David Gelphman's Blog


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How I Became a Movie Producer

In my career I’ve been lucky to get to do a variety of things. At Stanford I worked as a graduate student doing research in high energy physics. My work at Adobe, RBI Software Systems, and Apple was primarily software development, but I also did 3rd party developer support, taught PostScript programming, wrote numerous technical documents, and even wrote a book. But I never imagined that I would be an associate producer of a movie.

It started on June 26, 2012, when a New York Times article caught my eye. Filmmakers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart were making a short film, Herd in Iceland, documenting the historic herding of the Icelandic horse. The story they were filming was from another world, one so different than the one I live in, but one I have a connection to nonetheless. You see, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to ride my beautiful Icelandic horse Katla for 7 years now. She takes me to places that connect me with nature in ways that I could not do without her.

David and Katla

Reading the article about Lindsay and Paul and watching the trailer to their film brought tears to my eyes. The Icelandic landscape is so beautiful and seeing the elegant Icelandic horses running freely in it was a deeply moving experience. When I read that they had started a Kickstarter project, I knew I had to participate. I wanted to see their film succeed.

I’d already been part of several Kickstarter projects and it had been quite gratifying. In each case the results exceeded my expectations, especially the project by my friend Basho Parks, who created a wonderful album with his partner Jenn Rawling.

For the Herd in Iceland project, the question was how much to contribute. I looked at the project and they were trying to raise $16,500. At that point they hadn’t raised anywhere near that much money. I saw that I could be listed as an associate producer on the project if I contributed $2000. But that was insane. Yes, I loved what I saw of their project, but I’d never sent that much money to someone I don’t know. I’ve rarely sent that much money to anyone I do know!

I re-watched the trailer and teared up once again. I really loved what they were doing with their film and wanted them to be able to do it. It was right around my birthday so I decided I’d forgo anything else for my birthday and give myself the biggest birthday present ever. I signed up. It was crazy, but I was very excited.

The DVD for the movie arrived just before Christmas. Every year my wife Leslie and I pick a movie to watch on Christmas Eve and this time it was going to be Herd in Iceland. I put the disc in and as soon as the title sequence started I teared up. The sight of those horses in that country just does it to me. Herd In Iceland small

And when the credits come up at the end, there I am as one of the associate producers.

Credits small

Lindsay tells me that the Kickstarter money is, in part, enabling them to enter their film into film festivals this year. Most recently they attended the 2013 Black Hills Film Festival and were surprised and thrilled to win Best Documentary Short.

BlackHills Herd In Iceland small

I’m looking forward to them coming to festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that they get into the Santa Cruz Film Festival. If so, my many friends in this area that have Icelandic horses will be able to come and support it. And still more people that have not seen the beauty of the Icelandic horse will be able to share in that experience.

Lindsay has a calendar of their film festival appearances, but you don’t have to find a film festival to see the film. The movie and a book of images from the movie are available for purchase.

Lindsay and Paul made a lovely film and I am proud to have been a small part of it.