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Fall 2011 Newsletter -

Thanks To Our Sponsors...

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North West Film Forum

California Humanities Documentary Project

Independent Filmmaker Project

Horizons Foundation

Fall 2011 Newsletter


Big Joy Project News Fall 2011 Newsletter
PO Box 2003 Vashon, WA 98070
in this issue
:: The music behind the movie!
:: Big Joy in the Big Apple
:: It's an animated poem!
:: Poetry by James Broughton
:: Big Joy Hero: Bill Weber

wind kiss
Dear Gorgeous, 

We've got our rough assembly!  For those who don't speak film lingo, that means we finished compiling all possible scenes for the movie and shortly will decide which will make the final cut.

We're thrilled with the progress we're making.  We've also got an animator in the wings who will animate James Broughton poems and stories for our film as soon as the final cut is done.  Of course we've still got more money to raise, to make that happen.  (Click here to donate now!)  But we're ecstatic about how far we've come, and look forward to 2012 release. 

We absolutely couldn't have gotten this far without our 300+ individual donors and numerous foundations.  We've got another $200,000 to raise.  We'll be sending out another appeal letter before the end of this year, so when considering your end-of-the-year giving-- please consider (actually do more than that) donating your money to inspiring art that changes lives... that is us!

                                          With joy and thanks(giving),

-- Stephen Silha and the Big Joy team

The sound of Big Joy!   

 Creating the musical score  

Artist Jami Sieber
Jami Sieber
 has played the cello since she was 7 years old.  She knew James Broughton personally.  He was a big fan of her work, and obviously, so are we.  She plays an amazing cello, and has also had some downright incredible experiences with elephants literally dancing to her music.  (This video is a must see.)  We spoke with her recently about her experience making parts of the score for Big Joy.

What has your experience been so far?
Prior to Big Joy I had written only two pieces in major key.  I love the dark, and the cello lends itself to emotional melancholy.   I think I was brought into this project knowing what I come from and trusting that the muse would find a different language through me. That's what is fun about this score... not only are my fingers finding new ways to create silliness but we're also creating new sounds electronically as we go.


I'm so lucky to be working with Evan Schilleron this.  I give him full credit as co-writer in a lot of the music.  He's a drummer, recording engineer and composer. And we've had a few sessions of complete laughing hysteria in the studio.   It honestly is the most joyful thing I've done in the last month.   


What's your favorite part about what you do?

It has something to do with connection.  Music to me is a vibration that connects me to all of life.  Whether it be plant, animal, human or spirit.  It is a vibrational entity or spirit that connects me and holds me here.  And that's what I love about it.  It connects me to myself.  Keeps me sane.  And when I get frustrated with work, I always have this to fall back on, "I love what I do!" 


"And it's in a good phase right now!" she laughs.  "We know how it can go!"

 How do you see the roll of music or a soundtrack in a film? 

I feel like music has the power to make a scene really sappy, or really scary, or go overboard, but also has the power to hold both sides of the story in film.  As the story is being shown on film the music holds what we are seeing and also what is not being shown.  


Thanks for all your work, Jami and Evan.  We can't wait to hear the results.   



Sneak peak in the Big Apple   

Big Joy goes to New York


We are so proud to announce that the Big Joy Project was invited by the Independent Filmmaker Project to be a part of a Project Forum for works-in-progress at Independent Documentary Week at Lincoln Center in New York.  So in September we packed our bags to hobknob with film industry representatives and other independent filmmakers.  The results were inspiring.    Independent Filmmaker Project

The best part of course was that people loved our film.  We showed our work-in-progress to 25 industry representatives and met individually with 15 of them. Several film festivals expressed interest in showing our film; as did some TV networks and film distributors.  They all wanted a rough cut.

Not only that, but for our Executive Producer Stephen Silha it was exciting to be with other filmmakers and to hear about their projects.  
"It was so great to meet all of these folks who live and breathe independent film," he said.  "Instead of just hearing about HBO or Sundance Film Festival I now have real faces and personalities to associate with those."  

The diversity of the documentaries ranged from a film about Jayson Blair, the New York Times reporter who made up his stories, to a woman making a film called "How to lose your Virginity."  "She's interviewing other women about virginity," said Silha.  "And she was giving out chocolate covered cherries as a promotion!"

Everyone was crammed into a very small room for industry meetings, but Silha said he was impressed with how much good advice he got. As we head into our next stages of post production, that was just the boost we needed.

It's an animated poem!  



Recently Mark Head posted this on ourFacebook page.  It's an animated version of  Happy Endings by James Broughton.



By James Broughton 


It was the Worm who said to me, Do you seek the ultimate mystery of where the Inmost Light may dwell?   

I'm never asked but I could tell.


Men search for it in starry places,  

in cloistered cells, in pretty faces.   

But they go looking with eyelids shut.   

I tell you glory lives in the gut.


Within that dark and metamorphic maze  

Heaven and Hell conjointly blaze.  What else gives light to Eternity? the Worm, smiling, said to me. 


Big Joy Hero


Bill Weber 

 Bill Weber 

Bill Weber is the man who edited ourfundraising trailer.  He's also the man who helped us wrap our heads around using Broughton's poetry as the spine of our film.  He's our consulting editor and we're so grateful. 

Here's what he had to say:

What attracts you most to the Big Joy project?

The thing that attracts me most is getting to know the spirit of James and what I see as the combination of an eye toward the silliness of life combined with a big open heart and a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of life.  I often feel that most when I can watch or hear James.  This quality is so present in his voice and in his character. I find if I just read his poetry, I like it but it doesn't resonate the same.  When I hear or watch him deliver it I understand the layers. 


What do you love best about James Broughton's work?

I didn't really know Broughton before I started working on this project.  I mean I had heard of him, but I didn't really know his work.  I love his combination of lightness and silliness with deep melancholy or deep insight.  It's all mixed together.... it seems like a healthy view of how to live.


What's the most joyful thing you have done lately?
I recently went to a 40-year high school reunion.  My memory of those years was one of being unhappy.  When I was at my reunion in Kansas I realized that I also had a lot a lot of fun and knew a lot of wonderful people.  I had always thought of this as a sad period of my life, and it was such a big relief to see that it also had a lot of fun, and mischief and joy. It honestly feels like letting go of a burden.  My childhood wasn't that sad.  I feel lighter because of that discovery. 
Money and Sucess
It's all ours :)

Our most recent fundraising successes come from a Seattle Big Joy Salon held in October.  It was hosted by the lovely Grace Stahre who graciously invited her friends over for an afternoon of poetry and movies.  Despite the fact that a major Ocuppy Seattle event also began on that day, we still managed to raise $1300 and have a great time together. 


Our other fundraising excitements have been coming in the door via phone calls made by our Big Joy Team member Christa Bond.  She continues to phone some of our donors and potential donors to ask them to contribute at this critical time.  We love the work she does and feel that we've got the right person for the job since she's also been recognized for being one of the Seattle Childrens Theater's best fundraisers.  She may be calling you soon!  


As we move forward into the next stages of cutting our film, getting the funding we need is as critical as ever.  If you're considering  making a donation to us, now would be a good time to do it.  Also, we welcome fundraising advice-- if you've got any good leads on where we can get some of the remaining $200,000 that we need, we'd love to hear them.   


The Big Joy Team!

Journalist, Executive Producer & co-director Stephen Silha founded the Big Joy Project. Award-winning filmmaker Eric Slade is directing Big Joy, the documentary film. Dawn Logsdon is editor. Bill Weber is consulting editor.  Cinematographer/producer Ian Hinkle and artist/filmmaker Geoff Watland are helping with editing. Associate Producer Aimée Cartier writes, coaches, and keeps things organized. Peter+Trudy Johnson-Lenz provide creative pathfinding and intellectual support. Associate producer 
 Max St. Romain (aka Javier Sanchez) 
conceived and designed the website and Big Joy materials, and continues to advise on music and art.  Jok Church is an executive producer.  CellistJami Sieber is working with us on music!  And you are appreciating and spreading the joy.
To support the power of art and poetry to change lives - please send us your donation today!
TO DONATE: Send us a check to PO Box 2003 Vashon, WA 98070 
or go to and click "Donate." Or, if you want a tax deduction (for gifts of $50 or more): put Big Joy in the "Gifts Membership" Field at the Northwest Film Forum.
GET INSPIRED: Read Broughton quotes regularly posted on our Facebook page.  Find us on Facebook
TRAILER: Watch the trailer now!
BLOG WITH US: Living Big Joy Blog or James Broughton and Me
YOU TUBE: Check out our cool videos.
BIG JOY INTENTION:  The Big Joy Project creates more joy in the world by inspiring people to "follow their own weird," using the life, joy, and work of James Broughton- filmmaker, poet, writer, wildman-as inspiration.
QUESTIONS: call (206) 567-4363 or email 
Praise and Thanks!