Posts Tagged ‘Casey Puckett’

Appointment in Heartland

September 24, 2010

My documentary about five-time Olympic skier Casey Puckett will screen in October (16-23) at the Heartland Film Festival — one of the biggest film festivals in the midwest with the largest prize purse worldwide!

This year the 18 year-old Indianapolis-based festival had a record 835 submissions of which APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER is one of the lucky 94 selected to screen. Congratulations and many thanks to the crew, cast and supporters of AIV. Without this amazing team, AIV would not have been possible.

If anyone is interested in attending the Heartland Film Festival, do it! I went when QUEEN OF CACTUS COVE won the Jimmy Stewart Crystal Heart Award and was blown away by the genuinely excited and appreciative audiences and the staff’s unparalleled hospitality. It was there that I met Frank Kelly (the mastermind behind “140”, which is also an official Heartland selection) and became a fan of the “heartland hug” – a really genuine hug only possible in Indiana.

Reprint: My SportsFanLive Blog Post

March 15, 2010

On the heels of my trip to the Vancouver Olympics with the APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER “crew” (aka Seth Caplan, producer, and Mo Grosser, music sup), I was approached about writing a blog post about the experience for SportsFanLive.

So I did. Chance to gush about my film AND score free PR? Yes, please.

The post is still available here, BUT because I’m cranking out another draft of the book adaptation* today (a pass on the bad girl character… making her badder), and a shiny, new draft of LOSERS was delivered yesterday, I don’t have time to do a fresh blog post. I believe in recycling in real life and in blog life so… I’m publishing my SportsFanLive post here for those who missed it the first time and for those who were to lazy to click this time.

Bonus! I’ll include more pics from the trip than the SportsFanLive people did. Yeah, I got your back.

Director Anna Christopher was in Vancouver to follow skier Casey Puckett, the subject of her documentary, Appointment In Vancouver. The film focuses on Puckett’s life as a world-class athlete, father of two and hometown hero, who was preparing for his fifth Olympic appearance. Here is Christopher’s account Puckett’s latest Olympic experience:

The girls of team AIV got lots of attention for our gear and not being disgusting looking.

We made awesome signs. Amazing signs. Signs that deserved to be on TV. Which was exactly the intention.

After camera-tailing four-time Olympian Casey Puckett for three years and making an applauded documentary about him, my producer, music supervisor, brother (who is in the film) and I scrapped our way to the Olympic Games. With our signs in hand, we were determined to get our film,Appointment In Vancouver, and our favorite skier cross racer, Casey Puckett, some network coverage.

Appointment In Vancouver documents Casey’s dramatic/thrilling/gut-wrenching/inspiring journey to the Games. We capture the challenges Casey faces as an elite athlete competing on the world’s stage and as a father juggling gold-medal dreams while raising kids. The film offers audiences a rare, exclusive glimpse of the mental, emotional and physical trials of a retired Olympic athlete making a comeback at age 37.

Me, our tickets, Mo.

The film was born the moment I met Casey. The IOC had recently named Skier Cross as the “new” Olympic sport to debut in Vancouver. Casey said then that he “had an appointment in Vancouver.” His unwavering faith and determination to compete in the 21st Winter Olympics hooked me. He’d competed on the U.S. Ski team since he was 19, raced in Albertville, Lillehammer, Nagano and Salt Lake City. Never medaled. He retired after his final Olympics. Final? Actually, not so much. That’s one of the reasons his story is so inspiring.

Through a mix of chance, fate, and itch of “unfinished business,” Casey fell in love with the emerging sport of Skier Cross. Before he knew it, he was back on the slopes and dominating the field unlike he’d ever done as an Alpine racer. He’d found his cup of tea, and he was guzzling it down. EvenDaron Rahlves, Casey’s teammate, Alpine racing legend, and co-star of Appointment In Vancouver, admits that Casey was better at Skier Cross than he ever was in Alpine. In the film, Daron says, “My heart pumps a little harder when I line up against Casey because I know what he can do.”

"O Canada" you love red. And Chris Del Bosco.

As the Appointment In Vancouver crew climbed the million stairs to the grandstand on February 21, 2010, we wondered what Casey would do that day. The crowd seemed to be pondering the same thing of all the athletes. An excited but serious vibe emanated from the grandstand as the first heats began. Every race of four-on-four skiers was enthralling but the crashes were brutal, which I think caused the pensive energy in the stands. There was no doubt — this sport was way more electrifying than curling.

Friends have told me the TV coverage made the course appear easy. From our vantage point, it was not. The crowd gave every race its entire attention because if you looked away for a second, you may miss something unbelievable. This universal focus gave bonded all of us in the crowd without words. We were all there for the love of this new sport and the fearless racers who tried to conquer it.

Monster jump after "trouble alley" at the end of the SX course.

In the first couple heats, scary pile-ups unfolded right before our eyes in the last turn to the final obstacle — a monster jump. We started calling that toilet-bowl turn “trouble alley” and worried about how Casey would handle it. I remembered Casey’s perseverance. He fought through seven surgeries to be here. His most recent injury happened in January when on the way to his first World Cup victory. He fell a mere six seconds from the finish and separated his shoulder. In that moment, even he thought the ride was over. However, he pushed through, rehabbed the injury in six weeks, and was here in Cypress on the day Skier Cross was debuting at the Games. No matter what Casey would be a part of history.

And he was. Not with a medal or a massive crash but by laying down a solid race. Because of his

Daron, on the other hand, did crash.

injured shoulder, he came out of the gates slower than he’d like and found himself in fourth place. Despite his best efforts, he stayed in fourth for the whole race.

Casey and I texted after the event. What did I say? I’m not sure. There’s not a go-to phrase for “I’m sorry you didn’t achieve your dream and our dream for you.” I know he was disappointed. So was I. But he gave the race everything he had and that’s all you can ask. The Appointment In Vancouver team remained in the stands until the end of the event, enjoying the spectacle of the sport but without the gusto with which we began. We left our signs in the stands.

The funny thing is that when I returned to Los Angeles, I screened Appointment In Vancouver for a few friends. The film ends just before Casey goes to the Olympics. My friends knew the outcome of the Games, yet they loved the film. Even I still loved it. I realized that Casey didn’t win a medal on February 21, 2010, but the journey that got him to that historic day, his Appointment In Vancouver,was pure gold.


*When am I going to announce the book and the subsequent project news!?!?!?! I’m waiting on a few possible press opps to either play out or to die a cold, ignored death to determine when I sing the news from the blogsphere mountain tops.

They Responded with the Opposite of Yes

March 6, 2010

I blogged about the following possibilities for APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER so now I feel responsible to finish the story.

We didn’t get into Florida Film Festival or Tribeca Film Festival.

ESPN “loved” the film but said that if they’d seen the film months ago they could have worked with it in some capacity but presently (which was about four weeks ago) that was no longer possible.

It may be ‘cool’ to be a filmmaker but sometimes it’s icy cold.

In Shaun White’s Company

March 2, 2010

Look what Seth (producer on APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER) spotted on today!

According to Amazon, we’re #22 on their “Movies – Sports – Skiing & Snow Sports” sales list and ranked #68 on their “Olympics” sales roundup.

Not bad, especially since we encourage everyone to buy AIV at IndieFlix instead of Amazon because we get a better cut of the purchase price! It’s showBUSINESS, folks.

Fresh Site, Sale Price, Finale

March 1, 2010

Now that we are “post-Olympic” and AIV is ON SALE for $12.99, I updated the APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER website. I wish I could have revised it with news of Casey winning a medal rather than a sale price. I’m sure Casey wishes the same. Despite this wish, I am moving forward and am grateful for the tremendous experience and excellent film that came out of knowing, following and believing in Casey. I hope Casey’s doing the same.

Since the Games, Casey and I have only been able to text and email. However, I basically run his Facebook Fan Page, so I’m privy to the outpouring of love and support Casey’s fans have been sending him. He’s an inspiration to a lot of people. Hopefully, he’s checking their posts.

Besides that icy-cool sale price, the new AIV site now includes:

  • pictures of me, Seth and Mo (Music Supervisor) on our trip to Vancouver to cheer Casey on in his 5th Olympic Games
  • soundtrack information (band, song, website, picture cue)
  • an updated Casey bio
  • new photos and newspaper clippings from Casey’s youth and early ski career

I removed the calendar page because we’re not sure what’s next for AIV. We’re crossing our fingers on a couple great film fests this Spring and also waiting to hear from Casey about his plans for after this season.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sending in a blog post for SportsFanLive about APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER and our trip to the Games. They work with AOL Sports and have promised that their “module” with AOL will feature the my post. Maybe we’ll get some traffic and sales from the exposure!

Now I must prep for the finale of THE BACHELOR. As Vice Commissioner of Here For the Right Reasons: The Bachelor Fantasy League, I’m hosting a screening/finale party for all the LA league members. Everyone’s bringing a snack inspired by their favorite bachelorette. This idea, ordained by me, is particularly troublesome for me. I’m on a cleanse which means no glutens, refined sugar, red meat, booze or dairy in my snack. I want to think up something clever and funny for my contribution like my friend who is bringing shrimp cakes in honor of Tenley aka “The Little Mermaid: Ariel.”  Good one, huh?

My  brain is so fried from all the writing I’ve been doing on my latest project (haven’t announced it) that all I can think of is mini hot dogs inspired by Gia because she looks like a sad puppy. Pitiful idea. Even if I were to try and swing that snack with the league, I couldn’t even eat it because of the cleanse restrictions.

Vudu? You Do. Do What?

February 24, 2010

Despite Casey’s disappointing showing at the Olympics — which sounds harsh but I can’t think of any other way of describing it … more on this in a post later this week — there is good news for AIV:

APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER will be available on Vudu and Hulu soon.

I’m particularly excited about our inclusion on Vudu considering the online movie service was recently purchased by Wal-mart. The digital provider is being built into more and more TVs and Blu-ray players. Analysts are predicting that over 60 percent of HD televisions will connect to the Internet by 2013. From a NYT article about the acquisition:

Now, however, the idea of an Internet-ready home entertainment setup has a powerful new backer: Wal-Mart

Movie stores like Vudu’s also compete directly with the video-on-demand services of the cable companies, and generally have better selection, more high-definition content, friendlier menus and fuller descriptions of the programs.

More immediate, if Wal-Mart puts its marketing power behind the Vudu service, it could give a lift to sales of Internet-ready televisions and disc players, which generally cost a few hundred dollars more than devices without such capabilities…

Panasonic and Sony are the only major manufacturers that have not yet added the Vudu service to their devices. With Wal-Mart, one of their biggest retailers, taking it over, manufacturers will now have another reason to include Vudu.

It’s very cool that our is being added to Vudu’s library on the heels of Wal-mart’s purchase of the company.  I’m told AIV will probably become Vudu-available when they launch their sports collection with Teton Gravity and Video Action Sports. Stay tuned.

Likewise, when the film is available Hulu, I’ll make an announcement. I can’t wait to direct fans and friends to AIV on Hulu because it’s free, BUT we get a share of the commercial revenue. For inquiring minds, it’s about a penny per person per commercial. Who knows, we might make 10’s of dollars!

In Vancouver to see Casey race for Gold

February 20, 2010

In Vancouver to see Casey race for Gold in Skier Cross on Sunday. Having super fun and Will blog all about it next week!


February 5, 2010

Thanks to a connection that Casey’s CAA agent made for us, earlier this week, I sent two DVDs of APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER to New York. Priority mail. To ESPN’s office. The packages should arrive today. Let’s hope the Espny Dudes watch it because it’s looking like the NBC Universal Sports Network avenue is a road to Nowheresville.  Actually, it’s not looking that way. The map says it is.

So, yes, them watching the movie in a happy pre-Superbowl, possibly beer-influenced mood is the intention because we can follow-up, we can pitch, we can talk, talk, talk but this movie needs somebody to champion it and it can’t always be me.

In other AIV news, I updated the website.  There are new archival photos and newspaper clippings from Casey’s life, a revised calendar of upcoming events, full cast/crew credits, and soundtrack information about the amazing music showcased in AIV!

Plus, the press is covering the Olympics more and more. The more exposure Casey gets the better for AIV… espeically if Casey can spin the movie into his soundbytes.  Recently, there’s been national newspaper coverage of Casey!  USA TODAY did a nice piece on Casey, Daron and Skier Cross. A bonus 2 min video of Casey (that’s not as good as any section in AIV) is attached to the online article.

Furthermore, THE BOSTON GLOBE ran a good article on Casey and Daron today. It included a stellar quote from Casey that I love.  That I wish we got him saying in AIV!  Here it is: “Put yourself in my shoes,” Puckett said. “I’ve been to four Olympics already and come home with no hardware. Now I’m at the top of my sport, and my sport’s going to the Olympics for the first time. I mean, what would you do?”

Opening ceremonies are 7 days away.

Casey races in 16 days.

Oozing and Intoxicating

January 28, 2010

The IndieFlix “Play It Again” Podcast about APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER was posted yesterday. It is now available for free for all your ready ears.  Click here!

If you scroll down on the podcast’s page, you’ll find a useful list organized by timecode of topics discussed and questions asked.  It’s a nice touch by Lois Fein, host of the interview series.

I like how the podcast turned out.

Seth and I play well off each other, we cover a lot of topics, and the interview with Casey via phone is honest and interesting. Plus, I’m surprised at how good my voice sounds.  Thanks, Lois! Your microphone was worth the investment and may get me a date.

I only cringed when I adjectived-it-up with such slurpy words like ‘oozing’ and ‘intoxicating’ during the telling of how I met Casey. Things could have been worse – I could have burped up those words, canceling out all traces of sexiness Lois’ mic had loaned me.

Successful Screening

January 25, 2010

More people were there for the actual screening.

Last week I was super busy with some exciting news that I can’t quite yet announce… Because of these other matters, I didn’t get a chance to update you on the unquestionable SUCCESS of the Appointment in Vancouver screening on Tuesday night.

It was our first screening in LA and because it was on the West side and raining, I truly didn’t expect a turn out at the event hosted by Film Independent. I was wrong – never underestimate the power of free beer. The place was packed.

I hadn’t yet seen the film play before a big audience. We created it with TV in mind and, thus, never tested it for a crowd.  Wow. We should have when we were feeling frustrated because it turns out this might be the most “crowd-pleasing” film I’ve made so far.  To be totally honest, I haven’t seen a movie play AUDIBLY engage an audience in a crowded, festival-type setting in a LONG time. People were laughing, gasping, cringing, and yelling (in a good way).

My friend Nickels reported back that the guy next to her was so into the action that he was pointing at the screen, raising his arms in victory, and physically recoiling during the horrific crashes.

Another friend referred to a 7 minute sequence in which we chronicle the threebrutal crashes Casey survived in 2007 (which comprehensively caused his 5th knee surgery) as the “comedy sequence.”  People loved this section – awed into laughing with every sound byte and image exemplifying Casey’s insane dedication and almost comical tendency to crash with style. I always thought elements of the film were funny but this crowd was roaring.

On the opposite extreme, in the intense Grindelwald section, the room was absolutely silent. Gripped with fear of what the fate was of their new favorite Olympian.  By the credits, everyone in the room was a fan of Casey’s.

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