Aaron & Nora

Minneapolis-based director Anders Holine is heading into post-production for his intimate story of love in the face of cancer, titled AARON & NORA (formerly titled A&N). Holine and Nora were coworkers at a Minnesota-based advertising agency when Nora’s partner Aaron was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She began writing a blog about their experience, and her strong point of view inspired Holine to ask her about turning their story into a documentary. Shooting began in Feburary 2014, and Aaron passed away nine months later. Their ability to face mortality with strength and humor, rather than an impending tragedy, became central to Holine’s approach: true to form, Aaron revealed himself as Spider-Man in his obituary, as well as being the previous spouse of Gwen Stefani. Nora continues to write about her journey in her blog, and is raising their son Ralph, who is now 3 years old. So far, Holine has shot and edited everything himself, including Nora’s story after Aaron’s death, but plans on starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to hire another editor to complete the film by late spring 2016. AARON & NORA is a fiscal sponsorship project of IFP Minnesota.

For more information, visit IFP Minnesota here

For more on Aaron’s obituary and to watch the trailer, visit Slate.com here

Louder Than Words

After seven years of production, Chicago-based director Saj Adibs has completed final cut on the documentary LOUDER THAN WORDS, and has begun submitting to festivals. His film follows two families as they explore the controversial cochlear implants for their deaf children: one set of parents lives in Arlington Heights and are deaf themselves, while the other set of parents live in Utah, and are hearing. Both families resisted the procedure out of deference to preserving their identification with deaf culture, but their positions on the issue gradually shifted as their children grew older. Adibs says he did not set out to make a film advocating for or against the use of cochlear implants, but rather chose to focus on how parents make difficult choices for their children’s future. Under the auspices of his own company, New Slate Films, he was able to shoot on his own for years until he found what he felt was a strong ending, but then realized that he needed a compelling sound mix to bring the story together. In August he raised $37,000 from 506 backers through Kickstarter, and spent most of the funds on sound design, a composer and creative recreations in order to add an extra cinematic dimension to the film. Among Adibs’ festival aspirations are Sundance, Slamdance, and SXSW.

Gordon Quinn Honored by IDA

The International Documentary Association will be presenting Gordon Quinn with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles on December 5. Quinn is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Kartemquinn Films, and has been involved as producer, director and/or cinematographer on over 55 films during his long career, including HOOP DREAMS (1994), GOLUB (1988), PRISONER OF HER PAST (2010), THE NEW AMERICANS (2004), and most recently THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI (2013). As a media advocate and activist, he has been involved in the creation of ITVS, industry best practices around fair use, and the Indie Caucus dedicated to supporting diverse independent voices in Public Television. Previous esteemed winners include Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple, DA Pennebaker, Albert Mayses, Frederick Wiseman, Bill Moyers, and Walter Cronkite.

For more information, visit the Kartemquin website here

Todd Lillethun is a freelance producer and editor at Flicker Effects and student advisor at Northwestern University's MFA program for Documentary Media.