Tag Archives: Ron Judkins

DCIFF Filmmaker Series: Ron Judkins

Leading up to this year’s festival, we will be highlighting the fascinating stories behind our 2014 filmmakers and their submissions.

For director Ron Judkins, the phrase “it takes a village” could not have been truer than during the production of his feature film Finding Neighbors. Ron’s village consisted of those near and far with the help of 313 different backers on Kickstarter and his local neighborhood of Atwater Village in Los Angeles.

“Our original goal was to hit 200 Kickstarter backers, assuming family, friends and crew members would contribute. Then it started expanding and we began gaining support from people we didn’t even know,” Ron explained. “One of our largest backers was a complete stranger; Sam’s story really spoke to him.” Finding Neighbors follows a stay-at-home graphic novelist, Sam Tucker, battling a mid-life crisis and forming new relationships with his next-door neighbors, while trying to preserve his marriage.


Ron also felt a personal connection to his main character. After winning two Academy Awards® for Best Sound (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan), Judkins brought his first directorial film The Hi-Line to Sundance in 1999 and gained a distribution deal with Showtime. He hoped his success would parlay into some larger films but instead, they were continually delayed in development.

Ron decided to take matters into his own hands. He approached his longtime Atwater Village neighbor, Judy Korin, with a finished screenplay and she immediately agreed to join the project as a producer along with his wife, Jennifer Young. Judy wasn’t the only one in Atwater Village to embrace Finding Neighbors. “When obtaining film permits to shoot the film, we would go door-to-door and apologetically explain we were shooting Finding Neighbors throughout Atwater. We expected people to be upset but were surprised at the moral support and offers of help from the neighborhood,” Judy said during a phone interview.


One such example was makeup artist Kelcey Fry, whose work appears in The Artist and The Pirates of the Caribbean films. Kelcey volunteered her time to mentor Finding Neighbors’ makeup artists, both of whom were just getting started in their careers. Another neighbor had a sound studio in his backyard and helped saved post-production costs by letting the crew do some of their ADR work there. Says Judkins, “This film would not have been possible without the generosity of our Atwater Village neighbors.”

Finding Neighbors will be making its East Coast première at DCIFF on Sunday, February 23rd at 5pm. Be sure to check out the Finding Neighbors website for great behind the scenes clips including a look into how animation was integrated into the film, as well as a listen in on the soundtrack. You can also sign up for Ron’s production sound masterclass at DCIFF, starting at 2pm on Sunday.

Learn from the Best: Announcing the 2014 DCIFF Seminars, Panels and Workshops

One aspect of the DC Independent Film Festival that truly makes us stand out is our nine different seminars, panels and workshops. We announced the dynamite line-up last week, spread out over Saturday, February 22nd and Sunday, February 23rd and we have an amazing representation from the local, national and international film industry. For example, Rob Rafferty, DC-local and creator of the web series, Cap South, will partner with F to 7TH creator Ingrid Jungermann to discuss the challenges and obstacles of writing, producing and promoting a web-based series. Hollywood actor Manny Perez will lead an interactive discussion on main-stream acting and indie filmmaking while two-time Academy Award winner Ron Judkins will lead a masterclass on sound production.

What’s really wonderful is all classes are accessible to those who want to learn more about the industry: filmmakers, students or the public. We welcome everyone to join us. Tickets range from $16 to $25 per session and if you are a student group, email Stana, our Director of Education and she will discuss reduced pricing options.

Besides those listed above, we have many more fascinating seminars, panels and workshops so please be sure to check them all out below and we look forward to see you in just a few short weeks!

Saturday, February 22

12:00 – 1:30pm


How to find the perfect setting for your film in the DC area? How to get all necessary permits to shoot at that location? Learn about this and more about location scouting and permits from Liz Lovern, DC-area location scout and independent producer, and Herbert Niles, the Deputy Director of the DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

$16 in advance or at the door

1:45 – 3:15pm


How to compose music for a film? The Mayor’s Arts Award Recipient for Outstanding Emerging Artist, Composer Brian Wilbur Grundstrom, will talk about how to score music for a film. Grundstrom will dissect a film cue by going through the various iterations and explaining the changes made along the way. He will also explore the composer/director relationship.

$16 in advance or at the door

3:30 – 5:00pm


Hollywood actor/writer/producer Manny Pérez (appeared in the TV series Homeland, Cold Case, Law and Order, and others) leads an interactive discussion on acting for main-stream and independent film. Learn about the ins and outs of acting, writing and producing, what to expect on a set, what to do, and especially what not to do to succeed.

$25 in advance or at the door (limited to 30 attendees)

5:15 – 6:45pm


Interested to find out how to create a successful web-based series, how to build a large audience, how to write a story that is serialized? Ingrid Jungermann, the creator of F to 7TH web series, and Rob Raffety, the creator of a DC-based web series Cap South, will lead a discussion on the challenges and obstacles of writing, making, and promoting a web-based series.

$16 in advance or at the door

Sunday, February 23rd

11:30am – 1pm

ENTERTAINMENT LAW 101 – Intellectual Property for Creative Professionals

(in partnership with WALA – Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. WALA provides access to education,advocacy and legal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro-bono referral services for artists and cultural communities in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.)

Need to ensure legal use (not just “fair use”!) of audio/video content in your film? WALA attorneys (TBA) will lead a discussion about the intellectual property issues that confront every filmmaker: copyright, trademark, fair use, licensing, options, and WGA registration.

$16 in advance or at the door

1:15 – 2:45pm

ENTERTAINMENT LAW 202 – Contracts, Litigation, and Best Practices

(in partnership with WALA  – Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts)
WALA attorneys (TBA) will lead a discussion about the business of film production: contracts, leases, litigation, incorporation, insurance, employment, and best practices

$16 in advance or at the door

2:00 – 3:30pm


This masterclass with Ron Judkins, Academy Awards winner for Best Sound for Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, will include discussions about the history of sound in movies, the idea of sound perspective, the advantages and disadvantages of specific techniques in production sound, and some particular thoughts about sound for low-budget productions.

$25 in advance or at the door (limited to 30 attendees)

 3:45 – 5:15pm


How not to be overwhelmed by a mind-boggling array of equipment and format choices — what’s out there and what’s coming soon for indie filmmakers on a budget. Documentary filmmakers Richard Chisolm and Paul Moon will lead an honest, interactive discussion about gear for independent filmmakers. Alexander Porter, an experimental cinematographer and a co-creator of the open source hybrid filming & 3D scanning technique called RGBDToolkit, will demonstrate how RGBDToolkit works, and discuss open source tools for independent and experimental filmmakers.

$16 in advance or at the door

5:30 – 7pm


This workshop will negotiate different approaches and methods for adapting written literature for animation in appropriate ways. In his research, multi-disciplinary filmmaker and animator Hannes Rall explores the creation of genuinely culture-specific animation styles. He has built a reputation for successfully adapting works of classic literature for animation: His animated versions of major works of E.A. Poe (“The Raven”), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (“The Erl-King”) and Wilhelm Hauff (“The Cold Heart”) have been shown in over 200 film-festivals worldwide and won multiple awards.

Followed by a reception featuring Indonesian coffee and finger food sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.

$16 in advance or at the door