We had the good fortune of connecting with David Liban and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a filmmaker, it’s expected that when you make a film that it is associated with a business entity. Every movie starts with a logo of this type of company. In addition, it’s good business sense to separate the commerce associated with the film from personal accounts. Also, it is common to set up a new business entity for each film project, so I currently have two: Tinyfist Films and for my new film, Publish or Perish Movie, LLC.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a filmmaker, which is a collaborative creative endeavor. It requires a group of artists to work together to create the final product. Today’s indie filmmaker must be a jack-of-all-trades. I am a screenwriter, director, editor, businessman, entrepreneur, producer… many hats must be worn.
What sets me apart from others? I cannot say that I am different from thousands of other filmmakers, but it is a herculean task to complete a feature film and then get it distributed internationally. I am proud that my film, A Feral World was picked up by Gravitas Ventures and is currently being streamed on Amazon Prime and other international territories. This was a project that I shot over 4 years and spent another year working to get it seen worldwide.
How did I get where I am? Well, I’d say persistence. All along my journey as a filmmaker it was entirely on my shoulders to complete my film projects. Not being associated with a studio, if I wanted to see the film completed, I had to be self motivated and driven. If I ever decided to cease working on it, no one would be knocking on my door.
I am also a professor, and in the world of academia, it is expected that you produce work that is seen by large audiences. That was a great incentive for me to try and make at least one film per year. At the beginning of my career, I spent more time working on shorts, but what I really wanted to do was to make features. So, all the films I made prior to my more recent films provided me with the experience and know-how on how to deliver a feature film. I definately got better over the years and I continue to learn and develop as an artisan.
What have I learned along the way? Sadly, I’ve learned that nobody really cares about your project as much as you do. It’s up to you, the artist to get the thing done and out there. But artistically, I’ve learned how to communicate with actors, composers, colorists, distributors and crew members. I’ve also continually worked at being a better storyteller. That means, defining my characters, knowing their wants and desires and working to get those elements on the screen. I’ve taken classes on screenwriting and have gone down the rabbit hole of that craft where I can easily lose myself to that world I am building.
I am now working on a new feature film called Publish or Perish. It’s dark comedy about a professor who will do just about anything to get tenure. The longline is: An obsessive college professor relentlessly pursues tenure, no matter what it takes or who has to die. – It’s a film that will have a similar tone to a Coen Brothers film. Funny… but not… but yes… funny.
I am currently looking for investors/collaborators. We are planning on shooting the film in June 2022.
What have I learned along the way? If you have a dog in your film… don’t kill it. (the character…)
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend comes to visit, I would take them to an event at Red Rocks. That place is magical for me. I would also take them to the mountains for a day hike to show them the wonders of Colorado. We’d eat at Sushi Kazu in Centennial… our favorite sushi place. I would also take them to the Denver Art Museum, walk along the 16th street mall in downtown Denver. And we might also go on the Friday arts walk in the Tennison area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow… there are so many people who provided guidance and inspiration, it’s hard to identify just one. That said, the people that come to mind are Stuart MacLlelland who was a professor/mentor when I was in grad school at Brooklyn College. Others include colleagues from the University of Memphis, where I used to work. David Appleby and Steven J. Ross. These two people are also filmmakers in an academic setting as well as professors. Their support and guidance has continued to stay with me 20 years later.
Wen Tan Kelly Spencer Rob King Trevr Merchant