Thursday, December 03, 2009

New push for Zambian Forge

I have a new goal for distributing Zambian Forge. I want to get it online, streaming through Netflix. Currently working to make that happen. Let me know if you have any insights on how to make it happen!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

SCV Festival to show Zambian Forge

The Santa Clarita Valley film festival will be screening Zambian Forge on Friday Nov. 2nd at 9:30 pm.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Eric Tang, R.I.P.

I write this with much sadness.

Eric Tang, one of my best friends, one of the original Semester at Sea voyagers that founded FORGE, the man responsible for initiating the Meheba Friendly library featured in both "Zambian Forge" and "Life in Limbo", has passed away, much too soon.

He was traveling in Mexico when it happened, following his dream of spending time south of the border, learning Spanish, meeting new people and seeing new places. He was exploring a waterfall at the time of his death. Details are currently scarce and may never be clear, but a fall into water caused him to drown.

The best thing I can say about what has happened is that I know Eric died living exactly the life he dreamt of leading. Travel, exploration, and pushing his limits to the edge were cornerstones of his personality. Though his life was much too short, he spent his time well. You can read his travel blog here if you like:

Eric will be missed, not only by all of the people whose lives he touched, but also by the people he desired to help and now will not be able to.

We loved you Eric, and we will miss you.

David Mallin


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life in Limbo - African Refugee Stories

It's been a long while since I've updated this blog. It's not because nothing has been happening. Actually, quite a bit has been going on. I've just been too busy with other things to blog. However, the main thing eating up my time, the AFI Conservatory, is on break for the next month, so I am using the time to catch up on stuff. Like this blog. So, here is some news..

When we passed around the cut we had of Zambian Forge, we received some pretty specific feedback that we should be looking for TV distribution, and that the slots were limited on TV for feature length projects. So, we started the process of trimming down to conform the show to a TV hour (which comes in at about 52 minutes in this case).

In December, we found an executive producer, named Chris Haws. His resume is extensive, including several years as a Senior VP and Executive Producer for Discovery. He has produced hundreds of hours of programming for Discovery, PBS, and additional networks.

From January to March, Zambian Forge was reshaped. In addition to cutting 30 minutes from the original, we introduced narration. At this point we decided to change the name so that there would be no confusion between the products. So, I now would like to introduce: "Life in Limbo - African Refugee Stories" a 1 hour documentary special.

In April and May, Life in Limbo came back to me for some fine tuning. New lower-thirds were created in Motion, a pass of color correction was done, and preview DVDs were created. We are now actively looking for television distribution for this new cut.

To this end, I am currently in Washington DC attending AFI Silverdocs, a much more appropriate environment for this type of film than our trip to Cannes a year ago.

I look forward to sharing Life in Limbo - African Refugee Stories with all of you.


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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Abel Cine Tech hosts Zambian Forge article

It's been a while since my last post. Mostly I have been submitting Zambian Forge to festivals. I will definitely post about any acceptances we receive. We have also been talking to some distribution companies - some we met in Cannes; some in other venues. No deals yet, and once again, I will post with any relevant news. All of these things take longer than one hopes - sometimes it is up to 4 months between a festival submisison and the response!

The big news at the moment is that Abel Cine Tech has posted an article I wrote online about my experiences shooting Zambian Forge with the Aaton A-Minima and Panasonic DVX-100a. These were the 2 primary production cameras (1 film; 1 video), and I bought both from Abel. Here is the link to the article:


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In Cannes

Currently I am updating this from the Cannes Film Festival.

Over the last few weeks there has been a big push to prepare to be here. Cloudchaser Film has a new logo & will be rolling out branding over the summer. We created a DVD slip case / sales sheet for Zambian Forge which looks great, and can be downloaded from the bottom of the page here:

We also took advantage of an interesting opportunity here at Cannes. A digital signage company - the same one that does the live feeds for the red carpet and all of that - had some extra time available and gave it to us at a low rate. odell and I put together two 30 seconds spots on Zambian Forge which are playing on several screens around the festival. They can be seen here:

Linda and I were a bit sursprised to discover the Marche du Film was a bit more geared to c-grade horror movies than quality content, though we knew this wasn't a documentary haven. Even still, we have made some good contacts, and interesting possibilities will be followed up on upon our return.

For the rest of the week I'm watching movies and walking around wearing Zambian Forge shirts. Another update when I return.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

FORGEing Futures wins 2 Videography Awards

Well, I'm back from NAB. My presentation at the Supermeet went well. People seemed to respond positively to the trailer, and I didn't botch my public speaking. About 800 people were there, seated theatre style for the presentations. I believe a vblog of the event is coming in a few weeks. I'll post a link when it's available.

So, this just in.. FORGEing Futures has won 2 more awards, this time from the Videography Competition.
1. Award of Distinction for the non-profit category.
2. Honorable Mention for Cinematography.

I think that about wraps it up for FORGEing Futures. Zambian Forge is starting the festival submission process, and of course, we shall see what happens at Cannes in 2 weeks..


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Accolade Award and NAB

A LOT has been happening this past week. Some of it I can't talk about just yet, but big things are afoot with Cloudchaser Films LLC. It's very exciting.

First off, FORGEing Futures (the FORGE promotional video) has won a second award. This time it is an Award of Excellence from the Accolade Competition. This award was given to the overall production, not to a specific component of it. Specifically: A-29, Non-Profit / Charity.

Secondly, something cool is happening that may take a bit of explanation. Both Zambian Forge and FORGEing Futures were edited on Apple Hardware with Final Cut Pro. Next week at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) there is a user group meeting for people who use Final Cut:
At this meeting, about a dozen or so companies have been selected to present samples of work they have been doing using Final Cut and other Apple software. Cloudchaser Films LLC has been selected to present the trailer for Zambian Forge.

Next up: Cloudchaser Films LLC is expanding. We now have a Washington DC office. Tyler Mallory is joining part-time as a photographer. Linda Quigg is taking over the sales side of the organization, including the distribution contracts for Zambian Forge. To further this process, Linda and I will be going to the Cannes Film Festival in May. Associated with the main festival is a film market, one of the world's largest. Zambian Forge is officially registered and available for sale at the market.

More announcements coming soon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

FORGEing Futures wins a Telly

I was just notified of this.
FORGEing Futures (The FORGE promotional video), has received a Bronze medal for Cinematography from the 27th Telly Awards.

The specific category was NB47, Videography / Cinematography for non-broadcast Film & Video productions.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Zambian Forge in DV Magazine

Go buy the April issue of DV Magazine (Digital Video). Zambian Forge is featured inside with an article I wrote on tapeless telecine, and shares the cover as well. There may eventually be an electronic version on, but not yet. For those of you who know her, there is a large and wonderful shot of Rachel. Though you might not understand the technical jargon, I think you will appreciate the magazine.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Festival Screeners Ready

It's been a busy week, but as it draws to a close, I am happy to announce: Zambian Forge festival screeners are ready!

It's been a long road to get here, but, finally, I'm ready to start pushing this film out into the world.

I flew up to San Francisco, went through my mixing session, and returned to LA with sound files in hand.
I spent the following days plugging away at adding in the audio files, graphics, and fixing a few small items. Then I moved the project over to an uncompressed timeline and output DVD files. I also created a new DVD interface to use for the screeners.
I mailed my first festival submission out on Thursday, just in time to meet a deadline. A couple other copies have gone out in the last few days as well. My new push is for festival entries and to find a distribution mechanism. I'll be working on this over the rest of the spring. More news on that front to follow..


Saturday, March 11, 2006

San Francisco bound

Tomorrow morning I head up to San Francisco.
I am going to be finalizing and picking up an opening title sequence developed by VideoArts, as well as overseeing a sound mix at Berkeley Sound Artists. On Tuesday I will be heading back to Santa Monica, combining all of these elements, and outputting my master DVD for festival submissions and for distributors to look at.

Reaching picture lock on this cut is huge for Zambian Forge. Another major milestone is about to be reached. I can't wait.


Friday, February 24, 2006

New Zambian Forge trailer online

Another quick note. The new trailer for Zambian Forge, edited by odell, is now online.

Or go to:
and click Zambian Forge on the right.

Check it out!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

odell again

Another quick update..
odell has returned to LA once again. We are working to clean up the fine cut of "Zambian Forge" and prep it for a rough sound mix and the creation of a graphics package. (I believe we've worked out who will be doing those elements now.) Expect another update soon as to how this has progressed. We are attempting to have another cut finished by mid-March to meet several festival deadlines.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Big Screen

Last night I had the opportunity to see Zambian Forge on a big screen for the first time at a facility in Burbank, on a HD projector in a private screening room. It held up extremely well, which was very exciting. It conveys well in that environment!

In other news, odell and I are hard at work trying to choose a sound designer & mixer, and a graphics person. We want to have our next cut out in about a month, with sound mix and graphics, to send to festivals with submission dates in mid-March.

A few weeks ago I built a new website at It's up now, so take a look at it!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Work to Do in 2006

"Zambian Forge" is close to done, really really close. A few edits to be made, sound and color to work on, but mostly the production chapter is closing on this film, and it's time to concentrate on festivals and distribution.

I need to get some stuff done, and I need some people to help me. If you are or know a person who fits one of these descriptions, let's get in touch.

1. A website designer to create a new Cloudchaser Films LLC page, and a Zambian Forge page.
2. A logo designer to create a logo and branding for Cloudchaser Films LLC.
3. A sound designer to lead the audio post on Zambian Forge.
4. An intern to help with festival mailings and that kind of thing.
5. Anyone involved with distribution that might like to get involved - connections to Landmark Theatre chains, PBS, & National Geographic would be especially interesting.

There are a few pennies for the right people.

Other interesting things to note..
I published a telecine review on CML describing some of my experiences attempting direct to disk telecine. It can be seen here:
I've been told this article was also published in Showreel magazine( ), I think Issue 9, but I haven't seen it myself, so I'm not sure yet.
I am sure that I was contracted by DV magazine ( to write an article about bringing film into the digital space on Zambian Forge. This is finished and slated to be published in the April Issue. I will post more details when it comes out.

Kjerstin was able to take a look at the fine cut of Zambian Forge before heading back to Zambia last week. She gave the FORGE sign-off for the project, which is comforting. First contact with USA for UNHCR has been made, but no more info yet.

I think that's it for now.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Day One of a New Year

Well, it is the end of the first day of 2006. Mostly I hid inside from the massive rains we've been having here in California this week. 2005 was a good year for me, a whole year mostly devoted to working on Zambian Forge, though I worked on some other projects and moved to a new home for the first time in 9 years as well. A year ago odell came from NYC to start working on the project, and it led to him moving as well. A lot has happened with FORGE this year too..

So far I've gotten some useful feedback and mostly positive reactions to my initial screeners that went out to the 2004 FORGE team for the holidays. I also left my first messages with Angelina's people. I've gotten a lead for a title / graphics person that sounds perfect. At this point, everyone I'm showing to is confirming my suspicion that the editing is drawing to close, and it's time to head towards the distribution side of things. Unfortunately, I have yet to get a response from Kjerstin & FORGE's official endorsement. I hope that will come soon, but an unforseen tragedy hit the organization last week.

One brave student - whom I only met through email - arrived in Meheba about a month after I left to spend 6 months there on her own overseeing the sustainability of the programs in a similar fashion to Arianna staying in 2004. This young woman is Holly Hickling.
Though FORGE is not a religious organization, Holly came from a religious family and her father Thom decided to come to Zambia to spend Christmas with her. Holly came to meet her father in Lusaka, and on December 27th they got a car and began heading north to Meheba with donations for the settlement. Not far out of Lusaka, they were involved in a head-on collision passing a truck on the road. Thom was killed, and Holly was injured. She has since returned to Pittsburgh. Below is a link to a more detailed article published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Accidents and tragedy are part of life, but I find it especially sad that in this case, the tragedy hit a family involved in a goodwill mission. As 2006 begins, a moment of silence for the Hickling Family.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fine Cut Finished

I feel somehow like this should be a bigger entry than it's going to be, but be that as it may, here it comes..

The Sunday after Thanksgiving I returned to Santa Monica with odell. He spent another 2 weeks here working non-stop. We intergrated a lot of the film footage, created a new ending for the film, and did a whole lot of other additional work. As he left, I watched our film through and for the first time.. I felt comfortable. No, it's not done yet, but for the first time I watched "Zambian Forge" and thought to myself that nothing was broken. The editorial is working. Sure, not all of the cuts are 100%; we still need sound design, new graphics, color corrections, etc. There is still a lot of work to do. But, for the first time, I feel that the story is complete. It's working. And I like it.

Today I began mailing screeners out.. to FORGE, and to the Forgies in the doc. Over the next month I will host several test screenings to gauge how an audience will react to this film we have made. There will probably be some revisions, but my hope is that they will be minor ones compared to all of the work we did to get to this point. I'm ready to start looking for distribution.

Today I also got some contact information for Angelina Jolie. I'm hoping she will be willing to do an intro for the film.. we'll see.. Hopefully UNHCR will like it too! I'm still hoping to show "Zambian Forge" on World Refugee Day. Almost 6 months away.. so far, but yet so short, for a premier..

Happy Holidaze everyone.
David Mallin
Cloudchaser Films LLC

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Goose Day

I'm up in San Francisco for Thanksgiving, and tomorrow will be returning to Santa Monica with odell to complete this round of editing. Since he left 2 weeks ago, I upgraded my G5 to Tiger (Mac OS 10.4.3) and Final Cut Pro Studio, with the new Blackmagic drivers. Finally the Blackmagic card in my system started to work correctly, and a number of other smaller issues were also resolved. Looking forward to a productive couple of weeks coming up.
Over the last few days I have shown the rough cut of the film to several friends and received good input. Mostly people seem to reinforce the ideas I already have in my mind about what needs to be changed, and the general consensus is that we are about 85% finished with the editorial aspect of the cutting. I dug through the edit myself after upgrading the suite, cut 4 minutes, and made some small changes. Will odell coming back into the editor's chair, we definitely should be ready to do some test screenings of the editorial cut by Christmas.

Happy Goose Day everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Film.. Finally!

The last 2 weeks have been non-stop. In the best of ways.
Despite months of testing and prep for a direct film to hard drive transfer of my footage from this summer, in the end it did not happen. The material was telecined at Match Frame in Burbank to D5, and from D5 to hard drive. In the end, odell's time was moving, and we just couldn't wait any longer. The colorist was Greg White, who did a fantastic job and was a pleasure to work with. odell had a few days to work with some of the footage before heading back up to Oakland yesterday. He will be returning south again in a few weeks to finish this edit. Our original timeframe to start test screenings was Thanksgiving; now it is Christmas, which really isn't so bad, all things considered.

In some ways, it was a blessing in disguise. As odell's time and flights were booked, some of the time we had expected to go toward working in the film material went instead into making structural changes to the film. Over the last week it has really evolved for the better. We have been struggling since Feb. trying to figure out the opening. I think we've got it now, after a major rework. It is getting better all of the time. Evolving, evolving, evolving. Natural selection takes time.

A word about the test footage from SpyPost - it blew Bonolabs out of the water. End of story. I'm going to write a more complete review about this later. If it hadn't taken them so long to work the bugs out of the system, I would have used this new service they are just getting online. Once again, the merits of testing come through.

Not to go overboard, but the film footage looks fantastic. It's going to be a real value add - especially if this film goes theatrical or bumps up to HD (which it very likely will). It's a whole level above the DVX100a footage, which also looks great. Despite the hiccups, frustration, and expense, in the end.. shooting some film was worth it all. I'm totally happy with it, especially the new Vision2 7205, which really just looks amazing. It has slightly more grain than the 7245, but so much more latitute. It survived underexposure well, and generally just looks terrific. I can't wait to shoot 7201 now. I'm sold on the Kodak Vision2 line.

Susan - the new Associate Director of FORGE - was here today. I helped her gather and prep some material (my photos) for the next FORGE brochure and website, and generated a copy of FORGEing Futures in the iPod Video format. It's nice to see that FORGE is still evolving and learning. Despite the fact that the focus of my film has shifted away from them as compared to my original intentions, it still makes the whole process more rewarding to know I am documenting an organization, and a situation, that still exists.


Saturday, October 29, 2005


Figuring out and dealing with monitoring HD out of my editing suite has been a real pain. Having received the digitized files from VideoArts, odell and I were anxious to compare them to the Bonolabs files. The Dell 2405FPW arrived, and we were excited to finally get a true idea what the hd files would look like to push the film side of my footage forward.
It didn't look very good, at first..
The Dell monitor is fine for a computer graphics monitor, but it was aweful for displaying video. The color and scaling were terrible, and even worse, every time we tried feeding it a 1080 23.976PsF input, my Blackmagic card hung, and the G5 had to be rebooted. This was true for both the component output, and viewing through a HDlink my dealer let me borrow for testing. (The image was better with the HDlink, but not enough to justify its cost..)
So, today I arranged for the return of the Dell monitor, and purchased a Sony KLV-S26A10 HDTV to use as a monitor. Setup was much simpler, and everything is looking much better.

We still have not received the images from SpyPost yet, but this is the trade-off we currently see with the 2 options for telecine.. the images from Bonolabs are soft. The images coming though HDcam are full of noise. Which is better for downrezing to SD? We're trying to figure it out.

However, dealing with the video footage, the edit is going well. The 2004 part of the film is very different now from how it was in May, and much improved. We are just beginning to work on the 2005 material's incorporation, which is also going well so far. We are on track to have another edit done by Thanksgiving as hoped, due to both odell and I working long long hours.
There will be additional work to do later, as UNHCR has gotten back to me that they are not going to release the footage I asked for until they see the cut we are about to complete, kind of a catch-22. odell will probably need some additional time with the film footage too.

It would be nice to have the film footage online by the next update I write!