After nearly three years of work and 6 terabytes of footage, One Day in April is on a theatrical tour and headed for digital release this weekend. I started working on One Day In April nearly three years ago after finishing the 2012 campaign and Inauguration. I'd come home to Bloomington inspired by the work I'd done for President Obama and wanted to use my skills to tell a story about my home state. I had no idea that I was embarking a journey that would take years to complete.
One Day In April is the story of the Little 500, an annual bike race that takes place on the campus of Indiana University. The race was made famous by the Academy Award winner Breaking Away and has featured guests ranging from President Obama to Lil Wayne. But throughout all that history, no one had ever made a film that focused on the athletes that compete in the race. There's no going pro, no money to be paid for a win, and for most of the year there's nobody paying attention . It's 364 days of 50 mile road rides through the sleet and snow or riding a stationary bike on rollers in the basement. It's grueling.
But it's also a great example of Midwestern work ethic and Hoosier spirit. I grew up going to the movies with my dad nearly every weekend and the movies were I spent my formative years. The movies taught me about the world and helped me figure out who I wanted to be. One Day in April was an attempt to tell a story of someplace dear to me in a cinematic fashion so others could see it - and hopefully feel it - the way we do. So that somebody in the future might find the film and be able to understand Indiana in a way that might not've before.
Last night we kicked off the tour with a packed house in Bloomington, IN. It was a special night for me because we premiered Mutant Divorce Squad a short film made by IU students and funded by the One Day In April scholarship. I firmly believe that folks should tell their stories and that communities should support them in that endeavor. For too long cinema was reserved for the elite, well funded, or connected and as filmmakers I think it's our duty to help democratize the art form. Both from a filmmaking perspective and from a supporter of future films I think the world needs more avenues to experience how different people live.
Over the next few weeks I'll be blogging about different elements of the filmmaking process and sharing what I learned along the way. ODIA was my first feature but in a lot of ways it was my film school. Hopefully by sharing some of these insights your first film will be a little less painful than mine was.