Recent Press and Praise

Jan 31, 2009


I plan to send personal hand-written cards to those who helped make the World Premiere of SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS possible. For me, there is something a little more special about taking the time to write people the 'old fashioned way' rather than sending an email. I've purchased the cards and stamps and started writing to the cast, crew, consultants, venue operators and support staff. Eventually they will all be posted via snail mail.

But in the meantime, I want to send a special "shout out" to Eric Roos via the blog. He is a key character in the film and brings a boat load of humor to the screen. Eric attended various Sundance events with me to promote the film, and he gave a stellar interview on CNN. We thought the interview would last 15 minutes tops, but they kept the tape rolling for nearly an hour. I hear he shined on the French Canal + television and that Paris loves him singing on Main Street. Eric is a natural. He is witty and insightful, and has an uncanny ability to cut through the mire and provide an authentic perspective on numerous topics. He is also very generous!

Eric supplied us with some of the best SWAG available at Sundance. When we arrived at our condo, there were 14 large boxes of Nancy Boy natural body care products---soaps, shampoos, lotions---even shaving cream. A team of elves worked diligently to sort and pack the high-end Nancy Boy SWAG in gift bags that were handed out to guests at the SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS party. These were highly coveted items and nothing was left to spare! I attended several Sundance parties, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Nancy Boy products were a cut above everything else. Check out the array of Nancy Boy products at Lather up! I'm telling you it is some of the best natural body care products on the market.

Thank you, Eric!

Jan 24, 2009

Slamdance Ends

It's nearly 2:30 am in Park City. Am I really up this late? Slamdance ended tonight with great fanfare. It was a pleasure being invited and premiering at this festival. They are a rollicking and edgy tribe!

Tomorrow we head for Salt Lake City to fly back to our respective home towns. Yes, we are exhausted but content. We gave Park City every ounce of our energy. It was a fantastic experience few get to have. I'm privileged to be among the few and I know it, especially because we rode in on an elephant with such a great team.

I will blog later on the parties. People look past each other. They never really say "hi". It's entertaining to watch if you don't take it personally.

Onward to Florida Film Festival! (But first, sleep!)

Jan 23, 2009

Second Screening a Great Success!

I can't believe we failed to post about the success of the second screening at Slamdance. It was terrific!!! The sold out crowd found the doc to be engaging and many commented on how they hoped it would bring healing to Up With People members and the general public. It is a special privilege to watch audiences respond to the film, laughing out loud, clapping with enthusiasm, or fully captivated at tender moments. Our Q&A was as vibrant at the second screening as the first when some of the Up With People alumni were in the audience. Among the first questions asked is how Glenn Close views the film, or more appropriately, whether she is coming to accept the reality of her past as a child growing up in Moral Re-Armament and performing in Up With People for many years. I can't speak to how Glenn Close may react to the archival footage of her early acting and singing career in the final cut of SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS. However, after seeing a rough cut of the doc she told our Executive Producer, Jack Lechner, that she felt the film was "too balanced for her taste." Jack says she wanted the film to be more critical of Up With People, but for me I don't think that would have been fair. I can only speak to my husband's experience and how difficult it was for him to reflect on his experiences with Up With People and how he felt that as the front African American speaker for a group that was predominantly white, how he felt he was "an apologist" for what was going on in the world, and that because he was excited to be with the group moving in high places around the world, he "gave them what they wanted."

How often do we do that? Give people what they want? I think for some Up With People alumni I am not giving them what they want, but from many others who have written to me I am being thanked for presenting a fair story. This is no puff piece, but we did strive to present the truth behind the smiley upbeat organization---good and bad---as reflected by members. For those that have never heard of Up With People and who have attended the screenings, they keep talking about it and the relevance of the doc today. The human experiences expressed in the film goes beyond the Up With People organization itself. That is what makes this director smile. I'm even overhearing comments coming from people sitting near me in other screenings---there is a lot of buzz in the air!

Jan 22, 2009

Park City TV

Check out the SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS interview on Park City TV:

Click on the video stream on the left side of the screen, the click on January 22, 2009 and watch the Mountain View Show with Ori Hoffer at 6pm.


Jan 21, 2009

Sales Agents Announced

We are pleased to announce that Films Transit will be representing SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS on our worldwide sales. They are true masters in selling quality documentaries so we are thrilled to be associated with this outstanding company!!

Check them out at

Jan 19, 2009

Thoughts On Our World Premiere

WOW! WOW! WOW! How's that for a start? :)

Cast and crew arrived on Friday to a whirlwind of activity on Main Street and all were anxiously awaiting our premiere Saturday night. John and Patty Sayre, John and Ann Parker, Linda Blackmore Cates and Eric Roos---all of whom were involved in Up With People and are featured in SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS---were among those that joined us for the screening. It was their first opportunity to see it and participate in an electric and emotionally moving Q&A that followed. I was surprised that the first questions would be about Glenn Close and her participation in Up With People. I was even more surprised when Linda Blackmore Cates delivered a moving and thoughtful response. We hope to post a video of the Q&A soon. It was a sold out show and the audience responded with great enthusiasm---laughing at times, perhaps tearful at others. There is no doubt all left still thinking about the experience of the film.

The premiere was followed by a party at The Spur. Although Jim Carrey RSVP'd to our guest list, he didn't show. Neither did Robert Redford or Ben Affleck (but then again, I didn't ask them to come when we met a couple of nights ago.) However, we did have a great rock band from Phoenix perform for us: Crisis! They traveled to join our celebration and play a song written especially for SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS called "Stand Up!". Check out their website and listen for yourself. . A highlight of the party was to see Jeff Dowd (aka "The Dude") and Jack Lechner sing "Honky Tonk Woman" on stage with the band. It was a crowd pleaser to be sure, and they were good!! Hopefully I can post a clip of that soon too.

The next day was a blur with cast and crew leaving Park City, various press and TV interviews and yes, more parties!!! We are now gearing up for our second screening tomorrow night. If it is anything like the first, I'm confident we will have another lively audience followed by another thought-provoking Q&A.


Jan 16, 2009

Slamdance Rocks!

It is hard to describe the energy of Park City the festival season! Yes, there are "stars" walking down the street, cameras flashing, people hoping to buy tickets to a show while huffing and puffing up and down Main Street to take in all the festivities, entertainment and ancillary buzz.

Everyone at Slamdance is so helpful and supportive. We are all thrilled to be here and tomorrow is our big World Premiere....

So what have we been doing since arriving Wednesday night? Pitch, network, pitch, pass out SWAG and pitch some more! It's hard work promoting a film at Slamdance when the eyes of the industry are on the next Sundance film. Still, we are having a ball on Main Street and we have an effective team that is going above and beyond to tell the industry that SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS is a film to watch. Competition is tough but that's what makes it all so interesting. There are many talented people with outstanding films that are being shown here (like Mary & Max---an amazing animated human story!). It's humbling to be screening among them!

Today was extra special for me because several members of the cast and crew arrived. Obviously I knew they were coming, but to see them all together was a bit overwhelming. They have traveled from Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, New York and Nashville to join us as we celebrate the screening together. Not only that, they put jet-lag and the high altitude aside and joined a happy throng as we strolled down Main Street signing Up With People songs. They dressed up in matching hot pink hats, gloves and scarfs and started at Slamdance in front of the Treasure Mountain Inn, and then caroled down Main Street to the pleasure of the crowd. It was incredible to watch the crowds gather, walk, smile and sometimes sing with us. People were happy. Yes, people were very happy on Main Street today. :)

We sang and smiled to camera of our own..... I think we'll be on the French news?

Tonight I am off to parties. At the last one, I had the opportunity to meet Ben Affleck and invite him to see our movie. Our Executive Producer, Jack Lechner, worked with Ben on Good Will Hunting. Jack thought Ben should see SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS, but we are happy to know he is going home to his new daughter!! I also met Robert Redford. He opened the Sundance festival last night and introduced a documentary at the Temple Theater tonight. Killer smile, and his eyes really do sparkle. He could have been an Uppie.

Can't wait for what comes next!

Jan 13, 2009

Team Genius

I leave for Park City tomorrow morning and I haven't packed yet. We have been so busy working on details to make this the best screening possible that I can't believe our World Premiere is nearly here! Our publicist is diligently working the press, a marketing consultant is promoting the film, a fabulous party is planned at The Spur on Main Street, and we have engaged a sales agent in the happy event that our film will be sold someday soon. In addition to figuring out what to take to the brisk, oxygen-deprived mountains in Utah, I'm also fretting about the "Q&A." As a lawyer, you'd think I'd be able to speak easily on my feet. But this is different for many reasons, not to mention the emotions converging around the launch of a relevant, complex and entertaining documentary made by a first time filmmaker.

When I started this creative endeavor, a dear friend told me to enjoy the process of making the film because I may never have another chance. (It was sort of like Warren Zevon suggesting we 'enjoy every sandwich'....) I've often thought of that when the challenges of making a film seemed overwhelming---and there were many---yet I must say that above all, my greatest joy has been working with so many wonderful people who have invested their time, energy and creative resources to make this project successful. Without each and everyone of them, this launch would not be possible.

I will forever tip my hat to Team Genius, with sincere thanks and life long appreciation.

Jan 10, 2009

Gathering SMILE SWAG!

Postcards have arrived!
Posters have arrived!
Buttons have arrived!
Big Smiley Face Chapstick has arrived!
And goodie bags are being assembled for the SMILE party to follow the screening!
Yes, we have SMILE SWAG!