From inspiration to distribution, this is how the Run, Rabbit team made their feature debut dreams come true.
This post was written by Christopher Studenka.
We had a vision and a belief. Fresh off making two award-winning short films, my writer/director friend, Justin Rose, and I fully believed we could make a feature film and, more importantly, a good one. We brought in a fellow actor friend, Greg Wave, to help.
Greg and I had done many a failed pilot and film project together and always thought making something ourselves would be more beneficial. Justin had written a tremendous script and written it in a way to be made with a low budget.
That became the genesis of what would become the three of us making Run Rabbit.
Beyond making the film, our true goal was to get it into the top film festivals and then hopefully get recognition for any of us individually or all together. Ultimately, we hoped we could secure a deal.
Lofty goals for three guys in Arizona with no budget, but reaching for that is what fueled us forward.
I met Justin when he was right out of film school and trying to make a short film on his own. After we made the short film, he agreed to make a short film I had written.
After both had great Film Festival success, we had some false bravado that we could handle making a full-feature film. He had a great script, and he is a special talent. With Greg on board, the three of us set out in spring 2021 to make Run Rabbit.
Filming went great, mostly because our production meetings and planning were endless. We secured a fantastic cast and locations and planned and planned and planned for every contingency. By the fall, we had shot everything, and Justin started editing and putting it all together.
After a few more pick-ups, the film was done in Spring 2022 and we started submitting to Festivals all over the world. Immediately we won a number of awards, including Best Feature Film numerous times, and we knew we had something people enjoyed. Kevin Smith had announced that he was going to hold a Film Festival at his newly acquired SModcastle Theaters in New Jersey in the summer.
Knowing his independent filmmaking story, we knew that we had to submit. They had guaranteed to watch all of the submissions, and after receiving thousands more than expected, they moved the festival to December. Sometime in August, we got word we were an Official Selection.
At this point, we’d already played at big cities all over the world, but nothing could top the SModcastle Film Festival, which was quickly dubbed Sundance East. It was beyond our expectations, and we couldn’t wait to go to New Jersey.
The Festival was as exciting as expected, full of filmmakers from all over, and we had a great showing. They had a few panel discussions, and one was led by Kevin Smith with a distributor he’s known and used for years. Of course, it was standing room only.
Afterward, we met the distributor, and they offered a deal for Run Rabbit. It was the culmination of everything we dreamed and thought possible. In many ways, we still can’t believe it. Armed with a great script, a very talented director, and a lot of hard work and desire, we made it happen.
The Rabbit is still running!
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