Jocelyn Rish's picture

If a talking man-dog predicted your death...

Is anyone watching the FX comedy Wilfred?  It’s a dark and darkly funny show about a depressed man (Ryan played by Elijah Wood) who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit, even though everyone else sees him as a regular dog.  The two become friends and spend their time getting high and getting Ryan into trouble.  In last night’s episode, Ryan decides to volunteer at a retirement home, and it ends up looking like Wilfred has the ability to predict the patients’ deaths.

 ** Spoiler Alert **
After the media gets involved, there is Wilfred at the nursing homepressure for Wilfred to predict another death, and Ryan walks in on Wilfred smothering a patient with a pillow.  It was so funny (in a morbid way), especially because when Brian and I started this Saying Goodbye adventure, we discussed (half serious, half joking) turning our drama into a horror film by having the cat actually murdering the residents.  It was so great to see Wilfred actually executing (ha!) that idea.

If you’re interested in watching the episode, you can find it here.  It’s a show for mature audiences, so it’s probably not safe for work.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Enjoying the Best of the Fest

This is the second time in a week that we had two screenings on the same day, so after making Brian’s co-workers cry, I jumped in my car and hustled back to Charleston for the Best of the Fest night at the Cinebarre theater.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get there in time to catch the 7:00 screening, which featured my two favorite films from the CIFF: God and Vodka and Place Stamp HereGod and Vodka is an appealing drama perfectly balanced with humor, and I wasn’t at all surprised when it won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short.  And Place Stamp Here is an utterly charming film that won the Audience Choice Award for Best Animation.  Turns out the twin sisters who made it also animated one of my favorites from last year’s CIFF, although the wonderfully creepy style was so different I never would have guessed.  I’m always so awed by people who can draw – I have a bunch of short stories I’d love to turn into animated shorts, but even preschoolers would laugh at my pathetic stick figures. 

Saying Goodbye screened in the 9:00 block, along with another of my fest favorites – The Perfect Hurl.  Surprisingly, the two guys behind it are still in college - the film was so much fun and so well made that I know they have a bright future ahead of them.  I was also fortunate to get to see several of the shorts I missed during the festival, including the Jury Award for Best Short The Story of Us, which had great music and interesting visuals, as well as the darkly funny Atroz, winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Foreign Film.  And I hope this isn't too conceited to say, but I loved watching Saying Goodbye on Cinebarre’s big screen!  They have an excellent projection system, so it was reassuring to see that people watching it during Cinebarre's preshow will get to see it looking so snazzy.

It was a fun evening with an appreciative crowd, so our thanks again to the Charleston International Film Festival for including Saying Goodbye in the Best of the Fest night. 

Brian Rish's picture

Nothing like making your co-workers cry

After nearly two years of suffering through story after story about making my movie, I thought it was finally time to let all my co-workers watch the film they'd heard so much about. Yes, I have a "real" job working for a utility company.

Turns out our quarterly meeting was the perfect opportunity. We were off-site, so it would be a little more special than cramming everyone into a conference room, and since the meeting is semi-mandatory, I would have a captive audience.

So after a morning of great presentations and fun team building, Jocelyn crashed the meeting and it was time for us to show everyone the movie... and then the computer crashed. Don't they always? After a quick reboot, everything was back on track, and I started the film.

Now I'd warned everyone that the movie was sad (and most people knew that already), but as I scanned the crowd during the sad parts, I felt kind of guilty as people tried their best to hide tears from their co-workers. Luckily we'd just had lunch, so there were plenty of napkins left on the tables for covert tear dabbing.

After it was finished, everyone had lots of great questions and comments. My favorite was "Wow, that looked like a real movie." Ironically, that's the reaction a lot of my friends have, and it always makes me laugh (maybe it should make me worry). What did they expect--sock puppets?

Death Cat's picture

Saying Goodbye Invades Coffee Underground

After the delightful celebration at Agapé, we had to jump right in the car and zip up the road to Greenville for another Saying Goodbye screening that night.  The SC Upstate Film Community invited us to show Saying Goodbye to their group and talk about the grant from the SC Film CommissionSandra VanNatta is one of organizers of the Society, and she heard about our film from Mary Elizabeth Cobb (they are both represented by the same talent agency).  Then it turns out one of Sandra’s first big acting jobs was with Rebecca Koon in The Notebook, and in typical Rebecca fashion, she took Sandra under her wing and mentored her.  So with connections to two of our stars, Sandra looked us up and asked us to screen Saying Goodbye at one of their meetings.

Coffee UndergroundThey hold their meetings at the Coffee Underground in downtown Greenville, and the place has a fun, funky vibe.  It has a back room with a screen and a stage, with church pews set up to watch the action.  Andrew Kaplan was the first speaker, and he gave great tips on social networking for actors and filmmakers.  Then we showed Saying Goodbye and had a lively Q&A afterwards.  Since the members are filmmakers and actors, they had a lot of insightful questions about the grant program and how we made the film.  We got a lot of positive comments, and we thank Sandra and the SC Upstate Film Community for giving us the opportunity to share Saying Goodbye.

Also, we were thrilled that Rebecca Koon showed up with a few of her family members to this screening as well.  Two visits with Rebecca in one day is definitely a treat!

Since our sister Joanna (paparazza extraordinaire) lives in Greenville, our trip upstate gave us the perfect opportunity to show the movie to her friends and co-workers.  She decided that the Coffee Underground would be the ideal place for her screening too, so two days later we were back in the funky screening room showing the film to her friends.  She even had the Coffee Underground cater the party, and we have to say, if you ever get the chance to have the cookies there, make sure you do – they're delicious!

In one of those super freaky small world coincidences, it turns out Sandra’s husband works with our sister, so Sandra got to see the movie twice that week at the Coffee Underground.  We had a great weekend sharing the film with folks in Greenville, and we drank enough coffee to give us the shakes.

Death Cat's picture

Party at Agapé

Agape Premiere 1What a fun day in the life of Saying Goodbye!  Today we had a screening and party for the residents and staff at Agapé Senior, the assisted living facility where we shot the movie.  We worked with Cynthia Scherbaty and Amy McCormack to make sure it was a big event for everyone involved, but even we were surprised when we walked in and saw the amazing result of the hours the two ladies had put into transforming the cafeteria. 

As the residents started to arrive, we got them seated, while those who were extras were sequestered in the back room.  We had the charming Joe Pinner (Mr. Knozit for those of you who grew up watching his kids’ show in Columbia) as our MC, and he kicked things off by introducing each resident and staff member who had appeared in the movie.  Joe did a great job making them feel like stars as they walked the red carpet to their reserved seats up front.  Joe Nester, an Agapé staff member, recorded the action, and you can watch his video here.

Then it was time for the main event, and there were so many great moments as the Agapé folks watched Saying Goodbye.  The first scene has people singing “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” and as it played, all the residents started singing along – it was spectacular.  Then every time the cat came on screen they 'awww'ed not caring that he’s the death cat.  They also laughed a lot more than our typical audiences - especially at scenes we never realized were funny - but obviously their years of experience give them a different perspective. 

Once it was over, we thanked them for all their help – the movie never would have been so authentic if it hadn’t been for everyone at Agapé.  We presented them with a framed version of the Saying Goodbye poster where we added pictures of the residents along the top and bottom borders, and they had already put it on display in the lobby before we left. 

Then it was time to party!  We had popcorn and movie candy and ginger ale served in champagne glasses.  We also had a special treat playing in the background.  There was a lot of footage of residents and staff that didn’t make it into the movie, and since we wanted to make sure everyone who participated got to see themselves on screen, we put together a video of that footage.  We think it was more popular than the movie itself, since it played six or seven times while the residents laughed and pointed at themselves.  If you’re interested, you can see the video here.

Agape Premiere 2During the party, we got to catch up with many of our extras, and they were all so excited.  We also got to meet other residents who told us how much they loved the movie.  Making the day even more special, members of the cast and crew showed up to help celebrate.  Rebecca Koon, who did a phenomenal job as our star Alma, made the drive from Charlotte, and Dick White, who was one of the poker players, was there with his daughter.  We also had Cliff Springs (director), Sherard Duvall (first AD), Will Bryan (production designer), John Collins (video assist), Laurie Nicholson (production coordinator), and of course Stuffy the Stand-in, as well as our two executive producers Susan Hogue and Tom Clark.  It was a fun reunion with many of the people involved in making the film.  We even made the news – WLTX was there to capture the event and we were part of the top 7 at 7, which was a nice surprise. 

There have been a lot of ups and downs in this movie-making experience, but celebrating the film with the Agapé residents and staff was truly a special moment.  We hope they had has much fun as we did, and we thank them again for everything they did to help us.

Death Cat's picture

Cinebarre Preshow

On Thursday, June 23rd, Saying Goodbye starts its preshow run at Cinebarre theaters across the nation as our prize for winning the Best SC Short Film at the Charleston International Film Festival.  Since the Cinebarre serves food during their feature films, they offer a preshow of short films to entertain people while they order their food, and Saying Goodbye will be one of the shorts.  Our preshow will be in front of all the feature films playing at Cinebarre throughout the week, so if you’ve been meaning to go see one of the current movies, go watch it at the Cinebarre where you will have the added bonus of seeing Saying Goodbye.

Cinebarre theaters are located in Mt. Pleasant, SC; Asheville, NC; Denver, CO; Salem, OR; and Seattle, WA, so if you live in or near those areas, this is a great chance to see Saying Goodbye, and please tell all your friends about it.  We’re not sure how long Saying Goodbye will be part of the preshow - we were told each preshow lasts for a week, but on the Cinebarre website it looks like some of them last longer.  But if you want to make sure you see it at Cinebarre, go as soon as possible and double check the preshow schedule on the Cinebarre website.  And make sure you arrive early enough to see the entire preshow or you might miss our film. 

Check out the Cinebarre website for more information about which feature films are playing there and to check out the menu.  We hope you can make it to one of the showings!  If you do, leave us a comment telling us how the screening went and which feature you saw.

Death Cat's picture

Best of the Fest Night

Charleston International Film Festival LogoThe Charleston International Film Festival is hosting an evening of the best short films from last month's festival on Wednesday, June 29th at the Cinebarre in Mt. Pleasant.  Saying Goodbye is honored to be playing in the 9:00 pm block of films.  If you live in the Charleston area and did not get a chance to catch the shorts at the festival, this is a great opportunity to see an encore performance of some of the best films from the CIFF.  Click here to see the entire line-up of shorts and to order your tickets online.  You can use the code SHORTS online until next Tuesday at 7pm to get $2 off each ticket.  We hope to see you there!

The Cinebarre is located at:  963 Houston-Northcutt Blvd.  Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

And for more opportunities to see Saying Goodbye this week, check out this post.  

Death Cat's picture

Cheering in Chucktown

Charleston International Film FestivalThis past week of participating in the Charleston International Film Festival (CIFF) was a whirlwind of excitement.  Summer Spooner Peacher, Brian Peacher, and all the folks involved with the CIFF did a fantastic job, and we were honored to be a part of our hometown festival.  There were so many great movies to see and rockin’ after parties to attend that it’s taken us this long to recover enough to blog about our experience.

Saying Goodbye played on Saturday afternoon, and since three of the eight shorts in that block were by SC filmmakers, the American Theater was packed.  We had a wide variety of films in our screening - experimental, drama, comedy, foreign, and even a music video – so there was truly something for everyone.  And one of the films in our block was written and directed by James Redford (Robert Redford’s son, although sadly neither was at the screening) so we were in illustrious company. 

Our screening went great – people were laughing, sniffling, and digging around in purses for tissues.  The only hiccup occurred with about 45 seconds left in our movie when the screen froze.  But before we could decide whether to cry or barf, it started back up again, and sighs of relief echoed around the theater, with the loudest coming from us.  At the end of the block, the four groups of filmmakers in attendance answered questions from the audience, and we got lots of fun questions about the cats and our inspiration for the story.  Then as everyone was leaving, so many people stopped by to tell us how much they enjoyed the film or how it touched them.  That’s the most rewarding part of film festivals – getting the chance to talk with people who just watched your film.

Deedee PfeifferWe want to thank everyone who came out to watch, especially our family, friends, and neighbors.  It really meant a lot to have familiar faces in the crowd supporting us.  Also special thanks to two of our cast members, Dick White and Sue Plassmann, who both drove to Charleston to attend the screening.  Also thank you to The Summerville Journal Scene for printing an article about Saying Goodbye on the front page of Friday’s paper so more people in the community would know about the screening.

Sunday evening was the awards banquet at the beautiful Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, and that’s where we had our first festival celebrity encounter!  Dedee Pfeiffer and her husband Kevin Ryan were there with their short The Tub, for which Dedee won the CIFF Best Actress award.  They were very nice and even took a picture with us

But that’s not the most exciting part of the evening… the most exciting part is that Saying Goodbye won the Cinebarre Award for Best SC Short Film!  The award itself was thrilling enough, but the best part is the prize that comes with it – Saying Goodbye gets to screen for at least a week at the Cinebarre theater! 

Saying Goodbye wins Cinebarre AwardCinebarre serves meals with their movies, so during the time before the feature while the wait staff takes orders and delivers food, they run a preshow of short films, and we will be a part of this preshow.  At first we thought it was only going to be the Mt. Pleasant, SC, location, which would have been awesome enough, but now it sounds like it will be part of the preshow at all the Cinebarre locations across the US – squeeee!  This amazing opportunity will give Saying Goodbye a lot of exposure, and we are still pinching ourselves at our good fortune of winning this award.  Stay tuned to the blog and facebook to find out when it will be showing. 

Check out the full list of winning films from CIFF here.  It has been an incredible week and we want to again thank the CIFF for including us. 

If you’d like to see more pictures from the festival, check out our Flickr page.


Death Cat's picture

Doin' the Charleston

The Charleston International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow!  Saying Goodbye doesn’t screen until Saturday, but if you’re a fan of independent films and live in the Charleston area, there’s a lot to do and see before then.  Check out the official program for the list of screenings, workshops, and after parties.

The American TheaterSince we’ve already had our world premiere, maybe we should be relaxed and calm about this festival, but we can’t help being a bit jittery with excitement.  This is our hometown film festival, so there will be lots of family and friends in attendance (we hope!).  So many people have been enthusiastic and supportive throughout this process, and it will be fun to sit in the theater with them as they finally get to see the end product.

We will also have several of the film’s stars there to help us celebrate.  Mary Elizabeth Cobb, who played sweet nurse Kathy, is making the drive from Atlanta to be part of the fun.  And Sue Plassmann, who played Eunice’s daughter Tina, is also joining us.  And of course, no party would be complete without Stuffy the Stand-in.  He’s sleeping a few extra hours each day to make sure he looks his best.

We’ll be screening in a block with seven other shorts on Saturday, May 21st at 3:00pm at the American Theater on King Street.  You can buy your tickets in advance at this link, and use the code CIFFVR to get $2.00 off each ticket.  We hope you can join us for the big Charleston premiere!

Death Cat's picture

Trailer: The Sequel

Back in August, we unveiled our trailer for Saying Goodbye.  Recently our director, Cliff Springs, and our first AD, Sherard Duvall, got the itch to create their own Saying Goodbye trailer.  So with great fanfare *imagine trumpets blaring and drums rolling* we present the directors' cut trailer for Saying Goodbye.  Enjoy!