Today I bring you a different type of post. Although I have talked about movies before, today I have the pleasure of bringing you a filmmaker, and one I have known for a few years.
Magda M. Olchawska was one of the first people I met on Twitter. She has written children’s books and was one of the first people whose advice caught my attention. In fact, I started blogging because that was one of her suggestions, so if you want to blame anybody, now you know who it should be.
She made a great book trailer for my first book, The Man Who Never Was (it’s still a great book trailer although as I’ve changed the cover since it is more of a trip down memory lane for me. In case you want to check it, it is here) and we have kept in touch.
I have followed with interest her film project. She has been working on Anna & Modern Day Slavery and it has been through sheer determination and talent that she has managed to make it come true. Now she is running an IndiegoGo campaign to help distribute the film and I when I asked her if she would tell us something about her project, she kindly agreed to write a guest feature for my blog.
And here, I leave you with Magda:
I always wanted to make films, ever since I can remember I was glued to our black and white TV watching old Hollywood classics and dreaming of being part of the onscreen magic.
When I was old enough to choose I became totally obsessed with independent films with social themes.
Before I went to film school I already was a big admirer of Ken Loach and Krzysztof Kieslowski and decided that I wanted to make films that are not only entertaining but films with substance, ones that matter.
It shouldn’t then be surprising that I made a film about sex and human trafficking. However, six years ago when I decided to follow my dream and make a feature film by crowdfunding the entire production budget on IndieGoGo I had a completely different project in mind. I wanted to make a romantic comedy with social aspect (the main character was a human rights activist working in refugee camps). But once I met Lynn Robertson, a human rights activist fighting on behalf of trafficking victims my vision had changed. Lynn’s dedication and work inspired me to write a script that could help raise awareness about sex and human trafficking as well as some funding for small charities helping trafficking victims get their lives back, which is extremely difficult and requires not only strong support from various people but also strong will and determination.
From the very start, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. However, within 6 months I had the script, cast, and crew ready and just enough funding to make a micro-budget film.
We shot the entire film in Poland on locations (my parent’s house was used as our main location) on $14000 budget within 9 days. My cast & crew came from nine different countries and four continents. It was a real group effort to make that story come to life. I was both pleased and surprised that everything came together at the same time and I was able to go into production within such a short period of time.
The production wasn’t trouble free but nothing major to make us shut down. We did struggle on daily basis with money and time. We simply didn’t have enough of both and as a compromise, I had to let go of quite a few scenes, which required from us to move locations and it’s always a huge logistic challenge.
Within those 9 days, we worked around the clock, got 6 hours sleep a night and pulled one 24-hour shooting day (by the end of that day it was just 4 people standing).
When I think back to that shoot I know it was wonderfully crazy, stretching our creative limitations to the limits.
But we did manage to not only survive this crazy shooting schedule but also in the process we made an important film that I truly hope will help people understand human trafficking, become more aware of this despicable crime against humanity and possibly be inspired to help trafficking victims.
Once I was done with the production I moved to the next stage of making a film, called “post-production”, which includes: editing, sound and music design and mix as well as color correction. That stage took me 4 years to complete. During that time, I honestly can say I had serious doubts whether this film was going to be finished. I encountered many technical problems from sound to editing that I didn’t even realize could have happened when I started dreaming this project into reality. I worked slowly but systematically every day and every summer holiday when my son was away with his grandparents.
I met a lot of people during this journey that helped me or supported me along the way.
Finally, in June/July 2015 I was ready to send the film off to sound and music mix as well as color correction. While the sound designer/composer and colorist were working on making my film even more amazing I ran another IndieGoGo campaign to raise funding for the post-production phase of my very long adventure.
Anna & Modern Day Slavery was ready in January 2016 and after almost a year of unsuccessful film festival submissions, I was approached by a sales agent from Germany. We signed 6-months contract, which meant that for 6 months I couldn’t do anything with the film while the sales agent was trying to sell Anna to various European TV stations. Unfortunately, both festivals and the TV stations couldn’t find spots for Anna apparently ‘cos of the film’s unusual timing, which is 66 minutes.
Yes, I set off to make 80-90 min. long film. However, in order to make it at all, I needed to compromise somewhere along the way and I compromised by cut some of the scenes from the script.
Now I’m running one more and my last IndiegoGo campaign for this project to raise funding for charities helping trafficking victims.
The campaign will end on October 19th. And 50% all of the funds are going to go to small charities.
Please do check out my camping and if you have any questions do email me at magda(at)magdaolchawska.com
If you would like to find out more about crowdfunding download my e-book “How I Run Successful IndieGoGo Campaign to Make a Feature Film” e-book
If you are interested in learning how to make a micro-budget film check out my e-book How I Made My First Feature Film on $14000
These are the links where you can check Magda’s work and her campaign:
Link to the IndieGoGo campaign page:
And here you can check the video for the campaign:
Here Magda explains the process:
Thanks very much to Magda for her guest post, for explaining how you went about creating the film, and for informing us about her campaign, thanks to all of you for reading and watching, and remember to like, share, comment, click and CONTRIBUTE! It’s for a great cause!