Or in other words: The Greatest Night of My Life
And I really mean that! Anticipation had been building for the Project Imagin8ion film premiere. For those who are not familiar with the project, it was a contest run by Canon and spearheaded by director Ron Howard where 8 photographs were chosen to inspire a short film. My photo “Running from Wind” was chosen as the winner of the “Time” category, and so my image inspired the time period of the film. However, it went much deeper than that, to my shock and surprise!
So, back to the anticipation. I have to admit it wasn’t all good anticipation. My mom was super excited – she was my guest for the event – but I can often find a way to be scared of everything. So needless to say, I was anxious. I was excited to see the film, to be on the red carpet, to meet Ron & Bryce Howard…but I was nervous for the social part of it all. I was scared to death to meet the other winners (which proved to be absurd) and to go to the after party (let alone the after after party).
The night started out amazingly well. In fact, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to a great night. I met the other winners and their guests in the lobby of our hotel. We all clicked so immediately that it was as though we had known each other for years. In fact, just within a few minutes of chatting I knew we would all be in touch for a lifetime. We had the sense that what was about to happen was so rare and special, and we were happy to share it with each other.
We took a bus ride to the Museum of Natural History in New York City where the premiere of the film was being held. We were pretty in the dark about a lot of what would happen, which made it all the more exciting! When we arrived we were greeted with champagne and water (of which I took neither so that I wouldn’t have to pee on the red carpet) and then we got to meet some of the cast from the film. One of the young actresses said to me, “I play the older girl in your photograph!” – so neat! I had not yet seen the trailer or anything so I was in for a good surprise.
After that, we walked the red carpet. Now mind you, everyone had said to us “This is a red carpet event”, but I didn’t actually believe there would be a red carpet. I thought that was just a saying! But guess what…there WAS a red carpet! We all stepped in front of the photographers, of which there were about 50 people snapping pictures. It was just like you see on TV – each cameraman calling out “Look here!” as we all turned our heads from side to side, smiled, and took in the moment. After we took pictures there were film crews there as well, and we did a few interviews for various websites and television programs. That was when we stepped aside and watched the main attraction: Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard
They came walking out on the red carpet right after us. They were pros. It was really exciting to see them in person – Bryce being *very* pregnant and beautiful and her father looking regal as ever. And then a surprise which threw me off guard – Joseph Gordon-Levitt showed up! I was a little starstruck because I had not prepared myself for that, and I happen to love him in all of his films (not to mention 3rd Rock from the Sun). When they were done getting their photographs done, we all got to step out on the red carpet with them, and after a very brief introduction we all posed with Ron and Bryce (yes, we’re on a first name basis now – haha, just kidding!).
Now comes my favorite part of the night: when we were finished with the red carpet, we were led through three rooms that contained a truly incredible scene. The first room housed all 96,000+ entries that were submitted to the contest. They covered the walls. It was overwhelming and so beautiful to see! The second room had the 30 semi-finalists per category. That way everyone could see what decisions were made from one cut to the next. Finally, in the third room, they had the winning photos printed REALLY big for each category so that everyone knew what to look for in the film. I was asked to stay behind in this room after everyone had gone into the theater to take pictures with Ron and Bryce for press in front of my picture. I nearly started crying. I felt so fortunate in that moment, and I swear something inside of me nearly burst.
The movie…oh gosh, what can I say?! It was amazing!!! I nearly died when I saw two little girls running away from the camera in the early morning foggy field…one carrying a lantern in a nightgown, the other running in front of her with a blue nighty and a black coat. They recreated the picture perfectly. The two main characters were the two girls in my photo, and that was so unexpected! The film was a serious tear-jerker. You could hear collective sniffles from the crowd. It was wonderfully put together, and each winning photo was clearly outlined in the film. An amazing 24 minutes.
Afterwards, Ron, Bryce, the writer, and a canon rep did a Q&A. It was super interesting and informative, and a great look behind the scenes of how they chose the pictures and how they incorporated each of them. They even asked the winners if we had anything to say, so I immediately jumped up, took the mic, and put in my 2 cents. You see, when it comes to public speaking, I love it! When it comes to casual mingling, I hate it. So, cue the after party.
I was intimidated to say the least. I was expected to talk to people, eat food, drink, relax, and have fun. Um…no thank you. Sorry…just can’t do it. But I tried my darndest! I was first pulled aside by some Canon reps and we had the most lovely talk. I was pulled in by several other people – producers, stylists, actors – they were all so nice! I got to talk with Bryce Dallas Howard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the highlight of the after party). I gave her and Ron a book of mine, signed to them, and Bryce looked through all of the pictures with Joseph! They talked about it with me and said the sweetest things, and I’ll never forget that moment. I managed to walk around awkwardly for over two hours before calling it quits. Needless to say I didn’t make it to the after after party.
So that concludes my most amazing adventure in New York City. I’m still pinching myself. And, as luck would have it, I am attending the LA premiere tonight! I get to see Ron & Bryce Howard again, and I get to see the movie again, too. I am really looking forward to it! The film is to be released in select theaters shortly, and then online for a brief period in December. In 2012 it will be headed to film festivals like Sundance, and then who knows!
Thanks for reading this rather long blog post (if you made it this far) and thank you for the support…I can’t begin to describe how greatly appreciative I am.