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Freedom Dance The Movie : Freedom Dance The Movie : Production Weblog: Steven Fischer
Liberty Pictures presents Freedom Dance - An Animated/Live-Action Documentary by Steven Fischer and Craig Herron Based on the Extraordinary Sketchbook of Edward Hilbert

Rosebud Film Fest

Posted on Sunday June 15, 2008 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance took Best of Show at Rosebud Film Fest tonight, which came with a hefty monetary prize. Whoo hoo!

Congrats to the Freedom Dance crew!



Freedom Dance Wins Again!

Posted on Thursday April 24, 2008 by Steven Fischer

Tonight Freedom Dance won CINE’s Master Series Award! Whoo hoo!!!

This is CINE’s top prize, and a big boost for the movie. :0)

Congrats to the Freedom Dance team, and many thanks for all the efforts and talent!



Freedom Dance at Rosebud

Posted on Tuesday April 22, 2008 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance was selected for the Rosebud Film Festival. It will screening on June 14, 2008 at The Spectrum Theater, 1611 North Kent Street, Arlington, VA.

More details to come.



Freedom Dance at White Sands

Posted on Monday March 10, 2008 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance is an official selection at the White Sands International Film Festival. The festival runs from March 16-22 in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood!

Hope to see you there!

Details: White Sands Film Fest



Festival Update

Posted on Wednesday February 13, 2008 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance just won the Jury Award from CINE (a great honor) and was accepted into the White Sands International Film Fest in New Mexico. (The screening is in March.)

It screens on Saturday February 16 at the Show Off Your Shorts Film Fest in Los Angeles.

If you’re thinking of attending either of those festivals, please contact me for details:

Stay tuned for more…


Freedom Dance Wins a CINE

Posted on Monday December 24, 2007 by Steven Fischer

Learned today Freedom Dance won a CINE Golden Eagle Award in the documentary category!


Full Crew Credit list for Freedom Dance

Posted on Sunday October 21, 2007 by Steven Fischer

Associate Producer

live action production


production sound

production assistant

production video
BlueRock Productions LLC
Baltimore, Maryland

animation production

character design,
illustration & layouts

additional animators

digital color


additional backgrounds

post production


post video
BlueRock Productions LLC

sound designer

post production audio
Studio Unknown, LLC
Baltimore, Maryland

music composed by



violin solos

recording and mix

additional recording
The Note Factory

ancillary support


gallery show assistant/3-D cut paper

location photography (Hungary)

legal services
Baltimore, Maryland

web design

web hosting


Freedom Dance Wins at the Peer Awards

Posted on Saturday October 20, 2007 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance won in the Documentary – Under 30 minutes category at the 2007 Peer Awards held in Washington, DC.

Congrats to the Freedom Dance team!


Freedom Dance Screening at Utopia

Posted on Wednesday October 10, 2007 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance was accepted into the Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. Here are the details. Hope you can make it! Tell your friends!

Freedom Dance will screen on
Saturday, October 27 at 1:30 pm
the Greenbelt Municipal Building
25 Crescent Road
Greenbelt, Maryland 20770

web site
Utopia Film Festival

Click Here


Gregg Landry and Steven Fischer on WCBM

Posted on Saturday July 7, 2007 by Steven Fischer

BlueRock Productions owner and Freedom Dance friend/director of photography Gregg Landry will be spotlit on WCBM Radio tonight at 6pm. He will appear on Arts and Entertainment with Jerry Geitka and Lisa Scott.

In typical Landry fashion, Gregg invited me to join him on the air. No doubt we’ll be talking about Freedom Dance.

Thanks, Gregg.



Rose Crowley

Posted on Sunday July 1, 2007 by Steven Fischer

A sad announcement:

Rose Crowley, Edward and Judy Hilbert’s daughter, passed away today following a long fight against cancer.

My memories of Rose are of delightful and loving soul who enjoy life to its fullest. Like her father, Rose always managed to see the silver lining and keep a smile on her face, even during the darkest of times.

She is survived by Judy, her husband Art, and sister Michelle Batt. Edward passed away August 22, 2006.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made on behalf of Rose to

Hospice of St. Mary’s
Campaign for St. Mary’s Hospice House
P.O. Box 625
22699 Washington Street
Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

Please remember write In Memory of Rose Crowley in the memo section of your check.

And please send a prayer to Judy and the Hilbert family during this difficult time. I will post updates as received.



Freedom Dance Premiere!

Posted on Monday May 7, 2007 by Steven Fischer

The Maryland Film Festival started this past Thursday. Freedom Dance had its premiere on Friday, May 4! Nearly three years boils down to this weekend. (Two screenings at the festival.)

The crowd was good and as a direct result a couple of dvds were sold, a rep from a private school in Baltimore approached asking if the school could host a screening, and the program director from the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival approached showing much interest in having the movie screen in Delaware.

The next scheduled screening is at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, May 25 and 26. Check back for more details.

These last three weeks have been exhausting for me, but the premiere has more than made up for it. In three weeks I’ve taken 10 flights, attended one conference and two film festivals screening various films I’ve produced or co-produced, won three awards (one for Houdini, two for Draw the Line) and overall hob-nobbed with some fabulous people in Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami where I am at the moment to work with two Sony Music artists and a broadcasting company.

It really is exciting. In each market I’m selling Freedom Dance, spreading the word, and getting closer to reeling in the right distributor.

Was with Judy recently, dropping off DVDs of the movie for her family. We sat in the living room chatting and she asked me to tell her about my day. As I answered, I realized just how insane life is for me these days.

Well, I started, actually it began yesterday. Was up at 4am, in Virginia by 6 to work on my Civil War docu-drama, left 4pm and straight to Baltimore to finish burning some Freedom Dance DVDs to send to sales reps I’d met in L.A., then stopped at the gym about 9, home by 10 and continued packaging Freedom Dance distributor packs until 1am. Slept for two hours, back in Northern Virginia by 6am to resume work on the docu-drama (start shooting in one month!), to Baltimore by 5pm to finish the DVD burns. Stop at Craig’s place to see a new trailer he’s cut for the movie, then here to drop off the DVD’s. Next onto the Maryland Film Festival office to drop off the Beta tape they’ll screen, and THEN home to bed.

But you know what? This is what it takes to get a movie out into the world. You think production is tough? Just wait til your movie’s done. Then the work really begins.

But I love it, and the rewards are sweet.


Maryland Film Festival Screening!

Posted on Tuesday April 10, 2007 by Steven Fischer

This just in: Freedom Dance has been accepted into the Maryland Film Festival which runs May 3 – 6, 2007. If you’re in Baltimore then, please try to stop by and see the movies! Details to appear at the Maryland Film Fest website.

Whoo hoo!


Houdini Lives On in Houston

Posted on Tuesday April 3, 2007 by Steven Fischer

Some exciting news to today. It was announced that Houdini, an effects-heavy music video directed by Steven Fischer with composites and visual effects animated by Craig Herron has won a Remi Award at the 40th Annual Worldfest in Houston, Texas.

The video was for indie rock favorite Jim Camacho to help promote his 2005 album Stalker Songs.



Freedom Dance DVDs

Posted on Friday February 9, 2007 by Steven Fischer

For those of you who’ve expressed interest in buying a copy of Freedom Dance on DVD:

The final cut is being cleaned, sweetened and tweaked as we speak. The tireless efforts of Sound Designer Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown cannot go unnoticed at this. Kevin is really going the extra miles to meet our fast-approaching deadline (screaming towards us like a hot line drive).

The plan is to have a sales page up in March, so please check back then. And if you have questions, email

Also those who cannot go unnoticed as we push to wrap things up : John Bintz for his generous and wonderful web work and DVD design packaging; law gal Diane Davison for her awesome efforts to secure much needed Mariska Harigtay promo material; Gregg Landry at BlueRock Productions for his generosity, friendship, and duplication services; Paul Sulsky for giving and giving to make the end title roll a reality; and the gracious Phil “I need a web site” Rosensteel for being so generous with his inspiring music score.

They really define the meaning of dedicated teamwork.



Real Screen Summit

Posted on Monday January 29, 2007 by Steven Fischer

I’ll be attending Real Screen Summit from Jan 29-Feb 1 to solicit Freedom Dance, and have been promoting it heavily to registered delegates two weeks prior. If you’re a fellow Real Screener dropping by the site and would like to learn more about this documentary, please email me to arrange a summit meeting.
I’d like to meet you.



Baltimore Creative Alliance Screening

Posted on Friday December 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Discussions continue with the Creative Alliance to include Freedom Dance in a program for Barbara Lanciers’ Leaves with a Name performance piece in May 2007. Keep checking back for details about this Baltimore screening!

Otherwise the past several days/weeks have included continued work on the featured extras, DVD packaging/ authoring prep, crew/supporters holiday cards, contracts, licensing agreements, fiscal sponsorship reports, updates to John Bintz for the website, follow ups for future screenings all over the place, and continued prep for festivals and distributors.

Continued development on my Civil War romance for NVCC in Northern Virginia (development for story and logistics). Much to do, but I now have Prince William County’s Historic Preservation department on the team in a BIG way. The county has offered a great deal of support. More details later. :0)



Montage to file a story on Freedom Dance

Posted on Sunday December 10, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Received email today from the producer of an ipod show called Montage (based in the UK). I had contacted them months ago about doing a promotion piece about Freedom Dance. Looks like they’re interested. More details about it later.

Yesterday picked up publicity photos from my most recent shoot with the very gifted photographer, Stuart Dahne. Our meeting was held at Mari Luna, a great Mexican restaurant in Baltimore, with Freedom Dance webmaster John Bintz joining the fun.



Documentary Magazine News

Posted on Thursday December 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Pearl Harbor Day …. please let’s all remember.

On a happier note, the January 2007 issue of the national magazine, Documentary, arrived today and features this blurb about Freedom Dance.


Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay recently recorded the narration for Freedom Dance, an animated documentary by Emmy-nominated producer Steven Fischer and Telly Award-winning animator Craig Herron, retelling the story of artist Edward Hilbert who, during his four months on the road to freedom with his newly wedded wife, kept a journal of cartoons detailing an adventurous escape from communist Hungary to the US during Hungary’s bloody 1956 revolution against Soviet occupation.

“What impressed me most about Mariska was how seriously she took the role,” notes Fischer about the September 22nd recording session at Gramercy Post in New York City. “She prepared extensively and performed with energetic enthusiasm. For someone in her position to invest all of that into a low-budget movie says a lot for her personal character.”


Miami Screening at Kimbara Cumbara

Posted on Tuesday December 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Screening tonight in Miami! Many thanks to Paula Diaz for coordinating the preview screening of Freedom Dance to a small but enthusiastic audience at Kimbara Cumbara cafe in Little Havana (down the street from Globo Theater where we screened Houdini last year).

Kimbara Cumbara could very well be the Cavern Club of South Florida, intimate and with a lot of character. The Q&A afterwards and the meet and greet following that was beneficial because it gave me the chance to talk with a non-Hungarian audience … something Freedom Dance has rarely had in its preview stage. Receiving the alternative, mostly Latin, perspective was of great interest to me, and it’s not surprising that the unviersal theme of a guy searching for his freedom is the theme most identified with no matter a person’s nationality or ethnicity.

Some TV coverage by a crew from a Latino entertainment magazine show which airs in Miami and New York, I’m told.

Such a fun and joyful evening—seeing my friends Pipo and Consuelo (and their new baby girl); Jim and Deen and friends Marlen, Paula, and Jodi really made it an extra special night (especially the after screening, late night supper at Versailles … Cuban, not French as one would suspect).

One of the highlights of the night for me was the performance by my buddy Jim Camacho who had agreed weeks ago to play at the screening. And even though he was hurting from the onset of a cold, he went on and played his heart out on each song! One one song he even invited his friend (and now mine!) Latin Grammy-winner Jodi Marr to share the stage. The concert helped turn the screening into an all-out party!

Following up with folks met in Naples who are interested in hosting screenings next year in Miami and Naples. We’l lsee … keepign on the ball on all these and hope to make the screenings a reality for early 2007 when the movie is completely finished.



Looking for Los Angeles Screening Venue! More in Miami

Posted on Monday December 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Email from Los Angeles from a person interested in knowing of an LA screening. I’ve gotten a few such emails from folks in the Los Angeles area …. am still working to secure something. It’s good to receive these inquiries, though … tells me Freedom Dance is working its magic on its own. (Though that doesn’t mean I can slack on duty.)

Tomorrow is the screening here in Miami at Kimbara cumbara cafe … today Jim Camacho and I met with the folks at the cafe so I could see the space and Jim could check out the sound system for his needs performing at the screening. We both also spent some time with rock beauty Jodi Marr at the very impressive studio of George Noriega

A good day in sunny Florida.



Naples, Florida

Posted on Sunday December 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Left Miami and crossed the state via Alligator Alley to attend an American-Hungarian banquet in Naples. Passed out a bunch of Freedom Dance postcards, spreading the word about the screenings in Miami and New Brunswick. Good connection made with organizations catering to the American Hungarian youth. Met lots of great people who seem interested in learning more about the movie and some at organizations who may be interested in hosting another Florida screening.

Specail thanks must go to Jodi Marr for her help in talking up the movie to the crowd and for adding an ultr-positive energy to the vibe, which helped secure at least 4 more ticket sales to Tuesday’s screening.

Back in Miami later in the night.



CineMaryland Airs Story on Freedom Dance

Posted on Thursday November 30, 2006 by Steven Fischer

The long-running cable TV magazine show, CineMaryland, is to air a story on Freedom Dance in January! Click on the link above for times and channels!



Miami Screening! Tuesday, December 5

Posted on Monday November 27, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Here are the details for those of you in South Florida! Hope to see you there at the Freedom Dance preview screening! Q&A to follow plus a musical performance by South Florida favorite, Jim Camacho

KIMBARACUMBARA (cafe/art house)
1644 S.W. 8th Street
Pequeña Habana
Miami, Florida

8:30 pm
$5 at the door

email Paula Diaz at ALL ACCESS Productions with event questions:

Hope to see you in Miami!


South by Southwest Film Festival!

Posted on Saturday November 25, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Brunch this morning with American Hungarian Federation Executive Committee Chairman Bryan Dawson and his family in Chrystal City. Later today submitted Freedom Dance to its first festival, South by Southwest (on-line … will mail the DVD screener next week).

Also submitted the Freedom Dance website into the Website competition on behalf of our incredible webmaster,
John Bintz.

So the launch on film festivals begins!


56 Stories Coming Soon

Posted on Wednesday November 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Word today from Andrea Lauer at Lauer Learning that 56 Stories the book collecting sotries from 1956 Hungarian Revolution survivors (including that of Edward and Judy Hilbert) will be sent out soon! Click here to check it out!

Following up with some folks Dr. Paul Szilagyi in Miami as introduced me to … for a possible second screening in Miami and one in Naples.

Trying to finish the Mariska conversation for the DVD extras. Some work done on my Civil War romance for Northern Virginia television.

Getting tired. Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s all get stuffed! (And show some thanks for it!)



Poss. Naples Screening; and Welbourne Manor in Middleburg, VA.

Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Miami screening coming together. Sent still from movie and two sentence write up for the program/flyers the theater will publish. Also, Bryan Dawson—good friend he is, and Executive Committee Chairman for the American Hungarian Federation, put me in touch with Dr. Paul Szilagyi in Miami. Dr. Szilagyi is connected to the AHF in Florida and mayb be able to help get Freedom Dance invited to a December 3 event in Naples (Florida’s west coast)!

Also, today visited with the owners of Welbourne, a gorgeous 18th Century manor house on 500 undeveloped acres in Middleburg, Virginia. It is everything everyone’s ever told me it would be … authentic inside and out (very Victorian, but wonderful remains from the Georgian period.) Everything: the carpets, furniture, wallpaper, decorations, woodwork, clocks, cushions, pillows, beds … the preservation of the land and the buildings make the soul feel so free in a sense.

The town of Middleburg is equally refreshing—the old stone buildings, narrow streets, and charming citizens (while at a little cafe getting my afternoon espresso fix, the woman in line behind me noticed my dilemma in deciding between ginger bread cake and a chocolate cookie. She told me the iced ginger bread was particularly good. I ended up choosing the version more like pound cake. The conversation made her hungry for the iced version, which she bought, offering me a taste of it as she headed out the door). A total stranger, yet so friendly and open. An uplifiting experience.

Anyway, back at Welbourne, the owner and I got on very well together and discussed the business end of our deal in very friendly tones … If all continues going well it may prove the finding of interiors for Antonia’s home.



New Jersey confirmed!

Posted on Monday November 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Confirmed New Brunswick screening to be hosted by the American Hungarian Foundation sometime in mid-December it looks like … keep checking back for specific date and time!

Scheduled mix session with sound designer Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown ... getting the cut ready for South by Southwest! (Deadline coming up!)

Many odds and ends to wrap up on the DVD cover, DVD label, crew contracts, holiday cards for crew and sponsors, continued edits on the movie and the Mariska conversation, follow ups on potential screenings in NYC, Miami, Budapest and beyond, collecting all the necessitites for film festivals, preparing for distributors, etc. etc. on and on it goes … (he writes, happily).

Good day at the Library of Congress … continued research for my Civil War romance. Tomorrow scheduled to meet owner of Welbourne Manor in Middleburg, Virignia … a gorgeous Southern estate, authentic Victorian inside and out I’m told … I have high hopes in using the manor house for interiors.

Wednesday back to work on Freedom Dance.



Freedom Dance

Posted on Saturday November 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finished more thank you letters to recent Freedom Dance fiscal donors. (And updated the credit list to include their names.)

Mailed the screener DVD to New Jersey … hopefully the folks at the American Hungarian Foundation will want to host a screening.

Started work on holiday cards for Freedom Dance crew and supporters. Always a cartoon card, the value of working with and for cartoonists. (If getting a homemade cartoon card has a value.)



New Jersey and Florida Screenings; Colors; The American Hungarian Foundation

Posted on Thursday November 16, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Thanks to Judy Hilbert and Edward’s cousins in New Jersey, I was led to the American Hungarian Foundation in New Brunswick, New Jersey and its president, Professor August Molnar.

While walking past the Capitol Building in DC en route to the Library of Congress to continue research for my Civil War romance (the new project which kindly sustains my existence thanks to the belief and gracious blessings of the movie’s chief financier, Northern Virginia Community College), I spoke on the phone with Pofessor Molnar about a New Jersey screening. Turns out he knew Edward’s uncle George Lang (who is featured in Freedom Dance as a very important figure, the fellow who helps Edward and Judy obtain permissin to enter the US). Exciting discovery! I will send a screener and hope they will agree host a screening soon! (Insert big smile.)

Also still in the works are negotiations with Paula Diaz in Miami for a screening possibly at the Globo Theater (same place we premiered Jim Camacho’s Houdini music video!) She is interested in hosting a Freedom Dance preview screening and Q&A … possibly December 5 … working out the details now … keep checking back for details!

Continued work on Colors (my second music video for Jim) and receiving for it some incredible animation from the video’s brilliant animator Miguel de Angel. (check out his work. It’s astonishing!)

Long phone meeting scheduled with Jim for tomorrow … he will watch an uploaded rough cut on his computer in Miami as I watch in Baltimore, going through it shot by shot.



Avalon Virtual World Film Festival, UK

Posted on Wednesday November 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Word in today from Charlie Phillips, editorial assistant for FourDocs/Channel 4 in London, England that several FourDocs movies are being considered for the on-line festival, Avalon Virtual World Film Fest 2006, hosted by Second Life. The folks at Channel 4 would like to recommend Freedom Dance for the festival! Whoo-hoo!

More details to come …



New York Screening

Posted on Saturday November 11, 2006 by Steven Fischer

NYC, Nov 10-11

Unfortuneately, the meeting at the Tolerance Center was postponed. Fortuneately, was able to meet with my buddy Jim Camacho and work a bit more on the Colors music video. He’s introduced me to the very talented (and beautiful) Jodi Marr a Grammy-winning songwriter/producer formerly with Warner Bros. and now with Sony. The three of us clicked very well. Jodi seemed very interested in learning more about my work.

Happy B-day to my big sis, actress/producer Michele Fischer.



American Embassy in Budapest; New York City

Posted on Thursday November 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Mailed today DVD screener of Freedom Dance to my contact at the American Embassy in Budapest (thanks to Jake Boritt for the introduction!).

Had been talking with the Embassy for a while and they are really interested in the movie, but need to see a screener before making a decision to host an event for us. I HOPE! I HOPE!! HOPE!!! Would be awesome to have a screening in Hungary!

In New York tomorrow for the weekend to meet with the Tolerance Center about a NYC screening!!

More work on the Antonia Ford Civil War romance story … fascinating story of a sessesh spy falling in love with her Union captor.



Rose Crowley Speech

Posted on Thursday November 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Here is the heartfelt speech Edward and Judy’s daughter Rose wrote for the November 8, 2006 preview screening of Freedom Dance at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore. She and her sister Michelle Batt both spoke last night. The entire evening was, as Rose said, glorious!


I’d like to take a few moments to tell you about how much our parents’ life struggles and triumphs have influenced my sister and I in our lives. Their example taught Michelle and I to overcome any obstacle with determination and resolve.

Our parent’s arrival in America was only the very beginning of their quest for the American Dream. Once here, they had to figure out a way to survive! Watching them taught us tenacity. Through their example of hard work and dedication, we learned that we could accomplish anything we dreamed of in this country, if we work hard and put our heads to it. In fact, those exact words were the basis of our daily conditioning as children.

Life in American was not easy for our parents; they had to work long and hard to make their dream come true. When Michelle and I began to think that they were finally enjoying a few relatively carefree years, our little family was again facing insurmountable challenges. Within a week of my father, being diagnosed with Lung Cancer- his second cancer in his lifetime- I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer that had moved into my lungs. When faced with all of this terrible news, Judy and Edward were understandably distraught for a few days. Then, the very wonder and determination you saw in my father in the movie came back, along with the twinkle in his eyes.

He said that we would fight this “rohat cancer” together and we would VIN. Neither of us took on the “cancer victim” persona. Fortunately for my family, Dad’s strong character and his wicked humor runs in my veins, as well . This sense of humor that he passed along to my Michelle and I, has saved us many times. And I am sure it will continue to help us work through my father’s death, and the challenges yet to come for our little family.

As important as our father’s humor and optimism have been, our mother’s intelligence, determination, and “family-comes-first” attitude, has also been a big part of our lives. Her constant support of our father and her commitment to carry on his legacy, made her our father’s hero and the proud matriarch of the American Hilbert family.

They never thought of themselves as “victims”, they are “survivors”. Because of them, my sister and I are “survivors” too. The movie Freedom Dance is one example of something wonderful that can come out of such struggle. My sister and I are very proud to be part of their legacy. We know that my little niece, Emmy P, and her children and her children’s children will forever be the beneficiaries of Edward and Judy’s incredible legacy. Life goes on. What an incredible legacy!! What an incredible lesson. What incredible parents!

Thank you all for sharing this very special moment with our family. You can bet that Edward is with us tonight.


Preview Screening at Jewish Community Center

Posted on Wednesday November 8, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Screening tonight at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore. Successful night. Close to 100 in attendance. Judy and family guest of honor … reps from Mayor’s Office, Embassy of Hungary, and Advocates for Survivors of Torture & Trauma each spoke and presented Judy with proclamations. Mayor Martin O’Malley declared in his proclamation that November 8 will forever be Edward & Judy Hilbert Day! Very exciting! (I wonder if this means we get the day off?)

A camera crew from CineMaryland was there with host (and good friend) Rebecca Jessop. Rebecca interviewed Craig, me and Judy individually for a story that will air next month. Good press also from The Jewish Times and The Baltimore Sun .. thanks to JCC marketing department and Robin Rose Samuels.

Craig had the idea to sell some of the artwork we have from the movie along with cards and bookmarkers he make featuring images from Edward’s journal … as well as special addition DVDs of theh rough cut (whihc we promoted as a rare collectors item). It worked we pulled in a bunch of cash.

One big, happy surprise was that Judy paid for the evening to be catered. Such a treat!

Many thanks to the JCC and Claudine Davison for making the night possible!

I had good vantage seating off to the side during the screening. Could see the screen and the audience. When Edward & Judy reached New York Harbor I could see more than one audience member wiping a tear from their eyes. Great! The inteneded reaction. Tears of joy.

A good night and party all around.



Kevin Hill and Studio Unknown Rock!

Posted on Tuesday November 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Late nights yesterday and today preparing for tomorrow’s screening at the Jewish Community Center!

Lots to do to get the three dvds (the movie, the making of, and mariska’s conversation) ready. Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown has now completed a very rough mix of the sound track which I was able to cut into the rough cut for this screening. Thanks Kevin for going the distance (he’s so busy on projects … good that he’s in such demand … rightly so, he offers a great service for post production sound).



Budapest Screening! Miami Screening!

Posted on Monday November 6, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Made contact with a representative from the American Embassy in Hungary (thanks to Budapest to Gettysburg producer Jake Boritt)

Right from the start, the Embassy is intrigued about Freedom Dance and would like to consider hosting a screening. Wil lsend a screener to them soon!

Also, Paula Diaz, coordinator for the Globo Theater in Miami, Florida has kept a long-time offer to host a Freedom Dance screening in the Sunshine State … we’re looking at the end of November for a possible date.



FourDocs Reviews, Channel 4 UK

Posted on Sunday November 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Here’s a quick reference to some early reviews of Freedom Dance.

Click here to read The FourDocs Reviews from Channel 4 in the UK!



Freedom Dance

Posted on Saturday November 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

A busy day … wrote and sent off October newsletter, getting Houdini off to Worldfest in Houston, edit session in a bit on Colors, meeting with attorney about Freedom Dance to deliver copies of crew contracts, meeting with Paul Sulsky about the end credit roll, continue edit on Freedom Dance DVD extras, continued prep for Nov 8 screening … on and on it goes. But isn’t that true for all of us?



Phil Rosensteel Rocks!

Posted on Friday November 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

With Phil Rosensteel updating the Freedom Dance DVD menu for the “collector’s item” DVD that will be sold at the Nov 8 JCC preview screening. Thanks, Phil, for al lthe extra efforts and time. Good idea from Craig to sell the rough cut as a collectors item … good way to raise money.

Lots of work getting done on my Civil War romance which I’ve now titled Antonia & The Major.



Jewish Times Releases Freedom Dance News

Posted on Friday November 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Jewish Times today published news about the Nov 8 screening in Baltimore (at the JCC). Check it out:

From Hungary to Baltimore.



Civil War, and Mariska Hargitay

Posted on Tuesday October 31, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Serious advancements on my Civil War romance (my new project funded by Northern Virginia Community College). Still reasearching and developing the adaptation of a real life story … much reading to do, but the arrangement of events and personalities of the main characters is starting to make sense.

Continued editing the Mariska conversation, an excerpt of which will be played at the Nov 8 JCC screening.

Making sure our guest speakers for that night—from the Mayor’s Office, Embassy of Hungary, and Advocates for Survivors of Torture & Trauma are all set and have all they need to be preapred for the screening. (Judy is to receive proclamations from each organization.)

Many follow ups and thank yous to Houston … and to recent financial donors.



Houston Luncheon, AHF, HACA

Posted on Sunday October 29, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Luncheon today was really nice! About 130 people attended. Hosted by the American Hungarian Federation and the Hungarian American Cultural Association and held in a ballroom at a big hotel.

I was seated at a table with the President of the University of St. Thomas and his wife, the Council General to the Republic of Hugnary and his wife, Bryan Dawson, and the AHF President and friend Istvan Fedor. The most distinguished at our table, I thought, was a woman named Lilly de Schrenik SILL and her husband Gerald. I’m told that Mrs. de Schrenik is the daughter of Count Drascovich. (She told me about the castle inwhich she grew up, and which was destroyed in World War Two.)

Similar reaction from crowd as from the St. Thomas screening. The best part is that there’s a new audience … more people to spread the word about the movie.

Long travel home … home 1am

Exhasuted .. can’t go on tonight,



Houston, American Hungarian Federation Symposium

Posted on Friday October 27, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Arrived here in Houston yesterday to a Texas-sized rain storm—found with relative ease the bed & breakfast, a gorgeous antique-furnished Victorian in Houston Heights. (Even more quickly founda great cafe where I chatted with the friendly barista girl for over an hour (on these promotion trips I talk to EVERYBODY about the movie and the ucoming screenings. You never know, you may fill one more seat in the theater.)

Today screened at University of St. Thomas during the American Hungarian Federation 1956 Symposium (Freedom Dance haveing been invited by the Texas Chapter preisdent, Chris Cutrone.)

In addition to authors and professors and dignitaries, AHF Executive Committee Chairman Bryan Dawson was a guest speaker, and spoke—as always—so enjoyablly.

“This is great,” I commented as we walked together to the Blck Labrador pub (surprisingly authentic). “We’ve partied together in DC, Baltimore, Virignia, and Houston!”

“I know. Isn’t it great!” Bryan (who’s not that much my senior) and I quickly found a brotherly companionship when we first met a year ago or so. It’s a friendship and professional relationship I value very much. He’s been such a tremendous support of the movie and continues to offer his help.

Lunch at the pub included author Arpad Gergely withhis wife and Chris Cutrone with his distinguished father. Bryan and I, both craving the same two menu items, switched plates mid-way.

The symposium went well, I thought. I met many distinguished people who seemed very intrigued by the Hilbert’s story. Chief among them was Phillip Aronoff, Council General to the Republic of Hungary, a man my buddy Zoltan Feher at the Embassy of Hungary strongly suggested I meet. (As it turned out, we sat next to one another in the theater.)

The audience was quite active in the Q&A that proceeded the screening. (Everyone wants to know why we never see Judy on video, and many Hungarians express an appreication for telling their own story through that of the Hilberts’.

Next screening is Sunday at a luncheon also hosted by the AHF in another part of Houston. Tonight, Bryan, Chris and friends are to hit the town and have invited me to join them. Tomorrow, Bryan and his family have invited me to join them on the Gulf at a boardwalk/carnival called Kameh. Fun, fun, fun.



Home News Tribune, New Jersey

Posted on Sunday October 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today the Home News Tribune in New Jersey published Remembering the Revolution which includes mention of the Hilbert’s story and Freedom Dance! Click on the link to check it out! (Tomorrow’s the official 50th Annversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.)

Finished tweaking the final cut for tomorrow’s Goethe screening in DC. Was with John Bintz yesterday working a bit on the movie. Getting my speech ready for tomorrow. Copied crew contracts for law gal Diane Davison ... many such details to keep straight! So much to do!!!!



American Hungarian Federation Gala at the Cosmos Club

Posted on Friday October 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

The gala was great! Sat next to Senator Tydings to my left (at the next table) and the Political Secretary from the Austrian Embassy to my right who was originally from Frankfurt … we had some nice chats about German cinema. Black tie event; filet mignon for dinner. The elegance, the notables, the French Renaissance decor, and the sounds of Hungary gave it a European feel all its own. Speeches by the Senator and Ambassador Andras Simonyi from the Embassy of Hungary.

Many congratulations to Bryan Dawson and all at the American Hungarian Federation for their many, many months of tireless work making tonight a reality! The evening was really spectacular … and the Cosmos Club is REALLY classy!



Washington City Paper

Posted on Wednesday October 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Washington’s City Paper today published news of Freedom Dance, Torn From the Flag, Gettysburg to Budapest, and No Greater Love screening at Goethe Institut

Many thanks to Norma Broadwater, Sylvia Blume at Goethe Institut; and Mark Jenkins at City Paper!



Goethe Institut

Posted on Tuesday October 17, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Meeting at Goethe Institut today to see the theater (which holds an audience of 92) and test all the DVDs … make sure everything’s working for our preview screening Monday ,Oct. 23!

Have officially begun work on a Civil War story to air regionally through Comcast, Cox, and Adelphia cable. Civil War Untold will recreate lesser known American Civil War stories from Northern Virignia. Still developing the idea, but the light is green and receiving a lot of cooperation for area museums and reenactment groups.



Home News Tribune Publishes News about Freedom Dance!

Posted on Monday October 16, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Coordinating the acquisition of printable logos from our sponsor and endorsers for the DVD back cover. Have the ever capable John (AKA Josh) Bintz working on the details.

A journalist from The Home News Tribune in New Jersey wrote today stating that he’s writing an article about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution anniversary and came across the Hilbert’s story and Freedom Dance and wants to include a bit about it in his article. The article will be published this Sunday.

Many thanks to Rick Malwitz and The Home News Tribune for your interest in the Hilberts and Freedom Dance!



Cold War Conference Screening; Goethe meeting!

Posted on Saturday October 14, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today Freedom Dance screened at the Cold War Conference! I haven’t heard any news yet about how the event went. (That rhymes!) Hopefully will hear some news soon … be curious as to audience reaction (though it wasn’t a proper screening—the movie was playing during opening registration and lunch, I think).

Many thanks to Patti Winch and Gary Powers for their support of the movie!

I was sad to miss the event, but glad that the reason I had to miss was Jim Camacho! ... he was in Washington, DC performing at a ritzy benefit gala at the Ritz-Carlton. In attendance: Ashley and Wynonna Judd, Richard Branson, Miss Universe, Michael McDonald (who performed the set before Jim), amongst other notables. Met Jim in his room the morning after … such wealth and glamour … (Ah! The life of a rock star.) We spent the day working on his Colors music video … did get some chance to see the sights. (Took him to a late breakfast at Old Ebbitts Grill near the White House …. it’s a neat palce. Historic.) :0)

Have set up meeting for next week at the Goethe Instut to see the space and make sure all the movies play on their AV system. Much to do befor the Oct 23 screening (least to say before the Oct. 27, 29, Nov 8 and 9 screenings too! But so glad for it. What’s the alternative? Wonder why no one wants to support the movie?).



Screenings: Tolerance Center, Goethe Institut, JCC, Blue Rock!

Posted on Friday October 13, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finally able to mail a screener to the Tolerance Center in New York City. They may want to host a screening. Time will tell!

Also, rushed a copy off to Goethe Institut in Washington, DC who will pass it on to Washington’s City Paper for a review before our October 23 screening at the Institut (Hosted by the Embassy of Hungary).

Today Gregg Landry offered a November 9 screening at his marvelous studio, BlueRock Productions LLC. The timing is perfect. The November 8 screening at the Jewish Community Center in Pikesville only seats 100 … I am hearing of dozens of people who will be attending and fear that we will have to turn away at the door those who did not buy tickets in advance. Being able to tell them that they could see the movie the following night around the corner is a comfort. (I’d hate for anyone to miss out.)

Thanks, Gregg! Your timing, as always, is priceless.



NVCC commercial finished and uploaded!

Posted on Thursday October 12, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finished commerical for Northern Virginia Community College (specifically promoting a creative writing course they offer) ... check it out on YouTube.

Looking for the next paying project. :0)



Houston Screening; AHF Gala; My Tux Fits!

Posted on Wednesday October 11, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finally able to get a room in Houston for the Oct 27 and 29 screenings … Finally got a tux for the Oct 20 American Hungarian Federation Gala. (This is going to be a huge party!)

The committee putting the event together is incredible! I don’t know when any of them sleep. They’ve so much to organize … I’ve been privy to the process for many months now … God Bless Bryan Dawson and all the committee for their tireless efforts … their tenacity and ambitious drive is inspiring!



JCC, NVCC, other stuff

Posted on Monday October 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Continued work with Claudine Davison at the JCC—getting organized and ready for the Nov. 8 screening. Quite a b it to do, actually, to organize the event.

Continued work with music—Phil Rosensteel and Kevin Hill are advancing the music score. Kevin promises a cleaned up sound track (music, effects, narration, interviews, etc.) buy Nov. 6.

Continued edit on my own clean up for the October screnings. Burned and mailed to Cold War Museum DVD today for the Oct 14 screening in Virginia.

Was with Paul Sulsky today working on the end credit roll, establishing style, font, format, etc.

Over weekend did some very minor animation (of text) for the NVCC commercial which I can wrap this week if I push. This production … from concept to final cut—was REALLY quick. (Especially after spending 2-and-a-half years on Freedom Dance and 5 months on Draw the Line.)

Stopped by Judy Hilbert’s on official Freedom Dance business (donor and publicity updates). It’s still hard to imagine that house without Edward in it … though I know it’s even harder for Judy.

Long day. Tired.


Freedom Dance

Posted on Sunday October 8, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Long day preparing the Freedom Dance rough cut for Craig whwo will be cutting and animating the historic photos as well as cutting Edward out of his video taped interviews and replacing the background with some of Edward’s black and white cartoons … you need to see it to get the full impact. But it’ll look great. Very creative.

Also getting the mix and cut ready for the October 14 preview screening in Lorton, Virginia!



Colors, Blue Rock, Party

Posted on Saturday October 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Continued cutting Colors music video at BlueRock. It’s really coming along … Jim Camacho will be in town this time next week for a concert in DC … will show him the rough cut then.

Party later in the day at the home of BlueRock proprietor Gregg Landry in celebration of his wife’s b-day! Yay! A break! :0)



Screening at Goethe Institut, Washington, DC; The Webby Awards; Nashville; Los Angeles; Scotland!

Posted on Friday October 6, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Okay! So much to share—

The Goethe Institut has posted news about the October 23 screening of Freedom Dance, No Greater Love, Torn From the Flag, and Budapest to Gettysburg. (Click Here for details)

The event is free … FREEEEEE …. and starts at 6:30 pm, Monday, October 23.

Many thanks to Dr. Zoltan Feher and Mr. Sándor Bognár at the Embassy of Hungary and Ms. Sylvia Blume and Ms. Norma Broadwater at the Goethe Institut for putting the screening together and for their generosity in including Freedom Dance!

I’ve entered the Freedom Dance web site into The Webby Awards on behalf of webmaster John Bintz ... he’s done so very much for Freedom Dance since the very begining in mid-2004. I am hoping that some recognition in a major competition can be a way of giving back. If you ever need a good webmaster … get in touch with John Bintz!

Sent the Houdini music video off to the Nashville Film Festival. Finally able to get Freedom Dance postcards off to Annette Mann in Los Angeles and Angie Cowan in Scotland … they’ve both generously offered to help spread the word in their respective cities! Thanks, ladies!!

Met with Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown today. Also burned DVDs for the Jewish Community Center ... the marketing department is sending a screener over to The Jewish Times for a review before the Nov. 8 screening!

So much activity! It’s good for the nerves. ;0)



Embassy of Hungary Concert

Posted on Thursday October 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Tonight was invited by Dr. Zoltán Fehér, Third Secretary, Political, Press and Communications Officer at the Embasys of Hungary to a concert at the Embassy. Edit Klukon and Dezso Ranki were performing piano duets from Satie and Liszt. Great music that really told vivid stories of Socrates and Jesus.

At Zoltan’s and the Cultural Attache’s request, I’d arrange for Klaudia Kovacs, Jake Boritt and Arthur Rasco to screen their movies along with Freedom Dance. (Klaudia and Jake will be sending trailers and excerpts as their movies are both feature length.) Unfortuntealy, only Arthur will be flying in to join Craig and me at the after screening discussion / Q&A.

Too exhuasted to go on! Until next time

Oh—the screnning mentioned above is for OCt. 23 at Goethe Institute in WEashington DC!! It’s free FREEEEE … so if anyone reading this can get to DC by 6:30pm on OCtober 23rd … stopn on by!


Jewish Community Center

Posted on Wednesday October 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

In touch frequently with Claudine Davison at the JCC, Greater Baltimore, as we get closer to the November 8 screening. Lots to do … organizing and planning a smal lexhibit of artwork outside the screening room, passes for crew, tickets for friends of the Hilberts (VERY important), making sure our guest speakers are kept informed of details they need for speeches and presentations of citations, proclamations, etc (Judy will be honored by the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore, the Embassy of Hungary, and Advocates for Survivors of Torture & Trauma). In addition, of course, to keeping up with Kevin Hill to make sure the sound track is as presentable as possible for ALL the upcoming preview screenings … which begin October 14 in Lorton, Virginia!

Claudine and her marketing department have arranged for some press. Need to get screener to them to pass on to the Jewish Times.



Scotland and California Freedom Dance Street Team! And Diane's on HGTV!

Posted on Tuesday October 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

A very BIG thank you to Annette Mann in Los Angeles and Angie Cowan in Ayrshire who’ve agreed to distribute Freedom Dance postcards in their respective hometowns. I am hoping one of the venues they approach will lead to a screening.

Meeting tomorrow with animator Miguel de Angel to continue work on Jim Camacho’s Colors music video.

New assignment: commercial for a college in Virginia. My concept for something dramatic and theatrical approved. Off we go! :0)

Law Gal Diane Leigh Davison is on HGTV tonight!!! She and her lovely home are featured on National Open House! Check it out if you’re reading this in time. 10:30pm EST.



iCOM Magazine publishes News about Mariska Hargitay & Freedom Dance

Posted on Monday October 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

iCOM Magazine published an article about Mariska narrating Freedom Dance!

Check it out by clicking HERE and SCROLLING down.



Freedom Dance, Colors News

Posted on Sunday October 1, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finished up (over the course of Friday and Saturday) the September email newsletter. Happy to note there was much to report! :0)

Newsletter work always includes the news highlights for the webpage,. which is just a matter of entering into nuv and emailing to John Bintz. (It’s that kind of administrative work that gets me. Boring, but necessary!)

John’s done great work on his poster design for Freedom Dance. Been emailing me today with updates to the design. I think we’ve now got a winner.

PS: John Bintz will be at Small Press Expo October 13 and 14 in Bethesda promoting his new Moment of Clarity book! Check it out.

Continued work cleaning up the final cut so Craig can start animating the photos and Kevin can finish tweaking the sounds tracks.

Still need to get my flight, hotel, car for Houston’s screening next month. Also, helping to coordinate the DC screening … nothing much, really, just making contact with the other producers and getting their reels for the screening. Lots of fun!

Edited the Colors music video (Jim Camacho project I shot in NYC over the Spring) at BlueRock on Saturday … much done. With Miguel de Angel this week to continue work on the video’s animation.

Judy’s generously offered for Edward’s paintings to be auctioned for the benefit of Freedom Dance. Was over the house Friday going through the paintings again. Trying to arrange autions with the American Hungarian Federation or The Embassy of Hungary.



CineMaryland to Cover JCC Screening

Posted on Thursday September 28, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Word today from long-time colleague and TV Magazine hostess, Rebecca Jessop, that
CineMaryland, the long running, award-winning cable magazine program spotlighting Maryland’s film industry, will be covering the November 8 screening at the Baltimore JCC!

Many thanks to Rebecca, and Karen Hinds Vadnais, for their interst in Freedom Dance!



Embassy of Hungary Screening

Posted on Wednesday September 27, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Getting closer to finalizing a DC screening for Freedom Dance. Zoltan Feher, the new Cultural Attache, asked if I could help in contacting some of the others around the country making 1956-related movies (we’ve all been in contact with one another these past two years).

So, I have now Arthur Rasco’s No Greater Love, a portion of Jake Boritt and his Budapest to Gettysburg, and a trailer for Klaudia Kovacs’ Torn From the Flag. Hopefully all the filmmakers will be present for a Q&A I am planning after the screenings …. (which will be at the Goethe Institute).

Keep checking back for more screening details!



Mariska Hargitay Reads

Posted on Friday September 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today in NYC recording Mariska Hargitay. She’s a very gracious soul and generous with her talents.

I appreciated that she took time to prepare for the role as narrator, took the job seriously, and truely worked hard to give the movie what it needed.

She had also agreed to a recorded conversation between the two of us, talking about the 4 central themes of the movie. It runs 37 minutes. I will cut it down probably to a half hour. Will make a nice extra on the DVD.

Many thanks to Joe Mendelson and his crew at Gramercy Post. They were great to work with and delivered a good end product. Joe especially was very accommodating and hospitable. Gramercy Post is a great place to record.

Evening attended Burial at Thebes in which my good buddy Ron Bopst had a stand-out performance!



Houston, We Have a Screening; PressBox UK Releases Mariska News; Party at the Embassy of Hungary

Posted on Wednesday September 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Received call today from Houston … Freedom Dance has been invited to screen at a commemorative 1956 Hungarian Revolution Anniversary symposium at University of St. Thomas on October 27 and again at a related luncheon Oct 29th! Very exciting!! A Q&A will follow the Oct. 27 screening. If you’re in or around Houston … I hope to see you there! (Watch this weblog for details!)

Received final confirmation for Friday’s session in NY! Whoo hoo!

Pressbox today published news about Mariska’s up-coming work on Freedom Dance Click here to Read.


Also, The Cold War Conference in Lorton, Virginia, October 14, annoucned Freedom Dance will be screened at the event! It’s been a long time in discussion with the Conference organizers … at least a year … unfortuneately, I will not be able to attend the event … I’ll be directing This Guy in his new music video! ;0)

The reception at the Embassy of Hungary was wonderful! Always an enchanted evening at the Embassy. Thanks again to Ambassador Simonyi and Cultural Attache Zoltan Feher for their generosity and friendship to Freedom Dance.

An interesting note from the Ambassador’s speech was his delivery of news that Gati’s book, Failed Illusions had sold out it’s first 3,000 copies in Budapest in something like 36 hours …. 5,000 more were quickly release and sold out … prompting the Ambassador to comment on how interested modern Hungarian audiences are in the 1956 Revolution. Good news for Freedom Dance, I suppose. Encouraging anyway.

Sat with Imre Toth, last surviving Secretary of the Revolution Committee for the Minstry of Forgein Affairs for the Imry Nagy government, his beaufitul wife Zsuzsa, and Zsuzsa’s mother who is visiting. (Many thanks to Zsuzsa for her her help translating the narration into Hungarian!!) I’m only just starting to get to know Imre on a personal level, and enjoy hearing his accounts from the Revolution … his personal story is remarkable!

Bryan Dawson was there, ALWAYS a good sight to see. He’s been such a good friend to Freedom Dance, and to me personally. His generosity in opening the doors and the hearts of the American Hungarian Federation for our movie is a blessing I will never be able to fully express. But know, Bryan, that your sincere interest in helping make Freedom Dance a reality is a gift I will never forget.

I’m sure there’s so much more to write about ,but I’ll sign off for now and pick up agai nlater.



Good Response to Mariska Hargitay

Posted on Tuesday September 19, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Getting first repsonsed to my press release about Mariska. Encouraging responses from Hungary, Austria, and the UK. The Budapest Sun editor tells me he will run a story next week and asked me for a quote. A contact at TV2 (also Hungary) said a colleague of hers who produces a “20/20-style program” produced a story on Mariska last year, and suggested this might make a good follow up. We’ll see. :0)

Channel 4/FourDocs received the news energetically and I have high hopes they’ll make mention of it on-line. No word yet from US contacts, though now that the news of Mickey Hargitay’s passing has gone public (I’d been instructed to keep my mouth shut about it until such time), I’ve made contact with some of the journalists who’ve been covering the news, sending them the press release about Mariska. (That’s not too despicable, is it? I avoided the tabloid writers.) I figured if they’re writing about one Hargitay they’d be interested in another. All right, all right! It’s a cheap shot to play up on the sad news.

Packaged Draw the Line and Camp Med to the New York Festivals. (I’ve found any win or nomination or acceptance into such prestigious festivals helpful when promoting something like Freedom Dance.) In the evening on the phone with John Bintz. Once again connected by phone and ocmputer … this time reviewing proofs of a promotional poster I’d asked him to design. (I’m familiar with his other print work, and it is really good.) He did a good job updating the homepage to reflect Mariska’s involvement. I’d ask for something that stood out but didn’t distract from the rest of the page … we finallysettled on a “Narrated by” line that is darker in color and surrounded by enough negative space to fulfill the goal. (That doesn’t sound right. Bad wording, but you get the idea. Sorry too tired to go back and fix.)

Moving on… tomorrow have been invited by Cultural Attache Zoltan Feher to a recpetion at the Embassy of Hungary in DC where Charles Gati will be speaking about his new book, Failed Illusions.



Global Press Release Distribution Publishes Mariska Hargitay / Freedom Dance News

Posted on Monday September 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Global Press Release Distribution published Law & Order Star Mariska Hargitay to Narrate Animated Documentary!

Click Here to check it out!



More Mariska Hargitay, BlueRock, Freedom Dance

Posted on Monday September 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Last night on the phone with a friend, I rattled off my “to-do” list as we reviewed our respective schedules for the upcoming week.

“Wow!” She said genuinely impressed. “Sounds like you have a busy week ahaead.”

“No, no,” I corrected. “That’s just for tomorrow! Tuesday has it’s own separte list.”

It’s insanely busy now as we close in to wrapping things up on Freedom Dance and move on into promotion and distribution.

Yesterday received news from law gal Diane Davison (via word from California) that we can start publicizing Mariska’s involvement on Freedom Dance. Great! I finalize the press release (which I started sending out today) and started spreading the word via email, phone, and post. (Much to do with webbie John Bintz in updating the website to reflect the new addition. And thanks to technology—yes, for me it’s a love/hate thing—we were able to chat about it on the phone as he emailed tweaks and adjustments.) As I’ve said before, John Bintz is a terrific webmaster, not only in his skill, but in his work ethic. He’s not afraid to put in the hours adn be a team player. Thanks for that, John!

Continued making travel arragements for NY, car arrangements for Mariska, still waiting for word from California to confirm the exact recording date/time (which makes arrangeing my schedule a bit tricky, but understandable given the personal circumstances—Mickey Hargitay’s passing).

Also at work on an original cartoon for Mariska as part of the thank you gift’s she’ll be given (many a thank you goes out in the form of an original cartoon … it’s what happens when you work for cartoonists). Worked on a cut of the narration in the movie to use as a reference in Mariska’s session. Further discussed the music score with Kevin Hill and Phil Rosensteel … making sure we are in the same mindset for the emotional outline of the movie. In touch with Embassy about their participation in the November 8 JCC Baltimore screening (they will be sending a representative to speak about the movie and the revolution!).

Thanks to Gregg Landry was able to make some dubs of Houdini for a new round of festivals, and a couple more Freedom Dance dubs.

Picked up remaining Freedom Dance artwork from the Hilbert household (Edward had been nice enough to store it in his basement). By the time I arrived I was half starved—typical, forget to eat. Judy’s daughter Rose was there and found for me a baguette, which I topped with some of the most delicious chicken (paprika?) salad I’d ever had! Hit the spot. Couldn’t resist the little homemade chocolate bars on the counter. Scarfed it all down and was out the door onto a music session at The Note Factory with music maestro Michael Zampi.

Evening … continued work on Draw the Line and Colors. Not much though … exhausted!



Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) to Narrate Freedom Dance

Posted on Sunday September 17, 2006 by Steven Fischer

It’s official! Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and 2006 Emmy Winner, 2005 Golden Globe Winner for Lead Actress in a Drama Series) will be supplying the narration for Freedom Dance! We record in New York later this coming week. Stay tuned for details!

MANY, MANY, MANY thanks to law gal Diane Davison for her amazing work in making it all happen!



Embassy of Hungary Guest Speakers at JCC Screening

Posted on Friday September 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Just wanted to share the good news that, in addition to Beery Adams, Immigration Outreach Coordinator from the Office of Mayor Martin O’Malley, and Estela Abosch, LCSW-C, BCD and social worker for the Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, Viktor Szederkenyi, Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Hungary, will be a guest speaker! Dr. Zoltan Feher, Cultural Attache, will also represent the Embassy.

Stay tuned for more details about the Nov. 8, 2006 screening at the Baltimore JCC.



Freedom Dance, Draw the Line, Houdini

Posted on Tuesday September 12, 2006 by Steven Fischer

More theater suggestions from Annette in L.A. who has even spoken on our behalf at some places. SO I immediately packeged up a couple more letters/proposals to these new theater managers and will mail them tomoorrrow. Sorry it’s toooo late. Too exhasuted, but want to get this down while it;s in my head.

More good news from L.A. ... Julius Jancso called! He is the owner of the restaurant, Csardas. Annette told me of him early on and affter failed attempts to reach him by phone, I sent a few days ago a letter and Freedom Dance postcard. He musyt have called immedatetly upon receiving them! He is also te editor of the WEst Coast edition of the American Hungarian Journal … We had a great chat and will be following up soon. I am hoping for some publicity in the paper. Be nice to be able to rent the restaurant for a promotion party, too..

Continued work today prepping the emotional outline for the music score and sound track for Kevin Hill, sound designer extraordinaire.

Whatelse ,what else.? ON a wierdhigh now for some reason. Dinner tonight consisted of espresso and pizza for the appetizer and wine and doughnuts for an entrée. I wonder if that accounts for the weirdness?

Oh! This morning Miguel De Angel sent the first aniamtion test … he’s been working on them since two weeks ago. Brilliant work! THe Colors music video is really taking shape! Exciting!

Continued work prepping Draw the Line and Houdini for a new batch of festivals. Exciting!


Scheduling a shoot with Jim Camacho in DC for Oct. 13-14 … it’ll be fun! Not sure for which project we’ll shoot just yet. Nice problem to have, I suppose.



Freedom Dance in Los Angeles?

Posted on Monday September 11, 2006 by Steven Fischer

As we take time to recognize and reflect on the significant sadness of this date, we also continue on to empower our future…

Annette Mann in Los Angeles has been such a dear, sending many leads for venues appropriate for a Freedom Dance West Coast screening. Among the possibilities are traditional theaters, museums, a Hungarian restaurant, and art centers. All of which I today continue tracking down and making contact.

Many thanks to you, Annette!!

Getting close!

Meanwhile, at my computer leafing through emails, Jim Camacho calls from Miami. We’re chatting about our up-coming October shoot and the Colors music video, and as we talk I come upon an email from Diane with blank’s bio attached. No explanation, just the bio.

“Uh-oh. It looks like an official bio … this could mean it’s from blank’s agent … and that could be a very good sign that blank is on board with Freedom Dance. They’re stocking us with official media content.”

Jim, good friend that he is, shared my enthusiasm.

PS: (Sept. 14)— Yes, I can now confirm my suspicion’s about blank’s bio were true. :0)


William Morris Agency, Studio Unknown, and Pipo Bonamino!

Posted on Sunday September 10, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Diane Davison wrote today … William Morris agency needs rushed to them the most up-to-date DVD of a project on which we might be using one of their actors. More on that later. Exciting, but exhausting (for Diane mostly. Thank goodness Freedom Dance has her!)

Will package today and FedEx tomorrow. Will need to make a rush call to BlueRock Productions LLC where I know Gregg Landry will let me sneak in a quick dub! ;0)

Getting an emotional outline of the music score and movie itself that sound designer Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown is expecting. Buddy Phil Rosensteel, who is a talented pianist, is going to give a go at the score.

It’s an interesting development to the musical side of Freedom Dance and a story that reflects the healthy communciation between Freedom Dance team members.

Not long ago, after a recording session for the movie at Studio Unknown, once everyone had gone, Kevin approached Craig and me with a concern. He respectfully stated his views on the music tracks I had been delivering to him. The quality of performance, wasn’t in his opinion as high as the story, the animation, the editing, and the effects sound tracks. I agreed. The music I’d recorded was only inteneded as a scratch track. I’d always intended to rerecord on a grand or baby grand for the authenticity. But I’m the first to admit I’m not the best player. (Though the melodies are fine. If anything, my strong point is as a writer.)

So he said his peace and Craig and I listened respecfully. (That’s one thing I admire about Craig, when having a serious discussion he always allows a person their chance to speak, and he never yells back … even disagreements are dealt with in a professional and respectful tone.) I’m the same way.

A week or so later, Kevin calls me. He wanted to follow up from what that session and repeated his concern. He’s a professional and he’s doing his job as the person in charge of post audio to make sure each track of sound is at its very best.

We agreed the melodies are fine (though I told him that if he and Phil were inspired to write something go for it … if it’s not appropriate for Freedom Dance, then perhaps it becomes appropriate for a future project) but the performance is what needs attending. So I agreed to let Phil learn my music and use a contact of his who owns a baby grand to record a version of Phil playing. If it’s more fitting for the project to use his playing we will.

I write all this because I’ve seen this scenario played out TOOOO MANY times in ways that are amateur, ridiculous, and just plain childish! There’s no reason why even the most sensitive of subjects cannot be discussed. Discussed, not argued violently. We’re all professionals. We’re all intelligent. We can communciate effectively if we learn to listen and consider other view points while voicing our own ideas. It boils down to everyone in the party having a grasp on respect and love.

Okay. Enough of that. Off the soap box. Moving on to… Pipo! In contact with Pipo Bonamino in Miami about getting the Houdini music video up on line at You Tube. Mission accomplished. Also in touch on and off throughout the day with Jim Camacho with developments for a shoot we’re scheduling for next month (as well as discussed a new round of festivals I am sending Houdini to).



Creative Alliance, Leaves with a Name, and Getting Close to a Los Angeles Screening

Posted on Friday September 8, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today Craig and I met at the Creative Alliance (Baltimore) with Barbara Lanciers and Megan Hamilton. Megan is the big cheese at the Alliance and Barbara, a long-time supporter and friend of Freedom Dance is producing Leaves with a Name, a theatrical performace piece which retells her grandmother’s escape story from 1944 Hungary.

Months ago Barbara was nice enough to invite Freedom Dance to be part of her show at the Creative Alliance … which will be in May 2007. So today was our first official meeting to work out details of how the show will be arranged, promoted, exhibited, etc.

I was surprised to hear how many big plans Megan had for the event. Wasn’t expecting all she offered us! So generous. Time will tell how it all develops. Will reveal more later.

Meanwhile, my lovely Los Angeles contact Annette has been supplying more addresses for alternative screening venues in Southern California (museums, art centers, etc.) She is even holding a commemorative luncheon on October 22 and has invited Freedom Dance to somehow connect … perhaps a screening near the luncheon that lunchers could go to after eating.

Such a generous person! Been meeting so many wonderful and supportive folks throughout this production who are so eager to help and contribute to the cause. Definately a blessing. (And I think these days, Edward’s guiding light from Heaven is showing its effects.)



1956 Hungarian Revolution Photo Exhibit at the Katzen Arts Center

Posted on Wednesday September 6, 2006 by Steven Fischer

So, it’s about 6:30 pm last evening, I’m in DC with time to spare as I await the opening reception of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution Photo Exhibit at the Katzen Art Center (at American University). It’s been a busy morning and afternoon, up since 5 A.M., I’m feeling the drain of the day so I step into the campus canteen and up to the espresso counter. The server smiles as I order my shot and mumble something about needing to wake up. The server hands me a little coffee cup and says with a big smile, “Here ya go. No charge.”

No charge? (That alone woke me.)

What a sweet gesture, I thought. But then my thoughts turned comical. How exhausted does a person have to look before a compassionate coffee server starts giving away shots of espresso? (And I’m about to attend a big reception filled with dignitaries to try and spread the word about Freedom Dance????? What am I? Nuts?)

I figured this couldn’t be good. But, in fact, the evening was wonderful! I met a lot of great people, passed out a stack of Freedom Dance postcards, and started relationships with a Coalition president, a potential translator for the script, a prominant Hungarian journalist, and quite a few potential movie-goers. (Insert big smile.)

The opening remarks were given by Ambassador Simonyi of the Hungarian Embassy with whom I had two conversations over the course of the evening. (The new cultural attache, Zoltan Feher, had invited me to the reception.)

Zoltan is proving a good friend. He’s been a supporter of the movie for a long time and does a lot to help spread the word. At the reception, he introduced me to many impressive party-goers, survivors of the revolution, and the show’s curator (when I asked about using some of the photos in Freedom Dance).

By the way, the exhibit was sobering … a collection of work from a variety of photographers (amateur, professional, journalists, etc.) from the October/November ‘56, arranged in chronology. Images of soldiers hung and beaten; Stalin’s staute being torn down; city street torn; dispossessed refugees (one very touching photo, which Mr. Simonyi himself translated, showed a group of refugees in a school room lit only by window light, a haunting image. On the blackboard in the background was written a message. Something to the effect, “Istvan, I’m in Vienna. Please meet me there.” And it was signed. Such drama. A powerful plot point for a movie, I thought.

One realisation that made the night exciting was the fact that EVERYONE I met knew about Freedom Dance. You’ll recall several days ago a journalist at US News & World Report told me that before he even introduced himself tome he had heard people in the Hungarian community talking about the movie. That’s an encouraging sign!

Just the other day I received an email from a woman in California. Annette. She wrote that she came upon the movie’s website accidentally (I guess looking up 1956 themed items) and wanted to know if there was going to be a screening in Los Angeles. “Not yet,” I wrote back, “but working on it.” Then I asked if she had any connectinos to the local Hungarian community and she replied multiple times with addresses and names of all sorts of potential screening venues. Such a wonderful person!

Similar circumstance with a woman in Ohio. The public’s interest is exciting. I’ve had projects with minor popularity in the past, even multi-national publicity for one little thing I did, but never was there an excited anticipation like the buzz I’m hearing for Freedom Dance.

But I know so much of this has to do with Bryan Dawson and the American Hungarian Federation, and Karoly Dan, Zoltan Feher, and Ambassador Simonyi at The Embassy of Hungary, and Andrea Lauer at Freedom Fighter 56, and the folks at Fox 45 and Maryland Public Television and Baltimore Magazine, The Mayor’s Office of Baltimore, the Baltimore Jewish Community Center and so many others … I can’t think this fast! So many wonderful friends and colleagues who been spreading the word for us. THANK YOU ALL!!

In store for another long night tonight … late evening promotional photo shoot with photographer Stuart Dahne the Great Dahne … great photographer! I need updated headshots and these promise to be the most superficial, outrageous, campy, GQ portraits one has ever had the insanity to make! More on that later. ;0]



American University Exhibit, MPT, and More Miguel De Angel

Posted on Monday September 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Finally able to start writing thank you letters to those who donated money to Freedom Dance in Edward’s name.

Met with Freedom Dance webmaster and all around great guy John Bintz at a cafe. He brought his laptop and as we sipped coffee, John ripped a DVD of the August 23rd broadcast of Artworks (Maryland Public TV’s arts program on which Edward was given a small tribute.) The audio from that is now up on this site. Check it out! (Many thanks to Katrina Threat for getting us the DVD! It means so much to the Hilbert family.)

With Craig to pick up some new animation … the final scene … an epilogue of sorts which we’re calling the Magic Carpet Ride … (watch the movie to find out what that’s all about!).

Craig’s animation is really good. I know that any accolade this movie gets will be all about the animation. Rightly so. It’s well done and what gives this movie its individuality. Its fingerprint. When people think of Freedom Dance, they’re going to think of Craig’s animation. It’s that simple.

Received invitation from the Embassy of Hungary to attend a reception at American University, the opening of a 1956-themed photo exhibit. Whoo hoo! Big chance to spread the word some more! :0)

Continued clean up on Draw the Line (click on the title to see Animation One, a four-minute excerpt featuring the very excellent animator, Miguel De Angel.)



Houdini Gets in the Great Lakes Film Festival

Posted on Sunday September 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Whoo hoo!

Read about the video here



Pressbox UK Pulishes Freedom Dance News

Posted on Saturday September 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Pressbox UK today published Freedom Dance Makes a Splash in the UK. Check it out!



Global Press Release Distribution Publishes Freedom Dance News

Posted on Saturday September 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Global Distribution published UK Dances for Freedom Dance. Check it out: Click Here!



iCOM Magazine Publishes News about Edward Hilbert

Posted on Friday September 1, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Click here to read the story ... lots of images of Edward and from the movie. Thanks, Jerry!



Freedom Dance Donors; Jim Camacho's Colors; and Miguel De Angel

Posted on Thursday August 31, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Received report today from IDA, our fiscal sponsor. We’ve been collecting quite a large number of generous donations from well-wishers mourning the loss of Edward. Thank you to all who’ve given in his memory. It seems even in death Edward contributes to the advance of the movie. Amazing!

Back to New York tomorrow to meet with a few studio owners/managers. Still looking for the most appropriate place to record next month.

Yesterday, after working all day on Draw the Line (cleaning up for its premiere broadacst next month), had an evening meeting with Miguel De Angel, a very giftedillustrator and animator whom I’ve had the privilage of calling a friend for a while now. In that time Miguel has introduced me to some fantastic artists and companies in the Northern Virginia/DC area, has generously included Freedom Dance in a gallery show he coordinated earlier this year, and introduced me to some terrific Puerto Rican coffee!

This past Spring he also agreed to appear as one of the subjects in my made-for-tv shoacase, Draw the Line (Click on the title and you can watch Miguel’s segment. It’s about 4 minutes.) As you’ll discover, in addition to being a soulful animator and enthusiastic teacher, MIguel is also quite expressive when talking about his art and philosophies.

Long ago, Miguel agreed to serve as aniamtor on Colors, the latest Jim Camacho music video. I’d shot Jim’s live action part in New York City this past spring and have been developing the character and plot for the animation on and off ever since. Now that Miguel has finished his crazy schedule drawing for children’s books for a nearby publisher, he’s ready for the animation. It’s shaping up and I hope to share more news about production soon.

Home very late and up very early this mornign to finish work on Colors and Draw the Line ... attending to lots of Freedom Dance details as well.



The Dear, Sweet Bryan Dawson; The Dear, Sweet Marie-Josee

Posted on Saturday August 26, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Later this morning we recorded Bryan Dawson’s narration for Freedom Dance. Now, he’s known from the start that if we secured a name actor or actress for the narration we’d have to go with that person. He agreed nonetheless, and (never one to count on anything happening until it’s actually happening) I felt safer recording Bryan to keep on file as a backup just in case things don’t work out with … we’ll, you’ll hear about it soon enough.

Bryan’s agreeability to do this deal was such a sweet gesture, I thought. He’s really a good friend, so sincerely interested in Edward as an artist and a person. As you may know, Bryan Dawson is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Hungarian Federation.

We recorded at Studio Unknown, Kevin Hill’s audio shop located at the BlueRock facilities in Baltimore. Kevin has been equally great throughout production, giving much of his time, gear and expertise and not asking for much in return.

If you’re one who gets chills when it comes to karma, you’ll enjoy this: at the same time we were recording in Baltimore, Maryland USA, Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre was in London, England giving her master class on the aniamted documentary at the London International Animation Film Festival. In this master class, she is using Freedom Dance as an example of animated documentaries. She of course will be referencing her own, gorgeously produced aniamted doc McLaren’s Negatives. Check it out if you haven’t … it’s incredible. Click here Marie-Josee has been a wonderful supporter of Freedom Dance and I wish her all the best with her work … though as you’ll see from all the attention and awards her work receives, the last thing she needs is a word of encouragement from me!

With such love and friendship surrounding Freedom Dance, how could a production be considered anything less than blessed?



Freedom Dance Hostess Leanna Chamish on WCBM Radio

Posted on Friday August 25, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Some good news … actress and TV personality Leanna Chamish, who was the on-camera hostess in the Freedom Dance “Behind-the-Scenes” video, will be featured on WCBM radio, AM 680, tomorrow night, 6PM to 7PM, talking about acting.

Tune in if you can! She has a lot to share.

Otherwise, it’s been a day of continuations: continued work on SAG contract; continued search for distributors; continued prep for New York; continued efforts on the final cut; ... continued later.



In Edward's Memory and Everyone Knows about Freedom Dance

Posted on Thursday August 24, 2006 by Steven Fischer

First thing A.M. blasting Debussy on the stereo, rushing to scan and email (as I’m falling behind) eleven pagesof teh SAG contract to Diane the Attorney who needs the info to help construct our own contract with …. well, can’t say just yet … it’s a secret! Diane would kill me.

Anyway, been sending out the press release of Edward’s passing left and right. So far (as I am aware), Ch. 4 UK, PressBox, Global Press Release Distribution, and MPT in Maryland have released the news. It’s been exhausting. Such a rush to get the news out to crew, public, getting content to John who did a great job updating the web site to accomodate the news (as he did in June the first time we thought Edward was going. As I recall, Emily Ross and Erik Bethke at the International Documentary Association were also very sweet in helping out then.

I am so ill right now. ... my throat last night became viciously sore, raw, scratchy … I feel so fatigued. Zonked., but still so much to do. (Friday have music recording session for which I must finish prep work. Still have to finihs th eedit of the movie. Have a recording session with Bryan Dawson to record the narration (as a backup) on Saturday. I need to feel like I’m ready for it. Need to finalize my plan of attack for New York trip which is Monday. Still some minor odds and ends to clean up with the Draw the Line project. Will meet with Miguel de Angel Wednesday about the animation for the Colors music video … need storyboards by then.


My time in NYC will be a whirlwind recon mission, bouncing from recording studio to recording studio, meeting with owners and managers I’ve been talking to on the phone. I suspect I know whch studio I am most comfortable with, but a personal visit will confirm. A decision will be made, time booked, and in early September we’ll record the official narration for Freedom Dance ... sorry I can’t be more specific just yet … news is coming, though.

Last night was invited to the Hilberts’ for a small gathering and dinner. So much food! Typical of Edward, he wanted noformal funeral or memorial service …. just a light-hearted gathering of friends and family.

The family and close friends arrived. Craig adn Barbara arrived for a bit en route to a workshop Craig was giving downtown that evening.

I thought a lot about what I should bring. Flowers were the obvious first thought, but then it occured to me that for months I’d known and even promoted publically the family’s wishes that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the movie’s completion. Okay, no floweres. I decided on a collection of material that could be paced in the scrapbook Edward was keeping on Freedom Dance: a new review from Channel 4 Uk; printed copies oif every single weblog entry up to August 22; a copy of the press release; copy of the official emai lI sent to the crew annoucning Ed’s passing.

I also gave Judy a fruit basket … figured she could use the good health and strength more than ever at this time. “It was either this or a bottle of Advil,” I joked. She laughed.

I was seated next to her at dinner. “Did you cut your hair?” I asked. Yes, she said. About 2 weeks ago.” Judy laughed, “Edward always said it looked like I’d gone to the butcher shop instead of barber shop.”

Dinner conversation was filled with happy memories of funny moments and Edward’s inner beauty.

It turned out the most rewarding gift I could bring was one brought unwittingly. Earlier in the day MPT replied to my press release with news that they would announce Edward’s passing that night on ARtwoks. So when I arrived for the dinner, I told this to the family and at 7:30 we all gathered around the TV and tuned in to the arts program. When the moment arrived the family exploded in an honorary cheer for Edward. It really meant a lot to them that he was publically remembered and on such a special day … the dinner that served as his memorial tribute.

Received call from Alex Kingsbury, a journalsit for US News and World Report. Had been talking to him for 3 weeks, ever since he called Diane trying to get in touch with us about including Freedom Dance in cover story he is writing about the revolution. (For the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hugnarian Revolution.) He had called oday in reply to the release. It seems our little mention in the article is definately a go and I’m so glad too … such major publicity for us!!

he said it seemed to him that everyone in the Hungarian community was talking about Freedom Dance. he seemed genuiely impressed.

Way too tired and irritated from lack of sleep mnow. Will return whenfeeling more civil./ Geeez. can’t even type.



Pressbox Publishes News about Edward Hilbert

Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2006 by Steven Fischer

PressBox in the UK today published the press release on Edward’s passing. Click Here to read.


Just Another Day

Posted on Wednesday August 23, 2006 by Steven Fischer

First full day without Edward in it.

Was up till 3 a.m. sending out press releases announcing Edward’s passing, many to my press contacts in Europe. ORF in Austria may announce something. Channel 4 in the UK posted this sweet note on their web site: Click Here to Read

An excerpt:
We’ve just received the sad news that Edward Hilbert, the star of FourDoc Freedom Dance, sadly passed away yesterday (22nd August). Edward was a former Child actor and, as this doc shows, a Jewish escapee from the Hungarian Revolution. He was 78. His family now want the completed longer version of the film to stand as a testament to him.

Meanwhile, MPT wrote back saying they would announce the news during tonight’s Artworks program. (You may recall, Craig and I were spotlight on that show in January promoting the movie.)

Slept for an hour, up at 4:15 to get into Northern Virginia by 6 to get a jump on a bunch of DVD burns I am making for the subjects in Draw the Line ... everyone —crew and on-camera subject— gets a copy. Wanted to get that task out of the way. Packaged em up and mailed them round noon.

Back at my place now and will be at the Hilberts’ house soon for a small gathering the family’s having. It’ll be the first I’ve seen Judy in a couple days.



In Memory of Edward Hilbert.

Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Edward died today.

He had been in hospital, gee, since May I guess. Though I would visit him at least once a week and keep a journal about our time together, I never published any of it on this weblog in respect for the Hilberts’ privacy.

I am worried about Judy. She’s had so much family illness to deal with this year. It’s been a stress on her from all directions. I’ve only talked with Rose and Michelle, Ed and Judy’s daughters, today. Will stop by the house tomorrow to see Judy.

Hard to know what to feel right now. It’s 11:47 pm. Just finishing for today. This afternoon and evening’s been spent sending out the news to the crew, preparing the press release (which, thanks to the ever-willing-to-go-the-extra-mile John Bintz, is up on this web site).

Collecting press contacts to send this release to tomorrow. Need to send an announcemnt to the email list. Quotes from Bryan Dawson, Craig. Still need to get SAG contract mailed. Flowers for tomorrow. Collecting reviews and a collection of these weblogs for the family (Edward kept a Freedom Dance scrapbook which he shared with me a few times). Some other things I’m not thinking of at the moment.

I can still see him in that hospital bed. Even in his weakened physical condition his eyes still sparkled with life. Even though his voice faded to a whisper he still spoke of dreams, plans, cartoons to draw, ideas he’d think of to wrangle some money for the movie…. Just last week he spread his hands out in front of himself and remarked without worry about his condition, “this is only temporary.”

And once when I wheeled him into a communal area and played for him a new Freedom Dance tune on a piano he immediately had ideas for instrumentation, tempo … his mind never stopped working in the creative.

He had every intension of walking out of there and carrying on with life. He was so frustrated because his mind and spirit were so sharp and active, but his body wasn’t keeping up.

On Sunday I asked John if he could bring his lap top and we’d show Edward the 30-minute rough cut of Freedom Dance. I’m so glad we did. Edward was able to see the finished movie (rough though it may be at the moment). It made him very happy. I studied his face as he watched, his smile would beam, he studied the movie thoughtfully. At one point he looked to me, “This is great!” he said in horse voice. Watching him watch the movie in its entirety for the first time was a treat. It’s joyful to see someone genuinely enjoy themselves.

Rose and Michelle suggested that he was holding out just to see the finished piece. Michelle even said that after John and I left and she arrived, Edward was so excited he started drawing again in a little sketch pad.

I will never forget him, the lessons I learned from his example, the friendship he easily offered, the espressos we shared around his little kitchen table (and that thick Hungarian accent, “How about some espresso, eh?”).

I knew him only two years, yet I have what feels like a lifetime of memories. (Maybe I’ve been spending too much time as his biographer and am confusing his life story with my own memories? Ha!) How can I ever forget him? His influence lives on in Freedom Dance. His memory lives on in my heart.



Screening "The Collector"

Posted on Monday August 21, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Attended preview screening of the work-in-progress The Collector, a feature my actor-buddy Brian Naughton is working on. (The filmmaker is Charles Roggero, whom you may recognize as the editor of al lthose John Water movies!)

The filmmakers rented space at the American Film Institute theater in Silver Spring and invited a hand selected group of professionals and industry types for critique and investment interests. I was honored to be invited and excited to unexpectedly see some old friends.

The screening was at 11 am, I arrived intentionally early to slowly savor morning coffee and get some work done at the cafe next to the theater. I sat at a little table in the spill of morning sunlight, surrounded by the necessities: coffee, danish, cell phone.

Notebook opened, papers all around, I began making phone calls to studios in New York in a continued effort to find the right recording studio for an upcoming SAG recording session. (I’ll be in NYC the 28th visiting the ones with the most potential.) After my third call my name was called from a passerby. I turned and saw the passerby was actually Paul Willard, an long time colleague whom I’m always running into at the least expected moments! He joined me at the table while waiting for a colleague of his to arrive for a meeting.

Musician-friend Jim Camacho called from Miami, and as soon as Paul’s meeting arrived and he was off to his own table, Jim and I reconnected for an update and continued discussions about the Colors music video I am currently making for him (my second music video for Jim, which we shot in New York over the Spring. Very exciting. The first I’d ever shot on the streets of Manhattan …. Exhilerating if not stressful!)

Jim’s ferocious appetite for life and making dreams a reality is infectious and refreshing! These are the partners I crave, these are the motivators who inspire the spirit of success and accomplishment. These are the people who make things happen and inspire others to do the same. If you’re into indie acoustic rock, clisk on his name above and check out his music … it’s fantastic!

The screening was impressive. The Collector is shot 24p and profjected digitally. It’s a sweet image. I was pleasatly surprised to see some old mates: audio whiz Ty Ford, former Maryland Film Office head honcho/Hollywood insider-turned actor Mike Styer .. . always a treat and the silliness picks up right where it left off. :0)

Ty was there with the specifc request to critique the sound, Mike to predict Hollywood’s reaction, another fellow, a musician whom I was introduced as “the guy who does all the music for Discovery Channel” I suppose critiqued the music score.

The rest of the day included phone meetings with a SAG rep for this upcoming recording session; prepping for an edit session tomorrow, and basic administrative work. Will pick up a rough mix of the waltz musi for Freedom Dance this evening to cut into the picture for timing. (To record some more this Friday.) To meet with Craig later this week to discuss the opening title sequence. We’re getting real close to finishing the movie!

Too tired to go on. More later.


Screen Actors Guild, Draw the Line, and La Landaise

Posted on Friday August 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Dinner is done and I sit now at the dining room table with a pot of tea and a pile of papers covering the cloth (going over a SAG contract for an upcoming VO recording in New York). Needed to take a break to let my glazing eyes regain their strength!

It’s been a theraputically busy day. First in the A.M. worked on the Freedom Dance music score, practising at the piano, will record some more next week. Talked with buddy Phil Rosensteel about recording on a baby grand at a place he knows of in Towson. (I much prefer the authenticity of acoustic pianos.)

Eleven A.M. to Craig’s place to pick up some more animation and discuss immediate future plans for narration, title sequence, marketing, PR, etc. Then to the Hilbert household to deliver the narration script (we will most likely only have one chance to record the narration, so I need their approval that all the details are accurate and expressed in a way they are comfortable with). Still much to do, but we are getting REEEALLY close to wrapping up this movie.

Lunch with a musician friend Damion Wolfe (a guitar virtuoso) at my favorite French cafe, the picturesque Crepe du Jour (The La Landaise is exceptional!) Such a relaxing diversion!

A quick visit with a friend in a near by hospital then it was back to Freedom Dance ... cutting in the new animation … will continue the session over the weekend.

This week finished Draw the Line, the half-hour animation special I produced for Northern Virginia Community College … to air in Virginia later this summer/fall. This is the project that’s been sustaining my existence (I write with much gratitude) since the spring. The piece showcases the work of five animators in the region. Lance Graham has created some really nice music for the show. The show is the better for it!

Okay, enough of this. Back to the contract!


Channel Four UK Reviews Freedom Dance

Posted on Tuesday August 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Good news from the UK today …. Kate Vogel, one of the Commissioners for Channel 4, the UK’s leading independent tv channel, posted this comment about Freedom Dance on the FourDocs page of Channel 4’s website

The sound really did bring this film to life for me, making the animation emotional and giving it immediacy. The subject matter was difficult and personal but you avoided sentimentality and by the end I really wanted to know more.”

Praise indeed! Thanks go to Charlie Phillips at Magic Lantern Prodcutions for his staunch support in getting Freedom Dance onto Channel 4’s site, and to Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown for his sound design that “brought the film to life”.

Also today .. and for the past few days … continued work arranging for the Nov. 8 screening at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. Finally got a write up to Claudine Davison for the flyer the JCC will be printing. Getting necessary photos to the art department, etc. Lots still to arrange, but getting things done. As ever.



FourDocs Reviews on Channel 4 UK

Posted on Saturday August 12, 2006 by Steven Fischer

There have been some nice comments made about Freedom Dance on the Channel 4’s FourDocs page … Check them out, click HERE.

Some highlights:

“A shocking story that somehow has even more grip due to the animated elements.” -GraphicQuarters

“Freedom Dance: Cartoon with substance.”

” amazing film and the animation really made the story telling come alive…” -soundmary

“It’s a great doc.” -CharlieFourDocs



Cold War Conference

Posted on Wednesday August 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

After months of phone calls and emails it looks like the inclusion of Freedom Dance at the Cold War Conference in Northern Virginia this October is going to happen. More details as they become available!

Meanwhile, check out the conference’s leading organization: The Cold War Museum



Freedom Dance Final Cut Getting Close!

Posted on Monday August 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Have completed the rough cut of the movie … from opening titles to closing credit roll … Whoo-hoo! A few more holes to fill, though. Craig was by yesterday dropping off some more animation. I’ve a bit more music to score and need to finish mixing some music previously recorded (thanks to the help of music producer Michael Zampi at The Note Factory).

Today dropped off the movie’s sounds tracks to Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown. He will start mixing and sweetening. Craig and I will join him later when he started creating the sound design for the animation. (We are set to record the narration with him later this month … Bryan Dawson, our friend from the American Hungarian Federation, will be reading the narration for us.

Also, have tallied the animation in the movie: 13 minutes and 32 seconds of animation appear in Freedom Dance. (A few more bits to add, so the grand total will probably be about 14 minutes.) An amazing accomplishment for Craig Herron. (Craig animated nearly everything minus some moments done by Joel Loukus and Paul Sulsky.)

John Bintz, Jordan Bloom, Melissa Chiou, Meaghan Dunn, Barbara Herron, Rachel Kreutzinger, Joel Loukus, and Paul Sulsky have done the coloring and cutting, Marc Gillis provided some beautiful watercolor backgrounds for us … and, of course, Edward Hilbert himself drew all of the hundreds of images that were animated … an absolutely astounding accomplishment! I am so thankful to everyone who’s put in so much time and effort. The movie is really shaping up, and I hope it will turn out to be something we can all be proud of.

It’s been an exhausting 2 years. I’ll be glad when it’s all over, though the time on this project was very rewarding.



John Carroll University Writes!

Posted on Friday August 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today received nice email from a professor at John Carroll University in Ohio. Apparently the professor found out about Freedom Dance while surfing the web and has inquired about a DVD copy for the University’s library. Another good sign indeed as to the promising market this movie is showing. (Big smile!)



Transcriptions and Paul Sulsky Animation

Posted on Sunday July 30, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Transcribed the narration today (though I followed the script while recording the scratch track, I added a lot on the fly as I made discoveries about the story while making the final cut). We’re scheduled to record Bryan Dawson at Studio Unknown later in August.

Paul Sulsky came by with the finished gymnasium animation for the Vienna sequence. The gym scene is coming together and the whole Vienna sequence now has a solid backbone! Much needed too. It’s been a rough cut (no pun intended).

Too tired to go on. More later. Many thanks to Paul for his hard work in getting the animation just right! :0)



Freedom Dance on Channel 4 in the UK and US News & World Report

Posted on Wednesday July 26, 2006 by Steven Fischer

After many months of back and forth via email across the pond, a 4-minute cut of Freedom Dance has now been accepted by Channel 4 in the UK as part of their FourDocs on-line project! Many many thanks go to London-based Charlie Phillips at Magic Lantern for his undying belief in the movie and tenacious efforts in getting us connected with the UK’s leading independent television network!

To see the 4-minute version Click Here!

Good news from Diane Davison, our attorney. A journalist from US News & World Report called her about Freedom Dance. He is writing a story on the Hungarian Revolution and wants to include something about the project! I will call him tomorrow.

Also, was able to get a staff counselor from the Advocates for Survivors of Torture & Trauma, supporters of the movie, to speak at the November 8 screening and possibly even present the Hilberts with some token of recognition. The party is shaping up!



Mayor O'Malley's Proclamation and the JCC Screening

Posted on Wednesday July 19, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Since the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore will soon start advertising our November screening, much work being done in haste to secure the Mayor’s proclamation presentation. (Last year I arranged with the Mayor’s office for a proclamation to be awarded to the Hilberts at a Baltimore screening. The show at the JCC will be perfect!)

Hoping the Mayor himself will be able to present the proclamation. (Would make for good publicity.)

Meanwhile, I continue cleaning up the final cut (and filling in those holes!).

Thanks again to Beery Adams, Immigration Outreach Coordinator at the Mayor’s office, for her dedicated interest and faithful support of Freedom Dance!



New John Bintz Book is Out -- A Moment of Clarity!

Posted on Saturday July 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Freedom Dance webmaster and fellow animator John Bintz (alias John Bint and John “It’s a Trap” Bintz) has a new cartoon book on the shelves! Check it out: A Moment of Clarity Volume 1: The Big Boss on Level 10

John’s well-crafted series is an all-ages cartoon dealing with complex social issues … anyone who’s ever felt out of place in the world will identify completely with A Moment of Clarity.

As Duane Abel, creator of Zed, wrote: “It only takes a second to realize that A Moment of Clarity is something special.”

Do check it out. It’s well worth it!



November Screening at JCC

Posted on Friday July 14, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today met with Claudine Davison at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore about a screening of Freedom Dance this November. More details to come, but it looks like we will be having a bash there this autumn!

Much to do to prepare: advertising, copywriting, program planning … it’ll be a blast though!

Still finishing up the final cut … Craig was over here Sunday and we went through the 30-minutes … still some holes to fill … Craig has a bit more animation to do, but overall we’re in good shape.

Many thanks again to Assistant Director of Arts & Culture Claudine Davison for her continued enthusiasm for Freedom Dance!



Editing, Festival Prep, Music, and Much More

Posted on Tuesday July 11, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Busy, busy time … only 6 weeks left until I need to get this final cut of Freedom Dance to sound designer Kevin Hill so he can finish the effects tracks and mix everything.

I have the 30 minutes of Freedom Dance cut … minus the Vienna scenes … a big hurdle for Craig and I, but it is being surmounted. My last couple of edit sessions have given way to a basic skeleton that gives the scene a basic shape … many holes to fill though.

Meanwhile, am also creating a festival list and listing the deadlines so I can get a sense of what festivals are possible for us and how long we have to prepare.

Making final list of end credit role. Will pass along to a couple of others for varifcation … (biggest fear is for me is leaving some deserving soul out of the Thank You list!)

Just about to finish up a one-hour special I am producing for NVCC-TV in Virginia about regional animation (interview-driven showcase on animators in the area). When this is through, I’ll have more time to dedicate to the Freedom Dance final cut.

The animation workshop I am giving is July 22 in New York! ... met with fellow animators John Bintz, Ernie Berger, and Mark Stansberry (who will all be joining me in a kind of panel discussion) to finalize our agenda. Been making the calls to friends and colleagues up there in anticipation … meetings and social get-togethers.

In between all this, I’m also finishing up the music sound track. I’ve now completed the music that will go with the Border Crossing scenes—a tense and dangerous moment full of suspense! Will be back at The Note Factory in a couple weeks to record the latest batch of music.

Freedom Dance is in the final stretch!!! Keep your eyes on Freedom Dance The Movie Dot Com for future screening dates!



The Twyman Creative Interview

Posted on Saturday July 1, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today, Kirk Twyman at Twyman Creative published a promotional interview he conducted with me not long ago. Check it out

A while ago, Kirk asked me if I would put together an animation workshop in New York for the Twyman Creative Entertainment Conference July 22. Fellow animator’s Ernie Berger and Mark Stansberry (of Puddin’ fame) will be joining me. Also on the panel (with his invaluable technical guidance!) will be animator and Freedom Dance webmaster John Bintz.

Check out the conference if you get the chance. Kirk is a generous guy who’s making a successful national effort to bring folks in the entertainment business together to share, learn, and network. We could all learn from his example.

Thanks, Kirk! I appreciate the trust.



Budapest Sun Publishes Story on Freedom Dance

Posted on Wednesday June 21, 2006 by Steven Fischer

The Budapest Sun (Hungary’s leading english language newspaper) article is out! You can read it online by clicking here

Many thanks to editor Rob Marshall and writer Eszter Balazs for their continued interest in the Hilbert’s story and in the movie. Especially to Estzer for pushing the story through so fast and for the pleasant e-mail conversation!




More Movie Music at The Note Factory

Posted on Saturday June 17, 2006 by Steven Fischer

All the music I’ve been composing for Freedom Dance has been recorded by my long-time producer, Michael Zampi, at The Note Factory just outside Annapolis.

Now that I finally have the basis for the little Bluebird theme, I today recorded a scratch track with Mike experimenting with flutes, piano, and a small string section. Cut it into the border crossing sequence when I got home and it fits really nice! (Always a nice surprise! Big smile.)

Later tonight to the Rick Wakeman concert in Annapolis thanks to a generous gift from Steve & Bluey dot com web designer, Tom Henry



Maryland Film Office Endorses Freedom Dance!

Posted on Thursday June 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today received an endorsement from Jack Gerbes, Director of the Maryland Film Office. Take a look at all the endorsements. Click here.

Thanks, Jack, for your generous support!



American Hungarian Federation VP Auditions

Posted on Wednesday June 14, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Tonight auditioned Brian Dawson, American Hungarian Federation vice president for the movie’s narration. An interesting turn of events. I hadn’t known of his performance background, and as he’s such a fan of Edward’s work, the connection might be the obvious answer. We’ll see how it all plays out.



Channel 4 UK; Budapest Sun, Hungary

Posted on Friday June 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Have spent last 3 days back and forth with Channel 4 in the UK about the upcoming release of the 4-minute cut of Freedom Dance, and with Eszter Balazs at the Budapest Sun answering questions via email for an upcoming publicity article in Hungary’s leading engligh language newspaper … look for both soon!

More details to follow soon on these two exciting advancements.



i watch trailers dot com!

Posted on Wednesday June 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

The Freedom Dance trailer has been published on i watch trailers

woo-hoo! Thanks for all your interest and support of the movie, Billie. :0)



Budapest Sun News, and Fischer asked to Give Workshop at Twyman Entertainment Conference in NYC

Posted on Wednesday June 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Lots of big news today! First, the editor I’ve been communicating with at the Budapest Sun, the leading english language newspaper in Hungary, wrote with news that a journalist at the paper has now been assigned to write a story about the Hilberts and Freedom Dance. Shortly after this e-mail arrived, one from the journalist herself appeared. We had a very good correspondence, the first of what looks to be many. This will be the first national publicity in Hungary for the movie, and I am looking forward to it. (Insert big smile.)

Later in the day a colleague of mine, Kirk Twyman, who’s been a big supporter of Freedom Dance for many months (he showcased the work-in-progress a couple months back at an entertainment conference in Los Angeles), wrote asking if I would give a workshop at a conference he’s putting together in New York City on July 22. Of course I would!

DETAILS: Twyman Creative New York Entertainment Conference, July 22nd, 2006 featuring FREE DIGITAL HEADSHOTS (YES, FREE) Free Acting Seminar, Cinematography Workshop, Production Workshop, Power Networking, Guest Speakers.

My workshop will be about animation and the animation business. Have no idea specifically what, though … much preparation to do, but doing so with energized excitement!

Many thanks to Kirk, and to big sis Michele Fischer for the initial introduction to Kirk some time ago. The domino effect in action.



Freedom Dance, Cartoons and D-Day

Posted on Tuesday June 6, 2006 by Steven Fischer

First of all, some recognition to those who fought and fell on D-Day. (On this day, one of the people I always think of is Charles Schulz. His June 6th episodes of Peanuts were always anticipated with much interest. They were always poignant, and respectful of the occasion. It was obvious the day and the sentiment had much personal meaning to him. So, let’s all raise our root beer and join Snoopy and Bill Mauldin in an honorary toast!)

Got some cartoons to Baltimore Songwriter for an up-coming issue. Uploaded the Freedom Dance trailer to …. more advertising.

Speaking of which, those active in the DC filmmaking community can look for an article about FD in the June issue of the Women in Film & Video newsletter (thanks to Flo Dwek!).

Now it’s a quick meal break courtesy of the Chinese carry-out place across the street, and then back to work on the doc’s final cut!



American Hungarian Federation and Movies

Posted on Monday June 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Attended meeting tonight with board members of the American Hungarian Federation about, hopefully, a screening of 1956-themed movies being made, such as Freedom Dance, Klaudia Kovac’s Torn From the Flag, Arthur Rasco’s No Greater Love, Jake Boritt’s From Budapest to Gettysburg, and Réka Pigniczky’s The Journey Home/ Hazatérés:
A Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Hope to offer more news and a screening date in upcoming entries!

Once again, many thanks to Bryan Dawson, Vice President of the AHF, for all his generous support of Freedom Dance! He is truly a wonderful man.



Leanna Chamish is a Scream in Dead Hunt, and the Freedom Dance Trailer is Good Too!

Posted on Saturday June 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Thanks to the tireless efforts of our webmaster, John Bintz, the minute-thirty trailer is up at the site! check it out: The Trailer

Tonight attended the premiere screening of Dead Hunt which featured my friend and vamp scream Queen (with a capital “Q”) Leanna Chamish. (You may also recognize Leanna from her on-camera work in the Freedom Dance behind-the-scenes video!)

Check out Dead Hunt if you get the chance and crave some blood! (And there’s blood in the Trailer, too!)



Mariska Hargitay, Edward Hilbert, and Prokofiev!

Posted on Thursday June 1, 2006 by Steven Fischer

So insanely crazy! Yesterday in Virginia shooting interviews for a half-hour video showcase I created for NVCC-TV about regional animation. Then rushed to Baltimore by 4pm to be with Edward, but he was too sick for visitors. So Craig and I hung out at a nearby McDonald’s and took care of some other Freedom Dance business.

Then it was back home for me to work on the final cut. As I’m just about to start, our attorney Diane Davison calls. At our request she had begun a search for Mariska Hargitay’s agent to see about Mariska narrating the movie. She’s found him and made contact. As it turns out, the agent apparantly has a personal interest in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and is intrigued by Freedom Dance. So I ditch my editing plans and spent the next few hours putting a package together of specific things Diane wanted to Fed Ex today.

I had another shoot this afternoon in Northern Virginia, but left home about 7am and drove first to northwest Baltimore to drop off to Diane the package she would forward to L.A. As I pull back into my driveway, Edward’s daughter, Rose, calls.

Edward is back in hospital. They think the tumor is growing again and suspect the end in near. The family has made a tremendous gesture: in lieu of flowers, Rose told me, they would like to ask friends and family to donate to the movie as that’s what Edward would want.

Back in Northern VA by 11am to finish prep for the afternoon shoot, finalized a press release about Edward that I’ll send out when he does pass. Somehow managed to find the start of the Bluebird theme music on piano while taking my morning tea. (I’d been thinking of a melody for a few days and finally found the notes. I think the final arrangement will be for flute, but maybe that’s too Prokofiev!)

Finished today’s shoot at 9pm … and thanks to a mocha from Caribou made it back to Annapolis area in one piece!



Freedom Dance Shown on Sky Digital Satellite Thanks to Frozen Moon Showdown!

Posted on Monday May 29, 2006 by Steven Fischer

First of all, a brief recognition of service men and women throughout America’s history who should be remembered not just today, but all the time for their service to the United States.

This just in: the Freedom Dance Trailer is a finalist at The Movie Trailer Showdown 2006, part of Frozen Moon’s festival in Wrexham, Wales.

Still two more stages to go until a winner is announced, but as a result of today our trailer will begin airing in the UK through the Sky Digital Satellite network on Propeller TV!

Good advertising indeed!

Here’s a run down of what else has been and will be happening in the UK.

Channel 4, the big Independent TV network, will be uploading a 4-minute version of Freedom Dance on-line at through their FourDocs program.

Canadian filmmaker Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre wrote earlier this month. She has made an animated documentary on one of my favorites, Norman McLaren. The movie will be screened later this summer at the London International Animation Festival. At the festival, she is giving a workshop on animated documentaries and wants to include Freedom Dance as another example of an animated doc.

I am very happy by all the developments and the excitement of where it could all lead!



Documentary Magazine News on Fischer

Posted on Friday May 26, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today the June/July issue of Documentary Magazine was released. Members of the International Documentary Association often see news about their on-goings published.

The following was published in this latest issue:

Producer/director Steven Fischer received two statuettes at the 27th Annual Telly Awards. Houdini, a magical, effects-heavy music video won in the Music Video category. Camp Med, a creative, theatrically-produced promotional video produced for Virginia Hospital Center and NVCC Medical Education Campus, won in the Film/Video: Information category.

The Telly Awards are a major competition in the national advertising, television, and video production fields and is one of the most sought-after awards by leading industry firms, production companies, and ad agencies. Each year, the Telly Awards generate millions of impressions in national and local media.

Fischer is currently at work on a documentary called Freedom Dance with award-winning animator/producer Craig Herron. The story follows the dramatic escape of a cartoonist from Hungary to the United States during the violent 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Last year the IDA selected Freedom Dance for fiscal sponsorship.


News from MJSTP Films Canada

Posted on Wednesday May 24, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Very nice e-mail today from a filmmaker in Canada who came across Freedom Dance and wrote with much interest in starting a dialogue as she offers workshops and classes on animated documentaries. Might be the makings of a good contact for both of us … who knows where these things lead. It’s all about helping one another.

More importantly, it’s another example of how Freedom Dance is impacting the general public. People are finding it and expressing intrigue. Something we’re doing is working….



UK Distributor News

Posted on Tuesday May 23, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Interesting email from a distributor in the UK who found out about Freedom Dance from Channel 4’s FourDocs series. The distributor releases movies through alternative mediums. Too early to get excited about anything, but I’m happy that our connection with Channel 4/FourDocs is leading to this kind of exposure!



Documentary in Europe; Houdini in Squat Betty

Posted on Monday May 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Sent off Freedom Dance to Torino, Italy for the Docs in Europe film market. Fingers crossed…..

Also sent Houdini to a showcase in the south of England called Squat Betty Film Club. Good exposure to a new audience.

Continued work on the new Jim Camacho music video plus daily duties on Freedom Dance .... read the rest of the web logs for the details on the continued search for money, support, sales, editing, and music scoring.

Too tired to go on tonight. Until next time,



AHF Gala

Posted on Saturday May 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Tonight attended the much anticipated gala just outside DC hosted by the American Hungarian Federation

Many, many, many thanks to the AHF and especially its VP Bryan Dawson who has expreessed such generosity and support to Freedom Dance over these past months.

The evening was filled with style and ostentation, dancing, music, and networking. Bryan let us set up a table. So I basically worked the room and introduced as many people as I could to the movie. Got several new emails on the email list, met one fellow who was from Chicago and expressed eagerness in spreading the word about Freedom Dance to the Hungarian community back there.

Much more to tell but it’s all a jumble in my mind now … will return later to tell the story of this enchanted evening.



FourDocs Channel 4 UK

Posted on Friday May 19, 2006 by Steven Fischer

A rep from FourDocs wrote today asking about Freedom Dance. I contacted them months ago. They are interested in putting a four-minute version on their web site. Channel 4 is a major independent programmer in the UK. The ball is rolling! The short version should be uploaded soon … I’m excited to see where this could lead.



Freedom Dance to WHTJ Charlottesville

Posted on Tuesday May 16, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Thanks to actress and versatile tv personality Leanna Chamish, the Freedom Dance proposal is off to the acquisitions department of the PBS affiliate WHTJ Charlottesville to, hopefully, be part of the ITVS LINCS program.



IFP New York

Posted on Tuesday May 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Proposal sent today for the IFP Market! Fingers crossed.



Maryland Film Fest, SilverDocs, and much more

Posted on Wednesday May 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

May and June are filling up. In addition to preparing for IFP New York, continuing to edit Freedom Dance, and work on paid gigs for Blue Dot (cartoons) and NVCC-TV in Northern Virginia (writing/producing a show on regional animation), the Maryland Film Festival begins May 11. Actor-friend Michael Styer has a piece in the fest called A Short Film Regarding Possibility which screens Friday, May 12 at 9:30pm at the Charles IV Theater! Check it out if you’re in Baltimore!

On May 14, Peggy Davison (of The Angels fame, and step-mom to our attorney Diane Davison) will be performing at the Cedarhurst Cafe in Finksburg, Maryland.

On May 19, actor-friend Brian Naughton, who just played a part with John Heard in a recent pilot shot in DC, is being honored along with Steve Jackson by the local filmmaking community at a celebration to be held at Johns Hopkins University.

May 20 is of course the big gala event in DC for the American Hungarian Federation at which I will set up a table promoting Freedom Dance.

The Regional Emmy’s are June 10. And SilverDocs begins June 13 and runs to the 18th.

Somewhere throughout this I’ve got work to do on Jim Camacho’s music video, Colors, which has a deadline of August.

Thank the Lord for espresso! Liquid life.



Jim Camacho, Fools' Paradise, New York City!

Posted on Tuesday May 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Back from New York City where for the past couple days I’ve been shooting simultaneously two Jim Camacho projects. For those unaware, not only is Jim a well known indie rock-n-roll artist, proficient writer, and wise businessman, he and his wife Deen also happen to be two of the sweetest, truest people one will ever have the pleasure of knowing.

The work was exhausting but greatly satisfying, and best described by these excerpts from my production journal:

The music video shoot: “very early call time. Wasn’t sure if Jim, being a rock-n-roll, up all night/sleep all day kind of guy would make it. Thankfully, his wife had the good sense and loving interest to tickle his toes at just the right time.

Good that Jim showed up on set half a sleep and dishoveled. It adds to the authenticity of the character. In the Colors video, a lonely and forelorn figure wallows in his own self inflicted isolation and loses himself in painful thoughts of all his losses in life: friends, lovers, opportunities, etc.

The shoot is guerilla and raw, gritty and real. Available light, stealing shots, tried to make use of NY’s existing (and wonderfully real) urban grit. It’s Mean Streets meets A Hard Day’s Night. Shot a bit in a taxi cab moving across the Brooklyn Bridge. Nice.”

Jim’s Musical: “Jim is in NYC this weekend showcasing his well-written musical Fools’ Paradise. He asked if I would shoot a mini-documentary about the troupe’s trip to the Big Apple. Good idea. It’ll be edited by a friend of his in L.A. Interviews of the cast, crew, standard b-roll of everyone getting ready and making things happen. As we haven’t the money for proper field audio, but access to a good lavelier, I am planning for the doc to be interview driven.

Too tired to go on … more later! zzzzzzz



The Hilberts are in Freedom Fighter 56

Posted on Monday May 1, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Ed and Judy’s story is now up at Freedom Fighter 56. Click on the link and scroll down until you see their names on the left.

Many thanks to Andrea Lauer at Lauer Learning in Atlanta for inviting the Hilberts, and in effect, helping to announce Freedom Dance.

Over the summer there will be a book published called 56 Stories which collects personal memories from 56 survivors of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The Hilberts’ story, complete with some of Ed’s cartoons are to be included!



Camp Med wins Award of Distinction!

Posted on Wednesday April 26, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Hey! Camp Med, my German Expressionist-influenced short promotion video for Virginia Hospital Center and Northern Virginia Community College, won The Award of Distinction at the 2006 Videographer Awards in Arlington, Texas!

I’m told there were over 2,300 entries from around the world. An honor indeed to win!


Freedom Dance Trailer off to the Frozen Moon

Posted on Monday April 24, 2006

Today sent off our newly completed 1min. 30 sec. trailer for Freedom Dance to the Frozen Moon Competition in Wales.

Fingers crossed. Winning will mean big exposure in the UK!

Many thanks again to Phil Rosensteel for doing the voice over (check out his movie Letters from Madison), and Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown for all the extra efforts!



Prep for New Jim Camacho Video

Posted on Saturday April 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

With Freedom Dance webmaster and colorist John Bintz today making final preparations for another Jim Camacho video—this one to include not only a music video, but behind-the-scenes footage of Fools’ Paradise the new musical by Jim. The play is showcasing in New York next week. We will be there for that (recording cinema verite-style the cast and crew prearing for this big event).

Will also shoot a new Camacho music video for his up-coming album, Beachfront Defeat (Broken Records/TMG/Synergy Distribution).



Freedom Dance Screens at LA Entertainment Conference

Posted on Saturday April 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today Freedom Dance, as a 12 minute work-in-progress, screened in Los Angeles at the legendary Raleigh Studios as part of the LA Entertainment Conference. Many thanks to my sister Michele Fischer and Kirk Twyman for making it possible!



Trailer Complete

Posted on Friday April 21, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Thanks to Sound Designer Kevin Hill at Studio Unknown and Phil Rosensteel, who supplied the voice over, the Freedom Dance trailer is complete!



Freedom Dance Trailer

Posted on Friday April 14, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Much activity cutting the trailer this week and next. Hope to have the 2 minute piece done within a couple weeks.



American Hungarian Federation Invites Freedom Dance to Gala

Posted on Friday April 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Official invitation arrived today from Bryan Dawson and the American Hungarian Federation for Freedom Dance to appear at a gala May 20 in Washington, DC to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revloution.

Many thanks to Bryan and the AHF for their generosity!


Fischer in New York City

Posted on Friday March 31, 2006

This week was in NYC for a couple days continuing to shop Freedom Dance. Had lunch with Jake Boritt. Jake is producing a 1956-themed movie called From Budapest to Gettysburg about his father, renowned Abraham Lincoln expert Gabor Boritt. Jake is a real nice guy with a strong track record. I hope we will be able to help one another with our projects.

Met with the owner and COO of Art 4 Love Gallery. I’d received a mass emailing from them as part of a campaign to obtain new artwork. I printed the email, went up to their office, and introduced myself and Freedom Dance, making note of our gallery shows in Baltimore and Sterling.

Overall, the meeting went well. Too early to tell yet, but they are interested in helping to exhibit and shop the artwork from the movie as well as a possible screening early next year. More details to come….

Attended the opening of Two Yeats Plays directed by friend and mentor Sam McCready.

A busy trip as always keeping up relations and in general, pounding the pavement. Time will tell where it all leads.


Proposals Away!

Posted on Sunday March 26, 2006

After some intense reworking of the our proposal, it is off today to PBS and CPB. Fingers crossed.

Exhausted but satisfied.


Publicity for Freedom Dance; and PBS!

Posted on Thursday March 23, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I to meet tomorrow with a publicist who is interested in helping us promote the movie! Good. We need all the help we can get in that department.

Meanwhile, I am finishing up two proposals … one for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and one for PBS for finishing funds. I am hoping our being sponsored by The International Documentary Association will make funding our project that much more attractive.

We’ll see.

Finishing up on details with Kirk Twyman for the Freedom Dance screening at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles next month. It’s a great opportunity. You never know who attends these things.

Thanks again, Kirk!



The Budapest Sun Writes...

Posted on Monday March 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Received word today from an editor at The Budapest Sun (Hungary’s largest English language newspaper) with interest in an article on Freedom Dance.

We’ll see where it leads! Big smile!

Also—a big congratulations to my friend, romance writer Christine Zampi, who is nominated for a Golden Heart Award !



Fischer Speaks at National Broadcasting Society Annual Convention

Posted on Thursday March 16, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Well, sort of. A colleague of mine (Brian Naughton … also an actor. You may have caught him on Homicide or The West Wing ) had invited me to be one of 50 selected professionals to speak with college students attending the convention (which was held this year in Crystal City, Virginia).

We sat in twos at big round tables. Students would spend about 10 or 15 minutes at each table, alternating for about 2 or 3 hours. It was a whirlwind, and very exciting. To sit with folks who are just starting their careers put me back to when I was just starting out professionally, and all the energy and optimism and (for me) grandiose dreams of excessive success!

Our job was to answer questions thye had about starting out and briefly tell them what we’ve learned along the way. All the students I talked to were very polite, professional, energetic and genuinely grateful for the opportunity.

I was glad to have the chance to give back. So many people have helped me along the way in my career. It’s a continuation of one big circle that we all help to keep moving.

Terry Adams, VP for Alumni and Professional Services at NBS-AERho, had this to say afterwards in a special thank you e-mail:

The students loved it. The Career Focus session was a definite highlight for them. For some (the seniors) it was an opportunity to show resumes and network. For others (the underclassmen) it was an eye-opening experience that taught them things about the electronic media that don’t come through in the classroom. Comments I’ve gotten from students include:

“I felt so important…I mean, all of these executives came here just to talk to us!”

“Wow, you know, I keep hearing about what a cutthroat world it is working in TV, but I had no idea broadcasters were so NICE.”

“I had no idea there were so many radio options. I never really thought about radio, but that session has me thinking about it now.”

“Oh my God…there is SO much out there…how am I going to figure out where to go next???”

And my personal favorite, overheard from a girl talking on her cell phone in the lobby area after the session, “MOM!!! You will NEVER guess who I was just sitting at a table with!”

My tablemate was a wonderful lady named Dackeyia Sterling, who is best known for publishing the entertainment directory Entertainment Power Players. She’s a wonderful energy about her, a beautiful light, a go-out-and-get-it attitude, and a smile that brightens up a room.

Overall, today was pretty darn good. Special thanks to Brian Naughton and Terry Adams for asking me to participate!



PressBox Publishes Houdini News

Posted on Sunday March 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Pressbox UK recently published news about Houdini’s win at the 27th Annual Telly Awards. Check it out! Click here.



Screening at L.A. Entertainment Conference

Posted on Tuesday February 28, 2006 by Steven Fischer

With thanks to my sister Michele Fischer and Kirk Twyman, Freedom Dance as a work in progress will be screened this April at the legendary Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, California during the Los Angeles Entertainment Conference & Talent Showcase (April 22, 2006). Click on Kirk’s name for details.

The screening will also include a 10 minute “Behind the Scenes” video about the making of Freedom Dance.



"Camp Med" Wins at Telly Awards!

Posted on Friday February 24, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Camp Med was also a winner at the 27th Annual Telly Awards, in the Film/Video: Information catagory. Camp Med is a promotion short I wrote, produced, and directed last summer for Virginia Hospital Center and NVCC Medical Education Campus.

The story focuses on a school girl who excitedly writes a “what I did this summer” report about her experience at a real-life medical education camp for pre-teens.

The piece starred a talent young actress named Caroline Gotschall. She’s professional beyond her years, and photographs very well. Lance Graham took care of my sound (production and post) and did a fantastic job! He’s also a soulful composer. Check out his tunes.

The piece first aired in October on NVCC-TV. According to Don Johnson, Outreach Specialist at MEC, the video has been screened for over 3,500 middle school students as far south as Richmond and as far north as Camden, New Jersey in efforts to increase awareness about this unique educational camp. The video will also screen in Atlanta at the Career College Transition Initiative conference in March, and again at the Virginia Community College System Conference in Roanoke, Virginia in April.

The Telly Awards are a major competition in the national advertising, television, and video production fields and is one of the most sought-after awards by leading industry firms, production companies, and ad agencies. Designed by the same firm that makes the Oscar® and Emmy®, the Telly statuette weighs more than 4 1/2 pounds. Each year, the Telly Awards generates millions of impressions in national and local media.

Enough of that. Onward we move…



"Houdini" Wins at Telly Awards!

Posted on Friday February 24, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Houdini, the magical music video for indie rock troubadour Jim Camacho won bronze at the 27th Annual Telly Awards in the Music Video catagory!

It’s an exciting accolade for those of us who worked on the video, a crew made up of:

Steven Fischer, Director
Craig Herron, Visual Effects Animator
Joe O’Ferrell, Director of Photography
Pipo Bonamino, Editor
Ryan Foster, Key Grip
Johnny Sullivan, Hair Effects
Anastacia Anderson, Actress
Thea Maichle and Gregg Landry at BlueRock Productions LLC

My sincere thanks go to the crew for making Houdini what it is: a highly imaginative and effects-heavy work of art.

Joe O’Ferrell is a busy director/shooter based in Bel Air, Maryland. (Click on his name to visit his web site and read about his feature: Franky’s Heaven which had an impressive premiere at the Senator Theater.) Joe’s camera and grip package (which included a dolly with curve track) gave the video its high quality look. He also brought Ryan “Hippie” Foster, a fellow I’d not met before, but who proved easy to work with, knowledgeable, friendly, and dedicated to his projects.

NOTE – On March 23, a new movie Joe shot, Holler Creek Canyon, about a group of friends embarking on a camping adventure to an idyllic location in the mountains only to fall prey to a horrific attacker, premieres at Gardel’s Supper Club in Baltimore, Maryland!

Craig Herron’s highly competitive animation and composite work (we shot green screen) gave the video it’s wonderfully creepy aesthetics that contributed so much to the emotion of the piece.

Anastacia Anderson’s wonderful ability to be wickedly beautiful on screen brought the perfect quality to the story’s antagonist. Check out her page on My Space:

Thanks to Johnny Sullivan we were able to give the convincing illusion that Jim was hanging upside down. Johnny came all the way from West Virginia to deliver a can of Ice Spiker Blast … a powerful concoction of hair spray and glue which allowed him to spike Jim’s very long hair about a foot off his head. (We then shot Jim standing upright and when Craig flipped the image, Jim looked as though he was helplessly suspended upside down.) Johnny is also a certified stunt coordinator (studied in Australia) and a martial artist. His fight scene choreography is amazing!

BlueRock Productions LLC, as always, is a fantastic place to shoot. Thanks to Thea for being there for us and helping us out at a moments notice. And many thanks to Gregg Landry for his friednly hospitality and generous deal on their 40×60 foot sound stage!

Pipo! I only recently met Pipo Bonamino in person (though we’d talk on the phone while he was editing the video). I’d never relinquished like this before, but I sent all the footage to him in Miami and let him have at it with his own gifted storytelling sensibilities (guided by my storyboards and Jim’s creative input). Pipo is a generous host, a friendly fellow to work with, and a strong storyteller.

You can see the Houdini video at the film/video page of Right Cut Media

Houdini appears on Jim Camacho’s 2005 CD, Stalker Songs. For details, check out Jim Camacho dot com



Meeting at American Hungarian Federation

Posted on Thursday February 16, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Meeting tonight with the board of directors of the AHF in DC at the National Press Building. It was nice of them to invite me as part of their agenda had to do with films about or taking place during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. It also gave me a chance to thank the board personally for all their generosity and support.

The AHF is putting together some events this year to commemorate the anniversary of the revolution. Bryan Dawson, one of the Federation’s Vice Presidents, has generously invited Freedom Dance to be included.

Met some very nice people tonight, all obviously of Hungarian decent. I hope to keep in touch and develop this relationship. They are a good group and very giving of their time and resources.



A Taste of Animation at Waddell Art Gallery

Posted on Wednesday February 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Dropped off Freedom Dance artwork to Miguel De Angel who is curating an exhibit titled A Taste of Animation at the Waddell Art Gallery on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College in Sterling, Virginia (AKA Loudoun).

Miguel is a superb illustrator and animator, and very active in the regional animation scene. This exhibit spotlights work from regional animators Bill Brown, Andy Koelbl, Phil Cook, Manfried Spinkmoller, and of course, from Craig, me, and Edward.

No original work of Miguel’s though. I asked him why not. Since he’s curating the show, he said, he didn’t want to give the impression he was only interested in creating a vehicle for his own work. This attitude is typical of Miguel’s generous nature.

A Taste of Animation opens February 20 and runs to March 17, 2006! Check it out if you can.

Gallery address:
Northern Virginia Community College – Loudoun Campus
1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway
Sterling, Virginia 20164

web: Gallery Web Page

Thanks, Miguel, for inviting Freedom Dance to be part of the show!



Show Closes at Jewish Community Center

Posted on Saturday February 11, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Yesterday the Freedom Dance art show officially closed at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. We sold quite a few pieces of original Freedom Dance drawings.

Many thanks to curator Claudine Davison and Marketing Coordinator Robin Rose-Samuels for all their support and help with the exhibit, and to Howard Davidov and the gallery volunteers for their help setting up the show.

Also thanks for Beery Adams from Mayor Martin O’Malley’s Office; Bryan Dawson from the American Hungarian Federation; Karoly Dan from the Embassy of Hungary; and Essence Pierce from Advocates for Survivors of Torture & Trauma; Baltimore Magazine; Maryland Public Television; and Fox News for their generous support of the exhibit. And thanks go to all who attended the January 22 reception and to those who purchased artwork. Your appearance and support really meant a lot to us!

The show now moves to the Waddell Gallery in Sterling, Virginia. More news to follow…



Crabtree Publishing Calls

Posted on Friday February 10, 2006 by Steven Fischer

John Bintz came by tonight and we (he) continued cutting still photos of Judy for motion manipulation (an effect John lovingly and fashionably calls “Ken Burns”. I just agree with the idea of exploring a photo). While John cut photos, I continued cutting the movie while working on an original score for the music track.

Now when you’re working with John and his lap top is invovled, be prepared for the occasional outburst of Napoleon Dynamite lines which he has somehow downloaded onto his computer.

“We made one-hundred and twenty-five dollars today.”
“So what! I can make that in five seconds!”

It makes for a fun work environment.

After a dinner break courtesy of the local pizza delivery place (“Tina, you fat lard, come get some DINNER!... Tina, eat. Food. Eat the FOOD!”), I received an email from Bryan Dawson at the American Hungarian Federation. Apparently, the publisher at Crabtree Publishing in New York emailed him asking advice on obtaining photos of the 1956 Revolution for a true-to-life book they are releasing.

Bryan wrote back with some advice and copied me on the reply. He included a line to the publisher that there was this Emmy-nominated producer in town making a movie that took place during the Revolution and he might be able to help in her search.

I was happy to be included. A new door to open. A new avenue to explore. So while John sat at one end of the desk cutting photos on his lap top, I sat at the other end composing an email of my own, which I immediately sent to the publisher, introducing myself and Freedom Dance and offering whatever assistance I could.

I ended the email listing the Freedom Dance web address and my phone number. And about an hour later (remember this is about 8 pm on a Friday night) the phone rang. It was the publisher herself!

By this time I was in the kitchen mixing a batch of chocolate chip cookies for lunch at friend’s house tomorrow. With much excitement the publisher tells me shes just read my email and was interested in learning more about the Hilberts and their escape story, as she too escaped in 1956 (as a young child).

Actually, we first discovered a mutual interest in metaphysics, which dominated the first part of the conversation. Then we shared our two stories. I found the conversation delightful and exciting, and I’m curious to see where it all leads.

Occasionally the oven buzzer would ring. “What’s that?” the publisher would ask. “I’m baking cookies. We’re working on the movie downstairs and I’m making cookies up here.”

She laughed approvingly. Meanwhile, I’m balancing a cookie tray in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Thank God for head sets.

It’s the way to do business, I believe. There’s no reason why a person can’t enjoy the work they do, accomplish the business at hand and still have time for chocolate chip cookies. It brightens the agenda.

“What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?”
“Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh! ”

Meanwhile, we’ll see where the contact with Crabtree Publishing leads. The publisher is to be in DC this spring at a book expo and she is interested in meeting the Hilberts then. I hope it works out that way.

Tired. Exhausted, actually, but extremely satisfied.



Unexpected Meeting at City Dock Cafe

Posted on Monday February 6, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Took afternoon coffee at City Dock Cafe (one of my long-time hangouts in the quaint historic district of Annapolis).

There’s something revitalizing about being a little cafe that’s carved out of an old colonial home, warm sunlight filtering through the glass, staining the wood walls with patches of amber; the smell of coffees, the hum of conversation, the tinkling of the bell whenever the front door opens.

While I sat sketching in my sketchbook, I couldn’t help but over hear the woman next to me comment into her cell phone about the production of a commercial. Curiosity got the best of me, and, as we seemed to share a profession, after she hung up, I asked if she produced commericals. (What a horrible sentence … but too tired to think about grammar and structure. Insert sad face.)

Well, it turns out what she’s actually producing at the moment is a documentary! The conversation thickened.

We spent nearly 30 minutes talking about our respective projects and visiting one another’s web site on her lap top.

Coffee. The great connector.

Called Miguel deAngel about the art show in Loudoun, Virginia. It’s coming up and we need to get some Freedom Dance artwork to him! More details about that show coming soon!



National Broadcasting Society Comes a Callin'

Posted on Sunday February 5, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Colleague and long-time friend Brian Naughton aclled today with an invitation for me to speak at the National Broadcasting Society’s convension next month in Crystal City, Virginia. He’s bringing together about 50 professionals to talk with college students who are pursuing careers in radio and television and video production. A great honor to be asked … maybe he thinks I know what I’m doing! :0)

Of course I accepted the invitation (I mean, really, how many times to you get thought of this way?) Also, I like the idea of giving back, offering what I can to someone just starting out … after all, so many people had helped me along the way.

There’s also another reason, perhaps more self-centered. I’m in production on a major project, it’s valuable to keep my face and name out there. I have to keep active and productive. This, I’ve discovered on past projects, can yield to long term benefits not only for the movie you’re working on, but for a person’s career in general.



Edward and Judy Hilbert and Chicken Paprika

Posted on Saturday February 4, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Edward and Judy invited Craig, his wife Barbara, and me to their place for an authentic Hungarian dinner. It was a beautiful gesture, and the evening was delightful.

We’ve been working on Freedom Dance since Summer 2004 and never really socialized this way, just the five of us, a quiet evening among established friends. I think it’s great when moviemakers and their subjects get a long so amiably. Makes the production less bumpy.

Judy made chicken paprika and for dessert, homemade chocolate-dipped fruit and Hungarian-style cherry pie. It was all delicious, made more so by the engaging company and easy-going conversation. “You know all about us,” Edward said to Craig, Barbara and I at the dinner table. “Let’s learn about you for a change.” (Classic documentary humor. The subjects reveal and share so much for the filmmaker, who for the most part usually remains anonymous. We are very lucky to have the open and congenial relationship that we do with our subjects. The project itself benefits so much from it.)

Tired. Off to bed.


Freedom Dance on the move

Posted on Friday February 3, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Continued editing the “Making of…” documentary today at BlueRock ... really coming along … footage of the SS John W. Brown recording sessions; the gallery reception (at which we recorded some terrific interviews with Karoly Dan, Bryan Dawson, and a host of others); and footage of the animation process.

I think it’s important to show potential investors and supporters just what it is we’ve been up to in getting this movie made. A picture really does tell a thousand words.

Craig completed some really nice animation for the Bremerhaven embarking sequence (towards the end of the movie, just before the climactic Ocean Voyage scene). In the sequence there’s lots of atmospheric fog, smoke from the smoke stacks, and of course, the machinery typical of a working dock. He’s very excited by it and proud. I think that emotion from him is evident in the scene, a quality which greatly benefits the project.

Attended the opening of Coole Lady tonight in Baltimore. This is a terrific one-woman show performed beautifully by Joan McCready and written and directed by her husband, Sam McCready. In 2004 I travelled with the McCreadys and shot documentary footage of the Ireland tour of Coole Lady, the story of Lady Gregory, founder (foundress?) of Ireland’s National Theatre. Last year the show was picked up by a theatre in New York and ran off-Broadway for 3 or 4 weeks.



Four Docs Channel 4 UK

Posted on Thursday February 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Word today that Channel 4 in the UK is looking for documentaries for their Four Doc series (4 minute docs exhibited on the web). Have cut a 4 minute version of Freedom Dance and will send it to ‘em for consideration. Would make for great advertising.



A Moving Letter from South America

Posted on Tuesday January 31, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Wanted to share a very stirring email from a relative of the Hilberts in Brazil, sent to Edward’s daughter after having visited the Freedom Dance web site. The author’s father had also escaped Hungary.

As Craig rightly observed, if our project can generate this kind of response then what more proof do we need to know we are on to something pretty special…

The letter:

“I was just having a look at the Freedom Dance site and you have no idea how much I am crying inside, the eyes full of tears and controlling my self not to let anyone at the office see. This is such a beautiful, impressing and romantic story, and I started to think of my father, who had not exactly the same, but certainly a very similar range of adventures and uncertainnes. It made me try to imagine how hard it might have been for them to leave their homes, the loved country, their lives, family and friends.

They are certainly very special people, who new how to fight for their wishes and their future, learning to suffer and transform suffering to hope. (Sometime I simply feel my English is not enough to translate my feeling and what I really mean.)

Please tell your father, he made me cry and he touched me with this beautiful story of them.”



Freedom Dance Art Exhibit Reception!

Posted on Sunday January 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Tremendous turn out for today’s reception at the Norman & Sarah Art Gallery. Sold about a dozen pieces of original Freedom Dance artwork. Big attendance, I thought.

Cultural Attache Karoly Dan was there from the Embassy of Hungary and gave a speech, as did Beery Adams from the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore and Bryan Dawson from the American Hungarian Federation, all supporters of the movie.

Rightly so, Edward was quite the star attraction and I think enjoyed the spotlight.

Leanna Chamish and Phil Rosensteel from BlueRock Productions LLC were there as our official news crew, capturing interviews of all the dignitaries and capturing a lot of b-roll that I can cut into our “Making of…” documentary.

John Bintz served as official photographer … look for photos in the Promotional Photos section of this web site.

Karoly approached me at one point during the party and said he and Bryan Dawson were talking and they would like to hold a joint fund raiser between the Embassy and the Federation sometime in the spring to benefit Freedom Dance! Very exciting! Will hope to report many updates on that as these next few months pass.

After the reception, about 8 of us went out to dinner. Overall, it was a great day.

Thanks again to Claudine, Robin, Howard, and all the volunteers at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore for making this gallery show possible!



Fischer, Hilbert Fox Interview

Posted on Friday January 20, 2006 by Steven Fischer

This morning Edward and I appeared on Fox 45’s morning news in Baltimore to promote the Freedom Dance exhibit and Sunday’s reception. It went well.

Patrice Harris conducted the live broadcast interview and, upon seeing the playback of a VHS recording, I noticed they switched to the animation from the movie quite a bit during our couple of minutes on screen. I was glad for that. Patrice also directed a considerable amount of questions to Edward, which I was glad. It was more important, I thought, to focus on him … his story … his art. The movie gets its promotion simply by ramification.

John Bintz was there as our official photographer and got a nice shot of us … check the photo gallery under Promotional Photos. Also, look for the audio of the interview in the News section of this web site!

Also in the News Section you’ll find the audio from the MPT interview! It came out really nice.



Roco Films International

Posted on Wednesday January 18, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Today got word from Roco Films International film distribution company that they are intrigued by our project and want to see the the work-in-progress (a rare honor for a company of such magnitude to request a work-in-progress!). Am preparing the package now.



The Baltimore Sun Calls

Posted on Tuesday January 17, 2006 by Steven Fischer

More promotion possibly on the horizon.

Glenn McNatt told me today that he was interested in seeing the Freedom Dance gallery show at the JCC. I am hoping he will write a piece about it in his Baltimore Sun column. A few years ago, Glenn wrote the most complimentary review of my Carl Clark documentary. He’s a generous writer and blessed with strong insight. A review from him about the gallery show would be terrific!



The Gigi Inc Show Testimony

Posted on Sunday January 15, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Did I mention the recent quote from Gigi Iam, hostess of The Gigi Inc Show (Comcast/Time-Warner Cable), about Freedom Dance?

As you may remember, Craig and I were festured on her Los Angeles-based program recently. Here’s what Gigi had to say about the movie:

” will stand up and cheer, ‘Encore! Encore!’ This is brilliant work.”

It’ll look nice on the DVD cover. Thanks, Gigi!



Hilberts' Story to be Published in Book

Posted on Thursday January 12, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Was recently talking with Andrea Lauer in Atlanta who operates Freedom Fighter 56 about Edward and Judy and Freedom Dance.

Andrea is publishing a book entitled 56 Stories which will collect testimonies from 56 survivors of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The Hilberts story is to be included! She will also publish pages from Edward’s journal. This is very exciting! It means another avenue to promote the Hilberts story and the movie.

Looking forward to more developments.



Freedom Dance on MPT

Posted on Thursday January 12, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Tonight Maryland Public Television aired the interview of Craig and me on their original program ArtWorks This Week.

I thought it came out very well. I liked how they cut the drawings from the gallery show into our interview. Came out really nice.

The show will repeat Thursday morning at 6:00am, and Saturday morning at 9:00am

Check it out if you’re in Maryland.



Freedom Dance Exhibit Opens!

Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2006 by Steven Fischer

The exhibit opens today!!

If you’re in the Baltimore area, please stop by the Norman & Sarah Art Gallery at the Jewish Community Center and check out the original drawings from the movie Freedom Dance (on sale to raise finishing funds!). Admission into the exhibit is FREE.

5700 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, Maryland USA 21215

Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Thursday: 11:00am-3:00pm
Friday: 10:00am-2:00pm
Sunday 12:00-2:00pm

Meet the Artist and filmmakers
Sunday, January 22; 3:00pm


With honored guest speakers:
His Excellency Andras Simonyi, Ambassador of Hungary
and Mr. Karoly Dan, Cultural Attache, Embassy of Hungary

In special tribute to:
Mr. Edward Hilbert, the artist, in person

Call Claudine Davison at 410.542.4900×239, or email for show details and group tours.


PressBox publishes Freedom Dance Interviews!

Posted on Sunday January 8, 2006 by Steven Fischer

PressBox in the UK published two news items on upcoming interviews I have with Craig on Maryland Public television, and with Edward on the Fox morning show in Baltimore later this month. Check ‘em out:

Freedom Dance News



Herron, Fischer at the International Rescue Committee and Youth Refugee Project

Posted on Saturday January 7, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I met with reps from the Refugee Youth Project and the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore today. (Another follow up from the Summit.) We chatted about how we could mutually benefit one another’s goals. We’ll see how it all pans out.

I had hoped Edward’s and Judy’s “refugee makes good in America” story could serve as inspiration for some of the IRC’s newer cases. Or maybe Craig, Edward, and I could offer a workshop on how cartoon art can be used effectively to express and communicate. In return, maybe we’ll receive an endorsement or donation from the organization or a venue for a special screening.

At least the door is open and communication working.



Fischer, Herron, Freedom Dance on MPT

Posted on Monday January 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

On-camera interview this morning with Maryland Public Television for their program, Artworks. I’m excited to see what they cut together. The interview will air in Maryland first on Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 PM and will repeat Saturday, January 14, 9:00 AM, Monday, January 16, 5:30 AM.

Katrina Threat conducted the interview and focused, thankfully, on the heart of the movie, which hopefully will allow audiences to discover the soul of the project.

I heard the camera operator thinking outloud about shot composition (Craig and I were placed next to each other in one of the edit suites at BlueRock Productions)

“When we get going,” I announced (warned?), “it sometimes turns into a Marx Brothers skit.”

She laughed. “I’ll be prepared for anything, then.”

(It’s true. We get silly. At one point in the interview, Craig started rocking back and forth in his chair. The Director asked him politely to stop. I leaned over and grabbed his shoulders looking back to the crew and saying, “Here, I’ll hold him steady! Go ahead, ask your questions.” Silly stuff.)

Afterwards, Craig arranged for Edy Bondroff to join us for lunch and then the three of us—along with Claudine and a couple of her volunteers at the JCC, a sweet Parisian named Arlette and a fun-loving fellow named Howard—started laying out the framed Freedom Dance artwork and began hanging the show. (We completed about three-quarters of the exhibit in 5 long hours.)

Howard showed an interest in the animation Craig was creating for the movie and as it turns out, hemay be helping us in the art department.

Too tired to continue. But it was a wonderfully busy day with good accomplishments.



Fischer, Hilbert Fox 45 Interview

Posted on Monday January 2, 2006 by Steven Fischer

A wonderfully busy, full, and active day during which a lot was accomplished. Started very early with a few emails then off to BlueRock Productions for a 10 a.m. edit session. An unforeseen delay prevented me from going though. Okay. Fine. A minor delay, change to afternoon edit session. I’m flexible, but what to do until then? Might as well make the best of the situation, find a way to be constructive and have some enjoyment at the same time…

So, stopped at a Caribou Coffee house, got some coffee, settled in a comfy arm chair, opened my day planner and made about a dozen calls, mostly related to Freedom Dance. Followed up to an email from Baltimore’s Fox 45 TV received earlier in the morning. They have scheduled Edward and me to appear on the morning show Friday, January 20 to promote the exhibit.

“With Harold Fisher?” I asked eagerly. (A couple years ago I was on the morning show facing Harold’s questions about The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey. I thought we got on well.)

Called Claudine at the JCC to arrange a time for tomorrow’s hanging (of picture frames … just realized the double meaning. Ha!)

Since Craig and I have the MPT interview tomorrow morning, Claudine asked if we could bring the framed Freedom Dance drawings today to get a jump on the process.

I wasn’t too far from home, and since I had time agreed, drove home, collected the frames I had and drove to the JCC. Called Craig so that he could deliver the framed drawings he was storing at his place.

Also was able to meet with a colleague who might be selling his XL-1.

At last made it to BlueRock for the edit session and got the last little things prepared for tomorrow. (Will deliver to the producer b-roll of Freedom Dance production plus the work-in-progress. Should be nice additions to the interview and make the project more appealing to the audience.)



Maryland Public Television Interview Coming Soon

Posted on Friday December 30, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Dec. 29-30, 2005

Editing all day each day at BlueRock Productions for our interview on January 3 (which will take place in the edit suite Gregg Landry has set me up in).

A production coordinator at MPT had asked for some of the “making of” footage we’d been collecting since beginning production for use as b-roll. The MPT interview is scheduled to air on January 11 … more details as they become available.

Also continuing work on the “Making of…” documentary that will be included on the Freedom Dance DVD. (The reality of independent production is that a person usually wears multiple hats. If you want a making-of documentary to document your movie, then chances are you’ll be making it yourself.)

I’ve always thought the making of a movie should be documented, and will at least keep a journal during any of my productions. I think the time put into a project, the project itself, and the people involved are important enough to document. Once it’s all over, re-reading the journal or re-watching the footage can be quite educational. Inevitably you learn things about yourself and hopefully see where you’re growing and where you still need work!

Have spent enough time on the “Making of” doc., now it’s back to editing the movie itself!

Tired but happy,


Danish Broadcasting Corporation

Posted on Wednesday December 21, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Received an email today from a Danish Broadcasting Corporation program director inquiring about Freedom Dance. The wonders of the internet, and how it connects nations and people, never stop amazing me.

Many thanks then to John ‘It’s a Trap’ Bintz for his masterful web work. The site’s never looked or functioned better.



American Hungarian Federation Becomes New Freedom Dance Supporter!

Posted on Tuesday December 20, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Finished cutting a series of holiday shorts for Northern Virginia Community College. Now I can focus on cutting Edward’s description of The Smuggling (a scene that shows the Hilberts’ initial escape from Budapest).

Some really great news: the American Hungarian Federation has now offered their support to Freedom Dance!


Bryan Dawson, one of the Federation’s Vice Presidents, (and a man who gets things done really fast!) has shown tremendous enthusiasm for Freedom Dance, and has invited Craig, Edward and me to a series of symposiums and a gala events next year (which will celebrate the survivors of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution).

They’ve also included Freedom Dance on their web sites: and

There’s much more offered from the AHF, and I hope to be able to share it here in the near future!

I can’t thank Bryan and everyone at AHF enough for their generosity. I am looking forward to a long relationship with the AHF.



Framing Party!

Posted on Saturday December 17, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Sat. Dec. 17, 2005

This morning Craig and I auditioned Joe Austin for the Freedom Dance narration. Joe’s a mellifluous voice. Very Peter Coyote-ish.

I first heard Joe’s voice in Freedom Dance videogrpaher’s Phil Rosensteel’s movie Letters from Madison. Joe did the voice over. We met and talked at the premiere of Letters… and I soon learned what a gentleman Joe is.

The afternoon was spent with Craig and Barbara at the home of Edy and Steve Bondroff. Edy has been helping us obtain good deals on the many, many frames needed for January’s exhibition at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore.

We framed well over 50 pieces for the exhibit, and there still a few more key pieces to complete.

Many thanks to Edy, Steve, and Barbara for their hospitality and help!

Exhibition details:
Freedom Dance Gallery Show (original art work from the movie on exhibit and FOR SALE to raise finishing funds!)

January 9-February 10, 2006
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg JCC
5700 Park Heights Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
tel: 410-542-4900

  • FREE RECEPTION Sunday, January 22, 2006 from 3-5pm. Special guests Ambassador Andras Simonyi and Cultural Attache Karloy Dan from the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC.



Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma

Posted on Friday December 16, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I met with the director, case workers, and staff at Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma in Baltimore. Representatives from the Advocacy attended the Immigration Summit Craig and I spoke at last month. (I followed up with several organizations I discovered at the summit, and a few now are starting to reply favorably.)

Basically, I e-mailed those organizations I felt were appropriate for Freedom Dance and asked if there was a way we could work together to help acheive one another’s goals.

The people at ASTT are really nice and seem very supportive of our project. Karen Hanscom, Executive Director for ASTT, even said they would advertise our gallery reception in their newsletter! (I sent her ad copy as soon as I returned to my office.)

ASTT has a terrific program for recent émigrés. They provide them with a camera and let them, essentially, photograph their feelings. The pictures are then exhibited with text at a special gathering. Sounds very healing, I think, and something I hope we can be involved in. (I was interested in knowing if they’d do the same with a video camera. I’m sure the resulting documentaries and personal expression pieces would be heart warming, if not heart breaking.)

Special thanks to Karen, Joachim, and everyone at ASTT. We look forward to spending more time with you!



Fischer, Bintz in New York

Posted on Saturday December 10, 2005 by Steven Fischer

December 10, 2005

Some people claim that New York City is crime-ridden ande rude. I have been travelling to NYC for work several times a year since 1996, and in that time I’ve had more positive, heartwarming experiences than any other kind. I guess you receive from an experience what you bring to it.

A couple weeks ago I received news from a fellow in England who was spreading the word around various movie maker communities that he had just started a distribution company and was looking to meet some filmmakers. I replied to the fellow and set up a meeting for today with him in New York. Freedom Dance webmaster and colorist John Bintz came along, and as it turned out, his presence was a life saver.

Being a very busy couple weeks, I hadn’t the time to prepare the Freedom Dance package to my usual professional grade standards. (Didn’t even have a proper cover for the DVD.) It disturbed me, but I compromised in efforts to avoid going completely insane. I lamented to John as we waited for the bus this morning.

John, being the computer whiz that he is, said all he needed was access to the internet and photoshop and he could print a proper-enough DVD cover. So, now sitting over coffee at a little cafe on 42nd and 6th, John called a friend to reference on internet a list of all the mid-town Manhattan Kinkos locations.

We found one 4 blocks from our meeting place with the UK distributor. And with impressive lighting speed, John skillfully navigated between the and Photoshop, creating Frankenstein-style a new—if not makeshift—DVD cover. His precision and speed were impressive. (And appreciated since I was paying for the computer time.)

Sometimes it’s nice living in the future.

It’s also nice having a techno-savvy pal like John Bintz.

We took a leisurely lunch then headed for the meeting roundabout Tribeca. (A sweet oriental cafe with a cheerful staff, and one fellow who gave us free cafe-printed 2006 calenders.)

Spent an hour with the distributor who seemed impressed and interested in Freedom Dance. Time will tell how it all unfolds.

Returned home round 10pm. Exhausted but happily satisfied.



Fox 45, Filmmakers Symposium, Abell Foundation, and Sunrises

Posted on Friday December 9, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Been shooting and editing sunrise footage for a series I am producing for Northern Virginia Communtiy College. Exhausting because of the early morning on top of the already long days, but exciting results!

Received phone call from Fox 45 in Baltimore. They may be covering Freedom Dance and/or the exhibit.

On December 8, Baltimore was host to its 3rd Filmmaker’s Symposium. The symposiums are coordinated by Craig Herron and Gregg Landry (the official videographer for Freedom Dance ), and are held in conjunction with Women in Film & Video’s Maryland chapter. So far they’ve taken place at BlueRock Productions

A couple weeks ago, Craig asked if I’d speak at the symposium as part of a panel which included producer Frank Lama; Kevin Hill (friend and sound designer on Freedom Dance); Leanna Chamish (another friend of mine and TV personality/actress/vampire queen); Phil Rosensteel (a gifted storyteller/filmmaker/musician).

Frank talked about his movie Swarm of the Snakehead; I talked about Houdini and Freedom Dance; Leanna talked about her amazing career as a vampire queen; Kevin talked about his sound design work on Freedom Dance and gave a tour of Studio Unknown ; and Phil talked about his touching new movie, Letters From Madison .

Joe O’Ferrell was there with some of his impressive gear set up for demonstration including a new dolly and a jib. He’s got so much gear …. click on his name to access his site. Any grip and camera needs you have, he can probably fulfill.

Phone meeting today with Abell Foundation about grants for Freedom Dance. Another follow up from contacts made last month at the 2nd Annual Baltimore Immigration Summit.



Freedom Dance Received Fiscal Sponsorship from International Documentary Association!

Posted on Friday November 18, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Many thanks to Klaudia Kovacs, producer of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution documentary “Torn From the Flag”. Klaudia was the one who introduced me to Janice Van Wagner, Fiscal Sponsorship Coordinator at the International Documentary Association. Janice and I had a meeting while I was in Los Angeles this summer. Soon after, I applied for their Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Janice wrote today, “I just wanted to inform you that Freedom Dance has been accepted in the Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Your reviewer found it very interesting with very high artistic merit.”

Yay!!!! We are now under the International Documentary Association’s umbrella. Such a great accomplishment for us.



Steven Fischer, Craig Herron, Edward Hilbert Keynote Speakers at 2nd Annual Baltimore Immigration Summit

Posted on Friday November 18, 2005 by Steven Fischer

What a great day!

At the American Visionary Arts Museum for the 2nd Annual Baltimore Immigration Summit by 7am (the only chance we’d have to coordinate the screening of Freedom Dance DVDs with the AV staff). Met the Mayor of Baltimore at 10 a.m., got photo of Craig and I with him for the web site (as you know, over the summer The Mayor’s Office endorsed Freedom Dance); gave keynote speech with Craig at noon to about 200 people; upon driving back home this afternoon received phone call from Meredith Price, a journalist ith Baltimore Magazine, who had been talking with the Jewish Community Center Marketing Director about the Freedom Dance exhibition. She interviewed me over the phone for an article to be published in the January issue (to promote the exhibit).

Many thanks to Beery Adams at the Mayor’s Office and Elizabeth Clifford, the Summit’s coordinator, for inviting us as keynote speakers, for believing in and supporting Freedom Dance, and for helping with introductions to the Mayor.

Also today received a nice email from a fellow in Canada who’s seen a music-themed cartoon I’d drawn months and months ago (forget where he said he saw it), but wrote asking if it could possibly be used by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. Always flattering when your work is recognized like that.

Such an exciting day. Need more of them!



Work on Speech for 2nd Annual Baltimore Immigration Summit

Posted on Monday November 14, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Was at BlueRock Productions today. Finsihed cutting Edward’s speech for Friday. (Edward will not be able to join us as he will be in hospital.)

Met with Craig to finalize Friday’s speech. Ed stopped by to sign the remainder of Freedom Dance artwork which we will be selling at gallery shows in Maryland and Virginia early next year to raise finishing funds.



Freedom Dance's John Bintz Spotlight at Annapolis Film Festival

Posted on Sunday November 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Attended day 2 of the Annapolis Film Festival to support Freedom Dance webmaster John Bintz and his two animated shorts, Virus and Slippie Slide. Afterwards, John and I met my buddy Jon Sullivan whose Burnt Toast was also selected for screening at the festival. Sullivan recently won a National Emmy! So we all went downtown after the screenings for a celebratory dinner.



Freedom Dance Team Newsmakers: John Bintz Book Signing; Craig Herron at Annapolis Film Festival; Gregg Landry premieres "Hope for Haiti"

Posted on Saturday November 12, 2005 by Steven Fischer

John Bintz, Freedom Dance webmaster and colorist, had a book signing this morning for his new cartoon book, A Moment of Clarity. It was at Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley. I drove up and took some photos of him talking to the kids that came by.

Then it was off to Annapolis to attend the screening of Craig’s A Fall From the Clouds at the Annpolis Film Festival. Craig, Barbara and I sat together in a theater at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, watching and listening for the audience’s reaction. (We three had seen the movie dozens of times.)

The screening was well attended and when the movies finished, a festival moderator asked Craig to stand and talk about A Fall From the Clouds. Craig stood where he’d been sitting in the theater, answering many questions from the audience. Then one person ask, “What are you working on now?”

Craig and I looked at each other and smiled big, both thinking the same thing: “A chance to plug Freedom Dance!!”

“Well,” Craig began, shifting his weight, settling in for a well rehearsed pitch. But to my surprise, Craig layed out his hand and introduced me. I stood and together we told the audience about our partnership on Freedom Dance. The crowd seemed very intrigued. One couple even stayed with us after the event ended to learn more about our upcoming exhibit at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore. And a high school student who had attended the screening awaited us outside the theater to ask more specific questions about animation, a field she said she was interested in purusing.

We talked with her a good while, and in our trademark fashion turned it into a comic routine. (And, really, we’re like the Marx Brothers sometimes!) On the subject of the girl joining the Freedom Dance art department to gain experience, Craig commented, “Yeah, that’d be great. We have another high school student doing some work for us. Her name’s Rachael.” To me, his voice had an intonation that made the line sound leading, as though expecting a reaction to the news. So I played up on it in a cheeky sort of way and said to the girl, “Yeah. Do you know her? Rachael! She’s in high school. You must know her!”

This evening I was in Baltimore at Martin’s West attending the screening of Gregg Landry’s “Hope for Haiti” promotional documentary. Gregg, as you know, is Freedom Dance’s chief videographer and owner of our movie’s host studio, BlueRock Productions LLC.

This summer Gregg travelled to Haiti to shoot this video for one of his clients. Tonight’s gala drew awareness to the movie’s cause, bringing relief to Haiti’s extreme poverty.

An exhausting day (and night), but filled with many wonderful events and friends.



Fischer, Herron Interviewed for The Gigi Inc Show!

Posted on Friday November 11, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today Craig and I had our on-camera interviews for The Gigi Inc Show. These videotaped interviews will be shipped to Iam Entertainment in Los Angeles and will appear on Gigi’s show in January (just in tme to promote the Freedom Dance exhibition).

We shot the interviews at BlueRock Productions in Baltimore. BlueRock is the host studio for Freedom Dance and a terrific full-service production house. Gregg Landry, the studio’s president, is a big-hearted business operator.



Freedom Dance's Steven Fischer in Miami for Premiere of "Houdini"

Posted on Tuesday November 1, 2005 by Steven Fischer

In Miami, Florida now to shoot documentary-style video for veteran indie power pop/rock artist Jim Camacho and his new dvd/cd project Beachfront Defeat (to be released next year). (which is to include shooting interviews with Camacho producers Rat Bastard and Pascal Jacquelin). Also here to attend the premiere screening of “Houdini”, the first music video I directed for Jim.

Was asked to introduce the video to the audience, which I did. A recording of the speech (and Jim’s 7-song show which preceeded the screening exists somewhere).

Many thanks to Joe O’Ferrell, Craig Herron, Ryan “Hippie” Foster, Johnny Sullivan, Anastacia Anderson, Pipo Bonamino, Thea Maichle, and Gregg Landry for making “Houdini” what it is—a highly imaginative and effects-heavy work of art.

We had a very, very, VERY low budget, yet everyone pitched in whole heartedly.

Joe O’Ferrell is a busy director/shooter based in Bel Air, Maryland. (Click on his name to visit his web site and read about his feature: Franky’s Heaven which had an impressive premiere at the Senator Theater.) Joe’s camera and grip package (which included a dolly with curve track) gave the video it’s high quality look. He also brought Ryan “Hippie” Foster, a fellow I’d not met before, but who proved easy to work with, knowledgeable, friendly, and dedicated to his projects.

Craig Herron’s highly competitive animation and composite work (we shot green screen) gave the video it’s wonderfully creepy aesthetics that contributed so much to the emotion of the piece.

Anastacia Anderson’s wonderful ability to be wickedly beautiful on screen brought the perfect quality to the story’s antagonist. Check out her page on My Space:

Thanks to Johnny Sullivan we were able to give the convincing illusion that Jim was hanging upside down. Johnny came all the way from West Virginia to deliver a can of Ice Spiker Blast … a powerful concoction of hair spray and glue which allowed him to spike Jim’s very long hair about a foot off his head. (We then shot Jim standing upright and when Craig flipped the image, Jim looked as though he was helplessly suspended upside down.) Johnny is also a certified stunt coordinator (studied in Australia) and a martial artist. His fight scene choreography is amazing!

BlueRock Productions LLC, as always, is a fantastic place to shoot. Thanks to Thea for being there for us and helping us out at a moments notice. And many thanks to Gregg Landry for his friednly hospitality and generous deal on their 40×60 foot sound stage!

Pipo! I only met Pipo Bonamino in person this trip (though we’d talk on the phone while he was editing the video). I’d never relinquished like this before, but I sent all the footage to him in Miami and let him have at it with his own gifted storytelling sensibilities (guided by my storyboards and Jim’s creative input). Pipo is a generous host, a friendly fellow to work with, and a strong storyteller. I was happy he could join me on stage for the introduction at Miami Globo Theater.

Thanks also to the very lovely Paula Diaz who coordinated the Nov. 1 screening, and for allowing me to speak at the premiere. Each of my visits to Miami has been a happy adventure thanks to Jim and his beautiful circle of warm friends and loving family—notably his wife, Deen, who not only took care of Jim’s make up for us on the shoot, but served as stills photographer on the shoot and at the premiere.

Soon you can see the “Houdini” video at the film/video page of Right Cut Media or at Jim Camacho dot Com


PS: Discovered Cafe Cubano this trip. I’ve been wired for days!


Fischer, Hilbert Party with Ambassador Andras Simonyi at the Hungarian Embassy

Posted on Monday October 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Such a magical night! Cultural Attache Karoly Dan invited Edward and I to a reception at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC. The event served as a remembrance for Hungary’s commendable 1956 uprising against their Communist oppressors.

Edward and I arrived a little before 7pm and entered the ballroom where we were greeted by a receiving line of honored guests and dignitaries. The room was filled with senators, Embassy attaches, wealthy businessmen, and high-ranking officers in smartly decorated uniforms from armies all over the world (I personally noted: Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Hungary, of course, and Russia.)

We sought out Karoly and thanked him for the invitation and the opportunity to introduce so many impressive people to Freedom Dance. (I came armed with promotional postcards.) Earlier in the week, when Karoly wrote me with the invitation, he mentioned Ambassador Andras Simonyi had seen the cut of Freedom Dance, was intrigued by what he saw, and wanted to meet us. I wanted to thank him for his endorsement and maybe get a photo with him for the web site. Later, after opening remarks, speeches, and medals awarded proxy by the President of Hungary, we seized the chance.

Edward and I had just finished taking a promotion photo with the Cultural Attache when Karoly, a tall and distinguished figure with dark eyes and strong, chiseled features, noticed one of the servers carrying a tray of seared sausage cuts.

“Oh, these are great.” He raved. “You must try one.”

I did, and as I filled my mouth Karoly turn on his heels and, speaking with determination, said: “Okay. Now – we find the Ambassador. Follow me!”

Oh, great! I thought sarcastically. I’m about to meet the Ambassador with a mouthful of sausage! I could just imagine a greeting complete with sprays of chewed up meat flying from my mouth.

We approached Ambassador Simonyi. As one can imagine, at such an event the Ambassador’s pretty popular and always surrounded by a crowd. Karoly instructed Edward and I to wait. He went over and at an appropriate time, a few minutes on, brought the Ambassador to us. It was an incredible moment!

Ambassador Simonyi smiled warmly at us and shook my hand, flattering me with compliments about Freedom Dance. He said he was so glad that this movie was being made because it’s “so important” and because of the subject matter, the Hilbert’s story, the creative use of cartoon animation.

“Do you have music for it?” he asked me. No, I admitted. We’re still looking for the right composer. The Ambassador thought for a moment, and then with a serious countenance upon his face looked me square in the eyes and said, “let me think on it”, as though nurturing an idea.

I couldn’t resist. I smiled playfully and pointed, “Don’t tell me you’re a musician!” (In a silly moment I kept picturing the title card on screen: Music by The Ambassador of Hungary as though his title was now a hip stage name.) Imagine my surprise when I learned he really was a musician! I wondered though what he had in mind.

Ambassador Simonyi spent quite a long time with Edward and me, chatting, talking about plans for Freedom Dance and more general conversation. He showed sincere interest in the movie and in us. (Karoly, too, the whole evening, in his attention to us and in that gentle voice of his.) For this we are grateful, and I am happy to have had the chance to say so to both Karloy and the Ambassador.

We met so many exciting and interesting people from all over Europe and America. Most notably was Mickey Hargitay former Mr. Universe (1955) and husband of the late Jayne Mansfield.

It was especially great having Edward with me at the reception. Having your subject with you can be great advertisement. I told him, you’re better than a billboard.

Overall I think the evening was a success. I passed out all of my postcards, talked to high profiles, and planted seeds that I hope to cultivate over the next few months.

Many thanks to Karoly Dan and Ambassador Simonyi for their generous hospitality, supportive friendship, and for sharing such an enchanting, ostentatious evening. (I’m still picking caviar out of my teeth!)



Freedom Dance on the Gigi Inc Show

Posted on Monday October 10, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Iam Entertainment wrote with interest in spotlighting “Freedom Dance” on The Gigi Inc Show, a cable program seen in and around Los Angeles on Comcast/Time Warner Cable Television.

More details as they become available!



John Bintz at SPX

Posted on Saturday September 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer

John Bintz participates at Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. Freedom Dance’s very own webmaster appears at this year’s expo to promote his new book, “A Moment of Clarity Mini-Collection 1”. This 84-page comic is a well done work of cartoon art. Check it out:

Congrats, John!



Bintz and Herron accepted at Annapolis Film Festival

Posted on Friday September 23, 2005 by Steven Fischer

“Freedom Dance” webmaster John Bintz and Freedom Dance Animator/Producer/Director Craig Herron each had original movie’s selected for inclusion at the Annapolis Film Festival (November 11-14).

Congrats, guys!

John had two animated short subjects accepted, “Virus” and “Slippie Slide”. Craig’s multi-award-winning animated short, “A Fall From the Clouds” was also selected. If you’re in the Annpolis area during the fest, please stop in and buy a ticket in support of these fine artists.

Festivals like this one in Annapolis are important opportunities. Activity. Network. Publicity. Promotion. It’s all there. Certainly it’s a chance to celebrate the original works selected, but being active publically like this also gives people another chance to promote their latest project, in our case, “Freedom Dance”!

Make the most of every chance!



Craig Herron Speaks at Women in Film

Posted on Thursday September 22, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig Herron was asked to speak tonight at a Women in Film meeting held in Baltimore about “Freedom Dance”. Great! More publicity. Spreading the word!



Fischer, Herron, and Hilbert to Keynote 2nd Annual Immigration Summit

Posted on Wednesday September 14, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Beery Adams, Outreach Coordinator at the Office of Mayor Martin O’Malley, called me today and invited me, Craig, and Edward to be keynote speakers at the 2nd Annual Baltimore Immigration Summit to be held November 18 at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Such an honor!

I for one am so excited and flattered by the invite. Both Beery and Elizabeth Clifford, the summit’s coordinator, are very interested and excited about Freedom Dance, and feel our subject matter is highly appropriate for the Summit.

Already planning our speech, will screen a bit of the movie. Gregg Landry at Blue Rock Productions will serve as our official photographer for those all-important photo ops.

More updates to come!



SS John W. Brown Boarded by Filmmakers Armed with Microphones!

Posted on Saturday September 3, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I recorded onboard the SS John W. Brown these days with Kevin Hill and Eric Metcalf. Phil Rosensteel from Blue Rock Productions shot a making of documentary and behind-the-scenes interviews with myself, Craig, and Kevin. These interviews will be used as promotion on the DVD of “Freedom Dance”.

Exhausting days, but well worth it. We collected hours of authentic steam-driven mechanics, winches, whistles, crew calls, and useful scene-specific sounds such as a chain-link bunkbed (for the scenes where Edward is sick on the USS General Leroy Eltinge), walking up steal ladders, opening/closing hatches, and even a toilet flush (sounds a bit different on a World War Two-era vessel). Plus shot several detailed reference shots of the ship for our artists and animators.

Thanks again to Michael Schniederman at Project Liberty Ship and the crew of the SS John W. Brown for their hospitality, generosity, and kindness extended to us these two days.



Edward Hilbert Appears in Howard County Times

Posted on Thursday September 1, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today the Howard County Times published an article entitled “Career Offers Animated Look at Enchanted Artist”, honoring Freedom Dance subject and illustrator Edward Hilbert and his long, distinguished career in the arts. The article also mentions Freedom Dance. The journalist, Lane Page, is interested in a follow up article specifically on our movie!



Having Fun While Working on Freedom Dance

Posted on Monday August 29, 2005 by Steven Fischer

A very busy morning. Continued preparation for our sound recording sessions on the SS John W. Brown (set for Sept. 2 and 3). Much to coordinate: meeting places, parking, people, gear, driving directions, etc.

Sent off application for the IDA/A&E IndieFilms Finishing Funds. Fingers crossed.

However, by 11 am I was on the boat with my music producer—and all around sweet guy—Michael Zampi of The Note Factory and good friend/musician extraordinaire, Damion Wolfe. Relaxing enough. Lots of stress-relieving laughter. Much needed.

I was even able to get some work done. While my buddies were swimming in the Severn River, I took the time to phone Rebecca Jessop—friend and hostess of the long running cable magazine show, CineMaryland—who is interested in helping us promote Freedom Dance and the exhibition anyway she can. Called Beery Adams at the Mayor’s Office …. Mayor Martin O’Malley’s endorsement of Freedom Dance on official letterhead has been sent! Should receive it in a day or two and will immediately put it to work for us. Continued to track down former intel chief and Hungarian Revolution escapee Andrew Grove at Standford University’s business school. Left another message with Gabor Csupo’s assistant, following up from my L.A. trip. Spoke again with Deborah Weiner … getting closer to (hopefully) getting WBAL’s support by way of a feature story; talked with Claudine Davison at the JCC about the exhibit; and followed up with an air condition client of mine in Pittsburgh for whom I’ve been drawing cartoons.

My philosophy: there’s no reason why work can’t be enjoyable. Find the adventure in it. Have fun with it if you can. And besides … what better way to start a business phone meeting than exclaiming, “Hey! I’m calling from my friend’s cruiser…” I’ve found that such fun and excitement from a person can ease what otherwise could turn out to be a stuffy business call. That fun and excitement also influences in the positive, helping a person achieve their goals.

Make a plan, create a list of things that need to get done to accomplish the plan, and have fun while you’re checking things of that list. Above all, find the adventure in the pursuit of your dreams … That’s what it’s about for me.

~Steven Fischer


Exhibit Prep and a Slovak Meal

Posted on Sunday August 28, 2005 by Steven Fischer

With Edward and Craig at Edward’s place cataloging all the art work drawn so far for Freedom Dance. Well over 100 layouts and character poses. About 50 pieces will be selected for January’s exhibit at the Jewish Community Center.

Judy cooked us a scrumptious Slovak dish, a kind of stew made with tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, rice, and slices of sausage (well, today Judy improvised with hot dogs), served with a baguette and afterwards a lovely espresso. It was all delicious. I think the dish was called Lecso.

Got a tremendous amount of work done organizing and cataloging the art work. A good feeling. Now we need to promote our need for $500 so we can buy the needed frames. Been checking around with local press. Hopefully will have some good news to report soon.



Continued Work on Apple Truck Sequence

Posted on Saturday August 27, 2005 by Steven Fischer

With Craig today working on the Apple Truck sequence … the scene in which Mary (the little girl traveling with Edward, Judy and company) starts to cough, nearly alerting the armed Russian checkpoint guards their hide out in the truck. It’s a tense moment in the story, and I think we were able to capture that tension in Mary’s expressive eyes.



Edward & Judy Hilbert to Receive Mayor's Proclamation

Posted on Saturday August 20, 2005 by Steven Fischer

As a result of our meeting with Beery Adams at the Mayor’s Office in Baltimore, we have learned that the Mayor will present a proclamation commemorating Edward and Judy Hilbert’s inspiring and touching escape to freedom at the premiere screening.



Fischer & Herron Speak at Animator's Round Table

Posted on Thursday August 18, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I spoke tonight at Henninger Media Services again as part of Kristin Harris’ Animator’s Round Table. we served on a panel with Sharvonique Renee Fortune and and Kristin talking about producing independent animated movies.



Steven Fischer in Los Angeles to Attend Roy W. Dean Film Grant Awards

Posted on Saturday August 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

So much happened between Aug. 10 and 13 while in LA planting seeds and pushing Freedom Dance that I thought I’d share a mix of journal entries and e-mail reports back to the troops in Baltimore.

Here goes…

August 10—The gamble of air travel and those unexplainable twists of events.

I remember once in Dublin getting straight off the bus, up to the Aer Lingus counter where I waited for all of 3 minutes, was checked in, through security, and at my gate all in—literally—15 minutes. A phenomenal breeze.

Today, leaving for Los Angeles, I arrived at BWI to a long line of stressed travelers whose virtuous patience was being tested at the America West counter. There I stood in what soon appeared to be a vain attempt to check in. Who am I kidding? Broken plane. Indefinite delay. (Yikes! And other expletives.) Think. Options. They have an 8:25 to LA. Booked. A 10:20 to San Diego. (Deal with the car issue later.) Nope. Booked. They suggested a flight out of Dulles. DC? No. Well. Maybe, if there’s no alternative. How about another airline?

Yes. Success. The kind, no-nonsense lady behind the counter purchased a ticket for me on Southwest. (In fact, the last seat on the flight.) A better flight, actually: direct, non-stop to LA arriving earlier than my scheduled America West flight.

Aug 11.—Yesterday met with Klaudia Kovacs (producer of Torn From the Flag) at a little cafe in Hollywood, talked about our respective projects. She’s made me feel very welcomed and has been quite a supporter—gave names and numbers and a list of Hungarian finance sources. Have talked to her each day and will meet again on Saturday.

She helped me locate the number of Gabor Csupo’s personal assistant. I talked to the assistant and was very close at one point to meeting with Csupo, but ended up having to leave the dvd and print material with the assistant.

Klaudia also introduced me to the International Documentary Association. I met with a woman there who told me about a Sponsorship program we can apply for which puts documentary filmmakers under the IDA’s umbrella throughout the course of production (so that donors can write checks to the IDA, who in turn write a check to the filmmaker. Because of this the donor can completely write off their donation at tax time). The IDA also offers a program that, if accepted, provides the filmmakers with the opportunity to complete the necessary screening requirements to qualify for entry into the Academy Awards.

Aug. 12—Attended the Roy W. Dean Grant awards. (The reason for my trip. Met Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Foundation, an endorser of Freedom Dance.) A couple of the selections at the awards were impressive.

Was given personal tour of LA Center Studios. They have a 400+ seat theater for events. The Chaplin Theater at Raleigh Studios is nice too, and available for rent. Have met the proper people at both studios to help us coordinate a West Coast screening.

During all of this, I heard about a plastic surgeon in Century City named Peter Fodor who is Hungarian and collects cartoon art. I tracked him down and in between a visit to Csupo’s studio and my meeting at LA Center Studios, I rushed to the opposite side of town and showed up unannounced at Fodor’s office. He was not in, but I left the dvd and print info for him to look at. If there was ever the perfect candidate to invest, you’d think it’s him.

On a personal note: have been spreading my show reel around at various companies, planting seeds. Met with a writer/director agent (an introduction from Judith Rheiner), and had a delightful 3-hour lunch with my animation hero, Bill Melendez! Very exciting. The B & B I am staying at is an old Spanish-style home (lots of stucco and tile and wrought iron) around Hollywood Hills with gorgeous architecture including a little rotunda that makes up the front entrance. Directly across the street is a big home Gloria Swanson once owned, and next to that, Peter Lorre’s former residence. Breakfasted one morning in Beverly Hills at an quaint, French side walk cafe with Ken Haber, the LA rep of the Maryland Film Office.

I am exhausted, but having a productive time. Thank God for espresso. I’ve been living off it. Still more meetings to go (one with Jason Sotolongo of Affect Films).


Post Script: As it turned out, Jason’s wife, Lisa, who is also a producer, introduced me to a producer at TV2 in Hungary. Have made contact. We’ll see where it leads.


Fischer, Herron to Speak at ITVA-DC

Posted on Wednesday August 3, 2005 by Steven Fischer

David Dolinsky, a coordinator with ITVA-DC (DC chapter of the International Television Association), asked today if Craig and I would speak in January at their “First Thursday” series. (To be held, ironically, at Henninger Arlington … the place we were at the other week speaking at the Animator’s Round Table.)



Meeting at Mayor O'Malley's Office

Posted on Monday August 1, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I met with Beery Adams from Mayor Martin O’Malley’s office in a decorative conference room at City Hall. (Barbara had mentioned an immigration initiative the city was implementing. On that tip, I tracked down the proper contact and introduced myself and Freedom Dance.)

Beery is a bright and generous lady who seems energized by new ideas. She came to the meeting prepared with some great thoughts for Freedom Dance, including my favorite: a possible exhibition at City Hall of original Freedom Dance art work.

She is anxious to help us with the movie anyway she can, and for that we are grateful.

We also learned that Mayor O’Malley will endorse the movie! Very exciting.

I hope to report more developments soon.

~Steven Fischer


Freedom Dance Boards the S.S. John W. Brown

Posted on Saturday July 30, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Met with Craig and Barbara at the S.S. John W. Brown, one of only two Liberty Ships still active since World War Two. Michael Schneider, Chariman of the Board for Project Liberty Ship, met us on board to finalize details about recording. Project Liberty Ship has graciously allowed us to record the ships mechanical sounds—engines, winches, steam whistles, boilers, etc.—for use in Freedom Dance (the ocean voyage scenes).

Mr. Schneider gave us a private tour of the ship (though we’d all taken cruises on it in the past), and located the stations we’d need to be on both days of recording. Turns out, with so much happening in different locations at the same time we’re going to need two crews. Glad we scouted.

For reference, bought a couple of DVDs about the John Brown on baord at the ship’s store (some of the sounds we’ll try to capture are in this video), and souvenirs for our crew.

Many, many thanks to Michael Schneider and Project Liberty Ship for their generosity and hospitality! The original sounds we’ll record from this authentic ship will be a great contribution to Freedom Dance!



Freedom Dance meets The Enchanted Forest

Posted on Thursday July 28, 2005 by Steven Fischer

At the suggestion of Edward Hilbert, I emailed Nan Sherman (the spearhead of preservation for the famed Enchanted Forest Theme Park in Ellicott City, Maryland). Basically, I introduced myself and Freedom Dance and suggested that since we have a mutual connection in Edward maybe there’s a way we can work together to achieve our individual goals.

As you may know, Edward designed and built some of the attractions at Enchanted Forest such as “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and the “Chicken Little Trio Show” (which features the voice of my talented colleague David DeBoy). Check out Nan’s web site for all the facts about the park and its preservation.

Nan is a terrific soul, energized and dedicated to her project. She’s very interested in us helping each other, and very generous with her support of us. We hope our reciprication can match. Will share more about this relationship as the weeks develop!



Fischer, Herron in Los Angeles for Roy W. Dean Film Grant

Posted on Wednesday July 27, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I were invited to California by Carole Dean (of the Roy W. Dean Film Grant). Carole has agreed to endorse Freedom Dance, and has now invited us to a Roy W. Dean Awards ceremony—held at the famed Raleigh Studios in Hollywood—to party and meet some new people. I am hoping also to meet with Carole about the endorsement. Trip is scheduled for August 10th. Updates to come….



Lunch with John Keltonic!

Posted on Monday July 25, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I were in Washington, DC, today for lunch with Richmond-based composer John Keltonic. John is a really sweet guy with many awards to his credit, including a National Emmy. One documentary he scored, “Autism is a World”, was nominated for an Academy Award last year. He contacted us months ago in response to an article in iCOM Magazine about Freedom Dance. Although we’ve been talking with him informally about the project for months, today was our first formal introduction.

John was in DC meeting with someone in an office along a business section of Connecticut Avenue. We’d arranged to meet right on the street.

Craig and I arrived early and scoped out restaurant options within walking distance to our appointed meeting place. It came down to two choices (one, really), a reasonably priced Chinese restaurant and a pricey, upscale Italian place.

While waiting, Craig and I window shopped and checked on prices in a frame shop for supplies needed to hang Edward’s original art work in the Freedom Dance exhibition Claudine Davison at the Jewish Community Center is planning for January. We also took the time we had to write a press release announcing our recent success in securing the chance to record on the SS John Brown this September.

Soon John appeared. After salutations and the recounting of restaurant options, he thought aloud, “You know that Italian place across the street is looking good to me.”

“It’s expensive,” I advised.

Without missing a beat, John turned on his heel, facing the Hunan restaurant. “The Chinese place looks good!”

Laughter all around. (We quickly discovered John’s refreshingly fun-loving personality.)

As we started for the restaurant, Craig stopped me and suggested we feed our parking meter. He reached into his pocket and produced a small pile of loose change, which he disappointingly fingered. My search for extra coins barely produced better results. Together we managed four quarters, and Craig was off on his mission.

“We’ll meet you inside,” I called after him, pointing to the Hunan. Then I turned to John, saying in a playful tone: “Quick! Let’s go to the Italian place!”

More laughter.

Considering it was lunch time, the restaurant was fairly empty. We had no trouble finding a free table. It was some time before Craig returned. In his absence I worried he’d forgotten what my car looked like. I pictured some lucky Joe getting extra meter time and me getting a parking ticket.

“What do ya bet he feeds the wrong meter?”

John laughed.

I posed this to Craig when he returned, and with perfect timing Craig replied, “No, no. I fed the right one. It’s the red BMW, right?”

Laughter. I could have stayed at the restaurant all afternoon in such good company as Craig and John; the three of us got on so very well. John’s acclaimed track record lent itself to fascinating stories, such as his experience conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

He said he could get them for us …. at “86-thousand a day.”

I think Craig and I shared an initial surge of excitement … until returned to reality by the pathetic memory of our recent struggle to secure four quarters for the parking meter!

More laughter all around.

We hope that John can join the team and offer his gifted craftsmanship to the movie. Time will tell.



Guest Appearance on "That's a Wrap Radio"

Posted on Sunday July 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today I appeared as a guest on “That’s a Wrap Radio” with host Carlos Cruz. I was invited by Carlos to talk about my career, Freedom Dance, and, in general, “breaking into the business”. The interview will appear on-line in August.

Many thanks to Carlos for allowing me to spread the word about the higher values of cartoon art!



Freedom Dance is Legalized!

Posted on Saturday July 23, 2005 by Steven Fischer

This morning Craig and I met with Diane Davison, the latest addition to the Freedom Dance team. Diane is an entertainment attorney and has agreed to be the movie’s legal representation.

Diane and I go way back. She helped me start an old company of mine, Cinema & Radio Ventures, Inc., and has represented me in other matters. Craig and Diane’s mother, Claudine Davison, have a long professional history at the Jewish Community Center. The connection and rapport between us all was one of the factors that made this decision obvious. I’ve written it before, and I’ll write it again. Not only is Diane a competent lawyer (in addition to her practice she teaches her trade at the University level), she is one of the most fun-loving attorneys I know. Like Henninger’s soda fountain kitchen, Diane’s office puts one at ease with its fun atmosphere: autographed pictures from her more prominent business relationships, an old school desk with cubby hole, Pez dispensers like you wouldn’t believe, and walls adorned with classic European advertising art. Today she was dressed in a feminine t-shirt decorated with Chinese art and a message that read: So Su Mi.

We began the begrudging (albeit necessary) part of filmmaking that I call the business of show business Unions, insurances, finances, endorsements, rights, etc, etc. The necessities of taking the project to the next level.

Thanks for your generous help, Diane! We are fortunate to have you representing Freedom Dance.

From Diane’s place Craig and I returned to his studio, recapped the meeting with Diane, and continued work on the clips Paul and I cut from Edward’s first interview. Then I was off to Nottingham where I watched a cut of John Bintz’s new comedy short…a Monty Python-style farce on spy genre films.

While with John, the Chief Engineer from the SS John Brown (a World War II Liberty ship docked in Baltimore which now serves as a floating living history museum) called in response to messages I had left. He has agreed to let us come on board and record the ship’s sounds and take reference photographs for Freedom Dance’s Ocean Voyage scene (which should happen sometime in September). This is an exciting advancement. The authenticity of the ships steam engine and hhydraulicswill give our sound track its distinction.

John and I took lunch at a nearby cafe and overall had a relaxing afternoon.



New Endorsement from California

Posted on Friday July 22, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I called Oxnard, California for a conference call today with Carole Dean of The Roy W. Dean Film Grant. (We had applied for two grants from the grantmaker and as a result were entitled to a complementary consultationon creative financing.)

This is the second time I’ve spoken with Carole on the phone. The first took place a few years ago. I had applied for a grant for a documentary I was making on celebrated photographer Carl Clark (which was released on cable in 2000 through TCI Communications of Baltimore). One Sunday morning Carole called me at home. I was shocked. Rarely would a grantmaker call, let alone on a Sunday morning. She said that she wanted to tell me herself that my proposal had not been selected, but that she personally had been impressed with my work. I thought that was a nice gesture.

Today Carole offered her opinions on our Freedom Dance proposal, and suggestions she thought would make it more attractive to financiers. Reacting to her positive comments about the nature of our project, we asked her outright if she personally would endorse Freedom Dance. “Absolutely,” she quickly replied.

So, we’re getting something from having applied.

After working a bit on the movie (and making plans to have 8.5×11 promotional pictures printed), Craig and I stopped over at the Hilbert’s place to discuss pictures for the Border Crossing sequence. The vastness of “No-Man’s Land” is something I feel strongly about projecting, and Edward’s beautiful landscapes are not failing the vision. I had to leave the meeting early for an edit session in Owings Mills with our digital artist/editor, Paul Sulsky.

Paul is a soft-spoken, even tempered soul blessed with double gifts for technology and storytelling. He is also a certified Avid instructor who travels the country conducting classes. His expertise is a valuable addition to Freedom Dance!

We cut about 25 minutes from Edward’s first interview. I will cut these clips into the audio skeleton as soon as an edit suite opens up at Blue Rock Productions.

Our edit session went deep into the night. Afterwards, we enjoyed a late supper at Hops (which, by the way, offers the best home-brewed root beer in town. Frothy!)

It’s very late. I’m exhausted, but extremely pleased with all the recent progress we’re making on Freedom Dance. Signing off for now….



Bintz, Herron, Fischer Special Guests at Animation Round Table

Posted on Thursday July 21, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Kristin Harris, one of the areas consistently successful animation producers, recently invited John, Craig, and me to speak at an Animator’s Round table she coordinated (a gathering of animation professionals in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area). Women in Film & Video and Henninger Arlington hosted the evening.

Henninger Media Services is an established leader of cutting edge production in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their studios are high tech and their highly creative staff represent the best in the business.

Tonight, chairs were set up in the large kitchen/meeting room of Henninger’s Arlington facility. One roomy corner was arranged sort of like an old-time soda fountain, complete with a checkered tile floor and gum ball machines. Based on the creatively designed kitchen alone, one could tell this was a fun place to work.

Craig, John, and I sat together in the front row listening to opening remarks and introductions from two of Henninger’s staff. At one point Craig leaned over to me. “Are we buying John lunch on Monday?” He whispered with regard to an upcoming meeting we have with a certain music composer from Richmond.

“No, I don’t think it’s necessary for this meeting.” I offered. (Buying meals has long been a customary alternative to cash for services rendered on low- and no-budget productions. It’s also a practice we’ve been employing thus far on Freedom Dance.)

“Oh,” Craig said without emotion as though he was preoccupied with another thought. “Well, then, are you going to buy me lunch?”

“Only if you get salad … and a glass of distilled water!” I quipped. We laughed at our silliness. (Over the years we’ve developed a kind of brotherly ribbing between us, a harmless and fun-loving kind of razz. Towards the end of the evening, for example, as Kristin was taking suggestions from the group for future Round tables, Craig offered one about location. He was wondering if the Round tables could ever take place closer to Baltimore. But in an effort to be polite about the suggestion, it seemed to me Craig struggled to find the best choice of words. So I chimed in, a little flip, “In other words, he wants to know if you can have the next one closer to his house!”)

Our turn to address the audience came upon us. We spoke to a full house, talking about the process used to animate the Blue Dot commercials (which mixed my hand drawn cartoon animation with John’s Toon Boom in-betweening and Craig’s Lightwave and After Effects animation). I passed out some of the original animation drawings for people to look at; John took the audience step-by-step through the process of digitizing the drawings, in-betweening, inking, and painting; and Craig projected a series of slides that demonstrated how he composite the drawings into live action video.

The group asked some questions (mostly about the computer programs used) and I think appreciated what we had to offer from our experience.

Special thanks go to Kristin for making tonight so special (she also expressed interest in having us return at some future date to talk about the making of Freedom Dance!), and to Puerto Rican animation master Miguel DeAngel who invited us to show our Freedom Dance exhibition this February at an art show he is coordinating for the Northern Virginia Community College gallery in Loudon.

~Steven Fischer


Dinner with Paul Sulsky!

Posted on Saturday July 2, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig, Barbara, and I treated Paul Sulsky to dinner at Kooper’s in Fells Point in thanks for his digital art work completed thus far on Freedom Dance. (We were hoping another of our artists, Meaghan Dunn, could join us, but she has been occupied for weeks on other projects.)

These sort of payments are important to us. And I personally take them seriously. Our team is valuable and until we can raise enough money to pay them properly, we offer whatever we can so they’ll receive something in return for their efforts.

Kooper’s is a terrific pub in Fells Point, straight across the street from the harbor (and the “Homicide” faux police station). It is built along a cobble stone street, inside a parade of old brick homes and shops left over from the Point’s colorful history …. over 200 years of merchants, sailors, pirates, and prostitutes!



Animator's Roundtable

Posted on Saturday June 25, 2005 by Steven Fischer

John Bintz and I have been asked to speak infront of an animator’s roundtable at Henniger Media Services in Alexandria, Virginia on July 21. The event is sponsored by Women in Film & Video. We’re asked to talk about the animation process we used on the Blue Dot commercials (a mix of hand drawn and computer animation featuring a program called Toon Boom Studio).

Steven Fischer


Freedom Dance on The Coffee House

Posted on Friday June 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and Edward will be featured on The Coffee House, a regional cable magazine show which airs in Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. The interview, which will be taped July 11, promotes “Freedom Dance.”



Los Angeles Video Grant and Sound Design

Posted on Monday June 20, 2005 by Steven Fischer

This morning mailed off application for the Los Angeles Video Grant offered through the Roy W. Dean grant-makers. Keeping fingers crossed…

Was with Craig yesterday going through the latest footage and preparing to cut an updated demo.

Some advancements also made on the sound design…Kevin Hill has laid down some more tracks for this new footage.

~Steven Fischer


Embassy Screenings!

Posted on Friday June 17, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Word in this week that the Austrian Embassy in DC will be co-hosting a screening of “Freedom Dance” with the Hungarian Embassy! Our special thanks to Margareta Ploder, Cultural Attache at the Austrian Embassy

~Steven Fischer


In Delaware...

Posted on Monday June 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

In New Castle, Delaware today to meet with Ad Libs Advertising and Horizon Services, Inc. about some cartoon work.

New Castle has a quaint historic district along the picturesque Delaware River … some well preserved 18th and 19th Century homes and buildings. A relaxing neighborhood with a side walk cafe where I enjoyed a slow cup of coffee.

The search for support for “Freedom Dance” continues. Expecting some news soon which I hope to report in the positive. A lot of my time has been spent working on live action video projects for Northern Virginia Community College as well as fulfilling my artist residency at Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts in DC. And my sister (the actress/writer/producer Michele Fischer) was in town from California the other week to attend our family reunion. Her latest project, “Armistice” (aka Youthquake), is moving along great. Check it out at

Signing off,

Steven Fischer


...little twigs into shapes and letters...

Posted on Sunday June 12, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Met with Craig today and dropped off storyboards for the climactic Ocean Voyage scene. (When I pulled up at his brother’s house, Craig was sitting out front on the side walk with his precious 6-year-old neice bending little twigs into shapes and letters and arranging them into words for Jaycie to read. How he adores her!)

The Ocean Voyage will be the next scene Craig animates. Look for stills in gallery section soon!

~Steven Fischer


Fischer and Bintz in New York for MoCCA

Posted on Saturday June 11, 2005 by Steven Fischer

In New York City today with John Bintz and friends to attend MoCCA (the big festival for independent cartoonmakers. I wanted to check out the scene and spread the word about “Freedom Dance”). First stop, though, was to brunch with an actress-friend, a sweet-hearted Southern Belle named Leah Martin who’s just finished a gig for the Discovery Channel and who is now modeling shoes.

The festival was great! A big turn out as always. Saw my pal Jimmy Gownley who is riding a wave with his remarkable series, “Amelia Rules!”:; and a gifted cartoonist from Massachusetts named Jack Turnbull whom I first met in DC at Small Press Expo. His well-crafted Apollo Astro series is worth looking into! I suggested to writer Jane Fisher that we should get married just so she can change her name to the hyphenated Jane Fisher-Fischer.

Yes, lots of laughs today in the company of truly great souls. (Isn’t that how life should be anyway?)

Met a lot of new people I hope will turn into friends, and spent probably more than I should on comic books (the indies are always the more innovative and entertaining for me!). All in all it was a great day in the big apple.

Signing off for now.

Steven Fischer


Hungarian Embassy says Yes!

Posted on Friday May 27, 2005 by Steven Fischer

So I’m sitting in my car in a secluded parking lot at Rock Creek absorbing the sun and reading Agatha Christie when my cell phone rings. It’s Craig Herron.

“Hi. Where are you?” he asks.

“I’m in a park across the street from the Embassy,” I answer.

“So are we. Maybe we’re in the same park?”

In fact we were, and never even saw one another.

Today, Craig, Edward, and I finally met with Karoly Dan, the Cultural Attache at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC. (Our original meeting was postponed from last week.) Thanks to a gracious woman named Ilona Teleki at CSIS, Karoly had been introduced to “Freedom Dance” and became interested in the project after screening the 2-minute cut.

Karoly, a tall and dashing fellow, has now agreed to offer the Embassy’s support including an endorsement, a screening when the movie’s complete, and introductions to organizations that may lead to financial sponsorships. He also suggested a terrific idea: contacting a peer of his at the Austrian Embassy. (Makes sense since Vienna played such a vital role in the Hilbert’s escape.) I will call Austria on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Craig is setting up a fund-raising exhibition of Edward’s original “Freedom Dance” artwork with the Jewish Community Center. The Hungarian Embassy would help us with the reception. He is also finishing the animation for the Apple Truck sequence, and I am nearly finished storyboarding the climactic Ocean Voyage which will consist of the next scenes to be animated.

Tomorrow we meet to plan the exhibition. Next month we should hear from the IFP and Roy W. Dean about our grants! Things are moving right along at an exciting pace.

Many thanks to John Bintz for his recent work updating the web site, Edward Hilbert for his incredible Liberty Ship layouts, and to Barbara Herron, Meaghan Dunn and Paul Sulsky for their invaluable help in the ink, paint, and digital art departments!

Until next time…


Center for Strategic & International Studies, and Fischer's in New York

Posted on Friday May 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

No bad luck here. Ilona Teleki called from the Center for Strategic and International Studies to schedule a meeting between herself, me, Craig, and the Hungarian Embassy’s Cultural Attache. The Attache has seen a 2-minute DVD of “Freedom Dance” and would like to chat about the project. We meet in DC next Wednesday!!

Craig and I met today and made some advancement on the “Apple Truck” sequence he’s been animating. Edward has turned in some incredibly detailed backgrounds and character designs for the “Ocean Voyage” scene. We are moving right along.

This weekend I am in New York attending a summit hosted by the Global Entertainment Network. It’s looking like it’ll be pretty packed. Lots of impressive speakers to be there, nationally and internationally recognized figures. I am looking forward to the adventure!

Signing off, tired but happy.
Steven Fischer


Accepted at Smith Farm Center

Posted on Friday May 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Busy, busy week! I have been accepted into the Artist-in-Residence program at Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts in Washington, DC! My residency began this week. In this role I share the art of cartooning with cancer patients who are using the arts as part of their healing process. (This came about as a result of the cartoon storytelling course I developed and have been teaching these past two years at colleges and art centers in Maryland.)

Also, have started producing promotion videos for Northern Virginia Community College (5 campuses!). It’s a long drive, but I’m excited by the projects they have for me!

Between these commitments, continued work for regular clients like BlueRock Productions and Blue Dot, and work on “Freedom Dance”, summer is going to be a busy but fun time!

Many thanks to that Blue Rock gal, Thea Maichle, for announcing that “The Color Purple” was playing at the Hippodrome tonight. (And for letting me join her family for the screening!) It’s one of my favorite movies. Well told by the masters. Always an education.

Steven Fischer


New Promotional Photos

Posted on Wednesday May 11, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Many thanks go to Gregg Landry at BlueRock Productions LLC. Gregg is a generous and skilled still and motion photographer. He recently shot some much needed promotional photos of Craig, Edward, and me. Click here to check ‘em out!

Thanks again, Gregg!

Steven Fischer


Web Updates and Apple Trucks

Posted on Wednesday May 4, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Good news all around today! First, congratulations go to my friend, John Chester, and his team of fine filmmakers. Their show, “Random 1”, has been picked up by the A&E Network!

Had a great videography gig today at the Baltimore Convention Center. While walking along South Charles Street afterwards, I spoke on the phone with Ilona Teleki at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

She has passed on the “Freedom Dance” DVD to the Cultural Attache at the Hungarian Embassy in DC who apparently is interested in the project. We are hopeful for a meeting soon to formally introduce the Attache to the project. I am excited by the possibilities!

This weekend will be spent with Craig preparing updates for the web site and continuing work on the “Apple Truck” sequence. Many advancements have also been made to the story’s climax … the violent boat ride across the Atlantic. We’re hoping to storyboard that this weekend.

Signing off … tired but happy.

Steven Fischer


Screening at CAmm

Posted on Tuesday May 3, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Promotion photo shoot with Craig and Edward at BlueRock Productions. Many thanks to our videographer, Gregg Landry, for picking up the still camera for us! The results are terrific.

After the photo shoot, Edward, Craig and I met Craig’s wife Barbara for a quick dinner. Then it was off to The Patterson Theater where the Creative Alliance screened the 2-minutes of “Freedom Dance” cut thus far. (They host a salon once a month for filmmakers to screen recently completed works and works-in-progress.) It was the first public screening of our movie, and the feedback was invaluable.

Many thanks to our friends, “Franky’s Heaven” director Joe O’Ferrell and actor/Emmy-winning editor Joe Hansard for making the long ride in support of us. In fact, here’s a sweet excerpt from a Hansard email, received a few hours after the screening:

“I really wanted to see how Freedom Dance was coming along and I’m so glad I did. Freedom Dance is very moving, harrowing, hopeful. The pitch-perfect subtlety of the piano score is impeccable … You and your collaborators are really talented, Steve, you should be quite proud of the results.”

Thanks, Joe. We are!

Steven Fischer


Meeting at Jewish Community Center - Freedom Dance Exhibit

Posted on Saturday April 30, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today Craig, Edward, and I met with Claudine Davison, Assistant Director of Arts and Culture at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. (Craig teaches an art class there, as has Edward in the past. In fact, I believe it’s where the two of them first met. In that respect, the JCC is sacred ground.)

We sat in the board room around a long, polished table and introduced Claudine to “Freedom Dance”. We talked a long time about building a supportive relationship with the JCC. In fact, Claudine offered to host an exhibit early next year of the original art work Edward is producing for “Freedom Dance”. A show like that, we’re hoping, will draw a lot of attention to the project and to the Hilbert’s story. The meeting left us all excited and inspired by the possibilities of where the exhibit could lead.

Small world: as we were wrapping up the meeting, Claudine (whom I’d just met that day) looked to me and said that her daughter was telling her about me.


Yes. Her name’s Diane Davison.

No way! Diane is an accomplished and enjoyable entertainment attorney in town. Her fun-loving approach to everyday living is exemplary. Just look around her office at the collection of PEZ dispensers, vintage toys, and autographed picture of Jon “Bowzer” Bauman (Sha-Na-Na!). In fact, for a while in the 1990s, Diane was my attorney.

Later, as Craig and I talked on the phone recapping the day’s success, he brought up with some interest the fact that Claudine’s daughter knew of me. Yes, I said, Diane’s a great attorney … gee, I haven’t seen her since the premiere screening of Joe’s movie last year (“Franky’s Heaven,” by mutual friend Joe O’Ferrell.) She was involved in that movie.

She’s THAT Diane Craig blurted. (He had been the effect animator on “Franky’s Heaven”.) Oh, my, this really is a small town!

Until next time…
~Steven Fischer


IFP, Jewish Times, and CSIS

Posted on Friday April 29, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Sent off application to IFP Market/New York; fingers crossed!

The Jewish Times story is out! While in Annapolis this morning making copies of the article, I stopped by WRNR radio to visit with program director Alex Cortright. Alex has always been a wonderful and sweet person. We first met a few years ago while I was promoting a Steve & Bluey book called “The Wonderful, Happy, Cartoony World of Steve & Bluey”.

I gave Alex one of the newly made copies of the Jewish Times article. He immediately offered to get us on-air when the movie’s finished and screening. Thanks, Alex!

Later in the afternoon I was in DC at the Center for Strategic and International Studies introducing the Eastern Europe Studies department to “Freedom Dance”. The meeting went very well. The people were very inviting. I hope our relationship develops. Janusz Bugajski and Ilona Teleki have been very helpful in sharing leads to Hungarian-American federations and organizations.

Craig told me about a fairly recent movie he’s discovered: “An American Rhapsody” by Eva Gardos. It is based on a true story (the escape of Gardos’ parents from Hungary in the early 1950s) and was fascinating to watch because of its similar subject matter. (Different story, though.) I found a DVD of it at Blockbuster. Check it out. It’s a well-made, touching movie.

Tomorrow Craig, Edward, and I meet with the Director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore.

Until next time…
~Steven Fischer


Radio Free Europe Meeting

Posted on Tuesday April 26, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Busy day! Craig and I met with Don Jensen, Director of Communications at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Washington, DC. (On the way, mailed DVD to Edward’s friend Gabor Biro in Hungary. He will forward the proposal to a potential investor in England.)

Radio Free Europe is housed in a large modern building downtown just south of Dupont Circle amidst the bustle of Connecticut Avenue. Arriving early, Craig and I stopped in a café for coffee and chocolate milk, and talked about our expectations and last minute plans for the meeting.

At noon walked to the network and were taken into a corner office covered with baseball paraphernalia which soon became the topic of conversation. We introduced Don to “Freedom Dance” in hopes of soliciting some kind of support: financial, in-kind or testimonial. As predicted, the meeting was short, but successful: a rapport was established and the DVD and proposal are now being reviewed by the decision maker. Don also gave us the name and number of a fellow in DC at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who he thought might also be interested in “Freedom Dance”. (And standing on the street outside the Radio Free Europe building we called, introduced ourselves, and are now scheduled to meet on Thursday.)

As it turned out, Don is a published author of baseball history, including a unique book with fold out pages called “The Timeline History of Baseball”. It was a very enjoyable meeting, and I am looking forward to the follow up.

Steven Fischer

Post Script: Waiting in the garage for the attendant to bring up my car, Craig and I noticed a sign: “Monthly Parking, $225”. We had to laugh at the absurdity. “Sometimes I don’t even make that in a month!”


New York City Visit

Posted on Sunday April 24, 2005 by Steven Fischer

I was in New York City Wednesday and Thursday (officially to attend the opening of “Coole Lady”, the astounding one-woman show by my dear friends, Sam and Joan McCready). The show and the party that followed were a blast!

However, time in the big apple was also used to visit friends, loved ones, and colleagues whom I’d met while still a member of the Directors Guild. (Keeping up relations. It was a great opportunity to spread the word about “Freedom Dance”.) Will return next month to attend a summit hosted by the Global Entertainment Network (where I hope to spread the word some more … you never know who you run into at these things).

Monday, Craig and I meet with Radio Free Europe in Washington, DC about “Freedom Dance”!

Steven Fischer


More Time at the Archive, plus The Jewish Times

Posted on Wednesday April 13, 2005 by Steven Fischer

This morning met with an editor in College Park then to the National Archives to meet Edward Hilbert and Craig Herron to research photographs of the Hungarian Revolution. It’s good to have Edward with us. His experience in the revolution makes him an authority for Craig and I to reference.

Using a list we made from the script of all the photos we needed, we found some terrific shots of freedom fighters, tanks, bombed buildings, protestors, cityscapes, landscapes … now if we can only figure out the copyright issues. (Some are public domain, some are not. License to use the copyrighted photos may cost a pretty penny.)

Re: The Jewish Times

The interview with Deborah Walike went very well. She called me, Edward, and Craig individually from New York. She was one of the more refreshingly competent journalists I’ve spoken with. She seemed genuinely intrigued about “Freedom Dance” and interested in our production journey. I got the sense that the article will be very supportive! The fact that she interviewed three of us from the production should make the article more in-depth. (It was originally to be published April 15th, but now I hear you can look for it May 6th.)

Steven Fischer


Feature Story in The Jewish Times

Posted on Tuesday April 12, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today a journalist from The Jewish Times e-mailed with interest in writing a feature story on us about Freedom Dance! The story is to be published in this Friday’s edition. Check it out if you can… Yay!

Steven Fischer


Roy W. Dean Grant Application

Posted on Wednesday April 6, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Today sent off application to the Roy W. Dean New York Film Grant; finger’s crossed.

Steven Fischer


June Freelancer Spotlight

Posted on Thursday March 31, 2005 by Steven Fischer today announced that I will be featured in their Freelancer’s Spotlight for the entire month of June! It’s a great opportunity, and I’m jazzed. Look for it. (Maslow Media is also a terrific DC source for industry gigs!)

Steven Fischer


WEAA Membershp Pledge Drive

Posted on Monday March 28, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Donna Pia Vocci, Director of Membership at WEAA radio, has asked if I would offer 3 hours of consultation time as incentive to bring in pledges during WEAA’s Membership Pledge Drive April 22-29. (WEAA Radio, 88.9 FM, Member, NPR.) I am asked to offer time to artists interested in learning about communicating through cartoons. Donna has been making similar offers to artists of all disciplines in the area.

I like the idea, and am flattered Donna would think to ask me. I’m all for public broadcasting. I’m all for spreading the word about the power and legitimacy of cartoon art. And, because “Freedom Dance” is in full swing now, I’m all for keeping our names in the public’s consciousness.

Until next time…

Steven Fischer


Working for Crepes

Posted on Wednesday March 23, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Tonight, Craig and I treated actress Leanna Chamish—the Vampire Queen!!—to dinner. A few months ago Craig and I produced a short documentary on how animated cartoons are made. Leanna was our on-camera hostess. Her payment: a lovely meal at Crepe du Jour, an authentically French cafe in Baltimore’s upscale Mt. Washington neighborhood.

Leanna makes a terrific impression on screen. I’ve worked with her a number of times, and she’s always a delight. I highly recommend her (though I don’t believe her “will work for food” policy applies to just anyone!).

Until next time…

Steven Fischer


"They're just independent filmmakers..."

Posted on Monday March 21, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Craig and I had the interview/photo shoot for “Way To Go” Magazine today. The publication (an insert in Style Magazine) should hit newstands around April 19th. Alter Communications publishes Style Magazine. They also publish The Jewish Times, and as a result of today, we may be able to secure a promotional interview with that newspaper on the basis that our subjects are Jewish. I’m all for it! Let the world know: “Freedom Dance” is alive!

Quite an entourage we had for the shoot: Barbara Herron (the journalist); Jason Quick (the art director); Kirsten Beckerman (the photographer); Linda Davenport (the Amtrak rep); and Walter Hayes (the Public Information Officer for MTA). As you can imagine, with many set ups at Penn Station (Baltimore), on the train ride, and at Union Station (Washington), we attracted a crowd of on-lookers wherever we went. In fact, during a set up in front of Union Station, Craig and I caught a Japanese couple taking pictures of us from afar. We later learned they were tourists. Apparently, they had approached Barbara, pointed to me and asked, “Is that Tom Cruise?”

“No,” Barbara replied. “They’re just independent filmmakers were covering for a story.”

“Oh,” the disappointed couple replied. (I wonder if they eventually erased the photos of us from their digital camera?)

We were hoping to use the trip to DC to meet a Communications Director from Radio Free Europe whom I’ve been talking with about “Freedom Dance.” It didn’t work out, but I am hopeful for a meeting soon. (It’s appropriate because, as I understand it, radio was a big part of the Hungarian Revolution. A radio station is where the University students marched, attempting to broadcast their treatise for Independence. And it’s where the Hungarian Secret Police gunned them down. This is the opening scene in “Freedom Dance.”) What more appropriate network could their possibly be?

After the photo session, Craig and I travelled to Studio Unknown, an audio studio housed at Blue Rock Productions in Baltimore. Thanks to a gifted Sound Designer named Kevin Hill, we finished cutting the soundtrack to another of our projects: an animated commercial for the heating, plumbing, and air conditioning company, Blue Dot.

In May 2004, I was commissioned to create and animate a cartoon representative for a Blue Dot ad campaign that includes television, radio, and print ads. I serve as the Animation Director and Key Animator. Craig was hired as the Visual Effects Animator, and John Bintz as an Animator and Ink & Paint artist. The commerical is nearly done. Look for it on a TV near you! (You can see the first spot at John’s site:

That’s all for now. Until next time…

Steven Fischer


The Many Lives of Edward Hilbert

Posted on Wednesday March 16, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Edward Hilbert possesses many past lives, two of interest today’s blog: that of child actor and that of cinematographer.

As a cute and photogenic child, Edward was cast in two feature length movies including “Meseauto” (1934) directed by Bela Gaal. As an adult, he worked behind the camera as a TV news photographer. In fact, one early job upon arriving in Baltimore was as a cameraman shooting the opening ceremony of the Harbor Tunnel.

Gabor Biro is Edward’s long-time friend. He lives in Hungary and is retired from working many years in the Hungarian film industry. Mr. Biro has graciously offered his support of “Freedom Dance,” and is introducing his European industry contacts to our documentary. Our thanks, Mr. Biro, for your friendship and generous help!

Until next time…

Steven Fischer


Way To Go Photo Shoot

Posted on Wednesday March 9, 2005 by Steven Fischer

Thanks to Craig’s wife, “Way To Go” magazine editor Barbara Herron, Craig and I have been asked to serve as featured subjects in an article to be published in “Way To Go” Magazine, an insert in Style Magazine!

The article is to be the cover story for the May/June 2005 issue and will focus on the value of public transportation (and all the interesting people you could meet if only YOU took the train!). Craig and I will be featured as two commuters who use public transportation as part of their business day, but the journalist also wants us to talk a bit about our new movie, Freedom Dance.

I accepted the interview immediately! Why? Because it keeps our names, faces, and Freedom Dance in the public eye, and from what I’ve experienced promoting past projects, this is a wise philosophy to endorse. Speaking publically about the documentary contributes (in the long run) to the potential of a buzz, and can build that wave of attention all promotion efforts aim to catch … and ride!

Until Next Time,

Steven Fischer

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