This was it. After all the anticipation, the hype—and most importantly, the hard work—Ghosts Don't Exist enjoyed a successful, sold-out premiere Sunday at the 2010 DC Independent Film Festival! A HUGE thanks again to everyone who made it happen!
It's hard to believe that it was just last February when Chris Cooley announced the greenlight of the film. And believe it or not, it was a year ago to the day—March 14th, 2009—when the producers saw over 220 casting auditions! The 19th + Wilson team had no way of knowing that exactly one year later, they'd be premiering the film.
Last March and April were spent selecting the cast, securing locations, and assembling crew. Then, in May, began the intense 15-day filming schedule, which is well-documented here on the blog. And from there, it was all about post-production.
The consensus you'll hear from just about everyone involved with this project is that it really feels like everyone has known each other for much longer than a year—in a very good way. Because from the very beginning, this team of cast, crew, and investors has felt like family. And that's why this past weekend felt as much like a family reunion for the team as it did a movie premiere.
The festivities kicked off Saturday night, as the Midtown Loft hosted an exclusive Ghosts Don't Exist party to get everyone ready for the big premiere. The turnout was great, and the crowd had a blast in anticipation of closing out the DCIFF in less than 24 hours. Great atmosphere, great drinks, great friends, and great fun!
Sunday's premiere was a memorable one. Fans filed into the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center, and DCIFF volunteers regretfully informed some that the event was sold out. Those who had tickets descended to the elegant reception area, where a line soon began forming to the Burke Theatre. Within minutes, the line had extended the entire span of the beautiful facility.
Executive Producer Chris Cooley was on hand, of course, and both he and brother Tanner gave interviews to Redskins.com TV before the movie. Legendary Washington, DC film critic Arch Campbell also attended the screening, and enjoyed the film! Fans in line were thrilled to meet Arch and Chris in person, and plenty of photo ops and autographs ensued.
Once inside the theater, writer/director Eric Espejo was invited to say a few words to welcome the crowd. Two excellent short films then opened the event: Mike Salva's hilarious animated short, Back to Life, and Dan Sachar's unnerving When It Will Be Silent. Both set the tone well for the eager GDE audience, most of whom were seeing the film for the very first time—some crew members included.
Several scenes produced audible shocks amongst the crowd, adding to the fun. And as the final credits rolled, the raucous applause was a wonderful crowning moment for everyone who had a hand in making the film.
After the film, Espejo and fellow producers Aaron Goodmiller and Richard Friend took a few questions from the audience—most eager to know how this film came to be, and when the next 19W project can be expected. "It's already in the works," the team assured them.
Fans exiting the theater were greeted with one final surprise... official Ghosts Don't Exist keychain flashlights—a relevant (and handy!) little reminder of the indie premiere.
But the night wasn't over yet. There were awards to be announced, and GDE WON! The 2010 DC Filmmaker Award went to Eric Espejo, for Ghosts Don't Exist!
The entire 19th + Wilson/GDE team enjoyed a tremendous outpouring of support from friends, family, and fans alike last weekend, and were genuinely touched by the turnout. Many thanks again to everyone who made the trip into the city on a busy Sunday (in the wake of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, no less!) to share in this very special event!
The premiere has passed, but the GDE journey is really only just getting warmed up! Lots of big news remains on the horizon... stay tuned!