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I don’t know where to begin. There is so much to say.

Since we last wrote, SO much has happened, and it has been difficult to process. I think I will try to relate it (and record it) by giving a timeline of events:

April 10th: We complete our Kickstarter campaign for the film’s finishing funds. THANK YOU! Thank you all again!

But way, there is more—

In the last 90 seconds of our Kickstarter some kind of crazy stars aligned and we got an email notifying us that Drawing the Tiger received a grant from Fork Films. The grant completed our funding gap for post-production.

(That’s right, our gap was bigger than the amount we asked Kickstarter to fill. We were wary of taking the full risk with Kickstarter. I mean, we are risk takers, but…) Scott and I did a serious crazy happy dance, then called over Kristin and our neighbors for a toast! Hale joined us with orange juice. My skin was tingling with relief and gratitude. And then relief. And then gratitude again. It’s still tingling, now and then, truth be told.

April 15th: We finalized the sound, color and music, and sent the film to Hot Docs. WHEW! Yes. Thank you AGAIN!

April 22: The Toronto Star lists Drawing the Tiger as a ‘What To See at Hot Docs’ pick.

If someone had told me our film was going to be at Hot Docs—one of the dreamiest places (not to mention probably one of the two most important doc fests in the world? Is it cool to say that?) to premiere your doc—and be picked by Toronto Star, when we started this project, I would have never believed them. Somebody pinch me!

April 23 & 24: Ramyata travels to the village to show The Darnals the film. We were all a bit nervous about this. We had no idea what to expect. And, I am sure they did not either. Ramyata brought two fully charged laptops with the film downloaded on both so she would be sure not to run out of juice.

We were on pins and needles waiting to hear about their response. Ramyata, who tends to be woman of few words, wrote her longest email to me ever— The minute it came in, I called Scott and Kristin and we gathered together. I didn’t want to read a word without them.

This is an excerpt from Ramyata’s email:

“Buwa, both moms, ramkumar, sarita, rashmita, two cousins, and the little baby watched the film. In turn, they were captivated (except Rashmita, at times dozed off, she had been working on the farm all day), emotional, moved. There were a few giggles at times.  Buwa and Ama n the others, as you can guess were quite emotional. I asked them to share their thoughts so you wud know first hand what they thought. They were gratefeul to be able to see shanta again. I asked if they felt awkward abt some of the stuff —-but no. “It’s how it is, please thank Scott and Amy in taking n trouble time to do this.”

I think they got it. Buwa’s comments.” it’s a slice of our lives just as it is”.

I did not realize how much anxiety I was holding about The Darnals’ first viewing of the film, but after taking their impressions in—my body and breath changed shape. We all cried a bit.

Now the film feels ready to be shown to Canada and beyond.

The Darnals seeing the film on the floor of their house in the village was Drawing the Tiger’s World Premiere.

Ramyata took a ton of photos. Shanta’s siblings are really growing up.

The headmaster and his family watching Drawing the Tiger. He is the only non-Darnal in the film.

That night, I have deep and vivid dreams about The Darnals and the village. We were back in the village with them.

April 25th:  We wake to a mess of messages on our phones.  A 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal. My hands were shaking as I looked at the first pictures and video in news feeds. You know it is bad when Nepal is on the cover of both The New Times and Al Jazeera. Thankfully, our dear friend and translator, Neeta, called and called and called and got confirmation that all of Shanta’s family are okay. However, their houses in the village were substantially damaged and some animals lost.

I can still hardly believe that we knew so soon that they had survived. Thank you, Neeta!

Neeta talking to the village.

April 26: Scott and I board a plane for Toronto to premiere the film with a mix of emotions.
Ramyata, not just a filmmaker, but a kick-ass journalist, covers the earthquake for major news agencies. She continues to report on the hardest hit areas. She is not just my co-director. She is my hero.

April 27 & 28: Scott and I run around with our new friend and publicist, Anne-Lise Kontz from TouchWood PR, doing interviews for blogs, television and radio. This was so fun. I was surprisingly not nervous at all. Something about the tragedy of the earthquake made all that we were doing feel delightfully less important. I felt raw and present. Scott and I were in synch.

Globe & Mail

Hair & Make up for Bollywood Blvd

Bollywood Blvd!

I love radio. I kind of want to work in. More simple!

Whew. A regular press availability whirlwind for Drawing the Tiger

Here are some of the reviews and interviews. I have yet to watch the videos. I am not proud of this, but it is hard to watch myself on camera. The great reviews of the film, however—I have read over several times.






Kristin, co-producer & Fiona, editor, arrive. It begins to feel real with our team coming together.

April 29: The day finally comes—The world premiere of Drawing the Tiger at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. It felt huge and very emotional. Two hours before we left for the theatre, the Kickstarter money arrived in our bank account. I paid everyone I could right there and then. I sent the money away. And then, cried from the deep relief and sense of accomplishment and confusion around how this film and its efforts relates to this big quaking earth.

Preparing for the big moment.

Julie Bridgham and Jim Grisham, two of our executive directors, arrive. We are thrilled to be all together.

We arrive at the Scotia Bank theatre. It feels so surreal, I think I might have had an out-of-body experience.

Scotia Bank is like FOR REAL a theatre.

Scott’s new favorite picture of Amy^^

The premiere was beyond my expectation. The theatre (that is how they spell it in Canada) was SO HUGE. It sat 380 people and was almost full. (Pretty good considering Fredrick Wiseman, one of the greatest documentarians of all time was giving a lecture at the exact same time).

Seeing our names up on the screen super big felt unreal. And the sound (thank you Bad Animals!), the music—Thank you Rob Millis and Lauren McShane—was so intense, and haunting. I loved it. On the one hand, I know the film, edit-to-edit, but it felt new. Like, something beyond us.

Here’s Scott, shooting the picture below, of our World Premiere audience!

The Q & A (Do you see what I mean about how HUGE the screen was?)

After the screenings, many audience members stayed to talk to with us about their experience. After the premiere, a young woman came up to me who had clearly been crying— a lot and asked, “Can I hug you?”

Then another woman, maybe in her 50’s, told me, “I have visited Nepal. I have trekked there, but now I feel like I have actually been to Nepal.”

This lovely woman asked for our autograph. Delightful and flattering!

All our peeps together: EPs: Jimmy Grishman, Julie Bridgham, Editor: Fiona Otway, Directors: Me & Scott, Co-Producer: Kristin Ougendal, Sundance Institute/Doc Therapist: Kristin Feeley
We missed you: Ramyata, Shailendra, Karol, Neeta, Shraddha, Ramona, Anzeela & James!

That night, I talk to Neeta on the phone and get the full download on The Darnals and the earthquake. It’s hard, upsetting, relieving, terrifying, by turns.

But more about us.

May 1: Our second screening of Drawing the Tiger sells out hours before the doors open.

May 2: Our third screening. We were in the groove. How cool are we? We didn’t even stay for the film, that’s how cool. Two of the Hot Docs programmers, Angie and Kathleen, took us for drinks. For the first time, I feel like a capital-F FILMMAKER!!!

A few words about Hot Docs: This festival is special. The people are kind and enthusiastic. The programmers made us feel really wanted—needed. They care about Drawing the Tiger. They truly love the art of documentary. We were with our people. And, they spoiled us by paying for taxi cabs and beer. THANK YOU!!!

May 3: We arrive home to Seattle and real life starts again. Thanks to the crack Grandmother childcare tag-team duo, Charlene and Patsy!

May 12: Another big quake rocks Nepal. This one is centered 7.3. It is 25 miles from The Darnals. Their homes collapse along with half the village school.

With the help of Neeta, we are figuring out how to best help them. More on that to come.

Ramyata is continuing her work as a journalist covering the quake.

This is not over. We are taking you with us. Thank you for supporting Drawing the Tiger.

Hot dogs at Hot Docs:


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Sammye and Dan

What a beautiful wedding and a dang fun party! It was so fun to shoot!

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There is a new building for artists in Seattle. It’s the old INS building, now in the process of a deep reimagining, and going by the handle,


We are thrilled to be taking a studio there, moving from our credibly grotty space in outer Georgetown.
Inscape held an open house the weekend of the 16th and 17th, and we went and took some pictures. Here are a few. Bonus points for guessing in which space we’re relocating our studio!

There was a lot of art there, curated by the brilliant Christian French, in an all-building installation/performance called “Passages.” A lot of it relates to the ideas of home and confinement, and responds to the extant artifacts of the building’s history as not just a portal for immigrants, but as a detention and deportation center.

Have a look at more of the pictures you like, in this Flickr slideshow.

We expect to be moving in sometime in December. Careful or we’ll ask you to help.


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Individually, Roberto and Annie  are remarkably creative,  passionate people. Together, they are a powerhouse of  joyous energy and art. When they matched up, I am sure there was some sort of an earth tremor.

Recently, they decided to have their own commitment ceremony, just the two of them— well, and us, the lucky photographers two-timing as witnesses.  It was a self-directed ritual with words, gifts, intentions and love. It was so spontaneous, so thoughtful and from the heart. Needless to say, there were tears all around.

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When we met with Helen and Barry, two things were immediately clear. Number one: They were madly in love. Number two: They were going to have a HUGE party to celebrate.  Barry, a widow, showed us a book of photos he had put together for Helen documenting their first year together. The pictures were amazing and we were flattered they picked us to photograph their big day.  Helen, at 59,  had always been a bridesamaid, but never a bride.  She was going to do it up right!

Both Helen and Barry  have a lot of friends and family— 118 years worth between the two of them. Everyone was invited! It was a fantastic party.

Helen getting ready with her friends from forever.

Helen had over 20 bridesmaids, 2 junior bridesmaids and a flower girl. So cute.

Down the aisle at Jack Block Park

The ceremony

So happy. They were so happy!

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This past year we took a sweet sabbatical to be with our baby boy, Hale, as well as to work on a documentary project for the microfinance nonprofit, Unitus.

Now we are back and booking weddings for 2010 and 2011.

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One of the most common questions brides and grooms ask us is if we do portraits. Our main approach to photography is photojournalism. The vast majority of our pictures are not posed or staged in any way. However, the portrait session is an important part of the NonFiction Wedding day. Scott and I even think of it as part of the celebration. There is ritual to it—the families gathering together, generations arranging themselves, standing up tall and everyone is reeling from excitement, nerves and/or their first sips of champagne.

Kimberly and John squeeze their friend and officiant

Kimberly and John squeeze their friend and officiant.

 At the same time, the day is NOT about making pictures, the object of the day is to celebrate. This is why we make our portrait-taking part of the day as easy-going and well-paced as possible. The way we make portraits is pretty organic. We ask the brides and grooms beforehand what group pictures are important to them.  We let people arrange themselves— the way they feel most comfortable. We don’t pose, or move anyone’s chin here or there. We just make sure that each person is comfortable and ready — then we go ‘click’. It really works well. 

Kids don't have to smile if they don't feel like it. They are still super cute.

Portraits before or after the ceremony? Both times can work equally well with a little planning.


Peter with his siblings. They say this is the best picture they have ever had of the four of them together. Portraits are really important.

Peter with his siblings. They say this is the best picture they have ever had of the four of them together.

We don't very often tell brides and grooms to kiss. They just tend to do it and we go 'click'.

We don't very often tell brides and grooms to kiss. They just tend to do it and we go 'click'.

Scott took this one while Amanda and Ryan walked from the ceremony to the party.

Scott took this one while Amanda and Ryan walked from the ceremony to the party.

But wait, there is more. There is something in between candid pictures and formal portraits — candid portraits. Scott is great at these. Candid portraits are when the photographer/camera and the subject have a brief interaction. There is not necessarily any conversation about it. The picture just happens. Not planned, no “One, Two, Three”, but still the result can be called a portrait. I love these. 


She wanted to dance so badly and finally did.


Mahnaz, the bride, watches the sunset

Mahnaz, the bride, watches the sunset.

Ellie waits for the limo driver under the viaduct

Ellie waits for the limo driver under the viaduct.

Amanda had hot dogs arrive at midnight. Perfect timing for a perfect snack at a perfect wedding. Yum!

Amanda had hot dogs arrive at midnight. Perfect timing for a perfect snack at a perfect wedding. Yum!

We didn't tell them to do this. They were just that adorable.

We didn't tell them to do this. They were just that adorable and the sky was that blue.

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