You have to be pretty passionate to work at something for 14 years. Thomas G. Miller certainly was. “Limited Partnership,” his new documentary, was big deal for him, and rightfully so. The powerful piece documents the life and times of Filipino-American Richard Adams and Australian Tony Sullivan, who were one of the first same-sex couples in the world granted a legal marriage. It premiered at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival on June 14.
[Editor’s Note: Indiewire reached out to filmmakers with films playing at the 20th LA Film Festival (June 11-19) to ask them about how they shot their indie, and what advice they had for other filmmakers. We’ll be posting their responses throughout the run of the festival. Go HERE for the master list.]
What was the most difficult shoot on your movie and how did you pull it off? The most difficult shoot in “Limited Partnership” was a marriage equality rally in downtown LA in the rain. We had one primary camera shooting the stage that had a direct wire for sound and then two roaming cameras. The two roaming cameras were shooting the crowd, the cutaways, and the wide shots and closeups of the main characters on stage. Then there was a march after the rally so the primary camera followed the main couple in the film and the secondary cameras recorded the march and another rally at the end of the march. A lot of this was done while holding umbrellas in the downpour.
What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you BEFORE you started your movie? I wish someone would have told me that I would be producing and directing this film for over 14 years!!!
What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got? I think the worse piece of advice I received was that financing of the film would be easy. It was anything but that. I spent years and countless days trying to get financing and finally after 13 years ITVS came in with the finishing funds for the documentary.
What’s the best? The best advice was to “follow your passion” when choosing what type of documentary to make. This passion along with the fantastic subjects and crew members I had the pleasure of working with enabled me to have the strength and commitment to finish this social change film.
What advice do you have for aspiring or first-time filmmakers? Work with some experienced crew members who can impart their knowledge of filmmaking, producing, directing and working in a collaborative way. This will make the whole process more enjoyable and probably lead to a better film.