#12 Summer/Fall Newsletter (June-Dec '14)    www.JasonStefaniak.com
Jason Stefaniak

With a Full Heart - and Looking Ahead

I've been putting off sending this newsletter for one reason: I've been waiting for a win, one success I could celebrate, a festival acceptance for Middle Ground or But Not For Me, or a door being opened for me personally. But over the past few months, it hasn't happened. Middle Ground hasn't premiered at a festival yet. I've been turned down for jobs, film lab opportunities, and for grants/story development opportunities. It's been a rather dispiriting end of the year. That's not to say I don't still have a lot to be thankful for, that my dedication and hard work hasn't continued to accumulate and pay off, or point towards future pay offs. Overall I'm healthy, I have close friends and loving family, and I've never gone hungry or in need of the basic necessities. And I'm very luck I discovered an abiding love and passion for something that I want to spend my life doing - paid or unpaid, for fun and for work, until the end of my last day on earth.

All that being said, rejection hurts. And while I'm rather resilient, the recent rejections have hurt more than usual. They've discouraged me more than usual - even if the discouragement was temporary. I'm out of school. I'm really proud of Middle Ground, my best work. And I want to forge a financially successful life, pay off my loans and be able to survive doing what I love. These factors create pressure for success and progress. That pressure, combined with a real belief that something big was going to happen, made the fall a lot farther when it came.

But I think it's good to be transparent about failures and bumps in the road, because we too often only talk about the successes and that only creates pressure and stress on people who are watching and trying to make their own big things happen (I think it's important to note that the subject line of my last newsletter was a quote from a friend commenting on my life at the moment: "All the good things are happening to you - all of them!" Life changes quickly and has a sense of humor). 

The silver lining: I foresaw the successes. I felt them. I really, honestly believed it was time. That made the rejections worse. But that belief also makes the successes possible. You have to really believe what you want is going to happen. I submitted to Sundance in the past, but knew it was a long shot. When rejection came it stung but I moved on. This year, I really saw myself and my work there. I know my work is good enough now to play there. That's the positive revelation that's come from this disappointing close to 2014 - I'm ready for the big time, I'm just waiting for the big time to be ready for me. 

With a full heart for all the good that came in 2014 and with my eyes looking ahead and upwards to 2015, here are some of the things I can still be proud of:

Middle Ground

is finally finished! The picture editing was finished in May, the sound design in July, and the color and credits in August. I've submitted the film to 17 festivals thus far and my record so far is 0-3, but I know it'll get in somewhere. A company devoted to screening short film content that has millions of viewers in the US and abroad has offered to purchase the film - which is incredibly exciting. Either way, in 2015 people are gonna see it. We did a "friends and family" screening in October in Brooklyn and the reception was fantastic (thank you to Meg Flynn for designing the promotional posters for the screening!)


If you haven't seen it yet and would like to, check it out: Middle Ground  (The password is: adamandeve) But please don't share the link just yet!

But Not For Me

We've pictured-locked the feature film I produced, But Not For Me, and the film will be finished in Jan or Feb of the new year. We've started submitting the film to festivals and have our hearts ideally and optimistically set on a SxSW or Tribeca premiere. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of our almost-finished poster for the film (thank you to our Producer of Marketing and Distribution, Lilly Riber, for making this poster happen).

This Is My Body

It just keeps going and going - and it's so exciting! The Facebook page continues to grow and now has over 7,900 likes. The film was featured again (either for the 3rd or 4th time, I've lost count) on Upworthy. It's been viewed over 802,000 times online. It inspired another remake in a different language and two different countries: Columbia: Este Es Mi Cuerpo - Colombia (They also made an all-male version) and Costa Rica: Este Es Mi Cuerpo - Costa Rica. And an excerpt of the text being performed in the video will be included in an upcoming book from Routledge being written by an academic in Germany called, "Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy." This has proven to be one of the most fulfilling projects I've ever made and experiences I've ever had. 

Impolite Company

We're officially launched as an LLC in New York State. Middle Ground and But Not For Me are our two first official projects. And we're beginning to bid for work to help pay the bills. We're hard at work on the website. Until it launches, let these screenshots of the revolving homepage satiate your appetite:


A Warm Spell (formerly Koharubiyori)

The film I produced that we shot in Japan in Feb '13 has been accepted to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. It's one of only 77 short films from around the world to be accepted to the festival, which is one of the most prestigious film festivals devoted to short films in existence. The festival is held January 30-February 7. This is a competition festival - so our fingers are crossed! Big congrats to writer/director Toshimichi Saito!

What else?

-I continue to work as an assistant to the writer/director Joshua Marston. It's fascinating to be able to observe a talented, successful filmmaker's process and to be of service to his vision. Some exciting things are happening between now and March - but I can't tell you what they are yet!

-Since April, I've been doing a ton of reading and note taking and (some) writing on a number of potential feature-length projects, 2 or 3 of which I'm excited about but am not quite ready to tackle. As of October, I did settle on an idea that I've been working on ever since. I'm nearing completion of the third outline (currently at 21 pages and still going...) and plan to have a first draft of the project done in January. 

-She Lights Up Well - the first feature I produced - can be seen online! It's a comedy. With a female lead. It's only 80min. And ONLY $2.99 to watch. Support independent cinema and please check it out

-My website was updated recently with a new "Freelance" page and new posts in my blog "Notes - Then We're Going Again" - check out the new stuff!

Thanks for reading, have a good holiday season, and I'll talk to ya in 2015!

For more Me or My Work: My Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo or www.JasonStefaniak.com  

Director/Writer/Producer Jason Stefaniak

(At left) A big shout out and thank you to Tiffany Salone for taking our engagement photos - this was the special shot that graced our "Save the Dates." 

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