Dreams Can Come True—Even After 13 Years

I learned that a movie that had all the critics buzzing at Sundance Film Festival in 1997 has only recently been released.  The movie, Colin Fitz Lives! is about two security guards who are assigned to the grave of Colin Fitz, a fictional rock star whose devoted fans didn’t fade away with his death. The film won loads of awards and was posed to be the “it” indie film of 1997.

The trouble was after Sundance none of the distribution deals would cover director Robert Bella’s costs. So, the poor man ended up being exactly that—poor. He owed $250,000. That lead to his film being held by creditors and Bella having to endure a period of homelessness.

How did all of this happen? In 1997 a friend approached Bella with the script for Colin Fitz Lives!, he loved it and decided to turn it into a movie. Bella got actors William H. Macy and Martha Plimpton, he had $50,000 and managed to raise an extra $100,000. The trouble was this was before digital video recorders and editing software. Editing and printing a film using the old analog system meant Bella had to get his hands on another $500,000.

The original plan was to first shoot the film and second raise money to edit it. Then Sundance came calling. The film was accepted into the Dramatic Film competition and they wanted it in six weeks. So, Bella maxed out 20 credit cards, in order to get the film to Sundance in time.

Yes, Bella took a risk and it didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted. Still, he paid off his debts and was able to get the film back from creditors. One day he approached by Arianna Bocco of IFC Films who asked him about the film. Bella’s answer: “It’s sitting in my closet. Wanna buy it?” Thankfully Bocco said yes.

So, Bravo Bella, you got a Hollywood ending to your story. While I don’t recommend the maxing out of one, let alone 20, credit cards to finance a project, there is something to be said for those who take the necessary steps to turn dreams into reality. There is no guarantee that you’ll hit the jackpot and like Bella, you could take some unfortunate detours. Yet, nothing happens unless you do something. Bella did something and after 13 years, it paid off.

To learn more about Colin Fitz Lives! go to: http://www.colinfitzlives.com


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