My Story in a Late Style of Fire is a feature-length documentary film exploring the work and life of poet Larry Levis.
Whether you’re a writer who has spent years thinking about words or you're learning about the brilliant poet Larry Levis for the first time today, thanks for your visit to this page. We’re in the middle of production on our feature-length documentary film that explores the work and life of Levis from multiple perspectives. The director of the film, Michele Poulos, has been funding the project on her own up until now, but it has grown so much in scope that we need to reach out to our Internet fan base to help us make this film a reality.
The idea for the film came to me in a dream. I was already a fan of the poetry of Larry Levis when I moved to Richmond, Virginia in 2005 to study in the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Levis had been a faculty member there until his untimely death in 1996. You couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into someone who had known Levis, and the stories people told were fascinating--they were as savory and tangled as his poems. Hearing about the man behind the poems, I began to wonder why there was no comprehensive biography about this artist of such tremendous talent and reach.* It was at that point I had the dream--a voice telling me I was to create a film which would have the excitement and artistic quality of the work of the man himself.
In making this film, I have come up with creative solutions to many problems, but I still have had to struggle with limited resources. Having graduated with my MFA degree in 2008, when I began the film I was working as an adjunct English instructor at three different colleges. While my jobs left very little time for anything else, I did manage to convince the amazing cinematographer Kevin Gallagher to join me, and with Kevin’s help, on nights and weekends, we were able to shoot footage of conversations with Levis’s friends, colleagues, students, ex-girlfriends, and others who knew him, as well as capturing images of his small but charming home in historic Church Hill and various sites central to his life and his poems.
In the three years since we began the documentary, we have filmed over half of the needed footage. To date, we have completed interviews with Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Wright, Hardison Poetry Prize winner David Wojahn, frequent New Yorker contributor Kathleen Graber, and many others. But we need to do more. There are still people we need to interview, such as Levis’s son, his ex-wives, his brother, and his greatest mentor and best friend, current Poet Laureate of the United States, Philip Levine. We also need to gather and record materials from his childhood in California and his family life as a young adult. In order to complete the film, we need your help.
What am I supporting?
While many production services have been donated to the film, we still need to hire an additional editor.
We really want this film to sound great. We will professionally master the entire soundtrack for theatrical, online and DVD viewing.
We hope to hire a composer to create an original score for the film.
We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to see this film with captions in their native language. By helping fund closed captioning, our film will be accessible to the hearing impaired and to foreign language audiences.
To complete our interviews, we need funds for travel and lodging. Additionally, once the film is complete, we will need to travel with the film to various film festivals with hopes of getting it seen by as many people as possible.
Equipment and Expendables
Although we frequently are able to use borrowed equipment, we still need to purchase additional media to store all of the footage.
Website & Digital Download
Throughout the post production and film release, we will need to build a website and pay for bandwith charges.
Copies of Original Materials
We need to make copies of original photos, as well as historic footage, sound recordings, and posters.
Do you have to reach your goal? Yes. We need to reach or exceed our goal in order to keep any of the pledges for the film. If we don’t reach our goal, no one will be charged for their pledge and it will be as if the whole thing never happened. It’s all or nothing!
What happens if you exceed the goal amount? So happy you asked! If we exceed our goal, the additional funds will be used to create an even better film by allowing us to seek further professional assistance from film editors, musicians, artists, and others. It will allow us to travel to even more interviews at various locations around the country. It will also help us begin the process of compiling all of the additional materials into a book to be published separately.
What’s the release date? As of now, we’re looking at festival release in September of 2013.
Will the DVD be playable on my player/computer? Yes, we will be making the DVDs region free.
Can I give my reward as a gift? Yes, you can purchase a pledge and gift it to someone else. They will be notified about the gift and the giver. We can even ship them their reward if you leave us a note.
* I have since been informed that poet Alexander Long is writing a comprehensive biography about Larry Levis.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.