Two Sleeping Giant Cinematographers Earn an Oscar Nomination for Their Won Film About the Opioid Crisis in West Virginia

The Academy Awards are coming up in a week, and we want to offer our warmest congratulations to Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon - two of our exceptional Sleeping Giant cinematographers - for their Best Documentary Short nomination. Their own film is called Heroin(e), and their nomination is well deserved both because they are incredibly talented filmmakers and because the powerful story they tell, about the opioid crisis in West Virginia, is as urgent as it is. We were lucky to get to work with them and wish them giant amounts of good fortune at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood next week.

It also sheds light on one of the most difficult challenges many communities in West Virginia - which we feature in Sleeping Giant as well - are facing.

Hopefully you'll hear more about Heroin(e) after the Oscars, but whatever else you do go watch it on Netflix as soon as you can.

P.S. Here's an article on Heroin(e) and their Oscar nomination, and here is the trailer:

Indiecan Snaps Up North American Distribution Rights to the Sleeping Giant

Very cool news from the 'sharing the film with the world' department: we just signed a distribution agreement with the Toronto-based Indiecan for North American distribution rights. This means that Indiecan will represent Waking the Sleeping Giant with North American buyers, including streaming services, educational institutions, broadcasters, and others. We are very pleased to be partnering with them and hopefully we'll have some more good news to share in the coming months.

This comes on top of another string of terrific screenings, including the World Community Film Festival in Courtenay, British Columbia (which we’ve heard is an amazing location but sadly couldn’t get up there), a terrific Denver screening at the Bug Theater, and another one at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

Here is today's Screen Daily article about the acquisition.

The Giant Returns to Denver

Waking the Sleeping Giant returns to Denver for an encore screening after our sold out show at the Sie Film Center this summer. We are looking forward to sharing it again with one of our hometown crowds. Tickets are on sale now ($8 in advance/$10 at the door).

Over the past couple of months we've had some terrific screenings around the country, including three in West Virginia, one in Decorah, Iowa, another in Hamilton (near Toronto), and yet another in Telluride, Colorado.

We expect to have some more news about 2018 soon ... stay tuned!

The Canadian and European Film Markets

Waking the Sleeping Giant was invited to participate in two film markets this month, where sales agents and distributors show up looking for films to represent and distribute, and where filmmakers show up with films they hope to sell. We'll start at the Canadian Film Market near Toronto (happening at the same time as the Hamilton Film Festival) and then head to IDFA Docs for Sale in Amsterdam, which is probably the most prestigious and most important documentary film market in the world.

We promise to share stories and news when we get back. In the meantime, thank you for all of the support over these past four years. Whether or not we secure distribution, we are thrilled to get to participate in both of these markets and we are even more thrilled to have been able to share the film with so many people (well over 3,000 now).

More soon ... 

The Giant's Autumn Road Trip

The Waking the Sleeping Giant team is gearing up for another round of screenings all over the U.S. (and north of the border as well!).

On Saturday, October 21 the Giant returns to the Green Mountain State to screen at the Vermont International Film Festival as part of the Vermont Filmmakers Showcase. Producer Jon Erickson will be there for a post-film Q&A. We've got a community screening in Boise, Idaho on the same night, and a few days later - October 25 - we are part of the Movies That Matter Film Series at the University of Calgary.

We've got four screenings queued up for November, the first of which is on Friday, November 10 at the Alexandria Film Festival near Washington, D.C. The next night - November 11 - Waking the Sleeping Giant screens at the prestigious St. Louis International Film Festival (with producer Kathryn Goldman) and at the Hamilton Film Festival in Ontario, Canada (with producer Jacob Smith).

There are more screenings in the works - LA, Seattle, New York, and others - so stay tuned!

Netroots Nation!

We are jazzed to announce that Waking the Sleeping Giant has its next big activist screening lined up: Netroots Nation in Atlanta (August 10-13)! We don’t have the specific time and date yet, but we do know you can register for Netroots and get all sorts of info about the rest of the agenda at the Netroots Nation website.

Folks who have already seen the film know that Black Lives Matter charging the stage at the Netroots Nation in 2015 (as well as BLM activists staging similar protests elsewhere) is a key moment in Waking the Sleeping Giant. It will be very cool to share the film there this year with a bunch of activists who are working hard to do cross-movement organizing different and better than its been done in the past.

 

Reminder: Montpelier, DC, & Denver Premieres Are This Week

If you live in Washington, D.C. or Denver here's your chance to catch Waking the Sleeping Giant on the big screen. And we've got some great news: Kai Newkirk and Amirah Sequeira (both of whom are in the film) will join filmmaker Jacob Smith for the Q&A after the D.C. premiere.

 350.org founder Bill McKibben introducing Waking the Sleeping Giant to an audience of 800 at the People's Summit in Chicago last weekend.

350.org founder Bill McKibben introducing Waking the Sleeping Giant to an audience of 800 at the People's Summit in Chicago last weekend.

Waking the Sleeping Giant heads to Montpelier, the capitol of Vermont, the evening before the Vermont State Legislature’s veto session kicks off. This special presentation, hosted by Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, State Senator Chris Pearson, and State Representative Mary Sullivan, also includes a Q&A with filmmaker Jon D. Erickson.

Then the Giant heads to Washington, D.C. for a screening at the E Street Cinema on June 21.

And then the film is Colorado-bound, with a screening at the Sie Film Center on June 23. There are only two dozen tickets left!

 

 

Thank you Bill McKibben and The People's Summit!

Despite the 10pm start time, eight hundred progressive activists found themselves in the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago's McCormick Place convention center to see the People's Summit screening of Waking the Sleeping Giant. It was awesome. Huge hats off to the extraordinary Bill McKibben for his introduction to the film, to the People's Summit for inviting us to participate, and to National Nurses United for coordinating such a massive and successful event. And thanks to all of you who stayed up so late to see the film and then made a point of telling us how much you appreciated it afterward.

We can't wait to share it with more folks in more cities. Next week: Montpelier, Washington DC, and Denver.

Three more screenings: Montpelier, D.C., and Denver

Waking the Sleeping Giant heads to Montpelier, the capitol of Vermont, the evening before the Vermont State Legislature’s veto session kicks off. This special presentation, hosted by Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, State Senator Chris Pearson, and State Representative Mary Sullivan, also includes a Q&A with filmmaker Jon D. Erickson.

Then the Giant heads to Washington, D.C. for a screening at the E Street Cinema on June 21.

And then the film is Colorado-bound, with a screening at the Sie Film Center on June 23. Fewer than half of the tickets are left!

Sold Out in Brattleboro

Another screening, another sold out house. Thank you Latchis Theater for hosting the screening on Saturday after Brattleboro's famous Strolling of the Heifers parade. And thanks to the Brattleboro Film Festival for partnering with the theater to make it happen.

Special thanks also to Rights & Democracy VT and Rights & Democracy NH for helping folks answer the critical ”so now what do we do?!?!" question after the show, and to Ethan Zuckerman from the MIT Center for Civic Media for attending, and for much inspiration in the early days of production.

We can't wait to share the film with audiences in other parts of Vermont, as well. Stay tuned for more screening announcements!

 A sold out audience in Brattleboro's stunning (and historic)  Latchis Theater .

A sold out audience in Brattleboro's stunning (and historic) Latchis Theater.

The Giant Heads to Vermont

We had a great time at the Vermont premiere on Friday evening. Many the film’s financial supporters were among the audience in the sold out theater, including some of the earliest and some of the biggest donors, as well as a bunch of folks that had only recently learned about the film and wanted to check it out. We are grateful for the responses at the Q&A and in the messages we received afterward, which included:

"Perfect blend of inspiration & reality for troubled times."

"Must see film. Inspires us to keep on organizing."

"... it has the potential to galvanize diverse groups and individuals."

"Powerful film! Thank you!"

"Thank you for making this very moving film of the voices of people on the front lines of struggle, and the front lines of building a progressive movement. This is big. I especially appreciated that they devoted a significant focus to intersectionality, including Black Lives Matter."

"It is an important film and it needs to be seen by all who believe We are the Change We Believe In and it needs to be seen by those who believe they have no voice."

Next up: Brattleboro on Saturday, June 3 (at 4pm after the Strolling of the Heifers parade) at the historic Latchis Theater. Tickets are free but your best bet is to grab them in advance. Director Jon Erickson will be there for a Q&A afterward.

We’ve got more Vermont screenings in the works. Stay tuned!

 Sold out crowd at  Burlington's Main Street Landing  theater.

Sold out crowd at Burlington's Main Street Landing theater.

What Are People Saying About Waking the Sleeping Giant?

An “incendiary new film”
    - Movie-Blogger.com

“Jacob Smith, Jon Erickson, and Kathryn Goldman’s ambitious new film … point[s] to a turbulent time – but also, perhaps, a singular moment of opportunity, if coalitions and alliances can unite sometimes disparate voices in a coherent public conversation, to forge a mandate for effective change.”
    - Jay Craven, Vermont Public Radio

“Giant seriously rouses when it looks at Black Lives Matter or the story of West Virginian Sabrina Shrader.”
    - Georgia Strait

The filmmakers invite us to see the people in this film “as an arm, maybe a little toe, of the rousing giant, joining unionists, Black Lives Matter activists, academics, environmentalists, LGBTQ advocates, the quite religious and the not religious, all manner of just plain decent hard-working people, red staters, blue staters, rural dweller and urbanites, and yes, one or two quoted members of the liberal media, in channeling [the] anger into a politics of inclusivity.”
    - The Tyee

“Waking the Sleeping Giant is so important. It’s turning to the people on the ground. It is the good kind of reality TV.”
    - Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

The Sleeping Giant: Vermont Premiere on Friday!

We're just days away from the Vermont premiere of Waking the Sleeping Giant. If you can get to the Main Street Landing Film House this Friday evening (May 26), we'd love to see you there!

Producers Jon Erickson and Jacob Smith will both be on hand for the event and will stick around after the screening for some Q&A.

Reserve your free tickets!

 The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center on the Burlington waterfront.

The Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center on the Burlington waterfront.

DOXA Documentary Film Festival: Travelogue

We want to offer the hugest of thanks to the DOXA film festival for hosting our international premiere ... they put on a great festival, they treated the filmmakers and audience members alike really well, and Waking the Sleeping Giant screened in two fantastic Vancouver theaters. It's never looked and sounded so good.

And we are grateful the film was received so warmly at both screenings. Roughly 300 people attended between the two screenings, nearly everyone remained for the Q&A after the film, and when they finally kicked us out of the theater (so the next film could start) we ended up in the lobby with long lines of folks who had more questions and comments. The film tells some really important stories, and it was gratifying that so many people (Canadians and Americans alike) found moving and inspiring.

And we had a great contingent of fans who made their way to Vancouver to be part of this, from Colorado, Seattle, and Vancouver! Thanks to everyone who made their way to the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University or The Annex (at the Orpheum) to be part of our international premiere.

 

Waking the Sleeping Giant International Premiere: Vancouver, British Columbia

The Sleeping Giant had its international premiere last night at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada. It looked and sounded amazing on the beautiful SFU projection system. We are grateful to DOXA for inviting us to the festival and promoting the film, and to the audience of 200 for being part of the event.

If you happen to be in Vancouver but couldn’t make last night's screening, you have another chance today: 12:30pm at The Annex (823 Seymour Street),  which is also a really nice theater with a terrific projection and audio system.

     DOXA festival-goers starting to fill in the SFU theater at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for the international premiere.

    DOXA festival-goers starting to fill in the SFU theater at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for the international premiere.

    We had a couple of nice media hits over the past few days, as well, which no doubt helped turn out folks to see the film:

    • Yesterday the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation hosted producer Jacob Smith for an interview about the film and about the state of the American progressive movement. We'll get this online soon.
    • On Monday, Vancouver’s North Shore News ran a story about the three DOXA screenings, including Waking the Sleeping Giant, that are part of the Trumped! What the $%*%(!! Now? film series at the festival.
    • And we’ve been getting some great Vermont press, as well, in advance of the May 26 Vermont premiere. Check out this story on Vermont Public Radio.
     Producer Jacob Smith at CBC/Radio-Canada studios in Vancouver.

    Producer Jacob Smith at CBC/Radio-Canada studios in Vancouver.

    "Best Documentary Feature Film"

    Turns out that Waking the Sleeping Giant received the "Best Feature" award at the Thin Line Fest! We are feeling humbled and grateful, and especially appreciative of the many people who worked on the crew or contributed financially. And we are deeply grateful to the many, many folks who allowed us into their lives to film, or sat down for interviews, or helped us make crucial connections.

    And just as importantly, we are pleased because we feel so strongly that these are stories in need of telling. This was a great way to begin sharing the film with the world.

    Thank you Thin Line Fest (and special thanks to the inimitable Stanton Brasher, the festival's programming director, for taking such good care of us)!

     

    Thin Line Fest: Travelogue

    We can't say enough about our time in Denton, Texas. The Thin Line Fest team was terrific and super friendly and did a great job with the festival. Everyone we met in Denton, including other filmmakers, festival-goers, and random Denton residents, were super friendly as well. The festival itself was loaded with great films and music. It was a perfect festival for our U.S. (and world) premiere.

    And what a premiere it was! Amy Goodman joined by Facetime and offered an enthusiastic introduction to the film. The theater itself was a gorgeous mid-century art house, and Sleeping Giant looked and sounded really, really good. The large audience (despite the late 9pm start time) seemed genuinely moved, we had a bunch of engaged questions during the Q&A, and the entire time afterward at the festival afterward people kept talking to us about the film.

    We couldn't have asked for a better premiere - thank you Thin Line and Denton!