Farm and Red Moon was chosen as one of the documentary works in progress to participate in The Latino Producers Academy (LPA) held the 13th through the 23rd of June in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During this intensive ten day experience editor Carla Pataky and I participated as Documentary Fellows, receiving one-on-one professional mentoring in a laboratory environment designed to enhance the viability of the documentary and make Farm and Red Moon more competitive for completion funding.

Through this experience Carla and I developed a new aesthetic approach and refined the story structure while sharpening the storytelling under the guidance of several wonderful mentors: Herb Ferrette, an accomplished editor, shared his editing wisdom and helped discover the humor in Audrey’s journey; Peter Miller, an experienced producer and director, challenged us to craft a stronger treatment; Beni Matias, Acting Executive Director of NALIP, encouraged us to take the road less travelled, and Richard Saiz, LPA Program Director and formerly of ITVS, challenged us with difficult questions providing the catalyst leading us to bring Audrey Kali’s personal journey front and center in order to better engage the audience with this challenging topic.

Late night editing, left to right: co-director David Tam├ęs, editing mentor Herb Ferrette, editor Carla Pataky, photo by Kimberly Bautista.

Several alumni of the LPA returned to share their experiences completing their films. Presentations by mentors included editor Vivien Hillgrove on how editing and music inform story, Richard Saiz on narrative storytelling, and Jorge Trelles discussing how to work with ITVS, among many others. The working sessions and late night camaraderie provided by the staff, fellows, and mentors made for a unique experience that will not be forgotten. This year the LPA also ran a parallel New Media track led by Jonathan Archer, a digital media consultant formerly with ITVS, exposing us to emerging trends in interactive documentary and related media forms, expanding our horizons beyond the tried and true 30, 60, and 90 minute linear documentary formats. The LPA was like compressing a full semester of graduate school into ten days. Carla and I never got a chance to step foot outside of The Lodge at Santa Fe until it was time to go back to the airport, and whenever we had a free moment we were on the phone bringing Audrey up to date on our progress. But it was all for the best, Carla and I returned home to Boston inspired, transformed, and with a new approach for the film that has changed our trajectory for the better.

Round-trip plane ticket to Santa Fe from Boston for the two of us: $1,272.30, taxi to and from home and Boston’s Logan Airport: $98.00, attending the Latino Producers Academy: Priceless. For everything else, there are grant proposals to be written and fundraising plans to be made. The Latino Producers Academy is a signature program of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) orchestrated in association with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), HBO, and the Hanson Film Institute. We are so very grateful to these organizations, along with the mentors, visiting alumni, staff, and volunteers, for the challenging and productive experience they made possible.