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"CATCHING DREAMS" wins AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD at the RANIER INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
The Mountain News – WA
The 5th Annual Rainier Independent Film Festival brought three days of quality feature films and shorts, plus a bevy of documentaries and cinematic workshops to Ashford this weekend. One of the most dynamic films of the festival – and certainly one of the most acclaimed – was “Catching Dreams,” the story of a 37-year old investment banker who quit his job to become a trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil.
The banker, Brian Flint, had always wanted to become a professional athlete, and in college he competed for a position on the US Olympic Water Polo team. However, he “didn’t go the extra mile,” in his effort, he says, and that failure “haunted me every day afterwards.”
Finding little personal value in his financial work, a fluke visit to Las Vegas in 2000, where he saw a Cirque Du Soleil show and was mesmerized watching the aerialists perform, ignited a tremendous passion within Brian to become a world-class trapeze artist. So intense was his excitement, Brian called his twin brother, Kevin, at 3 am.
Kevin, who was working as a deck-hand on a boat, was having his own troubles bringing his desire of becoming a film maker into reality, and Brian suggested that they meld their dreams – Kevin could film Brian’s journey to become a Cirque du Soleil aerialist. Pooling life savings and maxing-out credit cards, Brian spent the next two years learning the craft of trapeze work, including performance stops at Club Med in the Caribbean and Mexico. Specifically, Brian was learning to become a “catcher,” the aerialist who catches the “flyer” who leaves his trapeze and performs stunts in the air before being “caught.”
Brian Flint, left, and Kevin Flint, right, are twin brothers who made an extraordinary film about manifesting their dreams. At the same time, Kevin was “catching” Brian on film, and sent Cirque the first of Brian’s many audition videos. Brian’s passion was evident, along with his artistic flair, and Cirque invited him to a regional audition in Los Angeles. Afterwards, Cirque rewarded his growing abilities with a “training contract,” an opportunity to go to Cirque headquarters in Montreal and spend several months working with Cirque specialists.
Generally, such an opportunity would lead to a performing contract, but, in the first of what was to be four similar rounds of invitations and rejections from Cirque, Brian was not extended a performance offer. Dejected, Brian began what was to be a six-year quest of overcoming those rejections, finding new teachers and greater performing opportunities, and building his confidence and skills. Along the way, he had to heal from a serious trapeze accident at Cirque training headquarters during his second invitation, when he suffered a concussion and broken cheek bone. Persevering, Brian and Kevin traveled, studied and performed in Europe, Costa Rica, and Japan. Occasionally, Brian would be paid for his aerial work; sometimes Kevin could get odd jobs and support them that way. But it was tough. “We missed many a meal,” said Brian. “We lived on $300 per week when I worked in the circus in Portugal.
“By then I had lost twenty pounds, was totally broke, and I didn’t think Brian was going to make it,” Kevin confessed. “I had lost faith.” Nevertheless, Brian encouraged him to not totally abandon the dream. Compromising, Kevin would make spot appearances wherever Brian was training or performing – a little circus in the Dominican Republic or a gig in Florida – and then head back to Los Angeles and the film world. Starting with his 150-plus hours of film on Brian, Kevin made a short documentary, cataloging the failures and grim determination of his brother. Then, a small dream came true – Kevin’s short movie attracted several investors. Back together, the brothers endured a two-year period of silence from Cirque, but they continued to submit new performance tapes and inform Cirque of their continued interest.
Finally, in 2008, the dream manifested. Needing a skilled catcher to train new flyers for a show called “Alegria,” Cirque offered their fourth training contract to Brian, and the brothers returned to Montreal. Further, Kevin produced another documentary on Brian’s epic journey and submitted it to Cirque. Impressed, Cirque allowed Kevin to film his brother inside the training facilities, the first independent film maker allowed to do so in the 25 year history of Cirque du Soleil. Together in the training camp in a way they had never been before, the brothers prepared for the next challenge. Shortly after arriving in Montreal, a catcher in a Cirque show performing in Las Vegas became injured. Brian was one of only two experienced catchers in Montreal who could fill-in, and a fierce competition ensued to see who would be selected to replace the injured aerialist.
“I’ve never wanted anything so bad in my life,” declared Brian. After a week of intense scrutiny, Brian was selected. He was offered a temporary performance contract to be a high-aerial catcher in the Cirque show, Mystére. After eight years, Brian’s dream had come true.
“I cried like a baby at the end of the first show,” Brian said. But what about Kevin? “Kevin’s gone through a lot more than I did,” Brian said. “I had the glamour, the performances and the training, to keep me going when it was tough – but Kevin didn’t have that. He had to hold down the fort, take all those odd jobs, and make some money to keep us going.”
After Brian’s achievement, Kevin dove into editing and producing the film that has come to be known as “Catching Dreams.”
Completed and released in 2008, “Catching Dreams” has since won awards at five different film festivals, including “Best Documentary” in the 2009 Fallbrook Film Festival. In Ashford this weekend, Kevin also proudly announced that he has distribution deals that will put the film in movie houses throughout Asia and possibly Europe. As for Brian, he performed in Mystére for four months, leaving when the injured performer returned.
“I did 150 shows – twice a day for the four months, and when it ended I felt satisfied,” Brian said. However, Brian, who is 48 and now retired from performing, works as a aerial coach at a training facility in Seattle. But, he is not finished with dreaming. ”Now, I’m on to my next dream,” added Brian. “I want to become a professional actor…Hello, Hollywood!” Standing next to him, Kevin smiled, and then announced that his dream is to continue being a film maker. “I want to be a successful feature-length film maker,” he said, leaving others to wonder if the two brothers have only just begun their work together.
© 2011 The Mountain News – WA
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THE EXAMINER - Oscar Winning stars appear in 'Crossmaglen' - June 8, 2010 - By Brónagh Murphy
Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley has been signed to star in the forthcoming Hollywood movie ‘Crossmaglen’, producer Arianna Eisenberg has confirmed. Kingsley – who won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Mohandas Gandhi in the film ‘Gandhi’ - will join a host of other top names from the industry including Brenda Fricker.....more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AEGIS FILM & TELEVISION GROUP WINS ACCOLADE COMPETITION
Los Angeles, California, July 13, 2009
Aegis Film & Television Group has won a prestigious Award of Merit from The Accolade Competition. The Award was given for Aegis’ moving film documentary “On Sacred Ground” which details the struggle of Native American’s against the destruction and decimation of Indian burial and other sacred sites throughout the United States, particularly the Southwest.
“We are thrilled by this recognition from The Accolade”, says producer Arianna Eisenberg. “We are honored because it represents outstanding achievement from a festival that is looked upon as one of the top 10 out there”. Producer/editor Liz Rogers echoes those sentiments and said “We were very moved by this project and touched by depth of faith and dedication to worship by the Native Americans who participated in the film. To have this recognition by Accolade is deeply rewarding”.
The Accolade recognizes film, television and videography professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Entries are judged by highly qualified professionals in the film and television industry. Information about The Accolade and a list of recent winners can be found at www.theaccolade.net.
In winning The Accolade, Aegis Film & Television Group joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award. Thomas Baker, Ph.D, who chairs The Accolade, had this to say about the latest winners, “The Accolade” is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world. The Accolade helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of entries this year. The goal of The Accolade is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve”.
For more information call Aegis Film & Television Group at 323-848-7977 or visit Aegis Film & Television Group’s website at www.aegisfilmgroup.com.