This film was a long time in the making. Thinking. Researching. Raising money. Thinking and researching some more. When I was not sure this was even a film, The Pacific Pioneer Fund awarded me a significant grant to get started. When that money ran out and I needed to go to the Philippines to shoot, I took out a home equity line of credit. Not the best financial move but it was one way to get the job done. Finishing funds were raised through the miracle of crowd-funding and the generosity of many on Kickstarter.
This is my third film, and first feature length film. My previous films (Ancestors and Miss Clairol) have been screened by The San Francisco International Film Festival, The Pacific Film Archive, The Mill Valley Film Festival, The Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and The Oakland Museum, to name a few. Along the way I've received awards from the San Francisco Foundation and the Pacific Pioneer Fund. I have a Masters of Fine Arts from the San Francisco State University Department of Cinema, a Masters of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in Sociology and a double degree Bachelor of Arts in Art and Sociology from Mills College in Oakland, California. I am interested in film work which gives voice to people, places and things not generally represented on film. In addition to my film work, I produce events primarily fundraising events for political, philanthropic and social justice organizations. For additional information on my work as a writer and producer please visit my personal website at Melissa Howden
Through out the making of Be Home Soon: Letters from My Grandfather I had the fortune of working with many gifted artists and technicians.
The incomparable Peter Coyote generously agreed to give voice to my grandfather. An accomplished actor, writer, social activist and voice-over artist, I have never spent a better afternoon than the one in his company while recording the voice of my grandfather with him.
A crew of three sound wizards from SkySound at Skywalker Ranch gave their
all to my limited budget for Dialogue Editing (Chris Barnett), Sound Design (Steve Boeddeker - who won an Emmy the day after finishing his work on Be Home Soon) and Sound Mix (Zach Martin). The whole crew at SkySound made me welcome and treated me no differently than if I were a FatCat from Hollywood. Thank you to the great Leslie Ann Jones, an old friend and multi-award winning Sound Engineer and Mixer at SkySound for making the introductions which created the opportunity for me to work on the film sound at the Ranch. A truly wonderful experience.
Brandon Batten traveled to New Mexico and the Philippines with me to shoot footage. Always a cheerful and easy colleague and traveler - I frequently had to beg him to quit shooting so we could rest. Jingay Kaimo was our intrepid Production Manager in the Philippines and BoBoy our tireless driver.
Chelsea Walton taught me animation for the simpler animation sequences and animated the more difficult ones. There isn't anything Chelsea can't do.
Chris Tipton-King is a young up and coming Colorist and filmmaker in his own right.
Nao Nakazawa edited the film. He is a young Japanese filmmaker and MFA candidate. Without his tolerance and "let's get this thing done" attitude the film would still not be done. He gave and gave and gave and I owe him a huge debt of gratitude
for seeing the film and me through to the finish. Nao is currently raising funds for his MFA Thesis Film Mitsu-Ju.
The gorgeous music in the film is by the electric and acoustic cellist, vocalist and composer Jamie Sieber.
“In In Jami Sieber’s hands, the cello becomes a statement for longing and freedom, for unbridled expression, and a prayer to tenderness that encompasses every emotion.”
– Lloyd Barde, Music Editor – Common Ground Magazine