With race day just around the corner, I wanted to give everyone an update on the status of One Day in April. When I set out to make this film over a year ago, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. The idea for the film had started when I was crashing in Peter Stevenson’s basement in DC looking for new work. At night, Pete and I would hang out and reminisce about our time at IU and how great it was to live and photograph in Bloomington. But the best event of all, the one we remembered most, was the Little 500. After a while we got to asking ourselves: “Why isn’t there a killer documentary about the Little 500?”
I got a job serving as a cinematographer for President Obama’s second Inauguration, but then I returned home to Bloomington without a whole lot of direction. For the first time since I was a kid, I didn’t have anything hanging over me. No looming deadlines. No demanding clients. And I was bored out of my mind. So I called Pete up and together we decided that we were going to launch our film careers making a documentary that captured all the wonder and grit of the Little 500.
We were stills photographers, I had video experience, but neither of us were “experienced filmmakers” per se. We formed a core team of current and former IU students and just started shooting. Ryan, Kirsten, and I enjoyed working with each other so much that we decided to form this company.
We shot a lot, every day. In fact, to this day, no individual person has been able to watch the entirety of the footage. Before we knew it, it was Race Day and we were assembling a 22 person crew using the funds we had crowd funded to pay for 5 high speed cameras and a UPS truckload full of assorted gear.
About a month before Race Day, we had crowd funded $8,436 from an unbelievably supportive collection of friends, family, Little 500 community members, IU alums, and cycling enthusiast. Our film was made possible because of the kindness of these individuals and all of us carry that every single day we work on this film.
Which brings me to asnswering the question everyone is asking: When is the film coming out?
The short answer is early next year. The longer answer, the answer to why you haven’t received your DVD in the mail, is that I can’t release this film until I know with 100 percent certainty that I’ve done my best to tell the story of our subjects and fulfilled the promise we made to all of our donors. Not to get them a quick product, but to tell the story of the Little 500. It’s not about the parties, or the last lap, or even who wins. For a lot of Hoosiers, the Little 500 encapsulates what Indiana is all about. Community, teamwork, hard work, and a focus on the little day to day moments that bring us together. Somebody wins, but 32 teams don’t. I won’t say they lose, because all of them leave the track on race day with something that didn’t have before hand. Equally, the fans, journalists, IUSF folks, and everyone who makes the Little 500 what it is know what the spirit of the race is. It’s the feeling you get when you hear “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the race, surrounded by the best friends you’ll ever make, waiting for the green flag to drop and kick off a moment that only happens once in a life time.
Our subjects, donors, and supporters have entrusted us to tell that story.
We’re lucky enough to watch the footage of last year and see the film progressing into a feature film. It’s not done yet. Finishing a feature film takes a very long time. Many documentaries take 2 to 3 years from the start of production to the first premiere. Music, sound design, color grading, and other parts of post-production require a great deal of finesse and detail. You cannot rush this part of the film and unfortunately that means a longer amount of time until the film comes out.
We’ll be at this year’s race shooting some final scenes and then launching full bore into finishing the film. When it’s ready, we’ll let you know and I promise you that it will have been worth the wait.