Serena Belsby Has Big Dreams For Her Movie | Arts & Culture
Spokane movie maker Serena Belsby has some serious goals for her movie Samantha Grainger. She is looking for investors. I recently interviewed her about the process of making an independent film.
Tell me the story line of the movie?
SAMANTHA GRAINGER, comes home to her family's buffalo ranch after being MIA for five years. Her plan - bury dad and get out of dodge like a lightening bolt. But, a surprise visit from her Cuban boyfriend, a flat tire and a missed plane forces her to spend Christmas with her icy family who only begin to de-thaw while rounding up buffalo. Can this family become friends?
What inspired the screen play?
My cousin passed away as a young man leaving behind a family and it was very difficult for me to accept. In his passing though there were gifts that we all received so I am trying to say that even in death we can receive gifts if we look.
What's the most challenging part of raising money?
People saying they want to be involved and will help and then they vanish. I would rather know upfront for a lot of time is spent on this process.
How do you go about raising money?
I have fiscal sponsorship from IFP which is a huge honor. People donate to ifp which is a 501c3 and get the tax write off and we get the money to make the movie. Most movies are done as investments where as this one is done like any other 501c3. I have a website where people can donate or directly to ifp on their site. I ask people, companies, organizations to be a part of our film. I make a lot of phone calls and write a lot of e-mails.
Will North by Northwest be involved?
Rich Cowan of NORTH BY has been helping me personally. He actually did our schedule which is a big part of the process and time consuming and expensive. He did it for nothing, to help out. I have nothing but admiration and respect for him. He is an amazing man.
Once you get funding what's the next step?
I don't have enough funding and I am already on the next step. We begin in two days and really need the help. It is like jumping off of a cliff and figuring it out on the way down.
Who's involved in helping you produce the movie?
Many people who work with North by and of course their guidance.
Tell us about your career... let us know where you started and how you got to Spokane?
I started as an actress in New York. I moved there specifically to train with Al Pacino's coach, then I moved to LA and began writing a few years later. My first screenplay that I wrote won first place at the Cannes Film Festival in an International Screenwriting contest. It was very surreal. I was born in Spokane and I moved here in March of 2009 to take care of my dad. I was a full-time caretaker for some time and it all has a happy ending for he is 100%.
What's the best part of the movie making process for you?
I love creating a character and then seeing the actors bring it to life and how that fits into a story. Our story has a powerful message about family and forgiveness. It is exciting to be a part of something that people feel has importance for most strong rifts that we have are with our family members. This is a very healing film. I love seeing people do things they never thought they could do. Being things they never knew imaginable. I love rehearsing and working with the actors. Finding the placement of the camera. Being in the edit and seeing what you have shot and assembling that. I love every part of it. The part that is the most difficult is the money and I am trying to embrace it but it is difficult. I always say if I could find 3000 people to contribute $15.00 I would be in such good shape. Do you think you can find 3000 people to contribute $15.00?