April Spotlight: Misti Boland | Red Bird
Each month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on Misti Boland – screenwriter, director, producer, production designer, art director.
Using the internet to distribute film and TV content is sort of like the new Wild West…
You might recognize Misti Boland from the Sundance/Slamdance blog we did earlier this year when we highlighted area people at the fests. Misti was a member of the jury at Slamdance Film Festival. We got together at the Missouri Film/KC Film party in Park City and we had a good laugh as she shared a story about dancing with Emilio Estevez, who was very much enjoying himself at the party she just came from. She also spoke of her exciting project Red Bird that she was in post-production on.
Misti Boland is known as a a production designer and and art director, with more than thirty (30) films to her credit. She is one of the founders of Women of Lawrence Film (WOLF). She has been finding success as a writer-director as well and has just launched a new webseries called Red Bird. We are honored to have this rising star as our film office spotlight this month.
KCFMO: Where did the idea for Red Bird come about? And where did the name come from?
Misti: I grew up watching Western television shows and movies, and as a filmmaker I’ve been looking for the opportunity to create one. When I was approached by actor friends Alexandra Goodman and Ian Stark about writing a script with two characters who encounter struggles with living off the land, I thought it would be a perfect fit for making a Western.
My co-writer, Jeremy Osbern, and I live in Lawrence, Kansas, and we both share an interest in the history of Bleeding Kansas and in particular Quantrill’s raid. We wanted to showcase a woman who lived through a similar event and witnessed the murder of her young son, which sparks her bloody quest for revenge.
The name for the web series came about when Jeremy and I decided that Sam’s (Kitty Mae’s father) special nickname for her would be Red Bird.
KCFMO: You are the writer, director and co-creator of this series. Tell us about those roles and any others you took on.
Misti: As co-creator and co-writer, I collaborated with Jeremy on creating the concept of the series, the story arc for the first season, and then we jumped into writing eight episodes. When we had final scripts, I switched from the role of a writer and concentrated on directing.
KCFMO: How long was the process of creating this series, from the initial idea to its release?
Misti: The process of creating this web series began with pre-production in November 2014. We filmed in Kansas and Colorado, with six of the episodes shot during one week in March of 2015 and for two days in October 2016. We finished post production in early March of 2016 and we are now airing episodes online.
KCFMO: What drew you to the web series format as oppose to a film or more traditional TV series?
Misti: Using the internet to distribute film and TV content is sort of like the new Wild West, everyone is still trying to figure out the rules, but as of yet, there are no rules. We wanted to experiment with telling an episodic story within a short narrative structure, so we chose to do Red Bird as a web series as opposed to a film or a more traditional TV series.
KCFMO: What made you decide to release multiple episodes of Red Bird each week rather than one at a time?
Misti: We decided to release multiple episodes of Red Bird each week rather than one at a time because the story is told in three acts. Act one is released first (episodes one and two), then act two (episodes three, four, and five), and act three (episodes six, seven, and eight).
KCFMO: What did you find to be the most gratifying and the most challenging aspects of creating Red Bird?
Misti: For me the most gratifying aspect of creating Red Bird was bringing to life a powerful, three dimensional woman character – something we rarely get to see in Hollywood movies. The most challenging aspect was coordinating actors schedules. We only had one week, in which our main cast would all be in the United States at the same time, so we had a very specific time in which to film.
KCFMO: How are a co-founder of Women of Lawrence Film (WOLF), what is this organization and why is it important to you?
Misti: As a group Marlo Angell, Christie Dobson, Laura Kirk and myself started Women of Lawrence Film. WOLF is an organization of female filmmakers in Lawrence, Kansas with the mission of collaborating, supporting and educating women in the art and craft of filmmaking. We think it’s important to mentor and encourage women to work in front and behind the camera in key roles such as directing, cinematography, production design, and acting in strong female driven roles. People can learn more about WOLF online at http://womenoflawrencefilm.com/ and Women of Lawrence Film on Facebook.
KCFMO: Where can we watch Red Bird as episodes go live?
Misti: You can watch Red Bird at www.redbirdseries.com
Red Bird Espisodes 1 & 2 went live March 24th, 2016, Episodes 3, 4 & 5 went live March 31 and Episodes 6, 7 & 8 come out April 7!