The Journey Begins

Day One of production

Day One of this incredible journey is officially in the books.

It's hard to believe, but after months of writing and planning, of daydreaming and brainstorming, of shot-listing and set building, yesterday marked the official start of production for OF DUST AND BONES.

As you may know, this was my first time crowdfunding a film -- which made for a nerve-wracking start to an already anxiety-inducing process. In my experience, every film I've worked on has laid claim to a piece of my heart, and in turn put that piece on display to the world. And now here I and the rest of my production team were, putting the collective pieces of our souls on display and asking friends, family, and strangers for support in our vision -- and all before even getting started.

But watching this community grow has truly made this film what it is. Every member of our cast and crew is here out of passion for the project, and your support fuels that fire -- even on the coldest desert nights!

Over the past few weeks, our army of producers, production designers, cinematographers, and more have been working tirelessly to bring all the pieces of this picture (no pun intended) together. It is no understatement to say that the result has been magical. We watched a colorful and warm desert home transform into a spartan and cold desert hideaway. We location scouted through the Yucca Valley for just the right spot for Clio's stone 'cathedrals' and are incredibly excited about how it turned out.

Day One of production was a whirlwind of familiar faces and new additions to the team. The feeling in the camp was electric, with a united current of determination and excitement running through every person on set.

I've included some photos to give you a glimpse into our day -- for additional behind the scenes shots as production rolls on, keep an eye on our Instagram and Twitter (#OfDust).


Huge gratitude
xo Diane

Testing out the car rig

Ritualized Filmmaking

Although every film is unique in story, and process, they are all ultimately connected by methods that were put in place by our filmmaking forefathers. Yet, what makes filmmaking as an art, and medium so exciting is that it is contradictory in nature: it is constantly at odds with the formulas used to create it. Filmmaking is a ritualized process that also begs for rebelliousness, because the films that break the mold are typically the ones that succeed.

The beauty of ritual is that something superficially repetitive in nature can also foster transformation. Perpetuated by her unaddressed desire to rebuild from within, Clio's unabashed dedication to her need to build and make this monument, reminded me of the reason why I got into filmmaking. Creating something from scratch, and then slowly building upon that idea/notion until it reaches its intended form, has an immeasurable healing quality. Even better though, when one has the opportunity to share that experience with others.

Ritual, as it applies to OF DUST, means not only partaking in each step of the historically ritualized filmmaking process, but it also asks that both cast and crew be involved in the process of Clio's ritualistic monument making behavior, and to make a contribution to the heartbeat of this film: a seemingly solitary act then becomes a communal one. Just as Alex mirrors Clio’s ritual in an attempt to link two seemingly disparate lives and break her silence, our cast and crew have become further bound, and humbled in the process of building it.  

We find rituals to be particularly calming, mainly because we find safety in their ability to guide us to the next step. At the same time, rituals have the ability to surprise, scare and even amaze us because they can never fully be in our control. With these breaks, or natural lapses in our ability to predict all outcomes, rituals can lead to an exciting moment of self discovery, or moments of pure filmmaking. Ritual, if understood and accepted in all its forms, is in essence, pure filmmaking.

And so it snowballs: my thought process in conjunction with a film that we are drawing closer to each day. Whether one can personally relate to Clio's plight, or relate in general to the mind and body numbing pain of losing those you love, OF DUST is a film for everyone, because Clio's journey isn't unlike our own. Unabashed, unwavering, and necessary to the human condition, her ritual, no matter how stripped down, and our rituals, remain the foundation on which lives are built and rebuilt. And the starting place for which pure filmmaking has the potential to emanate. 

- Alexa Ammon (Producer)


Meet our Cast & Crew: DIANE BELL BYRNE, Writer/Director

Hometown: Born in Dumfries (Scotland); grew up in Kobe (Japan), Melbourne (Australia) and Dusseldorf (Germany); matured in Edinburgh (Scotland) and Barcelona (Spain); currently residing Santa Monica (USA).  Hometowns everywhere.

All-time favorite movies (3): (What?! Only 3?!  Okay…) It’s a Wonderful Life, Tokyo Story, Au Hasard Balthazar (+ so many more).

All-time favorite musical artists: Glenn Gould, Billie Holiday, Diego El Cigala

All-time favorite TV shows: Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, Fawlty Towers

Favorite new artist-to-watch: A filmmaker called Rory Gory - her first film AUDIENCE is so unique, can’t wait to see what she does next

Favorite Instagram account: @subeepix - this is my sister Susan’s account; she’s an incredibly talented photographer and I love seeing the world through her eyes

Favorite Twitter account: @melsil - she supports women in film and passionately brings attention to films by women that I otherwise wouldn’t know about

If you could have lunch with one person (dead or alive), who would it be?: Thich Nhat Hanh.  Pure presence.

If you could be in someone else’s shoes for one day (alive), who would it be?: Classical pianist Andras Schiff, so I could sit at the piano all day and play Bach and Beethoven, and know what that felt like

If you could have personally witnessed something, what would it have been?: Hamlet being performed for the first time at the Globe theater.

Most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?: Not telling you!

Twitter: @dianebell1

Instagram: @dianebell