Monday, December 10, 2007

The New York Times features Billy The Kid

It's His World; She Was Just Filming It

Published: December 9, 2007

JENNIFER VENDITTI met the subject of her documentary “Billy the Kid” in a high school cafeteria in rural Maine. Seated apart from all the other students, who were clustered into the usual cliques, was a wiry 15-year-old in shorts and an AC/DC T-shirt.

“There was a table of bullies who pointed him out and told me he’d tried to sit with them once,” Ms. Venditti said. “They called him a freak.” She went over to talk to Billy, “and as soon as he opened his mouth, I was like, ‘Why isn’t everyone sitting at your table?’”

A casting director for films and fashion shoots who specializes in “street scouting” — the practice of plucking subjects from everyday environments — Ms. Venditti was trying to find teenage actors for a short that her friend Carter Smith was directing. She cast Billy as an extra in that film, “Bugcrush” (which went on to win the prize for best short at Sundance last year), but resolved to give her new young friend, who seemed both troubled and precocious, more screen time in a project of her own.

FOR FULL ARTICLE: The New York Times Online: "It's His World; She Was Just Filming It"

The guys at Spout have been so supportive! They interviewed me at SXSW and then again leading up to the NYC Opening. Check it out! FilmCouch #48

Thursday, December 6, 2007

NYC Opening and After Party

Last night was such a blast! The only things missing were Billy and Penny, but we know they were there in spirit.

Assistant to the Producer Jaclyn Paris

DP / Musician (Lead Singer of The Virgins) Donald Cumming, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti, Actor / Director John Turturro, Producer Chiemi Karasawa

Actor Matthew Gray Gubler, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti, Paper Magazine's Deputy Editorial Director Mickey Boardman

W Magazine's Creative Director Dennis Freedman, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti

Elephant Eye's Bridget Stokes and Vicky Wight

Director Jennifer Venditti, DP / Musician (Lead Singer of The Virgins) Donald Cumming

Actor / Director Xan Cassavetes, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti

Executive Producer Bob Alexander (Indiepix), Producer Chiemi Karasawa, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti, Executive Producer Barnet Liberman

Producer Chiemi Karasawa, Director Jonathan Caouette, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti

DP / Musician (Lead Singer of The Virgins) Donald Cumming, Producer Chiemi Karasawa, Actor John Cameron Mitchell, Director / Producer Jennifer Venditti, Composer Christian Zucconi

Photographer Pamela Hanson
(photo courtesy of

Actor John Cameron Mitchell (right) and friend
(photo courtesy of

DJs Tim Barber and Julia Burlingham
(photo courtesy of

Fashion Designer Alison Kelley
(photo courtesy of

Wednesday, December 5, 2007



Oh my, how time has flown.....actually, not really!
But a lot has happened since August 2005 when Donald (my DP) and I left for a 2 week road trip to Maine and West Virginia. I could reflect on all the HIGHLIGHTS but I'm sure everyone has heard enough of that already. The point of this blog entry is not to promote the film but to promote EVERYONE that has worked so hard ON the film.

I am so blessed to have been supported, enlightened, educated and guided by all of these people.
NOTE: There are many more but this is just the core crew..
NOTE 2: This is in no particular order, actually I will try to do it in order of who I met first.. TRY is the keyword..

I THANK YOU..................

Zan Ludlum, Nina Chaudhuri and Ed Kim, without your dedication, passion, understanding, commitment, focus and pure joy none of this would of been possible. Thank you for always caring and never giving up! 8 FOREVER
(There were a few people along the way who did quit or got fired, I thank you too.)
Intern special mentions and new folks (Stephanie Sadre-Orafai, Emily Meade, Brett Adamek, Emily Molligan, Natasha Schwartz, Alex Schindler, Christine Kim and Melissa Cates)

NINA CHAUDHURI, Production Coordinator
My rock, my memory, my eye, my organizer, my cross your t's dot your i's person, with the most lovely smile and wonderful attitude..... ALWAYS. I really really really am sooooo grateful to have had you by my side and so is everyone else that has had the privilege of working with you.

THOM POWERS, Documentary Programmer / Teacher
For the structure and thank god lack of structure in your classroom. It was exactly what I needed to start me on this path. And of course for all of your endless support and promotional efforts as well.

ELEONORE HENDRICKS, Street Scouter and Casting Assistant
For your eye and for saying to me "I think I just saw a really interesting kid walk out of the principal's office."

DONALD CUMMING, Director of Photography
For walking the talk and inspiring me to just film SOMETHING! And of course for never turning off the camera (except that one time) and never complaining (or maybe I'm forgetting now) but really for your wonderfully sensitive eye and spirit.

WELL WELL... this could be a book but I will make it short. Geez,from the very beginning... your interest, your thoughts, your knowledge, your dedication, your attention to detail (especially SPELLING, haha) your contribution to this project has been invaluable. The process of producing this together has taught me so much about film but even more about communication and partnership in LIFE. Through all of the UPS and downs our relationship has made me look at myself, situations and others and really contemplate and strive to learn and grow. THANK YOU for helping to make this all possible. We have come a long way baby!!!! THIS WOULD HAVE NOT BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT YOU!

PJ BARRY, Business Manager
Before there was a BILLY THE KID there was PJ, who has always supported and believed in me no matter what the COST. Literally!!!!

Wow. I remember being very scared to start editing with the editor from "The Cruise" but then we met and from only a small piece of footage you got it and you got me! As a first time director, you treated me with respect and you really listened. I THANK YOU for that.

To Jordan Mattos and Danielle DiGiacomo (Associate Producers) for being visionaries and for BOB ALEXANDER and BARNET LIBERMAN (Executive Producers) for making it all happen and continuing to make it all happen. I wish for all filmmakers to find executive producers like Bob and Barnet. Thank you for trusting our vision and enabling us to make it happen!!!!!!!!!!!

LUBOV AZRIA, Executive Producer
For being a beautiful, smart, compassionate and inspiring woman who makes things happen!! And especially for supporting and inspiring others to do so as well.

PARIS KAIN, Additional Photography
For not being afraid to get TOO CLOSE and I will be forever grateful to you for Reverend DAVE GARDNER's phone number!

ENAT SIDI, Additional Editor
For challenging me , for questioning things, for loving art, I was going to say listening but we all know (except you) that you can't hear!!! Your smarts, your speed, and lastly for caring so damn much geez THANK YOU!!!

For being musical geniuses and translating my gibber-gabber into exactly what was needed.

SETH ZUCKER, Graphic Designer
I would say that the promotional materials are the second star of this movie. They have had a life of their own to say the least. Seth, although it is always a process, sometimes longer then either of us would like-- it's always so worth it! Things never look the same without you. Thank you!

SHANE SIGLER, Still Photographer
For your beautiful photos and your generous spirit. You are a true gentleman and such a pleasure to work with.

DAMIAN VOLPE, Sound Editor
"You're my Bud" , for your wonderfully sensitive ears and your attentive mind. I loved all of our conversations and time together.... me on the meditation ball and you slamming whiskey!!! HAAHAHA just kidding....

JACLYN PARIS, Assistant to the Producer
For getting the film from the first time and all those great conversations. Your spirit, passion, and hard work are going to take you far!!! Can't wait to see where it takes you in the future.........

POSTWORKS, Post Production
The whole team there has been such a pleasure-- Matthew Reedy, Anne Bakoulis, John Crowley, and Pat Kelleher. I learned so much from your experts and I thank you all for your hard work, expertise, and attention to detail.

DANA O'KEEFE, Domestic Sales
What to say.... all I can think of is..... I love a man who is not afraid to stand alone!! Dana, your support and dedication to this film before many others is commendable and is why you stand out in this business. I guess it's why you relate to Billy as well? I remember leaving my first meeting with you and saying to Chiemi "I'm done, this is all I need." Yeah right, if this stranger, whose job is to watch TONS of films, says this about MY film and he doesn't even know me?!?!? To say the least it made my DAY!!! Until, as you know, I started realizing that was only the beginning and there were many obstacles in my future. It's been a pleasure and your enthusiasm and support has helped me so much.

THE LOVELY LADIES Bridget Stokes and Vicky Wight (and David Robinson too). Our angels that came in and swept us off our feet at the last minute. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work so closely with my distributor. To contribute and learn so much about the distribution process has really been a highlight and privilege for me. I HIGHLY recommend that every independent filmmaker goes with a small indie distributor. Even if you have the offers from the big guys, take the other road at least once. EEF, your grace and positive go-getter attitude has been a perfect fit for the BILLY THE KID team.

NY TIMES FEATURE!!!!!! Need I say more??!!! Thank you for your insight and guidance in this wonderfully powerful scary world called THE PRESS!!!!

To all the incredible festivals (LAFF, EDINBURGH, HOT DOCS, MELBOURNE, BRIT DOCS, FULL FRAME etc. and especially SXSW for getting the ball rolling!)

(To all journalists, blogs, friends, my family, ANNA IVARA, Fernanda Rossi, the lawyers,.......... thank you and TO BE CONTINUED