Four Birds fly off with $50,000 prize

Chicago-founded film collective, Four Birds Pictures, won IFP’s first-ever ? and biggest – $50,000 finishing grant for its debut feature, “A Thing as Big as the Ocean.”

The virtual studio’s achievement is even more remarkable considering that the lo-fi film was financed on credit cards and shot within just two weeks in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Houston and Marfa, Texas last year.

The prize was part of IFP’s $130,000 in cash and in-kind awards to support filmmakers’ new projects. The ceremony was held in New York on Sept. 25, hosted by actors Ally Sheedy and Kevin Corrigan, who also served as judges.

Four Birds is the collaboration of Chicago co-producer and lead actor Jeff Harms, Baltimore-based writer/director Joseph Cashiola and editor Nathan Duncan, and co-producer Ross Cashiola, who lives in Marfa, Texas.

All Four Birds are also musicians and artists who put the film together in their spare time while working full-time jobs.

None of the four attended film school, and began work on the film with little expectations or pre-planning.

The prize money, courtesy of an anonymous donation, will be used to complete post-production. They will editing and color correct in Baltimore; ADR and sound mixing will be done here, with Jacob Ross at Experimental Sound Studios.

Some of the prize he money will be used to buy some equipment to help in future films. Harms plans to direct his own feature next spring and Joseph Cashiola will shoot a drama.