Upcoming Shows

We've been named as a official selection in the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour, March 17-24.

Shows are in Hapeville, GA 3/17, Madison, GA 3/20, Orangeburg, SC 3/22, Gainsville, GA 3/23, and Manteo, NC 3/24.
Learn more by going to the SouthArts blog.

View the theatrical trailer for A Gift for the Village

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Incredible time in the heartland of America - from Tom

Thanks so much to the kind people at Roberts Park United Methodist Church in downtown Indianapolis. Friday, November 11 was a great day to be a local boy returning home. My high school, Lawrence North High, was brave to extend an invitation to talk to students from the theater, journalism, and video production programs there, so I delivered a short talk on my "career" in television and discussed the production of A Gift for the Village. The kids were great, and I admit to getting a little choked up just as I started my talk, and looked up at the crowd of about 200 students in the Little Theater, where I'd done quite a bit of singing and acting as a kid.

It was at that high school where I saw my first video camera: a thing so bulky that you had to wheel a cart around with it to contain the giant recorder and all of the electronics needed to make it work, and the arts teachers there taught me a lot of things I still use every day: how to speak extemporaneously, how to work as a part of a team to produce professional quality work, and how to evaluate your own work to continuously improve. I was honored that my best childhood friend John Klasing came to the talk, and he chimed in a few times with good suggestions of stories to share with the kids.

Then, that night we showed the film to a group of about 120 people, many of whom were old friends from my childhood church and high school pals and people I'd never met who heard about the show. I was honored that two Tibetans we'd met during my visit to Indy showed up to see the movie: they said that they only knew of 6 Tibetans in the whole city, and I hope they enjoyed seeing familiar scenes on the screen. The projection equipment and screen were provided by the people from the Heartland Film Festival, and the film looked great because of it.

Thanks to everyone who came out!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Final Chance To See The Jane Lillian Vance Gallery

On Friday, November 4, the gallery in downtown Roanoke that's been home to Jane's work will end the one year run of being open. In the past year hundreds of people have come through to see almost 100 of Jane's paintings on display, but now it's time to close the doors and take this artwork back into the world.

If you'd like one last chance to view the paintings and to hear Jane talk about them, come to the gallery at 309 First Street (near the intersection of 1st and Church) this Friday during the monthly Art by Night studio/gallery tour. To read more about the gallery, you can see this story about the opening from the Roanoke Times:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Southern Appalachian International Film Festival

And more good news: We just got accepted by the Southern Appalachian International Film Festival in Kingsport, TN -
October 26, 2011 to November 04, 2011. We don't know our screening date yet, but would love to see our friends from Abingdon and Bristol find us there!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From Jane: a newspaper story about the Smithfield Show

From the Smithfield Herald, June 26, 2011:
Community welcomes artist home

About 150 people attended the June 14 showing of A Gift for the Village. The award-winning documentary chronicles Vance's travels to Nepal to deliver her painting of a Tibetan leader and healer.

Some 150 people gathered June 14 at Johnston Community College to welcome home artist Jane Lillian Vance.
Vance, a Smithfield native who lives in Blacksburg, Va., came to the college to promote her painting exhibit and the award-winning documentary "A Gift for the Village."

Created by filmmakers Tom Landon and Jenna Swann, the documentary chronicles the delivery of Vance's painting "Amchi" to a Tibetan
village leader in Nepal. The film also serves as a bridge between the cultures of Nepal and the Western world.

Vance lived in Smithfield during her high school years, and many community members came out to view the documentary and to see the artist's paintings on display in the Frank Creech Art Gallery.

After the film showing and a question-and-answer session, guests observed 25 of Vance's oils on canvas. With vibrant colors and intricate detail, Vance tells stories of life in two communities on opposite sides of the globe.

"We are so grateful for this opportunity to showcase Jane Lillian Vance, her magnificent artwork and the fascinating documentary," said David Johnson, JCC president. "The turnout from our community to welcome Jane home was tremendous. Everyone was awestruck by the beauty of the evening."

Allison Elsee, a Smithfield native and friend of Vance's, was instrumental in bringing her to the college. She said she was thrilled by the local support for the event. "Jane's message of cultural harmony resonated with her hometown audience, who witnessed firsthand the wisdom that can come from visiting foreign lands and interacting with citizens of the world," Elsee said. "I have been overjoyed by the unanimously positive response from the packed house that attended our event. For Johnston Community College to host such an enriching evening demonstrates its dedication to global awareness."

Vance said she was humbled by the outpouring of support from the community that made such a lasting impression on her childhood. "It is so gratifying to be welcomed so graciously by my hometown and acknowledged by such important business and educational leaders," Vance said. "The Frank Creech Art Gallery is a wonderful testament to JCC's commitment to art and cultural education. I am proud to have my paintings hanging at such a beautiful space in my hometown."

Vance attended the College of William and Mary, Exeter University in Devon, England, and Virginia Tech. She teaches creative process in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Southern Circuit Update

Although it seems far away now, we are looking forward to screening the film as part of the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour this coming spring. The tour is sponsored by an organization called South Arts based out of Atlanta.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Special support for Southern Circuit was provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. SouthArts selected 21 films this year and provides support for a filmmaker to travel with 6 other producer/directors to 5 cities in the south. The tours start in the fall and continue throughout the year. We were given a slot in March, and while we are still working out the details, we do know when and where the film will be shown.

Here are the dates:
March 17: St. Paddy's Day screening in Hapeville, GA (Atlanta suburb)
March 20: Madison, GA
March 22: South Carolina State U: Orangeburg, SC
March 23: Gainesville, GA
March 24: Manteo, NC

We don't know much about the other films yet, other than their names, but we'll be getting in touch with the other filmmakers as the dates get closer. Here are the other films we'll be traveling with:

1. A Bird of the Air: Margaret Whitten. Lyman (Jackson Hurst) is a loner whose job patrolling highways at night, aiding stranded motorists keeps him at a distance from other people. When a rare, highly talkative parrot flies into his home one day, Lyman needs to figure out where the bird comes from and tries to decode its often cryptic utterances. Enlisting the aid of Fiona (Rachel Nichols), an unconventional librarian who is as interested in Lyman╩╝s secrets as she is in the bird’s, the pair set off on a search that doesn’t always lead them where they think they’re going, but gradually leads them to one another.

2. Ahead of Time: Zeva Oelbaum. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Ruth Gruber defied tradition from the moment she became the world’s youngest PhD at the age of 20 in 1931. She went on to become the eyes and conscience of the world as a journalist, photo-journalist and member of the Roosevelt administration. The first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, Ruth traveled to Alaska for the U.S. Dept of Interior in 1942, and was chosen to escort 1000 Holocaust refugees to America in 1944. Ruth turns 100 years old in October 2011 and the film reveals that her trail-blazing spirit and moxie are still inspiring to this day.

3. Barbershop Punk: Sugimora Archer, Kristin Armfield: Is “The Man” controlling the vertical, the horizontal, and the channel you’ll be on? In a privatized American Internet, is big business “Big Brother” or does the free market protect and serve the needs of the average citizen with its invisible hand? With the simple act of swapping files, barbershop quartet baritone Robb Topolski finds himself at ground zero of a landmark case whose outcome will affect the rights of every American citizen.

4. You Don't Know What I Got: Linda Duvoisin. Life. Love. Passion. Five women lay their heart and soul on the line: singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco, activist/poet Linda Finney, police officer Julie Brunzell, artist/architect Myrtle Stedman and housekeeper Jimmie Woodruff. Through a tapestry of homespun stories, confessions, advice, music and poetry, we discover a cross-section of American women with an extraordinary passion for life.

5. Louder Than A Bomb: Greg Jacobs and John Siskel. “Louder Than a Bomb” is a film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It’s about the joy of being young and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice…it also just happens to be about poetry.
If you live nearby or know someone who does, mark your calendars.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Golden Kahunas

A Gift for the Village has been awarded a Gold Kahuna Award in the category of feature length documentaries by the Honolulu Film Awards. The award will be presented on May 7 in Waikiki. Unfortunately we won't be there, but send our thanks for the award and regrets that we can't be there to collect it with a fancy drink with an umbrella in hand.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Since we uploaded the trailer for the film, it has been visited 12,800+ times by people from 75 countries, including Jordan, Iran, India and more. We love it when you watch it and pass on the link to friends.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Now an Award Winning Film!

We are super pleased to be able to say that A Gift for the Village is now an award winning film! At the Virginia Indie Film Festival in Richmond, VA last weekend the film won Best Documentary and People's Choice (documentary) to sweep the awards in our category.

While we're grateful for the prize money which will offset some of our festival travel budget, we're most gratified that an audience who knew nothing about our film and project recognized it as best in show. Thanks to the Virginia Film Office for sponsoring this great event, and to all of the people who came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to watch documentaries and short films.

On Friday of the same weekend Jenna and Jane traveled to Huntington, WV to be present for a screening of the film at the Appalachian Film Festival, held in a beautifully restored theater there. The audience was most appreciative and the hospitality was grand, though they left soon after the screening to make it to Richmond in time for the other festival on Saturday. All told they drove 19 hours over the weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Story from the Roanoke Sentinel

Roanoke has a small weekly paper called the Sentinel, and they did a story on Jane's gallery opening. While it has a few small factual errors (Tom was never the Director of Education at Blue Ridge PBS, though his boss was) we appreciate the kind coverage.
Read the story here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gallery Opening!

You are all cordially invited to the grand opening of The Jane Lillian Vance Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 3 from 5 - 9 p.m. 309 1st St. (Between Kirk and Church ), Roanoke, VA. Approximately 100 paintings, including several brand new ones.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Appalachian Film Festival says YES!

We just got word that A Gift for the Village will be screened at the Appalachian Film Festival in Huntington, WV the weekend of February 25-26. Our first out of state acceptance!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Community through film

Today we showed the film to a new group of people in Blacksburg. About 30 folks stayed after the Quaker Meeting at the fine meeting house on Mt. Tabor Road to share the experience of watching the film. Afterward, Jane and I talked over lunch about what it feels like to sit in an audience and watch your work projected in front of others.

For me, each time I see the film I find myself criticizing small things in my head - little things that I might like to fix, color I'd like to correct, an audio level that I might want to make a little louder or softer in a few spots. But even more than looking at "mistakes" I catch myself wondering about the hundreds of things that fell into place during the making of the film. My favorite shot? It's either the hummingbird that appears as if on cue to drink from the flowers over Jane's shoulder during her first "interview" appearance in the film, or a low angle shot of goats coming toward the camera while I crouched down in front of them. Or maybe the cloth blowing in the breeze in the door of a monastery, or a shot Jenna got that pans down from the Phadmasambhava cave in Lo that shows just how treacherous the walk was, or the serendipity of capturing a bullseye during the archery scene...

But I digress. What I really want to say is that I'm grateful for the chance to watch the film in the company of others. We spent so much time huddled at our computers working on the film that to share it with others is a real treat. To hear people laugh, or gasp, or sob while watching is a rare chance in this life for affirmation that you've done a good job, and I think it will be awhile before we tire of watching this film in the company of friends. In many respects I think THIS film is especially suited to communal viewing. After all, some of its first screenings were projected on monastery walls in the restricted region of Lo, in Upper Mustang in Nepal, followed by intimate screenings at the Kathmandu residence of the American Ambassador to Nepal and an impromptu showing on the side of my brother's house in Vermont the night before his wedding.

Now, that said, we have just added a little "buy now" button to the blog, which allows you to purchase a copy of A Gift for the Village using your credit card and having it shipped anywhere in the US. We hope that if you DO elect to own a copy of our film, you'll share it with friends and talk about it after, just as we continue to do in screenings.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Virginia Indie Film Festival

We found out today that A Gift for the Village has been selected to be screened during the Virginia Indie Film Festival at the beautiful and historic Byrd Theater in Carytown in Richmond. We don't know the exact time yet, but the dates are February 26 and 27, 2011, with our film screening sometime during the afternoon of the 26th. If you are in or near Richmond, we hope you'll come.

We'll soon also have news of a show of over 70 paintings by Jane Vance at a gallery space in Roanoke, so stay tuned. The gallery will be open to the public on the evening of February 3, details to follow.