… but that died a long time ago in the Western world. Not so in Dominican Republic! A hearty clap eminated from the entire plane to salute the pilot for good landing. As if acknowledging the fact that planes don’t always have good landings. Makes me uneasy.

In front of me is a lady dressed in 5 shades of pink, in 5 inch high heels, limping off the plane slow painful high-heeled step by step. Behind me is a bickering American couple, where the guy proclaims, "Why are all the signs in Spanish?!?!?"


The smells often hit me first: The air is thick and wet and sticky. Slight sickly sweet scent of burning trash by the side of the road. Night-time does no favors to the landscape. I rush by windows of small buildings uncomfortably pressed up againt the highway, sillouettes in the squares of light moving about their nightly routine.

Staying with a friend here, waiting for the morning adventure of buying coffee, and a ticket for the next leg. That small detail.

xo, Isabelle

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