WEEK IN REVIEW: Sponsored Filmmakers, woot woot!! by Love You Back Productions

Getting ready for the party. Back on opening night of the New Orleans Film Festival.  - Wednesday, October 11, 2017.

Getting ready for the party. Back on opening night of the New Orleans Film Festival.  - Wednesday, October 11, 2017.

This WEEK IN REVIEW comes to you in pictures.  Let me fill out everything y'all heard about last week with visuals!  Here's a few snapshots of Love You Back Productions' New Orleans Film Festival experience!

We connected with our friends, our collaborators, our mentors, and our inspiring peers! Cheers to all!

From the left: Weenta Girmay of Love You Back Productions, Bron Moyi of Emerging Voices Program, Jasmin Mara López of Emerging Voices Program, and Nisa East. - Thursday, October 12, 2017.  Learn more about Emerging Voices, here: https://neworleansfilmsociety.org/emerging-voices/

From the left: Weenta Girmay of Love You Back Productions, Bron Moyi of Emerging Voices Program, Jasmin Mara López of Emerging Voices Program, and Nisa East. - Thursday, October 12, 2017.  Learn more about Emerging Voices, here: https://neworleansfilmsociety.org/emerging-voices/

From the left: John Richie and Julia Elizabeth Evans.

From the left: John Richie and Julia Elizabeth Evans.

From the left: Nisa East and Weenta Girmay.

From the left: Nisa East and Weenta Girmay.

Finally! On SATURDAY:  

As New Orleans Tricentennial: Story Incubators, Weenta and I presented at the 2017 New Orleans Film Festival.  Here is a little video taken on a friend's phone, after the presentation.  Hear our Story Incubator fellows, producer Todd Voltz and director David White of The Heart is an Organ, talk about their film.  Check out their project!!!

....And, of course, hear us talk about New Orleans' corner stores!

From the left: prod. Todd Voltz [prod. The Heart is an Organ], Julia Elizabeth Evans [Love You Back Productions, dir. Corner Stores], dir. David White [dir. The Heart is an Organ]

Looking AHEAD.  Weenta and I will launch our Kickstarter on October 30th.  (Yay!)  Get excited to hear more about how to spread the word and to support us! 

Love you all!



ICYMI: Weenta and Julia Win Story Incubators Grant, Take NOFF by Storm! by Love You Back Productions

This week, Weenta and Julia go to the New Orleans Film Festival 2017.

Also update from last week: We won the New Orleans Story Incubators Film Grant!

Don't know how that news didn't make our last blog post, but we were caught up in the post-win glow and the whirlwind of the NOFF kick-off and filmmaker parties. 

Speaking of filmmaker parties, I attended the NOFF kick-off screening of The Florida Project. 

The kick-off was a the Orpheum Theater, which is a venue Julia and I know well. Love You Back Productions shot a quick commercial for one of our favorite clients highlighting the beautiful stage details and expansive seating at the Orpheum. It was surreal to return to the Orpheum so soon after filming there, as an audience member. 

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Julia was not so fortunate--she had an allergic reaction the same day and was stuck at home passed out after breaking out in hives and puking all day. Whomp, whomp.

The Florida Project was an amazing film directed by Sean Baker, the creator of the film "Tangerine," made famous for being shot entirely on an iphone. The film follows a young girl and her mother over the course of a summer spent living just outside Disney World in a budget hotel called "The Magic Castle."


After the film, there was a second line to the NOFF kick off party at The Four Winds--this one was for all-access pass holders only. 

Right in the thick of the Second Line at the opening of the NOFF.

Right in the thick of the Second Line at the opening of the NOFF.

Kinfolk Second Line band. 

Kinfolk Second Line band. 


We'll be reporting back soon with more images from NOFF parties (which happen every night) as well as updates on the Corner Stores documentary and Story Incubators grant. 

We'll be launching our Kickstarter campaign for the story incubators grant in late October, so look out!

WEEK IN REVIEW: We Pitched Our Film. So How Did we Do? by Love You Back Productions

Julia and I were totally pumped to pitch our short documentary.

Julia and I were totally pumped to pitch our short documentary.

This week, Julia and I pitch our idea for a short documentary on Discount Market, our neighborhood corner store. The pitch was for NOVAC's Tricentennial Story Incubators Program. We were one of 10 applicants that made it to the semi-finalist round. The pitch today was to determine which 5 applicants would be selected as finalists.  

Julia and I spent all this week writing and preparing our pitch. This is the second pitch we've given as a business. We gave our first pitch as semi-finalists in the Women and Business Challenge at New Orleans Entreprenuer week. 

Last time we were given a pitch coach and had months of preparation ahead of our pitch. This time around, we wrote and delivered our pitch within 4 days.

So how did we do?

Feeling dope about our pitch delivery.

Feeling dope about our pitch delivery.


I was super nervous before the pitch, but the nerves were out of excitement instead of total and utter fear, which is how they usually come up. I couldn't wait to get in there and tell the judges about our story. We pitched in front of Darcy McKinnon, NOVAC's executive director, as well as representatives from the New Orleans Film Society, the New Orleans Mayor's Office, and Louisiana Creates.

We delivered our pitch perfectly. Then came the question and answer section. That part was tough. I wasn't sure what types of questions we would get asked. Here the main question that gave us pause:

What happens if the store gets sold or closes?

One of the judges assumed that if the store gets sold, we won't be able to make our documentary. Julia and I nodded along in agreement. Inside my head I was thinking: wait a minute, that's not true. We would talk to the new owners, we would figure out a way. We're capable people and video producers. 

The problem is, I didn't speak up, and because Julia has a severe hearing deficit, she didn't hear the question properly and didn't speak up either. 

Afterwards, we hung out in the parking lot and talked about how the pitch went. I told Julia that I wished we had responded to that question instead of nodding along. We both freaked out. What could we do? We sent an email to the pitch judges explaining ourselves. Julia was bummed about her hearing disability, I was bummed about my lack of assertiveness.

Just as we were getting the car to leave, Darcy came out. She said, "You guys have been in the parking lot for a half hour?" Julia explained that we debriefing and talking about the question we missed, when Darcy interrupted--

"You did great. You guys had a great pitch." She gave Julia a hug. We all instantly felt better. 

We know we did our best, we're feeling good about the experience. Now, we'll have to wait another week and see if it was enough to get us selected as finalists.

Still at this stage of our careers.

Still at this stage of our careers.

WEEK IN REVIEW: HUGE announcements!!!! by Love You Back Productions

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Howdy, y’all!  HUGE annoucements:


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LAST WEEK.  Corner Stores documentary has a facebook page!  

Woot woot! (Finally.) 

Julia created a source of information for her Corner Stores documentary.  Check out her   She's been working hard on the documentary front.  The project is now sponsored by New Orleans Video Access Center.  

CALL TO SUPPORT! For all our dearest friends, y'all, Weenta and Julia ask that you 1) "like" the Corner Stores facebook page and 2) invite 5-10 of your interested, curious, close friends to like the page!

This kind of stuff has a pattern to work exponentially! :)

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Flip the script. This week has been hard.  Our neighbors and loved ones over in Houston, throughout Southeast Texas, and in West Louisiana are stuck handling the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey.

In New Orleans, we had minimal rain.  Today, I am counting my blessings.  From Austin to LaGrange and over in Houston, all my loved ones are safe post-Harvey.


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As for our WEEK IN REVIEW, on MONDAY, 350.org hired Julia as their local sound and camera operator.   She worked with Colette Pichon Battle on a narration piece.  Colette Pichon Battle is a local attorney and founder of Gulf Coast Center for Law & Police. 350.org wrote Colette’s script.

An excerpt from the 350.org narration script:

"Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, Gulf communities continue to fight for their rights to stay on their land, for clean air and water and to live in save affordable communities. The true crisis facing people in the south has been built over decades by industries that drain the Gulf region of its resources. But Frontline communities are resisting policies and practices that extract power from their communities.

In Plaquemines Parish, the impact of extractive industries have a direct correlation on the erosion of Louisiana’s southern coast and on-going damage to residential homes and local businesses.

…. It’s up to us to stand up to big corporations, hold our leaders accountable and protect the human rights of communities that call the Gulf South their home."

Very heavy content.  It's important to note: 350.org contracted Love You Back in order to make a commemoration video for the 12 year Katrina anniversary.   Turns out, this year's commemoration is eerily poignant.


This blog is not political, but right now, the Houston, the Gulf South’s largest city, is flooded.  It's time to get to take note, y'all!  Protecting our environment is not about politics.  It's about basic security and basic posterity.   

These are our cities! These are our homes.  The fact is our Southern cities suffer the immediate consequences of global climate change.  If you are from the South, conservation is important to you.  20 years from now, the American South could completely vanish.  To be real with y’all, that's the most painful thing about Harvey and about Katrina's commemoration is the ever-precarious state of the South. 

350.org is right.  It’s up to all of us. 

Where do we start?  Conversation and reflection.  We need to talk about ideas.  It's time to clear up our notions and clarify our consciousness about climate change, environmental protection, and conservation.   

The big thing Harvey proved is…. Protecting the environment means protecting the American South.     

If we listen, the big thing as 350.org explains is….Protecting the environment means standing up to big corporations, whose industry create irreputable harm to our land and homes in Louisiana, Texas, and across the Gulf South.

Where do go from, here?  Let’s write to Senator Kennedy.  Let’s make sure conservation and environmental protections are a hotbotton issue for our local election.

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On TUESDAY.  The historic Carver theater screened BIG CHARITY to commemorate the 12 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  After the film, Alexander Glustrom, the documentary director, came by for a short Q&A. 

“…are you from New Orleans, why did make the documentary?” a woman asked Alexander Glustrom Tuesday night. His answer: “I am not from New Orleans. I’ve just always had an obsession with abandoned buildings.”

Glutstom's answer was exactly the same 2 years ago when he answered the same question at the 2015 Patois Film Festival. His honesty was the same, too. Glustrom was humble. Charity is sacred.

The story is, Glustrom had been working at the now-closed Boys and Girls club on Iberville, which sat in Charity’s shadow. Curiosity inspired further investigation. Thank goodness, too. The story of Big Charity is not only essential to New Orleans. A story of politics, federal relief budgets, and ordinary people, who are the heros, Big Charity is critical story right now. Southeast Texas continues rescue mode.

Seeing BIG CHARITY and hearing from the Director at the 2015 Patois Film Festival inspired my production on the Corner Stores documentary. It also inspires Corner Stores' ongoing production.

BIG CHARITY took 5 years to complete.  “The story keeps unfolding,” he explained last night after the last night’s screening.

Photo taken by Julia at the 2015 Patois Film Festival, where she saw Alexander Glustrom discuss his process of documentary filmmaking.  Blast from the past!

Photo taken by Julia at the 2015 Patois Film Festival, where she saw Alexander Glustrom discuss his process of documentary filmmaking.  Blast from the past!


When Harvey gets you down, you wanna know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming!

THURSDAY.  Julia moved to MidCity!    Weenta and I are neighbors!! Woot Woot!

FINALLY, on SATURDAY….Weenta returned home!  Starting Tuesday (after Labor Day), summer officially ends.  With the new fall season, we return to our regular work schedule: meetings, deadlines,  weddings, sales pitching, call sheets, and constant renovation.

Sending our spirit and all our strength to Houston and Southeast Texas!

Love You Back,


WEEK IN REVIEW: Saying Goodbye by Love You Back Productions

As my time in New York comes to an end, I feel strongly that I'll miss this place. I built a little life here for myself and I am bracing myself for the culture shock of returning to New Orleans. 

Reminds me of the nostalgic feeling embodied in this Madonna song...

Last week I went to a fundraiser at The House of Yes, a party/event space just two blocks from my house. It was a circus themed line-up, and every performer was phenomenal. I was invited by my friend Ana, who lives in New York. In the middle of the show, Ana and I both turned to each other and agreed: this is why New York is amazing. 

Below are gifs from some of the more special moments of the show.

A dramatic reveal at the House of Yes.

A dramatic reveal at the House of Yes.

A 40 ft. lasso trick.

A 40 ft. lasso trick.

A class act--reminded me of "Singing in the Rain."

A class act--reminded me of "Singing in the Rain."

Here's the biggest news of the week: Julia is MOVING TO MID CITY! Not just Mid City, but only 3 blocks away from me.

My partner Seth had a vacancy in the house he owns next door, so it was a no-brainer; Julia and her partner Nik are moving in. 

It's been a long time coming. Now we'll be able to walk to on another's houses, which makes for a much easier work week. Our lives as friends and business partners are overlapping--kind of like that solar eclipse we had a few days ago. 

I ended up watching the eclipse from the real estate office where I work in New York. I was so deep into my work that I almost forgot it was happening. A ton of people in my office gathered around and used the one pair of special eclipse watching sunglasses. I don't have my own pic to post, but it looked pretty much like this, except in New York:

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Julia and I are in the midst of launching a new wedding website, which we've been tweaking for the past week. 

Check out our facebook page for updates on the launch of the new website.

WEEK IN REVIEW: What are you sick of seeing? by Love You Back Productions

Watch and see! ^_^

This WEEK IN REVIEW covers the whole summer.

This summer was so alive!  Still is!

TUESDAY, the MAJORVLOG arrived!  Similar to this WEEK IN REVIEW, the vlog covers the whole summer.

THURSDAY, I was out of the office - location scouting!  Corner stores, corner stores, corner stores.

FRIDAY, I am at my desk, doing some reflecting.  So alive, this summer was all about seeing novelty inside familiarity.

My summer trips took me to all-familiar spots.  I returned home to Little Rock, Arkansas.  I gathered with family in Aspen.  2 weeks later, at my grandmother’s house, we gathered again.  The final rest stop was Boston.   Running along the Charles, stomping on the most familiar old cobblestones, I realized: novelty and familiarity are not exclusive experiences.

For the first time, I experienced Boston without anxiety.  No impending classes, papers, or final exams.  This time, I was on vacation, and I was free agent.  The freedom expanded my appreciation for the city.   Boston was on display.


EARLIER, this August.   I spent 4 hours with my mother and grandmother at Eugene Richards photography exhibit.  Gary Knight of the VI Photo Agency introduced me to Eugene Richards back in 2013.  To this day, Eugene Richards is a critical and infinitely relevant influence on my style of documentary storytelling.

Curious, still? Please spend some time on Eugene Richards' personal website.  Also, here is the link to the exhibit - "Eugene Richards' Run-On of Time."


NOW. Let me leap frog contexts.  Rather jabber on about experiences, let’s talk ideas.  Ideas about business.  About creativity.  Ideas about familiarity and innovation.  In an interview with Dan McGinn, senior editor at Harvard Business Review, Jerry Seinfeld gets to the heart of things:  

DAN MCGINN: How much was your lack of familiarity with the rules the key to your ability to innovate?

JERRY SEINFELD: You know, it’s very important to know what you don’t like. It’s good to have an idea, but a big part, I find, of a lot of innovation starts with someone saying, you know what I’m really sick of? That’s where innovation begins.

Like for me, it’s like I’m really sick of music playing while somebody walks out to a desk, shakes hands, sits down, how are you? How are you? You look great. So do you.

It’s like– I’m sick of that. I want to hear what’s the first funny thing this person said. I’m also sick of people who really, talking is not their thing on talk shows. But they’re there to sell their show, their product. The same thing with my TV show. That’s one of the places where I start. What am I really sick of?


For Love You Back Productions, the main point is this: 

To produce innovative content, Weenta and I have to ask ourselves, “what am I sick of seeing?”

TODAY, I’ll go first.  I am sick of seeing, conventional business testimonial videos, different strains culture being mutually exclusive, i.e. trap music and Schubert piano quartets, linear storylines, the American South being a mystery, Business to Business videos completely devoid of comedy.   There.  That’s off my chest.  

There.  The initial brainstorm is over.  (Rubs hands together.)   Innovation should be just around the corner.  Perfect timing!  Weenta and I have a production-filled fall, coming up!

Want more?

RIGHT HERE: Another plug. Check out my most recent Youtube upload.  Similiar to this WEEK IN REVIEW, the video leap frogs contexts, returning to the question: what are you sick of seeing?

RIGHT NOW! Inspiration.  Check out what I am not sick of seeing.

Love Y'all Back!