THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING BOOKS!

“Art of various kinds is often expensive, and filmmaking especially so. Thousands of gifted filmmakers, young and old, have waited hat in hand at the studio gates, only to be turned away with nothing. That’s why Kickstarter and like organizations—which secure funding through donations from people with an interest in art-to-be—are a healthy and adventurous way to go. Let the studios eat cake, as a famous lady once said.” — Larry McMurtry

Thanks to you and the KICKSTARTER community, we have reached our STRETCH GOAL of $12,000 and are now in the position to finish production on BOOKS: A DOCUMENTARY!

Our journey is just beginning and we would LOVE for you to STAY INVOLVED!  Please LIKE us on Facebook, FOLLOW us on Twitter, and SUBSCRIBE to our Blog for all the latest news and updates.

If you missed us here on Kickstarter, you can check out our website BooksMovie.org, for all the details on pre-ordering the film, purchasing merchandise, future screenings etc…

We are thrilled and overwhelmed by all of your support throughout these past two campaigns and sincerely THANK YOU for believing in BOOKS.  We can’t wait to save you a seat at the theatre.

— Mathew & Sara

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Larry McMurtry: May the Books Flourish!

Larry wrote a piece for The Daily Beast today and we have it here for you… Enjoy!

“For writer Larry McMurtry, auctioning off part of his vast book collection was bittersweet, but they are off on a new adventure in the hands of new readers. He writes to urge readers to support a film on Kickstarter documenting this remarkable sale.”

Art of various kinds is often expensive, and filmmaking especially so. Thousands of gifted filmmakers, young and old, have waited hat in hand at the studio gates, only to be turned away with nothing.

That’s why Kickstarter and like organizations—which secure funding through donations from people with an interest in art-to-be—are a healthy and adventurous way to go. Let the studios eat cake, as a famous lady once said.

Writing prose, on the other hand, is a solitary endeavor (unless one has a fine writing partner, as do I). And as such, it’s not very expensive. Paper, a typewriter, and a place to write is all I needed; that is, until I was given a laptop computer.

I came to the world of computers at least 20 years late, thus missing whole generations of pods, tablets, and the like, which is too bad. Diana Ossana, my writing partner and close friend, purchased a MacBook for me recently, at my request. I let it sit for six months and then made a cautious approach to the keyboard, as one might approach a wary woman. I respect it greatly, and though I work at it every day, we are not yet on familiar terms. But maybe, if time allows, I’ll improve.

At present, the fledgling artistic project nearest to my heart is a worthy one called “BOOKS, A Documentary,” a film about my own passion for books, a passion that led me to create a book town in my home place of Archer City, Texas.

At its peak, my book town harbored between 500,000 and 600,000 volumes, not counting my own 28,000 volume personal library. I love my books, all of them. Holding them in my hands, leafing through the pages, is a comfort to me. But this is a lot of books: my son and grandson might not be so inclined as to simply sit and appreciate their presence.

So, I held an auction in Archer City over three scorching summer days in August 2012 to reduce the burden of books that might be left to my heirs, should I depart before my inventory does. I managed, during said auction, to launch two-thirds of said inventory back out into the world, all taking up residence with new and enthusiastic owners. The adventures of those books will be documented, should the smart young filmmakers have their way.

It’s been a bittersweet experience for me, parting with my beloved stock, but they’ve been given a second life, on bookshelves and in storefronts all across America.

The filmmakers are my goddaughter Sara Ossana and her husband Mathew Provost. May they–and the books–flourish! — Larry McMurtry

Support Books by becoming a backer –http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studioseven7films/books-a-documentary-take-2

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Book Towers

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Stacking books has been a long tradition and necessary tool of those wanting to organize, carry or build.  Build???  Well if you’ve ever spent time in Detroit, you may have looked up to see the Book Tower, a stunning 38-story skyscraper in the Washington Boulevard Historic District.  Unfortunately the tower was not made of books, but rather named after three brothers, J. Burgess, Frank, and Herbert Book determined to turn the Detroit’s Washington Boulevard into the “Fifth Avenue of the West”.

Lucky for us though, in 2011 Buenos Aires was named World Book Capital by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  What better way to celebrate than build a spiraling tower built with over 30,000 donated books.  Artist Marta Minujin designed the Tower of Babel, as she named it, creating the installation 25-meters high.  Although the shelf life of the tower was only a month, when it was time to take the sculpture down visitors were encouraged to pick out a book and take it home with them.  Now that’s an idea worth building upon.

photo credits: UpNorth Memories – Donald (Don) Harrison & Guillermo Puglia via photopin cc

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Screening Room: ‘Books: A Documentary’

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Chris Barsanti

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This is the killer Kickstarter pitch for a new proposed film project with the can’t-go-wrong title of Books: A Documentary:

This past August over 300,000 antiquarian books from Larry McMurtry’s Booked Up were sold at auction: This is the story of those Books.

Color us intrigued.

For those not already in awe of the man, Lonesome Dove and Brokeback Mountain author McMurtry also owns one of the nation’s great used-book emporiums. He told the tale of last fall’s great blowout sale at the New York Review of Books.

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According to Publishers Weekly, the filmmakers (husband-and-wife Sara Ossana and Mathew Provost) have already shot about half of the doc and need $50,000 to finish it up. Ossana notes that the film, which uses McMurtry’s sale to explore the modern book landscape, might be expected to be a downbeat tale about an industry and way of life in decline:

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The Last Book Scout…

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The world of the book scout is a changing landscape.  The very technology that seemingly threatens to submerge it has recently switched polarity and infused it with an unexpected resurgence.  The renaissance may be short lived, as the overall trend has shown book scouting to have gone from a popular pastime to an obscure practice.  What was once a busy profession abounding with hordes of enthusiasts, has turned into an archaic vocation kept alive by a handful of skilled connoisseurs.  Recently however, they have been joined by an influx of pickers armed with digital scanners, smart phones and online book selling savvy.

An old school book scout would scour classified ads for estate sales, garage sales, library sales and yard sales, paying particular attention to how they each were worded.  He, or she was wary of ads using the word “treasures” which translated to “junk” and kept a sharp eye out for buzz phrases like “English grad student moving” or “Philosophy professor passed away” which could have spelled pay dirt.  Armed with a vast knowledge of books from a lifetime of reading and a finely tuned intuition for locating quality print, they set out for these sales.  The goal: to unearth gems among the rubble, to buy them cheap and then sell them for profit.

One such man is none other than author Larry McMurtry, who explains having embarked on a career as a novelist in order to support his book buying habit.  He is the central figure in the upcoming indie film by Studio Seven7 Films called Books: A Documentary.  The film by Sara Ossana and myself tells the story of the three hundred thousand plus, of Larry McMurtry’s antiquated acquisitions that were auctioned off in August of 2012.  The event, which lasted just two days, was aptly named The Last Book Sale.  This historic occasion marks the culmination of forty years of Larry’s work as a book scout, and two thirds of what was amassed, being released back out into the world.

The auction no doubt drew book scouts cut from the same cloth as the proprietor of the four Booked Up storefronts in Archer City, Texas.  However, there was also a new breed of book buyer lurking about among the paperbacks and first editions.  The 21st century literary curator still combs through the classifieds for listings of book sales, but they rely more on technical gadgetry than upon applicable knowledge to cull profits from the piles of pages.  They use a handheld electronic scanner to weed through many volumes in one day, looking for titles that can be sold for profit.  Their scanner runs a book’s UPC code across a snapshot of the Amazon catalog.  The software then calculates the book’s worth.  Books with a high value are bought if a low price can be arranged and then re-sold online.  Many rare books are pre-UPC, where scanning a code is not an option.  In this case, they then pull out a smart-phone, loaded with latest apps and booked marked websites, and with a few clicks, now has all the information needed.

Similar to the world of baseball, an old-school scout would simply have taken the findings, cross referenced with years of gut instinct and stuffed notebooks, to bookstores or private collectors they had built relationships with over the years.  The new school scout harnesses the power of the internet, which although impersonal, has not necessarily cheapened the trade.  Online book reselling is highly competitive because there is money to be made.  This current model is a recent improvement on what was being done just a few years ago.  Before electronic scanners, new school book scouts had to use their cell phones to call friends or partners who were waiting at computers to look up titles that may have been valuable.  This resurgence in the popularity of old books is a refreshing development.  Perhaps the digital world will not yet fully render the analog world of information obsolete.

However, this begs the question: what improvements on the current strategy might the book scout of tomorrow employ?  Perhaps tomorrow’s book scout will find a title, scan it and take a picture of it all at once.  They could then post it online, find a buyer and collect the money digitally before ever paying for it and leaving the store.  Perhaps when teleportation is an everyday practice the process will go one step further and the scout will beam the book over to the buyer right then and there.  Sounds like a plot to a futuristic novel…

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Top 5 Must-See Sci-Fi Film Adaptations

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn's rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

On July 19, something Earth-shattering happened!  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, located in Saturn’s system, captured color images of Earth and our moon, nearly 900 million miles away.  So, why is this such big news?  Not only was this the first time Cassini’s high-res wide angle camera clearly captured the Earth and the moon, it was also the first time Earth’s citizens were given advanced notice about the picture being taken.  More than 20,000 people, from all around the globe waved to Saturn at the same time!  Isn’t that just out of this world?  Now that you’re in the mood for some of your own space adventures, check out our top five films Science Fiction films adapted from books!

origin_283789943 Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902)

Inspired by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon, Voyage Dans La Lune is considered the first science fiction movie ever!  The film is a light-critique of the conservative scientific community of its time.  Although it is a silent film, the imaginative technology speaks volumes for the time period.  The 14-minute movie was created by Georges Méliès, who is credited as the screenwriter, lead actor, director, set and costume designer, photographer, and producer of the film.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, The Sentinel, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.  Known for its scientific accuracy, special effects, and minimal dialogue, the film includes elements of evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life.  After the film was produced however, Arthur C. Clarke published a novel under the same name of the movie, so make sure you read the short story first.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

In 1916, the first feature film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was created by Stuart Paton based upon another one of Jules Verne’s works, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  This deep sea adventure proved to be groundbreaking with its underwater photography by the George M. and J. Ernest Williamson brothers.  For its time period, the film was quite elaborate, paving the way for countless adaptations of the classic novel.

Minority Report (2002) & Oblivion (2013)

In the world of science fiction films, Tom Cruise has certainly made his mark.  In 2002, he portrayed Captain John Anderton in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.  This slick neo-noir sci-fi film was based on The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick, who also penned Total Recall.  Both the film and story explore the possibility of free-will, questioning if the future has already been shaped/determined in advance.  While the short story depicts Anderton as the 50-year old balding, out-of-shape, New York police officer creator of Precrime, Spielberg wanted the film to focus on “fifty percent character and fifty percent very complicated storytelling with layers and layers of murder mystery and plot”.  We think casting Tom Cruise in the revamped, younger, journeyman character role was the perfect choice in successfully bringing this story to the big screen.

Oblivion Storyboard by Phillip Norwood. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Oblivion Storyboard by Phillip Norwood. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

We had to add the recent Tom Cruise film Oblivion, co-written, produced, and directed by Joseph Kosinski to our list as an honorable mention.  The film is based on Kosinski’s graphic novel of the same name, which follows one of the last drone repairmen stationed on Earth.  Jack and his mesmerizing partner, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are tasked to work as a team in maintaining the autonomous drones that defend the various sea based fusion power stations from those looking to destroy them.  While Jack and Victoria have had their memories wiped clean for security purposes years before, Jack’s recurring dreams of worlds past, feed his curiosity of a world that once was.  When a pre-invasion American spacecraft crashes, Jack is forced to question his own knowledge of who he is and their purpose on Earth.  If you are a fan of 1970s science fiction films, Oblivion is a must-see.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Written and directed by Michael Radford, Nineteen Eighty-Four is based on George Orwell’s novel of the same name. The story takes place in a dystopian 1984, in a totalitarian superstate called Oceania in London.  Orwell’s fictitious world is very well-known and the film received widespread positive critical reaction for it’s cinematic representation of the classic novel.

During the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22nd 1984, Apple Macintosh launched what has been called by many as one of the most influential commercials of all time.  From the minds of Steve Hayden, Brent Thomas and Lee Clow, Apple’s 1984 embraces George Orwell’s novel, depicting an unnamed heroine sprinting through rows and rows of mindless marching minions, hypnotized by their ruling “Big Brother.”  As you can see above, despite the ever-changing world of cinematic special effects, ever the commercial holds up.

If you’ve seen any of these films recently or have a sci-fi adaption that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page.

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kickstarter-logo-lightAdditional photo credits: x-ray delta one via photopin cccdrummbks via photopin ccPaulgi via photopin ccjohnrobertshepherd via photopin cc

Top 5 Must-See Romantic Film Adaptations

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Prince William and Kate Middleton have just had their first child, George Alexander Louis, but you may address the baby as ‘His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge’.  Everyone loves to hear about a Royal Romance, doesn’t it just get you in the mood to watch some breathtaking romantic films based on books?  I know you answered yes!  Here is our top five must see Romantic film adaptations.

The Notebook (2004)

When you think of romantic movies, The Notebook always comes to mind.  Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, you can’t help but fall in love with the characters Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams).  Although their love story is an intense one, the ending is the perfect payoff.  If you haven’t seen this flick already, go find it today, just make sure you have a box of tissues ready nearby.

The African Queen (1951)

Based on C.S. Forester’s novel, The African Queen, is an exciting adventure-romance starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.  The film has been selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, for its culture, historical, & aesthetic significance.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds a 100% fresh rating.  Have I convinced you to watch it yet?  You really should.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

If you watched the Oscars this year, you already know that Silver Linings Playbook received eight nominations, with Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress.  Adapted from Matthew Quick’s novel, the film was written and directed by David O. Russell.  In order to maintain the romantic comedy, yet emotional and troubled nature of the story, Russell claims to have rewritten the screenplay over twenty times.  Go see/read it for yourself and find out if the movie did the novel justice.

Wuthering Heights (1939)

In 1847, Emily Brontë’s published her only novel, Wuthering Heights.  Emily’s sister, Charlotte, made the decision for Wuthering Heights to be published after the success of her own novel Jane Eyre.  The novel revolves around the destruction that jealousy and vengeance can cause on individuals and their communities.  The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning Best Cinematography.  So, if you’re in the mood for some romantic vengeance, check this one out!

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

The infamous story of Pride & Prejudice was published in 1813, written by Jane Austen.  The well-known love story begins with the introduction of Mr. Darcy, a proud and condescending man, and his conflicting relationship with Elizabeth Bennet.  The film, written by Deborah Moggach, strived to remain as faithful to the novel as possible.  The movie had a positive critical reaction with Kiera Knightly portraying Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as her romantic opposite.  If you are looking for a classic love story, draped across the stunning English country side, this will sure to please.

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Sugar Honey Iced Tea

What we’re listening to…

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With summer upon us, most Rhode Islanders take visiting family and friends to sun-bathed beaches, pick-your-own strawberry fields, and for meals at their favorite clam shacks.  Most will enjoy a refreshing cup of Dels frozen lemonade, and a few very lucky ones will also sip some Sugar Honey Iced Tea. The organically mixed harmonies and unique songwriting style of our featured band, will usher you well into those late summer nights.

Winners of “Best New Act” in Providence’s Motif Magazine, The Sugar Honey Iced Tea, comprised of Ana Mallozzi, Kate Jones, Laila Aukee, Emily Shaw, came into being the fall of 2010.  We’re in love with “Middle Man” and know you will be, too.  Mixing perfect harmonies and solo vocals popularized in bluegrass, their quirky charismatic quality will leave you hungry for more!  Check out Kate and the gang at reverbnation.com/thesugarhoneyicedtea

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 Don’t forget to share your favorite songs of the summer on our Facebook Page or on Twitter using the hashtag #SupportBooks.

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The business of imagination

A life long Connecticut resident, Brian Trent, was born in Waterbury CT, once nicknamed ‘Brass-City’ for it’s manufacture of watches and clocks through the first half of the 20th century.  Since his earliest memory, Brian has had a life long fascination with discovering how the world and space ‘tick’.  A passion, he most likely picked up from spending time his family, also science fiction fans.

This past April, Brian Trent was honored by Writers of the Future in Hollywood for his story “War Hero”.  We asked him to write about his experience.

Trent-BlogI had been writing stories since childhood, scribbling adventure tales on stacks of yellow legal pads. For my sixth birthday my parents bought me a typewriter (a metallic blue Brother 11) and my way of thanking them was to incessantly pound out stories late into the night like an over caffeinated drummer. Then I’d mail these stories to prospective magazines; since my penmanship resembles a cross between drunken cuneiform and double-exposed Chinese calligraphy, I can’t be sure how many ultimately reached their destinations.

Flash-forward to 2012. I wrote “War Hero” on my computer, which is quieter than my typewriter and doesn’t jam if I type too fast (although most of the white lettering has long since worn off of the keys; I still type like other people drum.) I mailed the story to the Writers of the Future Contest, one of the most prestigious competitions of the genre, and waited. Half of the struggle in this business is learning to wait.

In December, I get the phone call: “Mr. Trent? I’m calling to let you know that your story has just been selected as a winner in the 29th Annual Writers of the Future Contest.”  Ah! I could finally justify to my parents the many nights I kept them up with the clack-clack-clack of my typewriter!  In April, I was flown out to Hollywood, taken through an exquisite week-long writing workshop, met the luminaries of the field, and got to give an acceptance speech.

I first sat down to write “War Hero” in order to explore an idea:  If minds can be uploaded and downloaded at will, how does that change the face of war?  What if the war criminal you’re tracking can literally be anyone, and you’re never really sure if you’ve eliminated the last copy?  To be sure, mind-uploading is a theme I’ve explored before (Apex Magazine’s latest issue features my story “A Matter of Shape-space” which also tackles this prickly issue) but “War Hero” took the concept and galloped straight into an especially grisly lair of ideas.

Whether grisly or not, ideas are the fuel behind all fiction.  Ideas are what kept my six-year-old self up late at night, hammering out tales of exotic places and possible futures.  Ideas are what books communicate across generations and civilizations, from stone tablet to electronic tablet, from yellow legal pad to whatever we’ll be using tomorrow.  What WILL we be using tomorrow?

Time to explore another idea…

Brian Trent
Read War Hero – Here
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