August 6, 2014
Today is a tough day in the Seed&Spark office, as we bid farewell to our incredibly talented Director of Content Amanda Trokan, who was recognized and snapped up for one of the most prestigious programming jobs in the world: Film Programming & Acquisitions at HBO. HBO YOU GUYS. It's hard to be simultaneously so sad to lose a teammate and so excited for her new adventure. But we're nothing if not full of complexities and contradictions around here. Especially today. Below she speaks to you, here in italics we speak to her: Thank you, Amanda, for helping us understand who we are as a company, for your shiny shiny light, exceptionally well timed jokes on twitter and IRL, and constantly persisting in excellence. We are better for having worked with you and will continue to count you among our closest friends! Gonna go cry now. -e
We made her take this headshot when she came to work for us. We thought she did exceptionally well! Just the first of a thousand things she would excel at while with us.
This note is a bittersweet one. After 1¼ years living and breathing Seed&Spark, I have been summoned back to the Home Box Office to join their Film Programming & Acquisitions team. Fortunately, from there I can continue to fight the good fight to help get great independent film seen by wider audiences.
As a startup, most of what we do at Seed&Spark we are doing for the first time. This year (let’s round down) was definitely a year of firsts for me, too. My first headshots, which will haunt me till the end of the internet. My first “vision quest” (which involved neither Joshua Tree nor mushrooms). My first time at a festival with the party on top of a parking garage (LAFF). My first time at a festival with luxury motorcoach transportation, rendering it near impossible to stop saying the word “motorcoach” (NHFF). My first steak tartare. My first trip to Sundance. My first time using “drupal” in a sentence (albeit incorrectly). My first time in Missouri. My first jury duty (SORRY). My first Cannes (thank you, Unifrance!).
(At the very first ever Bright Ideas launch party!)
We as S&S did some things we could not have imagined a year ago. We held a “fair trade” festival where we kicked off paying-the-filmmaker initiatives. We partnered with some incredible distribution companies (announcements soon!). We crowdfunded our own crowdfunding site. We nearly tripled the size of the film library (quadrupled if you include the Gravitas films we have yet to reveal!). We even have our own independent film channel on American Express platforms in 67 million homes. We (Emily) hired, like, a half-dozen people (most of them women) and started an education initiative (Erica) and a print magazine (Kaelan). We’re about to launch a cool slate of films guest-curated by Austin Film Society that I can’t wait to see go out into the world. And this is only the stuff I can remember off the top of my head at 3 a.m.! (I procrastinate doing things that might make me feel sad things, and saying goodbye is one of them.)
For all these experiences and so many more, I am forever grateful. I’m grateful to have been able to meet and work with so many filmmakers and industry folk I admire, many of whom I now call friends. Speaking of friends, my coworkers are now some of my best. Everywhere I go people light up when they hear where I work, wanting to tell me some personal story of how they are connected to this group of incredibly talented and passionate and enthusiastic people. I am still honored that they ever dared to take on a sass factory like me.
(This is what she means by sass factory.)
There are so many exciting things I know about coming down the S&S pike that I will now see come to fruition as an alumna, a community member, a fan cheering from the sidelines. But let’s just say, this sh*t is taking off, people. Trust me.
I confidently leave you, Seed&Sparkers, in the very capable hands of Chief Creative Officer (and DP extraordinaire) Eve Cohen. She shall answer all your S&S Cinema questions. Probably by texting them to me. (JK LOL 143 EVE)
Please do stay in touch via my sporadic, tonally schizophrenic tweets! (For which I must now say: “These are my own views and don’t necessarily reflect the views of HBO.”)