Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg's incredible, world-changing plan

A most incredible and inspiring move. Mark Zuckerberg's incredible, world-changing plan. Just announced that he and his wife will be creating a foundation and giving away 99% of his Facebook shares (currently valuated at $45 Billion) over his lifetime.



Sunday, November 08, 2015

Live-Photographing my Engagement

As I mentioned in my previous post, wedding planning is a very exciting and a very busy time, so it's been a while since I blogged. But I wanted to write this down so I can recall it in the future and also to share with you, dear blog readers, my fun and exciting experience of live-photographing my engagement as it happened.

The setup
Already a lot of secrets were in motion for the engagement day. This was a long time in planning because I had spent about 3.5 months custom designing her engagement ring. During that time I also had the chance to plan a few other fun things for the "Engagement Weekend". I dropped the question on the day before her birthday, on August 8th, 2015. This then allowed us to have a whole weekend of fun activities surrounding the engagement, all of which I planned (or, helpfully, SHE planned!) under the auspices of this being her "Birthday weekend".

The location
It was very important to me that we get engaged at the same place where we had our first date. This is on "our bench" at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in San Francisco. It is a beautiful spot -- and it's a complete and utter description of me as a person. It's just on the outskirts of the Ferry Building. For 10 years now I have been picking up some tasty local produce and baked goods and coffee in the midst of the madness and swarms of "localvores" and over-energetic tourists (of which I was one in the past). I am undeniably in love with this place. It is magnificiently meaningful. While the market is amazing, the bench is even more -- it allows you to take part in the bustle and the fun madness and then to withdraw from it, and people-watch it from a safe distance. I go on a Saturday, so in a way it's my "Shabbos" -- it's a place where I can turn off my iPhone, be relaxed, and slow down for a moment. Also in bright white letters, the title "Port of San Francisco" is there, reminding me always after a busy or hectic week at work to be grateful. To remember that I am so lucky to live in San Francisco. To remind myself that I had always dreamed of moving from tiny London, Ontario to epic California, and how somehow I have managed to achieve that in my life. This place means everything.

Since our first date, "my" bench has quickly become "our" bench. We take the time to enjoy it, to "sip and savour" as they say, and to sit back and relax and enjoy the magical and crazy world of San Francisco. Of course, we are crazy. As my buddy Alex wisely said, "You are the only person I know who would go to the busiest place in the city to get some peace and quiet." This, of course, is spot-on. We are busy, bustling, locally-integrated, excitable, hectic people. But yet, we know how to step back, how to pause, how to be calm and to stop, smell the roses, and appreciate what we are so lucky to have in our lives. So this is what the bench means. As you can see, we obviously had to get engaged there.

Planning the photography
As well as being blessed to live in this epic city, we are also blessed to have so many amazing friends who are incredible photographers. Since I work in Visual Effects, most of my friends have at least a Canon 5D Mark II camera, and are only called "Amateur Photographers" rather than "Professional Photographers" because they have another job already. I see them all as being absolutely stellar at their photography skill, and my buddy Sean Wells was the obvious choice.

"Have you ever photographed an Engagement before?" I asked Sean. "Well", he said, "I have photographed a lot of Weddings before and also done Engagement Photo sessions -- but I have never shot a live Engagement, AS IT HAPPENS before!! I am as nervous as you are!"

Of course, I knew he would do an amazing job and since we are colleagues at ILM/Lucasfilm, that implies a certain amount of artistic obsessiveness and perfectionism -- generally a trait in all of my friends and colleagues. :) This was, of course, a perfect and necessary skill to pull of this kind of photography "heist" as I called it.

In true form, after sending Sean a Google Maps pin to show him the exact location of the bench, he went out to "location scout" the place and to photograph it with his girlfriend Crystal in place of where Michal might be standing on the actual day-of. This was perfect and he tested out some lens options and generally made some great planning decisions in advance. Sean, you are epic.

He sent me these "proofs" and I was very pleased with the style of the photos -- getting the "Port of San Francisco" sign in frame as well as capturing the action. Approved!!

The lead-up
Leading up to the day-of, on the Thursday (we got engaged on a Saturday), I talked with Sean at work and hashed out the "action". We decided that it made more sense for Crystal to come along as well as that would both add Crystal's lovely personality into the mix, as well as being a great distraction to Michal for a moment as I would need to futz around and get the ring box out of my shoulder bag. We made a rough "script" and test out our Improv Acting skills, "Oh, hey, is that Sean??! Hey man! What are you up to?" "Oh, just trying out some new lenses..." haha. So cheesy. But so good. I figured by the time Sean was almost set up for the photos, Michal would likely click into the idea and realize I was about to ask her to marry me... and almost on-cue on the day of, that's exactly what happened. :) But I figured it would be a good enough distraction that I could get prepared, into the right location and down on one knee just as she was piecing together what was just about to happen.

The big day!
The big day arrived and I texted Sean well in advance. First from Michal's place as I secured the ring (side note, why the hell are ring boxes so damn large?!??! It makes it near-impossible to secretly put it anywhere if you're trying to keep a secret!). We then headed off on a walk (as I had set up) to the Ferry Building as we usually do on a Saturday. The Saturday before I had declined a trip to the Ferry Building (claiming "Oh, I REALLY want to go pick up my new bike today!") so that I would make sure there was no discussion of to whether or not we should go to the Ferry Building this week "since we just went last week". So that all worked out like a charm. I had to take my shoulder bag, which is unusual since I never take it (to secure the ring), but I figured it might be sortof an OK sneaky plan. She thought it was a bit odd, but I did skirt around it carefully so she wasn't too suspecting of it. Of course she had SOME idea the engagement might be somewhere around then (notice her perfectly manicured nails!) so she also gave me the benefit of the doubt if I was being particularly odd compared to usual.

We headed to the Ferry Building and I texted Sean again on arrival with a 30-45min out warning. He got prepared somewhere else downtown and then said he'd wait for my final "NOW!" text which would be a 5-min warning.

We picked up some food, and I ate next-to-nothing as the butterflies in my stomach would not allow it. :) We went to the bench and sat nicely for a bit, talking about I-have-no-idea-what. I had planned to ask the question sometime around 12:30-1:00 and at about 12:23 it started spitting rain, just a tiny bit. I literally looked up to the skies and thought ("Please, just give me 5 minutes!") It was good motivation. :) I actually was hoping for grey skies because the contrast is really nice and there are no harsh shadows on your face like you would have in bright sunlight. The Ferry Building bench is usually in bright sunlight so this was very lucky... but the rain was no good! So I went to "throw out the garbage" in a bin and texted Sean "NOW!!!!!". Michal told me later she thought it was odd that I was texting from the Garbage Can, but didn't piece it together yet.

3-4 min later, Sean and Crystal started walking towards us. As expected, eventually Michal noticed, "Hey, is that Sean?!" "Nah, I don't think so", I said oh-so-slyly. Of course I was trying not to look over there constantly and nervously for the previous 5 minutes straight. :)

They got closer and Sean used his great line, "Oh just trying out a new Lens!" haha. Awesome. I got into place, and down on one knee... and the rest, as they say, is history. :)

Sean captured some incredibly amazing photos, all live and as-it-happened. I am so grateful to him and to Crystal for helping with my crazy idea, and for helping make these photos just perfect. They are amazing. You'll see in some of the photos I am down on one knee but she already has the ring on -- this because I had a 2nd "ring" proposal for her. I had promised we would move in together only after we got engaged, so my first act as an Engaged man, immediately after she said "Yes" to the ring, was to get back down on one knee and to make true on my promise -- the 2nd "ring" was a "keyring" to my apartment, along with the phrase, "Will you make my apartment our home." Success. :)

Thank you to Sean and to Crystal for putting up with my insane amount of detailed emails in advance, and to Sean for capturing this incredible moment as it happened.

Thankfully, the rain held off and we spent the next 3.5 hours sitting on the bench and reveling in teh joy, and personally calling all the close family around the world. I had planned a block of time right after the engagement time (before we had a "birthday"/congratulations on your engagement party for Michal later in the day) because I knew she/we were going to want to personally call a bunch of people. It was awesome. And it worked out perfectly.

Hilariously, the sun came out in full force at exactly 1:00pm. The photos were done (and were not shot in direct harsh sunlight, wahoo!!!), everything was a huge success, and we got to bathe in the glorious sunlight as we called so many important family members from our glorious Ferry Building bench. :)

What a day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My design process for a custom Engagement Ring

Wow, it has been a while since I've blogged -- that's what Wedding Prep is like, a very busy, fun, epic, crazy all-encompassing time!! I wanted to jot down some thoughts and memories here just to remind myself and family in years to come of the exciting and intricate process of designing my girlfriend fiancee's wedding ring.

Also, if you've found this page randomly via Google Search: then... welcome, congrats, mazel tov, and I wish you the very best. Here are some of my thoughts and design process as I created a custom engagement ring, and how the process generally worked.

But first, the piece-de-resistance:
The final ring!

Custom ring design or buy a pre-made setting somewhere?
This to me was a pretty obvious choice. I wanted to make something very personal and one-of-a-kind. This is not to say that you cannot achieve this with a pre-made setting, as every single diamond/stone you might get for the center stone is utterly unique and will add the kind of charm you're looking for -- so I did want to explore both options. But after seeing a few pre-made settings, I knew that I wanted to pour my heart and soul into the design and that would be a fun and meaningful experience for me, and in turn, for her.

Working backwards from the engagement date
Michal and I got engaged on August 8th, 2015. I wanted to make sure that I had the ring ready well in advance (give yourself buffer time! I had a short delay in the engraving and I'm very glad I had told them I needed the ring an entire week before I actually needed it).

As you've probably seen from my blog/facebook/twitter madness over this year, I had a lot of crazy and exciting this happening this year -- I lived in London for work for a month, I traveled in Scotland and Israel, my sister's wedding on a cruise from New York to London, the release of the Batkid Begins movie in theatres, promotional/press junkets and premieres and interviews for the Batkid film release... it's been one AMAZING and NUTSO year!! So with all of that said, it was very important to me that the engagement not feel like it was right in the midst of a million other things. We needed time to savour it, to enjoy it for it's own purposes, and not just have it be one of a thousand things on our busy, over-calendared life this year. It was very important that it came at a good time. So, I picked a good time for it, made secret plans for the "engagement weekend" (more on that later) and decided on a good time to start planning the ring.

Secret or not-secret?
I got some great advice from one of the Jewelers that I spoke with: "Are you absolutely certain that she does not want to be a part of the design process?" This is a great question to ask yourself. He said that a high percent, like 80%, of people that come into his shop come in as couples. It's not as common these days (at least from his perspective) for the man to secretly design the ring with NO input from the woman -- or at least only with the input he has cobbled together from little things she's said over the years ("I like classic earrings", or "I really don't like yellow gold" or "Look at THESE rings (shows you a magazine ad)".) Thankfully some girls (like mine) will help you out immensely by telling you plainly what they like and don't like. They may already have artistic style well-developed (look at her earrings, other rings or necklaces she already wears -- take photos of them and send them to the designer).

I think also the Jeweler wanted to be sure I actually was creating something I was sure she would love -- not just something I thought looked nice using my *own* design sensibilities. This, of course, is a ring for her, not a ring for me. Important things to think about as I moved forwards with this.

Ultimately, in my case, I decided that she would be overjoyed that I spent so much time, love, and energy in designing and carefully considering all the things she might love. I also had family heirloom diamonds I wanted to use and that would be very meaningful to her as well. She has a sense of style so I knew I had to be very careful in designing the details towards a style she likes -- it's very hard to buy people jewellery anyway, let alone a ring they are going to wear everyday for the rest of their life. So, choose wisely! If you're not very detail oriented, this process might not be for you and you might prefer to get some help from her friends or from a Jeweler. You can still make it a secret, or even get a "temporary ring" to get engaged with and then go pick one out with her in person.

But if you're jumping in the deep end like I decided to do and figuring it all out yourself and creating something one-of-a-kind that has never been done before... I hope my experience below is helpful!

I decided I wanted this to be a secret and that was going to be a good experience for her too (as she wasn't 100% set on one specific thing and would like the fact that I spent countless hours of care and energy on this) -- here's how I proceeded.

Reaching out to design firms
I wanted to do the design in secret so I didn't want her around when it was happening. That's near-impossible if you already live together, and we didn't yet at that point so that was helpful. You can also get some sneaky computer googling time at work or on the weekend as needed to try to find out the style you think you want to start from, and also where in your local city is able to do it to your specifications, and also which Jewelers even have styles similar to what you think you are going for.

I started the whole process in the midst of my work trip to England. I had 3-4 weeks there, totally uninterrupted, and could spend lots of evenings googling ring designs, talking with people, etc without her watchful eye anywhere near :) This was very useful. I start the process originally by googling designs I liked, as well as making a "code name" for the project. Any trusted friends I wanted to talk to about it I said "Do not use the word "Engagement Ring" in any email subjects -- she might see it pop up on our shared iPad by mistake." Always use the project code name :)

I called mine "Project Aragorn" (so nerdy, I know) after the dude from Lord of the Rings. (Yes, I am huge nerd). Aragorn->Lord of the Rings->Engagement Ring. Silly yes, but something she would never look at or wonder about if she saw an email subject saying: "Need your advice re: Project Aragorn designs".

I then started emailing people like crazy. I wanted to set up some meetings in advance so when I got back to San Francisco from London I could start meeting people and asking about how to incorporate the heirloom diamonds into the design, which ones of the choices I had I should use, etc. My initial error was sending an email as long as this blog post -- I sent a thousand details, talking about what I wanted and what I didn't want, send a bunch of photos of her existing jewellery and talking about designers I know she likes for earrings, etc. This was crazy and too long. No one responded. My best-man Matt said "Don't you think this is too overwhelming as an initial email?!" On my high horse I said "If they want my business, they had better respond!" Of course, as usual, being my very practical voice-of-reason for the past 25 years, he was totally correct. I made a way smaller summary PDF document with photos embedded a few days later after getting zero responses, and re-sent it out to some of the same design firms in San Francisco. This was a massive success and several wrote back immediately, helping me set up in-person meetings for when I returned to SF.

From then, I continued Googling and found lots of styles I liked, but upon thinking about it further I decided she would not like.I compiled a few "this is sortof where I am thinking it will go" images, and sent those out. Notice early on, I had already reduced all the choices down to it to being a white-gold (or platinum) ring, along with white diamonds and blue sapphires integrated together. So I had already gotten pretty close to what I figured would be meaningful to both of us and what I suspected she would want in terms of colour and stone type. But initially I had the ring style way-off.

The original concept after Googling a lot -- I sent this in the PDF to all the design firms
I was stuck in my mind on the idea of an Art Deco-style ring -- that one on the top right was one of my favourite pre-defined settings. Very ornate, intricate (things I did keep in the design, ultimately), but as my Dad famously put it, "Don't buy her a Superbowl Ring"!! These are quite beautiful, but given Michal's petite hand as well as her personality, she wouldn't want a massive, chunky ring. Working out and running and on a computer a lot as well, I didn't want her to have something so chunky, something a little more streamlined and feminine was important, ultimately.

That said, I'm sure she would have loved whatever I came up with (she is just amazing like that), but I am very glad that this was my starting point and not my ending point. :)

How the hell do I figure out her ring size?!
This is hilarious. I trusted nobody. I didn't want anyone to take her to Tiffany's and "try on stuff" as then she would be totally onto me. I didn't want to go with her to some Jewellery place because then she might have a totally different idea of what I was getting her and the second she started looking at a yellow-gold ring I would probably freak out and completely change my design, second-guessing my gut instincts and taking anything she said there as gospel as to what she wanted. It seemed like it would derail the process. So I decided to go a bit MacGuyver with this.

MacGuyver-ing the ring size
She never wears rings, so I couldn't take one she had already. Darn. So, I waited till she had gone to work one day and rifled through her stuff (fun!) I found a few older rings of different sizes and found a few chunky ones (far right) that seemed like they were older and probably from street vendors -- so I opted to measure the metal ones that looked like they had been bought as a gift for her in the past. I made a paper cone and taped it together (thank you Frank for that excellent idea!) and dropped the ring onto that cone. Then, I used a pen to mark the position on the cone. I repeated that process for several of the rings she had to cross-check. Then I used that plastic ring measuring tool (see middle of the picture) to measure where the pen lines were on the paper cone. They read approx 6-6.5. Seemed like a good guess, as the average woman's ring finger (as I learned) is a size 7.

Side note: this was totally wrong. Her fingers are TINY. Turns out she was was size 4.75?!?!?! Crazy. The one ring here that actually fits her, I thought was a pinky-ring. And the other ones she used to wear on her middle or pointer finger instead. Wow. So this process only got me in the ballpark of size. I had confirmed with the design firm that it was OK to be a bit off -- they said that was absolutely no problem and they could easily re-size up or down a couple of sizes. But I needed to be in the ballpark otherwise major re-designs would need to happen. So, ultimately this process got me close enough. Would have been great if she usually wore rings and I could just have measured one of those, but you have to work with what you've got. :)

Working towards the CAD design
After a good amount of deliberation, I decided the style of the lovely ladies at RedStart Design in San Francisco were the winners. They are so awesome there, and have a magnificent vibe of true craftspeople -- they are a combo of designers and engineers from Stanford, so they had a cool art+science vibe that reminded me a lot of my own workplace. I really trusted they would be the great partners I would need to help me along throughout this process. I wanted people with their own excellent artistic sensibilities to help me take my concept and craft it into something she would love. I did not want a designer just to do whatever I said -- I am not that smart or talented to know exactly what she would want, and I am certainly not arrogant to think I know the first thing about Jewellery design. That said, I did feel it was very important to work in some personal touches and little personal reasons for making certain choices in the ring, and since the diamonds were all heirloom diamonds from South Africa (where my family is from) and were given to my Great Grandmother Lily on her Wedding day by my Great Grandfather Norman... this was a very personal gift for Michal. I wanted it to have a personal touch from me, and not just to set the stones in a pre-existing setting. Thus this design process.

So! RedStart was the perfect combo of "helping me achieve what I think she will like" and "steering me away from making bad decisions since I am not, in fact, a Jewellery designer". They struck a perfect combo.

We worked together back-and-forth for a few weeks. This was great and I really enjoyed the process. They were great about responding to my 7,000 word manifestos about the specific angle of things or the type of engraving or millegrain dots. They were also very smooth but not pressurey at suggesting changes: eg. ultimately I ended up choosing this in unplated white gold (rather than plated white gold), something I didn't even know existed, so it better showed off the stones rather than contrasting too much with them.

Ultimately, after a few weeks of design ideas and passing drawings back and forth, we ended up with this CAD drawing from them, which is darn close to the final ring. This did not yet include engraving.

CAD design -- getting close!

I wanted Michal's ring to be a combination of "new and old" -- just like us. Tradition is very important to us but we are also modern people -- so I wanted the ring to reflect that too. We are also very balanced in terms of bustle and relaxation -- we are a tension of opposites, in some ways. I wanted to get this idea into the ring. Michal's style of Jewlwery (for her earrings, etc) is often very "antiquey" -- plus these stones were hand-cut in 1907, so this is literally an Antique -- though I didn't think she would like a purely Antique-style ring. So the mix of antique and modern was important to me.

I decided that the ring design should be mostly modern, and we would achieve more of that "antiquey" look via the engraving and millegrain detail.

We figured this part out by drawing on top of the ring design CAD printouts, and ultimately coming to a decision reasonably quickly about what kind of engraving would look good. I kept having to remind myself that the engraving would not be dark like the pen drawing on the paper, ultimately it is much more subtle than that in reality.

So this was great, and helped me get to the final design. And then... all I had to do was wait!

We were off again on another trip, this time for my sister's wedding on a cruise ship with no access to the internet of phone for 8 days! I had planned to handoff everything to RedStart in advance of the trip and just had one last-minute call to clarify one of the final engraving decisions about 2 hrs before we left for the boat!! Crazy-pants. But I knew I could trust the ladies there, and with all artistic things, you need to work your butt off in advance and then just let it be. I knew I had put in a bunch of work to get it "right" in advance and she was going to love all of the time and dedication and design details that went into the ring.

We set off on the boat, and I suspected that when we arrived in England, most things would have been completed on the ring. This was exactly the case and when I got back online, I had an email waiting for me called "Sneak Peak" showing off the not-yet-engraved, but completed ring!! OMG!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!! It's real!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was an amazing moment of awe and wonder. They had taken the heirloom diamonds, beautifully merged them with some awesome add-on sapphires I wanted, and the ring design was smooth, femine, beautiful, unique, streamlined, and so so glorious. I was so happy. This was now very close to the final completed ring and I was over the moon with joy -- she was going to LOVE IT.

Then, as I mentioned above, I waited for a little longer and trusted the engraver (who has been doing this for 45 years) to take my initial "I want something like this" input and to make it a beautiful reality. And, of course, he did. It was perfect, and the final ring was a slam dunk.

The whole process was so much fun and also so satifsying. I knew I wanted to put my own personal touch into her ring. I had the opportunity to go the other way, to pick a pre-defined setting and to get another place to fill in other stones. I could have also traded in the heirloom stones for something else and bought new ones that were bigger, brighter, different... blah blah. Ultimately the most important thing is the spirit and the meaning inside the ring, and I knew she was going to feel the same way. I actually had a ring designer at another studio try to convince me to trade them in for something else bigger. I said "Thank you for your time" and basically did an about-face and left. That would have been a terrible idea. The heirloom stones are not perfectly clear flawless stones, certainly. But they are much more inherently meaningful than anything I could have ever bought, with any amount of money. They mean carrying forward a family tradition, together. This is ultimately what marriage is all about for us. So I am very glad I stuck with the plan, and so glad I found a design firm keen and willing to work with me, and not try to convince me to do things outside of the core values I wanted the ring to represent.

Ultimately, and my bride-to-be agrees, I ended up with something that is the most meaningful to us, and represents what our love and marriage will stand for. And spending 3.5 months of effort to "get this right" and putting in so much time and energy on her behalf, is I think an excellent and fitting way to start off on the right foot. Energy and effort = time = love.As Mumford and Sons say it, so well, "Where you invest your love, you invest your life". And what a life it will be together!!

Looks good on her :)

To anyone reading this and struggling with a decision about making a custom ring, I hope this was helpful. Good luck. If you decided to go for it, just make sure you choose someone you trust to help usher you towards a final design that she will love.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Dana and Kurt interviewing on Netflix's DVD.com

Check out this fantastic interview on Netflix's DVD.com.

The esteemed Kurt Kuenne and Dana Nachman interviewing at Netflix this week to talk about Batkid Begins now available on Netflix's DVD service.

It really warms my heart hearing the words that Kurt says here about the purpose of the film -- it represents exactly what I felt was one of the most important dialogues in the film: the "why". We could have just let the day happen and that would have been perfect and achieved Miles' wish.

But once it became more than just that day, and a moment of the world paying attention, the creation of this film was "the extra mile". A documentary became the best way of "sharing it" and talking and telling people why it matters -- this has a lot of power to make volunteering a more enticing thing for people to do.

This, ultimately, is how we can all help make the world a kinder place. I am still blown away that Kurt and Dana so beautifully carried this message for the world to see. I am eternally grateful for their care with this story and this message. Let's see if we can't just fix a few things on this planet while we're here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Batkid Begins' Oscar run

WOW!! Variety has just announced that Batkid Begins has been submitted for consideration in the Documentary Feature category for the 88th Academy Awards. Ahh!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is so incredible, and such a testament to the unwavering energy, dedication and spirit which director Dana Nachman brought to this project and to our little story of local volunteerism gone (unexpectedly) big. I am so pleased for Dana, Kurt, Ian and the rest of the Bat-Team for their entry into the Oscar run, and I wish them the very best. I hope this further helps people learn about this beautiful film, and all the ways people can volunteer in their community to help make a little child's dream come true.

Go Bat-Team, Go!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Batkid Begins now available on DVD and On Demand

Dear friends,

For those of you still super keen to see our little story on the silver screen, you can now see it on the silver screen in your own home :) If you haven't been able to catch Batkid Begins yet, you can see it now at home on DVD. It is also available to Buy On Demand via iTunes, and to Rent or Buy on Amazon Video, etc.
The DVD is now available on Amazon and other stores. I hope you enjoy this beautifully put together story by the excellent Documentary filmmaker, Dana Nachman.

Monday, September 28, 2015

SpiderMable to the Rescue!!!

This is just so awesome and fantastic. I must say I *KNEW* it was going to be a Canadian city who would have so much heart and love to create the next Batkid-style wish day :) I am just overjoyed at seeing this story.


In true Canadian style, the most important person in town is the Captain of the hockey team... and so when he was kidnapped, Spider-Mable had to spring into action!! Totally incredible ziplining at the West Edmonton Mall, the Edmonton Police Department in full support and totally involved in this magical day... oh man. I just love it.

Congratulations to Edmonton, and I must say, I am very proud of my homeland to have pulled off another amazing, intricate, uplifting day for a young child. Well done, and the SFBatkid team salutes you!

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Batkid Begins" | Talks at Google

Hello Blog-reading friends -- sure has been a while since I have posted. Things are great but VERY busy lately. Something fun I did last week -- Dana, Patricia and I went to Google and participated in their excellent Talks at Google speaker series, chatting "Batkid Begins" and all the fun and madness, joy and love and dedication that went into this effort, and sharing some stories about why the Make-A-Wish day was such an important story for us to share.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Batkid Begins: Updated screening locations as of 7/31

Our good friends at WB just sent me the new list of Batkid Begins locations around Canada and the USA. Here is where you can see the film as of 7/31!

Albany, NY Spectrum Cinema 8
Tucson, Arizona Loft 2
Charlotte, Park Terrace 6
Cincinatti, Mariemont Cinema 3
Columbus, OH Lennox Town Ctr 24
Houston, Amc Studio 30
San Antonio, Embassy 14
Oklahoma City, Quail Springs 24
Tulsa, Southroads 20
Philadelphia, Wilkes Barre Cinemark 20, Moosic
Salt Lake City, Megaplex 20, South Jordan
Seattle, Grand 3, Tacoma
Toronto, Carlton 9
Washington, DC, Shirlington 7, Arlington

And further announced openings later this month:
8/8/15 Cameo, St. Helena, CA
8/14/15 Yes Cinema, Columbus, IN
8/18/15 Downtown, Redwood City, CA
8/29/15 Revue, Toronto, Canada

Monday, July 27, 2015

Raiders, Raptors and Rebels: Behind the Magic of ILM

My awesome colleague and friend Rachel Rose appears at the end of this clip! Awesome looking ILM Doc from the Science Channel. Can't wait to see it.

"Raiders, Raptors and Rebesl: Behind the Magic of ILM" Premieres - See more at: http://www.tvweeklynow.com/news-blogs/news-blogs-RicksPicks/raiders-raptors-and-rebels-behind-the-magic-of-ilm-premieres.htm#sthash.NBMTcWrG.dpuf
"Raiders, Raptors and Rebesl: Behind the Magic of ILM" Premieres - See more at: http://www.tvweeklynow.com/news-blogs/news-blogs-RicksPicks/raiders-raptors-and-rebels-behind-the-magic-of-ilm-premieres.htm#sthash.NBMTcWrG.dpuf

Friday, July 10, 2015

Batkid Begins: Canadian Premiere!

Batkid Begins opens today (July 10th, 2015) in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox! I spoke to CTV this morning on Canada AM to discuss the film, the message, and of course, the Canadian connection :) Ticket sales available at http://www.batkidbegins.com, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting The Batkid Fund. See the interview here: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=653915

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Batkid TV interviews

Dana Nachman (Director, Batkid Begins), Patricia Wilson (CEO/Executive Director, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area) and I went on a press tour in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco in June, 2015 to help share the message of Batkid Begins -- what happens when people say ‘yes’ selflessly in the spirit of community service, and how the digital lives we live in can influence real world action.

Here are a section of our interviews and some articles about the efforts of Make-A-Wish, the Batkid wish team and the film.


Good Day LA



HitFix.com: "This film explores the power of pop culture to unite and to heal"

Another great Batkid Begins review, courtesy of the great Drew McWeeny at HitFix.com:
"There is one more film right now that says a lot about the role pop culture plays in our lives, and it does more than save a life in this case… it transforms an entire community. "Batkid Begins" is a beautiful movie, and Dana Nachman has made a film of extraordinary kindness, a film that I found deeply moving from the moment it began to the moment it ended. We live in a cynical age, and it is incredibly easy to let yourself believe that society is fundamentally broken, but this film not only affirms that people are decent when inspired properly, but that explores the power of pop culture to unite and to heal. "Batkid Begins" is a very special film, one that is overwhelmingly emotional. No parent will be unaffected by this, but the power of the film is showing how infectious kindness can be. In a world where this many jaded Californians can be shocked out of their daily routine and moved to show up to support one sick child, it's easy to believe that anything is possible. Hollywood routinely uses every special effect and all the money in the world to try to create the illusion of magic; "Batkid Begins" is real magic, start to finish."
Read more here: http://www.hitfix.com/motion-captured/from-wolfpack-to-batkid-begins-can-movies-save-your-life

"Do all the things!"

Interesting article about "Superachievers". I know a few of those... my favourite kind of people :)

"A psychologist explains how successful people do more in a day than others do in a week"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Batkid Begins: Now playing in SF, LA, NYC!

Hi friends, if you're in SF, LA or NYC-- Batkid Begins needs your support! It's a very small opening (4 screens) and will go to more cities only if enough people see it opening (this) weekend.

Great for the family and an inspiring tale of human kindness :)

The more seats that sell, the larger the eventual donation to the Batkid Fund -- benefiting Make-A-Wish and 4 other charities.

Playing now! Check http://www.batkidbegins.com for showtimes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Batkid Press Interview from Warner Bros. Leavesdon Studios

Portions from my interview about Batkid Begins that we filmed at the Warner Bros. Leavesdon Studios when I was in London are now available on IMDb. Check it out here, just a short 2 min clip.


Batkid Begins opens in San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles on June 26th, and opens Nationwide in July 2015. Advance Tix available now via http://www.batkidbegins.com.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Trek Bike Demo Comparison: Remedy 9.8 vs. Fuel EX 9.8

Yesterday I went to the most epic of all demo bike rides, as my fave place City Cycle in Corte Madera hosted a Trek Factory Demo event at China Camp State Park, my favourite mountain biking spot in the Bay Area!

Last November I posted some thoughts about the Fuel EX 9.8 here, after riding it around Tamarancho: http://jutanclan.blogspot.com/2014/11/bike-demo-trek-fuel-ex-98.html

In that post I was also on the fence about whether the Remedy or the Fuel EX would be right choice for me. And I tell ya, I went into this demo ready to try each bike on the same trail, one after the other, full-on expecting the Fuel to be the winner. I was pleasantly surprised that the Remedy came out swinging, and I think I will actually go with the Remedy when I finally buy my new bike. Here's more details... but first, a look at the two bikes I demo'd this weekend.
Trek Remedy 9.8 27.5 (MSRP $5829.99)

Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 (MSRP $5459.99)

Yes, they are both gorgeous beasts ready to be unleashed on the mountains of Northern California. They are also the price of a small car, so... yeah... I am going to get one of these but not a model this fancy. These are both Carbon Fiber frames, thus the high cost -- I will be getting an Aluminum version instead, perhaps the nicest Aluminum one (best components) just below the Carbon frame, as it's a big jump in cost to go from Aluminum to Carbon. Buying right below that threshold will save a lot of money (almost 1/2) and still yield an epic new ride.

Now for some more details about the two rides.

The first ride I did was on the Remedy.

I was expecting a few things on the Remedy ride. I figured that I would be a bit nervous of the roots and rocks and not super confident on the ride, as usually the first time back on a trail I am a little more cautious than the 2nd time. I also figured I would get tired quickly on the uphill, as people had told me that the Remedy climbs hills a lot slower than the Fuel given it's more of a "Downhill-friendly" trail bike.

To my utter surprise, neither of these two things were true. I am *so* glad I tried the bikes in this order -- just by chance -- as it totally was different than what I was expecting.

First off, I found I was zooming up the hills on the Remedy. Maybe it's just because I was excited to ride or my legs were well rested, but I found I had no problem scaling the hills and I enjoyed it immensely without feeling like I was pumping all my energy into the bike shocks or the weight of the bike.

Next, I found I had a lot of confidence (much more, in fact, than I did on the 2nd ride with the Fuel -- utterly surprising). I saw big rocks and rolled right over them as if this was a 29er bike. I had no problem with most things I might second-guess in other cases. The mid-trail section and downward section of this hill were a total delight -- fast, exciting, and smooth as silk with these beautiful shocks. I loved it, every single minute. The Remedy just slayed the hills with grace and beauty like only a thoroughbred stallion like the Remedy could!

On the downside, I did find I had a little more trouble cornering on the Remedy than I did on the Fuel -- this could easily be because it was my first of two rides on the hill -- I tend to have more confidence with handling the switchbacks on the 2nd run... and on the first with the Remedy I did walk a few more than I would have liked.

This Remedy was also a 17.5" frame (rather than the 18.5" frame they had for the demo Fuel). I am VERY clearly a 17.5" frame. I have ridden both, but now I tried one after the other, it does not feel "close enough" or "the same" as I had felt. I am definitely much more comfortable on a 17.5", the handlebars are way too much of a stretch on the 18.5" while the 17.5" feels very relaxed and comfortable.

Interestingly, I felt at first when getting on the Remedy that I might be a bit "too close" to the handlebars, and also that the seat had a bit of an odd angle (it's a little more of a "Downhill" trail bike than the Fuel is)... but I got comfortable on it pretty quickly and it was a breeze.

The Remedy overall felt very "relaxed", a laid-back fit, and like a "real mountain bike". Biking on this reminded me of biking on Duthie Hill Park in Washington -- it just made biking so damn fun and exciting and enjoyable. I loved every second. What an awesome bike.

I asked the guys after if I was dreaming it or were these handlebars a little wider than the Fuel? They said, yes, in fact they were a bit wider. That kind of grip is necessary when you have more travel on the front shock as the Remedy has. It did definitely feel that way -- both in that cornering was a little harder for me to figure out, and that it felt like I was driving a real machine here rather than a sort of "nicer version" of my current hardtail bike (as I felt with the Fuel). I also asked why it felt so much smoother and softer on the bumps than with the Fuel, and they said this was also expected. The Remedy should have "plushier" shocks as compared with the Fuel, as it's more "Downhill" of a trail bike. Ahh. Very nice. Presumably the tech from Trek had correctly tuned the shocks to my weight... but I felt much more comfortable on the Remedy than the Fuel, significantly so.

I finished the ride and it was epic. Then took a short break and got ready for Ride 2 on the Fuel EX.

For the Fuel they only had the 18.5" frame available. As I mentioned this was immediately uncomfortable as compared to the 17.5" frame Remedy I had. The seat was also slightly too high so I lowered it with the dropper post a little, but that I only helped a little -- the handlebars were just too far from me and it was not nearly as comfortable right off the bat compared to the Remedy.

This is also a beautiful bike as you can see, but when I compared it side-by-side to the Remedy, the Remedy won.

I felt right off the bat as well that this bike felt a little more "upright" than the Remedy. I was sitting up taller, and it felt almost immediately as if I "knew" this bike -- it felt very familiar. It kindof felt a lot like a nicer version of my current Gary Fisher Hardtail. In a way, that was nice -- this bike felt like an old friend who I knew well and I understood how it would approach the trail. But, on the other hand, it felt like I was getting "a lot more Bike" out of the Remedy. The Remedy feels like a "mountain" Mountain Bike, whereas the Fuel compared to it feels like just a pimped-out version of what I already own.

This is an odd realization to come to after my glowing review of the Fuel from last Nov, but I do feel like comparing the one against the other on the same hill and one after the other was a great call and allows me to fine-tune my feelings about each model. Also, in Nov I rode a 17.5" Fuel so that probably made a difference too. I was keen to come away from this bike demo with some decisions made, and the fact that I want a Trek 650b Full-Suspension 17.5" bike is now obvious.

The Fuel as I mentioned was a little better at cornering than the Remedy (but perhaps that was due to this being Ride #2 of the day). I also felt the seat/position significantly more uncomfortable than the Remedy -- the seat was a little high, but even after lowering it a bit this felt like a stretch. This is partially due to the 18.5" over the 17.5", but also perhaps related to the geometry of the bike a bit.

The other thing that was surprising to me was how I second-guessed myself a few times on the Fuel. I skidded to a stop a few times before some tree roots and rocks which I easily just rolled over in the Remedy. This is perhaps one of the biggest wins for the Remedy over the Fuel: I was more confident on the Remedy. This means that biking will be more enjoyable, and I will also grow more and try more challenging trails if I have a bike that can handle it better.

The Remedy drove a lot better/smoother than the Fuel, and I wonder also if that had something to do with the wear-and-tear on one vs. the other. Seems unlikely as Trek would want to put their best foot forwards with their demo bikes.

When I buy one of these I'm going to get the Aluminum over the Carbon, so that will add a bit of weight. I suppose that adds to the argument that the Remedy will be harder to bike up hills, but hopefully it's roughly the same as the Fuel but with more downwards fun and flexibility.

I went into the day assuming the Remedy would be too hard to pedal up the hills, and it was not. Turns out that it felt basically the same as the Fuel, but just a lot more comfortable, and opens up more opportunities for more challenging trails like Downieville and Tahoe. The Remedy has more travel than the Fuel, so the guys said the Fuel is good for "around here" but you'll feel like you've run out of travel if you take it to another spot.

Given the absolutely stellar performance of the Remedy yesterday, I am pretty sure that is going to be my new steed. Now to wait for a good price :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Advance Tickets for Sale for Batkid Begins screenings (SF, NYC, LA)

Available NOW on the Batkid Begins website are tix for SF, NYC and LA opening weekend! Please help us sell this out! The more folks who go opening weekend, will help the film go to more and more cities, and help us spread this message of hope, compassion and community service wider and wider.

Order your advance tickets now: http://batkidbegins.com/

*Note: a portion of the proceeds of Batkid Begins will be donated to The Batkid Fund, a charity set up by Miles Scott (Batkid's) family, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation and 4 other charities.

Friday, June 12, 2015

WIRED Cover Story: The Untold Story of ILM, a Titan That Forever Changed Film

MAN. It is an absolute honour to work inside these hallowed halls :)

My epic workplace, ILM (Industrial Light & Magic, visual effects division of Lucasfilm) is the cover story of WIRED this month. Check it out here:


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: New Batkid Begins clip: "When You're Tired, You Can't Stop"

EXCLUSIVE to Mike Jutan's World blog!
A new clip from Batkid Begins, entitled "When You're Tired, You Can't Stop"

A beautiful moment between Batkid and Batman (played by Eric Johnston on the Batkid Day in San Francisco). This clip also shows the reveal of my character, the nasty Penguin, kidnapping Lou Seal (the beloved Mascot of the San Francisco Giants). The chase begins...

Courtesy of our good friends at Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.
Catch Batkid Begins in limited theatres on June 26!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Batkid Begins: Classroom Study Guide by SFFS

The excellent "Schools at the Festival" program from the San Francisco Film Society put together this excellent PDF about Batkid Begins, with discussion questions and study topics for gradeschoolers (Grades 5-12). Excellent material for classroom use.

Check it out here:

My favourite part:
3) Describe EJ and Mike Jutan, the guys who play Batman and The Penguin.
• What kind of people are they?
• Are they like other adults that you know?
• In what ways are EJ and Mike like children?
• What can we learn from EJ and Mike about the relationship between childhood, play and creativity?

EJ had a hilarious comment about the third point: "I bet Sue and Michal have some good answers for that one" hahaha ;)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Batkid Begins: Official Warner Bros. Trailer

1,007,074 Views of the Batkid Begins trailer views in 21 hrs... Totally nuts. And totally how Batkid stuff rolls in the public conciousness :)

I am so damn excited that Warner Bros Pictures are sharing our story far and wide... And hoping this excitement and interest will lead to this movie getting a wider and wider release.

Can a movie change the world?? Not exactly. But people watching this movie might change this world, using this beautifully crafted, honest, passionate movie as a little extra inspiration...

Batkid Begins opens in select theatres (San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles to start) on June 26, 2015.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Batkid Begins: Full res Warner Bros. official movie poster!

Hello all!

Batkid Begins excitement continues to roll as the days barrel towards June 26th, the initial release date for the documentary in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City.

More release dates to be announced. I will post them when I get them from our PR agency. Watch here for more details, and feel free to follow me on Twitter if you don't already: @jutanclan

For now, here's the FULL RES version of the epic new Batkid Begins poster by New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Very exciting. I LOVE the new logo. :) Click to get the full-res image, and feel free to repost. The 2nd one is size for Instagram.


Download here: http://www.mikejutan.com/batkidFullSizePoster.jpg

Download here: http://www.mikejutan.com/batkidInstagramPoster.jpg

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Comments on the excellent SF WebFest entries

Hi all,

I was one of the judges for the inaugural San Francisco Web Film Festival happening June 5-7 at the New People Cinema in San Francisco, CA. We have completed our judging and the Official Selections have been announced!

A few comments about some of the excellent submissions, and my thoughts on the quality of web series in general.

I judged across 7 different categories for SF WebFest and categories particularly impressive to me were "Emotions" (Drama), "Facts" (Documentaries), and "Kids" (Children's Shows). The quality and production value of the entries were astounding. I found most Dramatic entries had interesting shooting techniques, intriguing storylines, and stellar cinematography. "Whatever, Linda", "The Banks" and "Status" all blew me away.

The Documentaries had a lot of heart and soul, particularly "Street Cuts" and "Dress Up! with George B. Style". George's enthusiasm and dedication made his show a pleasure to watch. "Street Cuts" is a brilliantly executed concept, skillfully edited, and a perfectly structured webisode. This series, in particular, is a shining example of what the democratization of filmmaking and distribution has done -- increasing the ability for artist genius like this to be unleashed in a powerful, moving, and high-quality, bite-size package.

The Children's Programming was also of specific note. The international entries from Canada were easily TV-quality already -- from hilariously intriguing and silly scripts to a comedy series for kids aiming to encourage cooking and baking at home with their parents, entries like "Ruby Skye P.I." and "Ty the Pie Guy" demonstrated how the platform of internet distribution is going to completely alter the landscape of children's programming going forwards.

Thank you to all the organizers of SF Web Fest, and I hope attendees of the festival in June enjoy the entries as much as I did.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"BATKID BEGINS Is An Awesome Display of Human Decency"

Thank you Screen Invasion for another epic Batkid Begins review!

Really exciting when people "get it", you can hear the theme "click" at a certain point in some of the reviews like this great one:
"As the film begins to mine this tremendous outpouring of support it takes on an air of poignancy I wasn’t expecting.  Why did this strike a chord with so many people? What about this wish brought so many people together? More importantly, what meaning does this day have for those that participated in it?"
It's so satisfying that people are feeling the meaning of the day, and thinking more deeply about what it represents. This is so cool.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

'Batkid Begins' June 26, 2015 Theatrical Release Date!!!!!

Just heard from our EP that this is for reals!!!!!!!!! Holy moly.

As The Hollywood Reporter writes: "'Batkid Begins' Doc Gets Prime Summer Release Date" -- couldn't agree more! This is incredible. What a great time for the release and I hope this means lots of families are able to see this brilliantly-crafted Documentary.

I am soooo excited for more folks to get to enjoy Dana and Kurt's truly beautiful film, and to see a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes of many, many, many hardworking people in San Francisco and well beyond putting their heads and hearts together to make a difference in a young boy's life.

The film so perfectly captures the spirit of the "Batkid Day" in San Francisco. It's so epic that more people will experience firsthand how we all felt that day: how much damn fun it is to donate your time and energy to making your local community shine... and how those kinds of selfless community service projects can be a truly powerful inspirational and world-changing force for good.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You need a "side hustle"

My buddy Andrea just posted this article, and I thought I'd re-post it here. This rocks:

This is a cool little concept which I love: a "side hustle". It's promoting the importance of having projects "on the side" from your job, things like volunteering, working on an iPhone app, writing a blog... (hey, or why not all of those things?!)

As a man who loves the side projects, I really like the phrase "side hustle" -- it rocks. It's something that really helps inspire me and push me to challenge myself outside of my day-to-day job. Even with a demanding job and an inspiring job (like I am so lucky to get to do every day), it's still super epic to come up with something that matters and cruuusssh it on the (late late) weekday nights, or on random weekends... I love it. Do all the things!

This also sortof reminds me of a shirt my buddy Jahkeeli posted once:

So, like that, but minus the sleep part.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

From TED 2015: T-1000 does it again!

A great TED Talk was just posted to TED.com from the TED 2015 conference happening now in Vancouver, BC. Check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_desimone_what_if_3d_printing_was_25x_faster

This is a 3D Printing company who were inspired by the T-1000 robot in Terminator 2, and have made a 3D printer that is 25-100x faster than those currently on the market.

Looks like the T-1000 didn't just inspire my career... seems like this brilliant visual effect is still hard at work, changing the world for for the better :) 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Batkid Begins: Opening Night at CINEQUEST 25

It's been a few busy weeks since the opening night of CINEQUEST 25, and I've just now had a moment to download my iPhone photos and drum up a few fun links to share from our crazy evening opening the Cinquest Film Festival in San Jose, California.

What an EPIC time. Sweet damn, was it ever epic.

We started the evening standing in the beautiful February air in San Jose, basking in the glow of the Marquee: "Cinequest 25 Film Festival", ready to head in and open the festival with Batkid Begins.

Here we gooooo!!! Batkid Begins kicking off the 25th CINEQUEST Film Festival!
Ted (who owns "the" Batmobile from the Batkid Day), arrived in style :)
Welp, this is exciting
After a short wait, we all headed inside and began to crowd around the Red Carpet. We took some photos and a few of us did some interviews. That rocked. This documentary is such an excellent platform to further spread the message of banding together with other determined people to make your community a better place... I gladly took the opportunity to continue spreading our message!

Me, Rob (Animation), Jake (Cinematography), about to walk the red carpet
Dana knocking interviews out of the park
Let the games begin!
Me, talking animatedly about... something :)
"Rock and Roll": Ted, Patricia and Me
Patricia showing off the Bat-Clutch
You know, doing our thing!
I don't have the CBS 5 KPIX interview, but here's some video from The Daily Quirk of Patricia and I chatting about the Batkid day: http://thedailyquirk.com/2015/03/02/video-an-exclusive-interview-with-patricia-wilson-and-mike-jutan-of-batkid-begins-at-cinequest/

After some photos and chatting with some interviewers, we headed into the wondrous and beautiful California Theatre just in time for CINEQUEST founder Halfdan Hussey to introduce the 25th Season and our Opening Night Film: Batkid Begins.

The opening night of CINEQUEST 25
The sold-out 1200-person screening was an amazing success and it was just a pleasure to watch it with such a large crowd -- a crowd much larger than anyone I'd seen it with prior (including Slamdance). People were incredibly gracious and kind afterwards and it was a really great experience.

After the screening, Cast and Crew all went up on stage and answered some questions.

Cast and Crew on stage after the screening
Sold out crowd!
Cast and Crew
Laughing with Patricia and Don
And of course, back to the red carpet to fool around and have fun with the cameras, but also to do some more serious chats and take some more photos.

CBS 5 KPIX interview with Patricia
Looking on in awe at the living legend, Patricia Wilson :)
A little blurry, but good :)
Selection of Batkid Cast and Crew: Dave, Dana, Me, Kurt, Naomi
And that was that! An amazing opening night and a really stellar crowd of filmgoers. From there, we all headed over to the After Party at The Farmers Union. It was incredibly well organized, the food was glorious, the drinks were flowing... and most excitingly, the people were just SO jazzed about the message in the movie. That, to me, was the most exciting part. Lots of folks came up and were keen to chat, but not just to take selfies... but to actually chat about what the Batkid day means, if other cities could follow San Francisco's lead, how community service has been changed by social media. I had a stack of wonderfully inspiring conversations with inspired, smart, passionate people. Isn't that just exactly what the Bay Area is ALL about?!!

And... time for a beer
Batkid Begins Cinequest Opening Night After Party
 And then, of course, the After-After Party...

...and then Joe and I took a Lyft to a Jack In The Box drive-through for 2am dinner. Dave very psyched about the curly fries.
What an incredible evening and I am so grateful that CINEQUEST chose the film to open the festival. It was a real joy and a pleasure to be there and to take part, and the audience really was top-notch, as evidenced by all the conversations with folks afterwards. CINEQUEST, take a bow!

Sal Pizarro from San Jose Mercury News posted an awesome article following the evening (where he introduces me as "an exuberant engineer at Lucasfilm" -- haha): http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_27597364/pizarro-batkid-begins-makes-cinequest-opening-night-wish?source=infinite

IndieWire also mentions the film: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/cinequest-at-25-from-batkid-begins-to-barco-escape-20150227

And perhaps my favourite article was this review by Artsalot: https://artsalot.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/review-batkid-begins-cinequest/, showing just how much people in the Bay Area "get it", and understand exactly the message I think the movie portrays so powerfully. I love this city!

​What an amazing and truly crazy time. I was so honoured to have been there with the (majority of the) cast and crew. What an experience to all have together as we continue to share this beautifully captured moment-in-time with the world. :)

This was my third time seeing the movie in a theatre and I'm still overwhelmed with feelings of "being there"-- it really does transport me back to the big day and the visuals and editing and music and sound effects and animation all play so perfectly together. I can't imagine any possibility of anyone telling this story more eloquently than Dana and Kurt did.

Thanks again to CINEQUEST and to Dana, Liza, Kurt and Ian and the rest of the cast and crew for making this a night to remember!

To tie a bow on an already perfect gift... on  March 10th, CINEQUEST announced some more epic news...
The votes are finally tabulated…and the AUDIENCE WINNERS for Cinequest 25 are:

Traces of Sandalwood
Director: Maria Ripoll

Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World
Director: Dana Nachman