• Anne Jo Lee

AMPAV, Cannes 2006

The original reason I was inspired to make my own feature length documentary.

In 2005, I was attending Full Sail, when I made my 1st, $50, as a camera assistant, while shooting a pilot for a reality show. That week, I invested that $50 into an application to intern at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 with the American Pavilion.

I was lucky to work in the Pavilion as a waitress, while other students worked in the office pushing paperwork. It was my first Film Festival and we were the first interns at and Pavilion to arrive that year. I wasn't even out of Film School but I could tell what an important turning point it was.

“When I saw the Yachts, I knew right away, that's where I wanted to be, three Days later I was taking a Dinghy out to one owned by Bob Yari.”

It was at the BBC party that I realized that films weren't bought for distribution the way that I had imagined. For some reason, I always thought buyers sat in a room somewhere looking at films, deciding if they were good then buying the ones that they thought were quality stories. Boy was I wrong! I realized that night, if I had a film, it would have sold simply by being in contact with the proper channels and being AT that festival, that is of course if the film had the right components.

Self Distribution in 2006 wasn't really an option, nor was being a Female Director.

Wow, the times have really changed in the past 20 years in this industry! I was lucky that during the years I was in film school was around the time tape was going to digital and I was at the forefront of a new era. I maxed out my student loans to buy gear because I knew I wouldn't get a lower APR on a credit card or business loan so I really took advantage of borrowing the living expenses so that I could get the gear and time needed after graduation to establish myself enough to start getting paying gigs withing at least 6 months of graduation.

As soon as I realized that I, TOO, could also make and SELL my own films, I began thinking of concepts and following any leads I could, to get working on a feature length film. I had heard that to work on a feature length film, one has to have experience working on them and that was the first of many paradoxical truths that came with this, very complex, industry. That same year, was my first trip to the Dry Tortugas and I had already shot and directed my first Documentary about the Coral Castle in Homestead Florida, it was called, The Man and The Mystery of the Coral Castle. They no longer allow filming at this location so I feel pretty special that they allowed me to make this.


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