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Building an Audience for Your Indie Film with Paola di Florio & Peter Rader
Today’s guests are Oscar® Nominated writer/director Paola di Florio & and producer Peter Rader. They worked on one of my favorite documentaries in recent years called AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda.
The film is an unconventional biography about the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic “[easyazon_link identifier=”0876120796″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Autobiography of a Yogi[/easyazon_link],” which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers, and yoga enthusiasts today. (Apparently, it was the only book that Steve Jobs had on his iPad.) By personalizing his own quest for enlightenment and sharing his struggles along the path, Yogananda made ancient Vedic teachings accessible to a modern audience, attracting many followers and inspiring the millions who practice yoga today.
Filmed over three years with the participation of 30 countries around the world, the documentary examines the world of yoga, modern and ancient, east and west and explores why millions today have turned their attention inwards, bucking the limitations of the material world in pursuit of self-realization.
Archival material from the life of Yogananda (who died in 1952) creates a spine for the narrative, but the film stretches the dimensions of a standard biography. The footage includes stylized interviews, metaphoric imagery and recreations, taking us from holy pilgrimages in India to Harvard’s Divinity School and its cutting-edge physics labs, from the Center for Science and Spirituality at the University of Pennsylvania to the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. By evoking the journey of the soul as it pushes its way through the oppression of the human ego and delusion of the material world, the film creates an experiential immersion into the unseen realms. AWAKE is ultimately the story of humanity itself: the universal struggle of all beings to free themselves from suffering and to seek lasting happiness.
The story of how they self-distributed the film from booking theaters to SVOD is remarkable. They did it all on their own and the film has been viewed by millions. I wanted to bring them on the show to discuss their methods for audience building, social media marketing, release strategy and much more. If you want to the IFH Video Podcast version of this interview go to IFHTV Video Podcast – Building an Audience for Your Indie Film with Paola di Florio & Peter Rader
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- IFHTV Video Podcast – Building an Audience for Your Indie Film with Paola di Florio & Peter Rader
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B017FYFE0E” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”0876120796″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Autobiography of a Yogi[/easyazon_link]
- CounterPoint Films
- AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda – Website
- AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda – Facebook
- Soundstripe.com – Find the Perfect Song for Your Project (DISCOUNT CODE: IFH – 10% discount off of a membership)
- BlackBox – Make Passive Income From Your Footage
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 1:47
Now guys, today on the show, we have filmmakers Paola Di Florio and Peter Rader. And they are the producer and director or co director of one of my favorite documentaries of all time awake the life of Yogananda and many of you guys have been listening to me for a while I have heard me talk about a paramahansa Yogananda who is a spiritual leader and I brought over meditation and yoga from the west from the east to the west. So without him, there would be no yoga, there would be no meditation, he introduced it to the US into the Western world in general. And this documentary goes deep into Yogananda and what he was doing, but on a filmmaking business side, I wanted to bring these guys on because they self distributed their film. And what they were able to do was extraordinary, with the way they were able to do theatrical releases, to do community screenings, to do their own DVDs to do i mean getting booked, traditionally, in movie theaters by themselves, it was absolutely remarkable. So when I heard the story of how they actually were able to distribute this film, and made money and continue to make money, sold it to Netflix, and sold it to Gaia, and and all sorts of different things. We go deep into the weeds on how they were able to, to do everything. And they give us a blueprint on how they did it. So I really wanted them to come on and drop knowledge bombs, and boy, did they ever. So if you guys are even even slightly interested in self distribution, which this film was a perfect, perfect candidate for, then definitely get ready to take some notes. And like I've said before, self distribution is not for every film, it has to be a certain kind of film and certain kind of filmmakers for that to work properly. But if it does, and it's in and it's a good mix, and there's a good match, my God, you could do really, really, really well as I've given multiple examples on the podcast before. And also guys, if you are interested in seeing this interview, you could of course watch it on indie film, hustle TV on the indie film, hustle video podcast, and it is a great one. It just says I love this interview. This is a great interview. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Peter and Paola. I'd like to welcome the show Peter and Paola documentary filmmakers extraordinaire. Thanks for being on the show, guys.
Paola Di Florio 4:23
Thanks for having us Alex.
Alex Ferrari 4:25
I am a huge fan of of your work specifically the movie awake, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have on the show, not only because of the topic of the of the movie, and it being one of my favorite documentaries, but also the the process of how you made it how you get it out there and we're gonna go into all that kind of stuff. But before we get into that first, how did you just get into the film business in the first place?
Peter Rader 4:51
I got the bug in college, I took this I was searching for what I wanted to do. I started like in physics and math. Then I went into the Economics I thought that was gonna be practical. And then I just took this one filmmaking class and the light bulb went off was like, Oh my god, this is it. This is what I want to do my whole life. So then I just had it for Hollywood and, and then I met Bella.
Alex Ferrari 5:13
Now how long you guys have been you guys work together? Correct?
Paola Di Florio 5:16
We do. And my background was really in the news with Italian television. And, and you know, it was I just before that when I was a kid, I was an actress. And so the whole idea of slipping into other people's shoes and seeing the world through other points of view is been like, I think a part of just who I am. And so the natural progression from short form to long form and then really wanting to have a voice and tell the narrative, to really, you know, storytelling. In nonfiction, having a stronger narrative was what I was attracted to. That's what brought me to documentary films.
Alex Ferrari 5:55
Now, how is it challenging working together as a couple because I had a business with my wife. And it was, and it was, it was wonderful. But it's challenging. So how, and we weren't creative. So I could only imagine the discussions. So how is it working together as how do you work together as a couple,
Paola Di Florio 6:16
Divorce is not an option.
Peter Rader 6:20
What's what's fun about our story is that our we made a film during our courtship, we actually met, and we actually connected on on the level of sort of union archetypes within our first 30 minutes of talking to each other. We're talking about union archetypes. And I was like, Okay, this girl is cool. And she had this burning desire to tell a story about expression, the need to find your voice as an artist and to express and she had a perfect vehicle for this for this story, which is this violin virtuoso that Ella, you grew up with.
Paola Di Florio 6:58
I grew up with not just learning. Sonnenberg was a world class violinist. And her mother was my piano teacher. And I just, you know, it was always far more interested in her than it wasn't my piano lessons. So that's kind of what spawned the idea of making my first independent film speaking and strings, and I had just met Peter. Um, and, you know, Peter was a huge impetus for me actually diving into that. So I was working on it. I was trying to do it, but I was waiting for everything to be perfect. The funding to come in and all of that. And he's the one who just said, let me shoot this. I know how to shoot. I was like, clapper loader. Do you live? Do you know, dilaurentis? You know, let me do this. And I think we started out with just like nachos coming to town I needed to do I needed to take him up on his offer. And that's how we started first working together. But during the course of making that film, you know, we were dating and then we were traveling together then he popped the question. And then we had all during
Alex Ferrari 8:00
All during that movie?
Peter Rader 8:01
Yeah. All during the movie
Paola Di Florio 8:02
All during the making of speaking in strings. And then we went to Sundance.
Peter Rader 8:05
You left out the marriage before having a baby. There was a wedding, there was a wedding. Then there was a baby. And we're like, you know, we got the baby in the Baby Bjorn. at Sundance, at the q&a
Paola Di Florio 8:18
I was pregnant at Sundance, we brought Matteo our first son we brought around with us to you know, festivals because he was you know, sleeping in a drawer and, you know, just that kind of effect
Alex Ferrari 8:30
Peter Rader 8:32
Because I was a big believer, you know, if you just dive in, you just start you start, you know, you don't you can't wait, nothing's perfect. It's never perfect. It began that film on literally a little you know, you know, consumer high eight camera, it ended up you know, being nominated for an Academy Award.
Alex Ferrari 8:50
Paola Di Florio 8:51
Peters, a hugely inspirational coach and teacher, like I have to say he's taught at Harvard and some other places, and he's just really very inspirational. And so part of why I think it works for us to work together is that, um, you know, it's, it's just that keeping helping to keep the inspiration alive in each other. So he loves the process of filmmaking, but he was a writer. I was a filmmaker, and I just, you know, maybe it was more like, not as dive in, you know, we're insecure a little bit trying to find my way and here's this guy, he's just like, guidance, let's do this. And, you know, I'm gonna do it with you, you know, that kind of thing. And, and I really did find my voice in the making of that film. So
Alex Ferrari 9:43
That's awesome. Now, Peter, when you when you said you took a film class early on, what made you go to documentary as opposed to narrative?
Peter Rader 9:51
Um, so I went to Harvard, which is the opposite of a film school.
Alex Ferrari 9:56
I was about to say I have not seen many Harvard film school grads, that It's
Peter Rader 10:01
What they all they have this total bias towards documentaries and not just documentaries, highly personal documentaries. We the joke was at Harvard, you have to make a film at Harvard, you have to grow a beard, do a personal documentary that involves the birth of one of your children. And make sure that you pan across a mirror as often as possible to show your beer. That is a Harvard documentary. And many people at Harvard were making those in fact, Ross McElwee, Sherman's March, you know, created that form with the movie, you know, the diary cam, this was a movie that really transformed mentary filmmaking he still teaches at Harvard, but there was a whole generation of us that really were kind of wanting to go to Hollywood and go to fiction, you know, and we really wanted to make commercial movies, not these really, you know, esoteric, artsy documentaries. So, I started out on a fiction track and, you know, I made some low budget features. As a director, I did some music videos first and then kind of fell into writing. It was sort of a dead end, this genre, low budget, you know, sort of AFM features, were kinda like, do I really want to put my name on that? You know, so I, and I had Beginner's luck, I saw my first script, and it became a big studio movie. And then I was kind of on that studio writing track, sort of the development hell writing track, until I met her, you know, I basically got far away from what I fall in love with, which is actual hands on filmmaking, you know, that's what I love is the actual you know, we I started out with Bill cutting on you know, on a steamer. So, so when when Valentine that she was like, you know, let's let's, let's go to Sundance, let's, let's see real filmmaking. I'm like, Yeah, let's do that. Yeah, so that was a breath of fresh air.
Alex Ferrari 11:45
You guys seem to be very young and gang for each other. Just Just by the small amount of time that I spent with you already. And just this conversation, you guys seem to balance each other quite well. Your question is, who's the Yang? And who's the Yeah, well, that's a whole other question I will not get into right now. On Wednesday, you know, it's just depends on the day. Now, you guys did an amazing documentary called awake, which is arguably one of my favorite documentaries of all time, and I watch it all the time. I told you this when I met you guys a while ago. And it's such a powerful film for me, because I'm such a lover of Yogananda. paramahansa Yogananda his work? Can you talk a little bit about what how this film came into the world? why you decided to go down this path? And honestly, there hasn't been another documentary if I'm not mistaken, correct. about his life?
Paola Di Florio 12:37
No, but there have been many people that have gone to the SRF, and to the organization to try to get the movie made. I think that, you know, what happened was that the direct disciples had been slowly passing away. And that first hand information, you know, from those who actually lived with Yogananda, while he was here in the flesh, was it was very important, and I think it was important historically, as well as to his, to his deputies. And, you know, we made the film with Lisa Lehman, who co directed and co wrote with me, and, and co produced with us. And, you know, initially it wasn't, I mean, you know, you when you make a film, you dive in, and you're living, especially documentary, you're living with the film for years. So it's not something that I certainly take lightly. And I wasn't really sure that this was something that I wanted to do until we were sitting in a room with the monastics. And I was very impressed with the people that we were sitting with. And there was just something that happened in the room. I don't know, I don't really know how else to say it, except for it was exploratory for us, but I'm impressed with them and impressed with something about the timing of Yogananda. He know he brought Kriya Yoga.
Alex Ferrari 14:06
Can you can you real quick before we continue, can you explain a little bit to the audience who Yogananda was because I know you probably all know who he is, but the audience might not know his work. Sure.
Peter Rader 14:18
Sure. So Yogananda is a Bengali Swami who was born in Calcutta in the 1890s and was the first sort of Hindu Swami to sort of moved to America permanently. He lived here for 30 years, he arrived in 1920. And he brought basically yoga and meditation. He introduced it into America. There had been some other Swamis. But Yogananda was the guy who stayed here the longest and really was going town to town, you know, concert hall to concert hall, basically giving these free lectures on yoga. And this was the era before radio before television, so there was not a lot you know, it was actually kind of a thrilling thing to do to go see the long haired Swami with a turban. You know, talk about these exotic practices in the east. And, you know, he was so magnetic and so charismatic that he would just like trance, you know, electrify a room. There's a famous incident at Carnegie Hall where, you know, he actually got, you know, 1000, whatever, 1500 New Yorkers to chant with him for an hour, it's getting in Sanskrit. And he just, you know, was doing his thing. And
Paola Di Florio 15:25
He brought the teeth, these ancient teachings, he brought them and made them, you know, practical in day to day life, he really gave how to live teachings, you know, how to be the best businessman that you could be how to how to live with maximum amounts of energy, you know, that he would take sort of daily, every day, challenges of being human, and he would apply the Sanatana Dharma teachings to that. And I think that that's what really hit home. But more importantly, he was teaching Kriya Yoga, which, you know, is a type of yoga, it's that works with energies and spine. And, you know, the idea of, he would say this, that this the altar of God is, is, is the brain, essentially, the spine and brain is the altar of God. And what an interesting concept that we as human beings, can, you No, actually activate energies within the body that connect us to a higher power. And that is really true, true freedom and true independence. So the notion of that it was easier to understand these concepts of energy being accessed like that, and worked with because of what was happening in science at the time. And so quantum physics was coming into play. And this was a new idea. And so people were connecting what Yogananda his message was and what he had to say about Kriya Yoga, and it was making a little bit more sense, they were able to access it a little bit better, because of what was really unfolding in science at the time. And this and for everyone listening, you have to understand that this was what the 20s
Alex Ferrari 17:20
Yeah, I mean, because now, everything you just said, We completely would fall right into a lot of the conversations that are happening there. But he was the way he looked back in the 20s. Can you imagine no one had ever seen. It made heads? It was head spinning, exactly. You're talking about.
Peter Rader 17:37
Even the notion of you know, he took Christ and Krishna and put them side by side on his altar and said there this basically the same dude, there are two sides of the same coin, you know, and he would he worshiped the divine in the form of the feminine Divine Mother, that was also a radical concept. You know, we were Christians, and we were, you know, basically indoctrinated with this idea of the sort of bearded God with the lightning bolts, you know, and that was your only access point in it. You know, in Vedanta, there's this very expansive notion of divinity. You know, divinity can just be a feeling, it can be the feeling of peace, you know, that could be your God, you know, you can cultivate devotion to, to whatever your point of entry is, it's a very attractive philosophy. And, you know, Yogananda went on later in his life. And in the 40s, he wrote this sort of seminal book Autobiography of a Yogi, in which he talked about his own quest for his guru, and as a boy and running around Calcutta and looking and searching and wanting to connect with this feeling that he, you know, was longing for. And it's, it's such a popular book. I mean, it's been translated into over 30 languages, I think 30 million people may have read it. And you know, one of the most famous is Steve Jobs. And he wrote, read that book all the time. And apparently, it was the only book on his iPad at the time of his death. He also gave out 800 copies at his memorial service. So it's one of these gateway books that many, many people read. So
Alex Ferrari 19:05
And it also changed the Beatles life as well, if I'm not mistaken. We wouldn't have had Sergeant Pepper, I think without his visit to India, right. Or was it before after surgery papers before? We wouldn't have had the put the gurus on the cover of note that Yogananda is on the cover of surgery.
Peter Rader 19:24
Yeah. But it was before they went to India. For 67 they went to Indian 68. But we wouldn't have you know, across the universe and let it be all you need is love and you know, Exalted songs. Yes, we're part of the
Alex Ferrari 19:39
So so you taking this undertaking of of telling the story of this immense figure in history. There's a lot of I would imagine a lot of pressure on you to do it, right. I mean, there's people like and you like you said, many filmmakers and many other people have tried to do this and gone to the center of self awareness. Where, where's basically the hub of all things? Yogananda and they've been rejected. So when you guys got the keys, the lunatics run the asylum in a way. How did that feel? And and, and again, why did you want to tell the story as a documentarian?
Paola Di Florio 20:19
Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, I would say, you know, funny, ignorance is bliss, in this case, you know, because I think and to the credit of the organization who opened up their archives, I mean, they had to be a part of this, because they had to open up their archives. And there were outside, you know, devotees that had wanted to see the film made, right. And, but they wanted, they stipulated that it had to be outside filmmakers. So I thought that that was really interesting. That was that was an entryway that was certainly of interest to us. The fact that they were seeking outside filmmakers made it really attractive to us so that there was an interest in in sort of beginner's mind. And beginner's mind is a beautiful thing. And, you know, we don't have that anymore. We've been like, you know, deeply entrenched in his teachings now, and so it's a whole different thing. And, and I think they're, that that's, that's what we were looking at. So we were filmmakers, we knew how to tell the story, we had a certain openness to this, we had been yoga practitioners, meditators, Lisa, as well, um, you know, so we were all coming from a place of meditation and yoga being a part of our lives. But I think, for me that this the sort of yoga as a science, which is the way it's often seen, you know, in the east, I mean, that that was very interesting to me that there was this methodical approach to self realization that you could actually take a, you know, these techniques, and apply them to your life and do them and just kind of see what happened, that you the human being was, you know, you were your own scientist, and your body was your laboratory, to take these things and try them. And like an experiment, just notice and observe and see what was unfolding before you. So that was very attractive to me, especially given the times that we're living in right now. You know, I would say, it's so obvious that we are living out of balance on this planet. And it doesn't really matter what side of the aisle you're on. You know, it's um, it's almost like, you know, science and technology, we've advanced so much in that regard. But we haven't really balanced it out with our spiritual acumen. So, yoga is really the, it's the science of balance, it's the sun and the moon, it's the energy of opposites, it's bringing balance into our lives. And harnessing, you know, the, the these energies brings us brings the self to the highest self, right? It trends, it trends, what's the word I'm looking for it, it's transcends, it transcends exactly, it's a way it's transcendence, we can transcend the limitations of the body, and of the mind, in that process.
Alex Ferrari 23:22
Now, when you guys got Peter?
Peter Rader 23:25
I was just gonna say that, you know, one of Uganda's quotes, great quotes is that, you know, the ideal future would be a combination of the ancient wisdom of the East and the modern advancements and technological material progress of the West, you know, this idea of synthesis that we're so skewed towards the material paradigm now, I mean, in terms of the message that was blasting across all the media channels, and everything is by by by Me, me me more and more, acquire, acquire, you know, that's your, that's your, that's where you can get your contentment. And yet, there are these ancient teachings that are so much more profound, and ultimately lead to a much more content state of being. And if we can balance the two, you know, then then we really have hope here in the future. So that that was a really attractive aspect of his message. And, you know, one of the things that he wanted to bring in to the film,
Alex Ferrari 24:17
And I think that nowadays, there is definitely something changing. I mean, from the time that where he was around to the point now, where meditation is now, not a weird thing. You know, yoga is not a weird thing. It is in some parts of the country, but in a lot of places, it's still something that's spoken of, and that's basically from his Genesis from the work that he put in. So, again, I think the undertaking of what you guys were going after was pretty massive, pressure wise, as
Paola Di Florio 24:44
It was a huge challenge. And I think that not knowing or understanding quite the pressure that we were under there was I think that that's the only way you get through these things, right. They say it's like childbirth. You shouldn't know what that's like. Because you won't do it,
Alex Ferrari 25:02
You wouldn't ever have children if you actually knew what was gonna happen.
Paola Di Florio 25:06
And I think that the challenge was also I mean, the three of us very often sat in the editing room really grappling with, you know, some of the biggest questions in life, you know, about the human condition. And just, it was great to have different points of view, we're all bringing different things into that as our entry point. Now, what is your process when
Alex Ferrari 25:26
You do a pre production on a documentary? Since I know the narrative pre production process? I have no clue of the documentary process? How do you prove how long is pre production? What do you do? What's the process?
Paola Di Florio 25:38
It really depends on the film I look at each film as its own, has its own identity has its own needs, you know, and you really look at the needs of the film. But in general, there's, you know, a pretty hefty research process, you really, you really need to go into understanding the subject that you're researching, and to read and to take in information to organize that information. But at the same time, you're really coming, what you're doing while you're doing all of that is you're just dating this process of what is that? What is the narrative that's trying to be told, I look at it as, for me, projects often are choosing me, even if I think I'm choosing them, you know, like with speaking in strings, my first film, but really, it was choosing me because it was trying to draw out from me, something that I had to experience and go through it, I'm saying and I really believe that that's, you know, so much with the creative process is really all about. So, you know, um, you end up just bowing to it, you know, you do your research, and you're trying to at the same time, put your antennas up and listen and receive what the messages are, what is that narrative that's trying to unfold here. And in this case, we, you know, we put together a treatment, it was a massive, you know, thing to try this together. And so, you know, we did about six months of r&d phase,
Peter Rader 27:09
We literally call it an r&d phase. And we've done that on several projects. Now, it's such a sort of a healthy way of jumping in, which is, okay, for the next three to six months, we're just exploring, we're gonna do some exploratory shooting, we'll do a couple of interviews, maybe some shoot some, you know, sequences, we're also going to do, you know, hire a team and start getting in there, and, you know, doing research and archival research, and then we're going to start creating a palette of what this film could be. And, you know, start to, as Pamela says, What is the film that is wanting to emerge? And one of the things you know, Pamela has been a great teacher to me, in all of this. You know, since I started in the narrative form, where you begin with the script, here's the script, now, we're going to go make the movie. And here's the template, here's the blueprint for the movie. Well, in documentaries, it's the exact reverse, which is the script is the lap, you write on the timeline as you edit. And, you know, the organization kept asking us for a script. In fact, I think we even have a contractual obligation to produce a script, and we're like, we're not writing a script, you know, well, the script will be the transcript of the Final Cut, when when we have locked cut, we can transcribe it. And that will be your script, because the film needs to be discovered, you know, it to prove to be authentic, you know, it needs to be found.
Paola Di Florio 28:25
There are different ways to do it. I mean, you know, you're if you're cranking out documentaries for TV and stuff, you know, you just script and you're using B roll, you know, but I think that this was more of an exploratory process. And we went from, you know, treatment to outline to discovering the language of the film on the timeline, and then actually starting to create cuts.
Alex Ferrari 28:47
Now, one of the things I love about the movie too, is the, the reenactments are so beautifully done, and they're so wonderfully placed throughout the story. How important do you think that is? In your process, and it's something that more documentaries should have, because I always love reenactments, when they're done well, when they're shot. Well, I've seen some that haven't been shot. But if you shoot a
Paola Di Florio 29:12
Thing that that is, so that is so awesome that you appreciated them. I mean, it was it was actually a big battle to get the reenactments done.
Alex Ferrari 29:20
In what way?
Paola Di Florio 29:22
Well, you know, I'm, in other words, we weren't really in agreement, as a team on on, you know, whether to go down that route. So it was a little bit of like trial and error convincing. And I think that I, you know, here's the here's the deal. You have to feel we were trying to make an unconventional biography, right. That's why there are two things that felt to me like the the language of the film that would help us really feel the presence of Yogananda and that was to really feel the presence. sense of him as a boy, that one that the seeker that the one that hadn't been realized the one that was just still going into, you know, saints homes in Calcutta and trying to get the wisdom and trying to find like, you know, he's so hungry for the wisdom.
Alex Ferrari 30:16
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Paola Di Florio 30:28
The seeking part of him, we really wanted to be able to show that to express that to manifest that in some way on the screen. And then his voice, you know, it was trying to really harness his voice, I couldn't believe that, you know, how many people do you know that remember, when they were born, they remember, into the womb, they remember. They remember how, you know, they actually felt coming out of the womb, and we're cognizant of the be feeling torn between two worlds, but spirit and like being material in the material world. So those two things, finding his voice, and using recreations to me were two tools that we could use to help the audience really feel that they were in the presence of of yogananda.
Alex Ferrari 31:18
And that's something that really, I felt I reacted to that when I watched it, because I did feel that, and I've seen the movie a bunch of times now. And every time when I hear that voice, and I see those images, it really does, it just brings the whole thing together in a way that just that interviews and B roll would have done.
Peter Rader 31:35
And we didn't really have a choice in the matter, you know, there's only like, what is it a dozen photographs at most of him in his youth and his family or whatever, and, you know, visual medium, so we needed some method to tell the story. And, you know, we talked about metaphors and visual metaphors, you know, we talked about all sorts of ways, how do you convey a feeling? How do you convey a feeling of longing, you know, and ultimately, you know, you do need actors and, you know, you need to look into people's eyes and have, you know, convey that feeling. But, you know, as you said, Alex, when recreations are good, they're fantastic. And when they're bad, they're so
Paola Di Florio 32:14
There was the risk of it being bad, you know, so that was the thing, you just had to have a lot of, you know, to see it, and then just really try to reel and Arlene Nelson our dp, I mean, I have to say, I just hand it to her, because it was just she, she really got that. And, and then, of course, we treated them and did all these things in post as well. And, you know, we just had a really great team of people that helped us realize them in the way that that, you know, we really envisioned it.
Peter Rader 32:43
We study a lot of films, you know, one of the films that inspired us was man on wire, like the great movie. I mean, it really makes the film. So it was, it was really well done. recreations was our point of, you know, that's what was our aspiration.
Paola Di Florio 33:00
And the magical realism, I think came from a Spanish film that Lisa had found the beehive the something that would be the title of that spirit of the beard of the beehive. Yeah, beautiful film, and, and it kind of had a language of very, very subtle magical realism. And so, you know, that was a really great resource that that we used as well.
Alex Ferrari 33:25
Yeah, very cool. Now, now that you got the movie done. Now, I'm assuming you guys were thinking about marketing and distribution, and how to sell this movie during the process, or I have to believe you were doing it during the process, as opposed to at the end going, Okay, now, what, what was the marketing plan? What was the distribution plan to get this out there into the world?
Peter Rader 33:47
So, we were blessed with making a product in which we had a very clearly identifiable core audience, you know, have Yogananda devotees, and there are, you know, by some estimates, around 300,000 people worldwide who consider Yogananda to be there who are very, very devoted to his teachings and his message. And then there's another number that we sometimes reference, which is, you know, the number of people who read the book, which is around 30 million. So we have a target, we want to speak slot was between the 30 300,000 and the 30 million somewhere in there was going to be our audience, and we had to figure out, you know, how to reach them. And we consider,
Paola Di Florio 34:30
You know, the goal was to go beyond that job. So, in all in all fairness, it was really our mission was to make a film that went beyond that crowd, not to alienate that crowd but to go beyond that. And so we were really looking at the number of people practicing yoga. And and you know, we had the statistics of how many people were practicing yoga just in the us a couple 20 million and now we have the you know, we have these Statistics worldwide, which, you know, are above 350 million. So, you know, there were, there were those numbers that we knew if we could just tap into even just like 1% of that, you know, we
Peter Rader 35:12
Would have an audience. And, you know, while we considered very briefly, actually, you know, going with a traditional distributor and sort of handing the film over palla, you know, on a previous film, we had consulted with this gentleman named Peter Broderick, who coined the hybrid distribution. And, you know, he's been talking about it for 20 odd years now. And we realized that this was kind of the perfect villain to do that. So So we, we decided pretty early on to self distribute, that we would, you know, um, carve out rights, you know, separate out all our rights and kind of window them out in a sequence that made sense for us assemble a team, we had around 20 people on our distribution team that we were basically managing, you know, on a standing weekly call, and we created a distribution plan, a strategy of how we were going to roll out these various windows and and take advantage of, you know, what Paolo was saying before is okay, so you identify your core, but then there are these concentric circles or a Venn diagram of overlapping circles. So you've got your Yogananda devotees, you've got your meditators, you've got your, you know, wellness community, you've got this, how are we going to get to them all? And how, you know, are we going to go, you know, from town to town, and, and roll out. And so in other words, it was something where it was kind of a yogic distribution plan, because we were learning about it as we were doing it, you know, it was really amazing.
Alex Ferrari 36:39
And how did you guys do? Because I remember you, when we spoke before you were talking about your theatrical, which I thought was in a very interesting way that you guys released your theatrical? Can you talk a little bit about that process?
Paola Di Florio 36:49
Yeah, I mean, I just want to also say that we were realistic about the fact that it would probably be challenging to get this film distributed through a traditional distributor
Alex Ferrari 37:00
You would have no idea what to do with it.
Paola Di Florio 37:01
Exactly. So you know, I think it's important to kind of just start with that. And because they think that when you make a film, you kind of need to know already, you know, number one, who your audience is, you're working backwards in a way, you know, just strategically if you really want to get it seen, and then you know, you have to know what you have in your hands. And we were playing with something that really hadn't been done before. And so, you know, we were prepared to take this route, we had talked about taking this route of, you know, doing the hybrid distribution model. And the advice, you know, that we were getting from Peter is, you know, so I really love the strategy that he has, which is dipping your toe into, you know, a market. So starting with New York, we, you know, we and we've actually for walled in New York, and LA,
Alex Ferrari 37:53
Can you can you explain to the audience for walling is?
Peter Rader 37:56
Sure. So what we did was, the first thing we did was we identified which dozen cities have the most concentration of our core audience, you know, in America, and that's where we're going to start. And so New York was one of them. Los Angeles, obviously Encinitas, where, you know, Yogananda had an ashram, there was a couple of other places Northern California. And for walling is where you basically, book that you rent the theater for a week, you rent the right to show your film for for four showings a day for an entire week's run. And for in a place like New York, that will cost you around $10,000. But if you know you can fill those seats, you can actually make a lot of money doing that. And we did you know, in New York, I believe we made $34,000 in that first week. So we had a $24,000 profit just from that one engagement. And then the theater held us over, they said, Oh, my God, this film is really performing. I want to book this film. So we ended up staying another six weeks beyond that in New York
Alex Ferrari 38:55
Without having to pay for it. They actually have traditionally
Peter Rader 38:58
Exactly turned into a traditional booking, same thing happened in LA and a couple of other markets. In fact, unbelievably, we played 23 weeks at the level is in Pasadena in La 23 weeks.
Paola Di Florio 39:11
On Sunday afternoon. It was just some people just kept coming. So they just kept it going. And on a Sunday afternoon. It was great.
Alex Ferrari 39:18
Yeah, that was ended. So you did all of that without thinking well, you weren't you decided to spend the time to do the theatrical run first, and then you were going to roll it out. So what was the next rollouts? Because you didn't do everything at the same time? Obviously,
Peter Rader 39:33
Actually, can I back up? Before theatrical which is even before theatrical? We we started to create buzz and awareness. We attended a couple of conferences, for instance, wisdom 2.0 in the Bay Area, where like high tech meets higher consciousness, and we figured this is ground zero for us, especially with the whole Steve Jobs connection, right. So we convince the organization to give us 500 copies of the autobiography for free Which we just gave out at that conference, we had a big display, you know, stacking the books with our postcard in the book. And you know, our film postcard in the book and it says, This is the, you know, the book that Steve Jobs had on his iPad all the time at the time he died and it's yours for free. And they like just went like gangbusters. Do the same thing at the yoga journal conference in San Diego. And we were basically getting to, you know, sort of celebrity, you know, yoga teachers and trying to get them interested in the film. And then they started telling their classes about it.
Paola Di Florio 40:31
So it's kind of considered grassroots in a way we were doing like, you know, pre screenings to kind of create buzz.
Peter Rader 40:39
We also did Bhakti fest and Joshua Tree in September. And coincidentally, the Smithsonian was having a museum, a traveling exhibition on yoga and the ancient teachings, and we just pigtail on to that
Paola Di Florio 40:52
The timing was amazing. You know, I do have to say Timing is everything. And we this movie took a long time to make and we kept asking ourselves, like, Why is it taking so long? Why is it taking so long? And, you know, just the kinds of things that happened in that time that it got, were the things that helped mobilize the film when it went into distribution, but go back to like the, because he's asking what we were doing
Peter Rader 41:18
Magical on demand, along with, right, so So in addition to traditional theatrical, some of it for walling, some of it you know, booking the numbers in New York, made everyone suddenly look at us and want to book us so we started to get incoming calls, which was fantastic. And we had Richard Abramowitz of Rama Rama was our theatrical Booker and did a fantastic job. concurrent with this, we were also doing what's called theatrical on demand, which is how it's like Uber meets, you know, indie film distribution, which is, you can actually get an AMC to show your movie on a Tuesday, because they're going to make more money, if you guarantee them 700 bucks for that eight o'clock screening, then if they show you know, the rerun ups or whatever, the remake of some blockbuster that's only gonna have 20 people in the audience. So you can actually get your film into practically any theater in America, if you get enough people to pre reserve tickets, and they have an algorithm and a widget that fits right on your web website, we use a company called gather. And there's another company called tug, allow you to you know, really get your film. It's all these cool disruptive distribution techniques that where you can get straight to your audience, cut out the middleman, and you get your data, you get the email addresses of all those people who showed up. And then you can market your ancillaries and your other, you know, components to that list. And that becomes a very useful list. So we have the article, we have theatrical on demand, and community screenings. We were also selling DVDs to show in your churches or your yoga studios. And we were just pushing them out on a grassroots level. But this is before the for a massive release on DVD or on an SBS spot right? This is before way before almost one year of this okay. Optical theatrical on demand and community screen ratings. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 43:15
So and then I'm assuming during that process alone, the movie became got into the black. Are you still in the red when you win that final movie before you even got to SVOD?
Peter Rader 43:26
Um, well, it did very well. We're under sort of an NDA. We can't really disclose fair enough. It did. It did very well. It exceeded everyone's expectations. We had 65 markets theatrically 65 markets in North America. We had 350 theatrical on demand screenings. And also overseas was crazy. In seven countries. We were in 50 plus theaters for an indie doc.
Paola Di Florio 43:55
Yeah. So it was an IT mean, we did, it definitely exceeded our expectation, because most documentaries don't really do this kind of numbers in theaters. So you know, we we figured that TV was not going to be probably one of our windows. So we really melt the theatrical and because of the magical work, it really helped with the DVD sales as well, of course.
Peter Rader 44:20
So then, you know, Netflix came around and kick the tires.
Alex Ferrari 44:24
As they do as they do.
Peter Rader 44:27
We it's there's a love hate thing with Netflix and indie filmmakers. I mean, but back then it was it was thrilling to be, you know, in acquisition talks with Netflix licensing talks. What was great though, is that we delayed that deal. We said, you know, we're in no hurry to make that deal. Let's keep showing them the legs that this movie has and between their first offer, and you know, whatever it was a few months later, when we finally closed the deal, they have quadrupled their offer. Netflix had, and what was more important is that they agreed to the following windowing. We said we're gonna do DVDs first, digital second, and Netflix third, and, and even in the DVD deal that we made, we had to deal with Kino lorber. To You know, do brick and mortar DVDs, but we had a co exclusive deal, which is we were allowed to sell our own DVDs to, and self realization fellowship. Yogananda his organization has a whole publishing arm where they sell books and DVDs. So we created a companion book, we created our own DVDs. And we basically began with our exclusive window for one month it was if you wanted to buy the film, you could only buy it from us. Then Kino lorber kicked in, then digital, then Netflix, super smart guys.
Paola Di Florio 45:51
Had help from people like Peter Broderick, you know, we have consultants that we were working for you
Alex Ferrari 45:56
Because you had you because you had a product that was in demand. So yeah, I mean, this doesn't work for every movie, like, this works for films that have an audience that really want that material. Because like when I heard about it, it was already on I saw, I think the first time I saw it was on Netflix. The first time I ever heard of it, but I could only imagine if I would have known about it prior, I would have probably been like when Can I see it? When can I see it? Where can I see it? Where can I see it when I see? So that kind of want and need by the audience is what makes this kind of platform? Yeah, yeah. Without question now, as far as marketing, did you market on digital? Did you go social media? Did you do big? billboards out? Did you market this to those audiences? That would have been cool, right? Wouldn't that be amazing? Just like driving on like, that we wanted to see Yogananda you know, up on Billboard on Sunset Boulevard just right. Yeah. You went up on our marketing?
Peter Rader 46:54
Well, yeah, I mean, we quickly quickly realized that, you know, this was not a traditional film. And we were going to be connecting with our audience in the sort of disruptive, direct way. So obviously, social media was our main friend here, we did, you know, do a few print ads here and there, but they were mostly strategic partnerships. So for instance, yoga journal, and La yoga was was one of our partners where we said, okay, we had these really good marketing consultants who said, Let's make a creative deal with la yoga. One, let's get them to review the film to let's get in your bio, you know, one page ad in the magazine, same issue that they're reviewing, and three, let's get them to host one of the evenings in LA. So in the cities where we were for while in the film, we would get partner hosts to say, you get the eight o'clock screening, you can do whatever you want with it, you can do a little presentation afterwards. As long as you broadcast your list and fill that house, it's yours. And, you know, by doing that, we basically just guaranteed a bunch of sellouts and got really robust numbers. Yeah. So
Paola Di Florio 48:04
And that's something that has worked also with with some of our clients, our consulting clients, because we, you know, that is something that's kind of your grassroots build, you know, I think if you mobilize, it takes a lot of work to do this kind of stuff. And we don't recommend to people that they do it on their own, it will totally wipe you out and exhaust you, you need a team. And so you have to actually build this into your budget, you know, you need, you know, a few assistants, you need a social media team, you need publicist, you need marketing people, you really need to create, what a distributor would create. And you'd be the difference is that your hand picking it, and you this is your baby, so you're gonna really go the extra mile that your distributor may or may not do if they don't get immediate results. Right. So it's the consistency with which you will shepherd and nurture, you know, your film into the world. That's the idea behind the hybrid distribution model.
Alex Ferrari 49:03
And I think what you mean with this kind of film, it is it is a poster child for self distribution. I mean, it has everything that a self distributed film needs to have in order to succeed because I consult all the time. And a lot of times, they just don't have an audience or know how to get to that audience or have a strategy, you know, and they're just like, well, I'm gonna sell, I'm gonna put up on iTunes, and that's enough. I'm like, No, everybody should have Yogananda in their film. That's, that that is the key. That's the key to every successful film, obviously.
Peter Rader 49:34
I know another thing, Alex is that we had two Facebook pages. One was sort of public facing open page, you know, which started you know, really to mushroom and get a lot of traction. And, you know, our social media team was was really good at sort of organically building a really robust group NACA media, yeah, aka media when and Angela Alston. And the other thing, though, is that we had a private page that was only by invitation and That was for movie captains or anyone who was willing to spearhead a community screening or a gather theatrical on demand screening. And you were only invited into that group after you had, you know, initiated a screening request in your community. And then in that group, we gave you all the kind of secret sauce stuff, you know, like the playbook and the flyers and the templates. And you would also be able to engage with other captains and share secrets and share lists, and hey, you help me promote in this city and I'll help people in that city.
Alex Ferrari 50:29
Do they? Do they get a cut of that? Or is this just pure love?
Peter Rader 50:32
Not not in the gang together, not in the gather, model and tug and tug? in tug, they are given 5%. But in the gather model, it's really just for the love and the bragging rights. You know, having pulled off the screening and stuff in your neighborhood or in your in your town.
Paola Di Florio 50:50
Yeah, I mean, it is a pretty cool thing. If there's a film that isn't going to ever come to your town, and you get to actually host a big party. You know, you just have to get people there. But it's your it's your, you could do what you want. Like they come you can speak to your audience, you can it kind of is your own little personal party.
Alex Ferrari 51:08
Did you guys go on tour with this? No. Because like in the movie in general, did you go to different cities and talk about
Paola Di Florio 51:16
A couple of things here and there. But mostly, we were pretty much delegating it to we did a lot of Actually, you know what, we did do a lot of Skype and zoom calls. With we that we did do but we didn't actually go on tour with all the you know, we just couldn't we were so tired from having done all of this. We will zoom in you know,
Alex Ferrari 51:38
We'll we'll Skype it in guys. That's fine. It's perfectly fine. Now with your so when you release it, you release t VOD first, right? transactional first, then you had your Netflix deal. And that Netflix deal lasted a couple years if I'm not mistaken, the two year deal.
Peter Rader 51:54
And now we're in our second SVOD, which is Gaia as bought it, you know, for a second run of subscription VOD.
Alex Ferrari 52:03
So, and then that's locked up for a few years. And then after and you're still selling DVDs.
Peter Rader 52:07
Yeah. And we're still having theatrical screenings. When, like, two weeks ago, someone said, I want to do theatricals. greevey Lee,
Alex Ferrari 52:16
That's one of those movies that that makes like you want to community you want that that communal experience to watch that kind of movie.
Paola Di Florio 52:22
That's right. And I think that one of the things this is the lesson for, you know, our business because, you know, distribution, you can't distributors, we end we tend to put blinders on and say this is the only thing that will sell, right. But if you do find your own audience, like what we found is that this audience that came to see awake is actually a vast audience all around the world. They are hungry for a certain kind of product that isn't really being produced and isn't being distributed, which is part of the reason why we really wanted to help other films get off the ground in this arena. Because you know, there's there's a there is room for this not only is there room for it, there's a demand for it. So, you know, you just have to find your way into that distribution model and then it all then the rest come.
Alex Ferrari 53:16
No, and you guys that create ancillary products, which I purchased the book goes on, I definitely purchase the book. I love the companion book. I haven't bought a companion book, and God knows how many. I think the matrix was. wasn't cheap. That was nice of you know, yeah, no, is it because I just loved the movie so much. And I was like, I want something else. I my daughter's got it for me for Christmas last year. And how did you guys go about that? It was because of through Self Realization company that they had their arm and they had their marketing to do it.
Peter Rader 53:48
I think also it was actually inspired by you, I believe, you know, the Washington Post gave us this really juicy quotable little line which it said that Pamela and Lisa were masters of atmospherics that they were masters of atmospherics, and we realized that there was sort of a quality, this magical realism thing. You know, that was in the movie. And there was a monastic and self realization fellowship, who was kind of a Photoshop whiz. And he just started doing these page layouts, which was capturing the feeling of the film, you know, in this in this other form. And we realized, boy, there's a making of a book here, we can basically have the transcript of the film. Then we wrote some, you know, introductory essays and some sort of epilogue, epilogue essays, you know, to sort of bookend it, and it became this kind of beautiful product.
Alex Ferrari 54:40
He did an amazing I mean, yeah, it's a beautiful book. It's a stunning, stunning good coffee table book. It was really well done and did it do well? Did you guys sell a lot of books very well? Oh, that's amazing. Could you like you said it's not cheap. It's not a cheap gift. And then one other thing I want to talk about, about the sound a soundtrack of the movie because you actually sold this soundtrack. But when I'm listening towards the end, I'm like, is that Alanis Morissette? Like, how did they get a lot more set for this? How did you get a lot of stuff to do to get the rights of that movie?
Paola Di Florio 55:12
Oh, amazing, thank you, alumnus. She, I mean, she just, she had given me a song of hers, and in one of my prior films, and I'd written to her and, you know, she was like, I'm not really sure how you see that being used. But you know, she gave it to me anyway. And I used it. And I think in the end, it just was just worked so perfectly. And with this, I just remember I was going on walks, going on walks, and listening to all kinds of music that would spark something for the movie. And that that song still is so
Alex Ferrari 55:48
beautiful. I remember when it came out, it was
Paola Di Florio 55:50
So beautiful, and she is so you know, deeply attuned to these teachings. And, um, you know, it's in, it's in all of her music. I mean, she is like, a teacher of her in her own right. And I think she's actually teaching, you know, spiritual giving, giving conferences and, and, and she's a spiritual teacher, right. So I think that she understood the connection with the film she gave, she was just generous.
Alex Ferrari 56:20
And yes, but you just wrote a letter originally, you just wrote a letter to her and said, Hey, wrote a letter. And you know, a little persistence, we also got, we also got it number one, tap in like that.
Peter Rader 56:33
I mean, and then we also got, you know, a number one hit single from George Harrison, Olivia Harrison, you know, was generous enough to give us the use of Georgia song and, you know, that's kind of a one two punch at the end of the film, which is, you know, in still, she's kind of singing from the point of view of God's singing down to humanity, which is I love you still no matter what you do, no matter all these things, you mess up. I love you still. So here's that singing down to humans. And then you know, we go our end credits we have this exalted give me love give me peace on earth man singing up to God, you know, so beautiful. Those those two songs back to back.
Paola Di Florio 57:10
Yeah. And still also has the just the metaphor of stillness, you know, in all of it, too. So it's still it's the persistence and the perseverance of that sort of self realization, but it's also just, you know, you find it in stillness, you know, so, and it's funny now that you mentioned it, I realized that I actually kind of stopped her I went to a new she was, ya know, I'm remembering now that wisdom 2.0 at the conference, we were giving away those autobiographies. She was on the she was one of the speakers. And so I six degrees of separation had a connection through my friend Nell to allow this and, you know, no, it was like giving her giving her the, the, you know, it was like a little connective tissue to her at wisdom. 2.0 where, you know, she texted me and said, Come say, Hi, I'm, I'm leaving. Now she left from her thing. I had to catch her, like in her limo on her way out just to say hello. Nice. Since the deal.
Alex Ferrari 58:09
That's awesome. That's awesome.
Peter Rader 58:11
That's the thing about still is that, you know, one of the monastics who was part of the film team is actually you know, cureton singer, and he just loves music. And it's very steeped in traditional classical Indian music. And he pointed out the fact that that song is actually in a traditional rock form, that it is in Iraq. I forgot the name of the rod. But, you know, he she used she was clearly influenced by India. Yeah, no, that's
Alex Ferrari 58:38
Amazing. No, so what's up, Next, what's next for you? Guys?
Peter Rader 58:42
This is a good one.
Paola Di Florio 58:42
Well, we that, that I mean, the movie was made and released in 2014. We've worked on anything since then. And we are working on a big project right now. That's a piece and and music festival in India in Rishikesh, India, and it will have documentary component to it, and a live stream and it will hopefully, be another uplifting focal point.
Peter Rader 59:13
That's awesome. It's called come together. It's in honor of commemorating the Beatles going to India 50 years ago, and how they move the needle and shifted the paradigm for so many of us, you know, just open those doors to kind of a new way of thinking.
Alex Ferrari 59:29
I mean, know, when the Beatles went over there, I did absolutely. Like, you know, because you had the biggest band ever introduce you to a whole new world, in many ways, their career, peak of their career.
Paola Di Florio 59:41
And I think that idea is that, you know, if they had everything right, they had reached the pinnacle of success and for them wasn't really enough. And so, it was the idea that, you know, finding another way to explore our purpose. In life and finding balance in life, so it's really putting a focal point on how to live on the planet.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:07
That's awesome. And I'm gonna ask you a few questions I asked all my guests. First one is what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Peter Rader 1:00:18
Jump in your phone, you know, these days, the meet the means the barrier to entry have disappeared, you can edit it on your laptop, you can shoot it on your phone, jump in, start Do it, do it and see if you really want to do it. Because it takes a huge amount of work. So, so figure it out, figure it out by doing it. And the other one is, don't go to film school.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:43
Especially in at Harvard film, school, I mean, seriously,
Peter Rader 1:00:46
Waste all that money on film school, learn about life, study philosophy, join the Merchant Marine, that's what john used to know. He said, join the Merchant Marine, you want to be a filmmaker, go visit, you know, learn learn about the world. And then you can figure anyone can figure out how to make a film.
Paola Di Florio 1:01:00
And I think for me, it's it's, um, you know, there's so much emphasis now, in the result, the result? The result? The result? And I think it's really impacting process. And I just, you know, I just think that, you know, I'm looking to young filmmakers to find a new language to find new stories to, you know, really break the mold here. And I just think that, you know, don't, don't be result oriented. Let the process if you're drawn to filmmaking, it's because you're really needing to have expression and a voice and you have something to say, so have something to say. That's kind of where I put it put the focus and having something to say,
Alex Ferrari 1:01:45
Now can you tell me the book that had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Paola Di Florio 1:01:49
Hmm. Interesting. I mean, I don't know about if I could say it had an impact on my career, but a book that has always stayed with me as The Grapes of Wrath. I just wow. By Steinbeck. Yeah, of course, the journey, that it talks about a path for a metaphor for the path of life. Um, you know, it just was such a journey of survival, and love, and finding a way forward, finding a way forward with such elegance and grace and depth. So that that movie has always stuck with me. That movie that that book, I actually haven't seen the movie. Right, but the book really stuck with me. And I don't know if it influenced my filmmaking, but it influenced me as a person. So of course, it influenced my filmmaking.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:49
How about you, Peter?
Peter Rader 1:02:51
Um, you know, I'm just going to plug I'm so sorry to do this. But I'm going to plug my book. I have a book out right now, to look at the gods.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:58
What's it called? What's it called?
Peter Rader 1:03:00
It's called playing to the gods. And you know, I spent the last three to five years on it. It actually started as a script. It's got a long story. But anyway, it's a book. Now it's on out from Simon and Schuster. And it's about the birth of modern acting. A great rivalry occurred about 100 years ago, the theater between these two icons. One is Sarah Bernhardt, the great actress of the 19th century, who acted from the outside in, she acted by imitation, there were books, there are manuals that showed you how to pose on any given line. And then there was this sea change, which is we needed to figure out the original way of acting, which is inspiration from inside out, and this other actress Eleanor dusa, kind of rediscovered original acting, and they had this intense rivalry that went on for decades. They stole each other's plays and lovers and all sorts of things that did a great job. It was make a good movie. It's being it's being adapted as we speak.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:56
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Paola Di Florio 1:04:04
Alex Ferrari 1:04:06
Oh, that's a good one. We beat ourselves up a little bit too much sometimes.
Paola Di Florio 1:04:11
Yeah, it's just that it's the it's the thing that these teachings have really transformed. in me, which is just to, you know, surrender and to allow, and that has a lot to do with loving yourself.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:31
How bout you, Peter?
Peter Rader 1:04:32
I would say yeah, and well kind of related to that kind of get get out of the way. Get out of the way. You know, let it happen without the ego, you know, like, that's, that's, that's a tricky one. I'm still working on that one.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:49
And the toughest question of all three of your favorite films of all time?
Peter Rader 1:04:55
Well, I always begin with the Godfather. It's still It's still on my list. What else do we have? You know, I grew up in Italy. So I'll go to Bethel Lucci, you know, 1900 or certainly some of the Fellini movies that were so influential. You know, I'm record Rama Casanova. I've seen the mall and just amazing filmmaker.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
How about you Paola?
Paola Di Florio 1:05:24
Well, uh, two documentaries that really had an imprint on me where Chrome and
Alex Ferrari 1:05:30
Chrome love Chrome,
Paola Di Florio 1:05:32
And Harlan County, USA.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:34
Oh, yeah, that's a good movie.
Paola Di Florio 1:05:37
And, and, you know, I would say The Princess Bride.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:43
What a classic movie. Oh, that movie. so wonderful. And then where can people follow your work and follow what you guys are doing?
Peter Rader 1:05:54
Our website is thisiscounterpointfilms.com, okay. Because there's another counterpoint films in Ireland.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:03
Peter Rader 1:06:07
And we got
Paola Di Florio 1:06:08
We have a newsletter. And so you know, that's the that's the best place. If you sign up for my newsletter, we don't send many out. So it won't be annoying. But that's that's the best way to
Alex Ferrari 1:06:20
Guys, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the tribe today and really share your process, and a little bit of Yogananda, his wisdom with with everyone. So thank you again, so much.
Paola Di Florio 1:06:30
Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Peter Rader 1:06:32
It was a pleasure.
Paola Di Florio 1:06:34
It was a pleasure.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:35
They truly are an inspiration. Peter and Paola. Thank you so so much for being on the show and dropping some major knowledge bombs on the tribe today. If you want to get links to anything we discussed in this episode, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/283. We'll put links to them how to contact them, as well as links to the video podcast on IFH.TV, and of course links to awake the life of Yogananda and if you guys have not watched this film, it is worth your time. It is one of my favorite documentaries I've ever seen. I watch it every few months. That's how much I love this thing. It is really, really great. It does give you a great introduction to who Yogananda was his teachings and what what he did for for the world. It's pretty remarkable, honestly. But it's a great documentary, and not religious or anything like that. Just pretty cool ideas that he talked about. So if you haven't already, please head over to indiefilmhustle.tv check out what we're doing over there. It's amazing stuff that we've got going on this month. releases were about 30 hours and it was crazy amount of stuff that we put out there. And we're going to be putting more and more stuff. I just got some big stuff coming. I got some big announcements come in this month. I just cannot wait wait, wait to tell you what's coming up. So thanks again for all the support guys. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.