Alice Dungan Bouvrie, founder of Mineral King Productions, brings over 25 years of experience in the film industry to her role as documentary Producer and Director. She holds a Master’s Degree in Film Production from Boston University, a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and is a graduate of the DGA Producers Training Program in New York. She is an active member of the Director’s Guild of America, and an active member and former board member of Women in Film & Video/New England. Bouvrie worked as an Assistant Director on feature films, TV series and specials, commercials and industrials for seven years before producing independent documentaries in 1993, forming Mineral King Productions, a video documentary production company based in Arlington, Massachusetts. Mineral King Productions produces broadcast-quality documentary videos with an intercultural emphasis.
Bouvrie was awarded a 2011 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Film & Video. Her first film, co-produced with Teresa Metcalf entitled, Living Under the Cloud: Chernobyl Today won the Special Jury Award in the Environmental Category at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1994. Iditarod…A Far Distant Place won Best Cinematography at the New England Film Festival 2000 and First Place Audience Award for Documentary at Film Fest New Haven 2000. In 2005-06 Bouvrie was Filmmaker-In-Residence at WGBH, Boston and while there completed her award winning documentary film, Prison Pups. Bouvrie’s film, Thy Will Be Done: A Transsexual Woman’s Journey Through Family and Faith is distributed by new Day Films. Other films produced include Am I Home Yet?, 5 Au Pairs in Boston and William Wyman Artist Potter both for the educational market. Alice’s most recent documentary, A Chance to Dress was awarded “2015 AIFF Best Documentary Short” and is now participating in festivals nationwide.
As child, what film make the strongest impression on you?
I was a teenager when I saw Hitchcock's Psycho, and will never forget it. Not only did it scare me to death, but it was so tight, so polished, so perfect!
Where did you study film?
I studied film at Boston University
What cinematographers past or present, do you most admire?
By cinematographer, do you mean cameraman, or filmmaker? My favorite cinematographer is Vilmos Zsigmond - I worked with him on The Witches of Eastwick. Several of my favorite filmmakers are: Jane Campion (The Piano), Woody Allen, Hitchcock, Coppola, Scorsese - I know there are lots more.......
How did you get involved with film?
I took an evening class at Brandeis and our instructor was an older newsreel guy who started out during WWII - he had the best stories.
How do you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally as a director?
I spend a lot of time going over my material - footage and transcripts. I do all the logging myself so I can get familiar with all my footage, and during the logging process I get lots of ideas. I think about what questions I'm asking, and the way in which I want to address those questions. I try to be as prepared as I can.
What does it mean to be an independent filmmaker?
That means I'm my own boss, and I don't work for a company or TV station, or anyone else.
How do you want people to perceive your films and your characters?
I would like for people to learn from my films, and be changed by them, be enlightened by them. I always want my audiences to like my characters. I love it when someone says to me "You know, I only came to see your film because a friend dragged me and wanted to see it, and I'm so glad I did. I feel differently now about (the subject matter), and I was so absorbed in the story".
The process of filming and directing implies pains and challenges; tell us about some that you have experienced while shooting?
The pains for me are always fundraising, it's not my strong suit. But when I'm on the set I try to be prepared and when I can afford to, I like to hire a cameraman. The challenges are always time, weather, parking, accessibility, that sort of thing. Time is a big factor when filming, as I always seem to need more time for everything. Weather is unpredictable and we can usually work around it, but it has held up production on occasion. Since I'm a small unit when filming - usually just myself, or myself and a cameraman - I don't need permits to take up lots of parking spaces etc., in fact, I try to be as low key as possible, under the radar, so lugging equipment from my car to the filming site in an urban environment can be exhausting. And accessibility to sites where I want to film, is not always possible. I try to be quiet, small, unobtrusive and quick.
As a filmmaker, what has been your most satisfying moments?
Seeing good footage at the end of a filming day, and watching audiences enjoying my films!
What advice would you offer to the new generation of filmmakers?
Good luck! It's not an easy way to make a living. Try to keep on top of the technology and social media/distribution changes, it's tough! Very competitive out there, but don't give up!
Teacher and mentors: do you remember them and tell us why?
I didn't have any mentors unfortunately, I sure could have used some, or even one. Filmmaker friends have given me valuable feedback for each of my films.
What inspired you to write a script for a movie? Describe the process?
Since I only have made documentaries, the scripts pretty much have evolved out of the editing room. Of course I have an idea and plan - see question 5 - and I try to follow my ideas and questions, but without restricting myself. Things can change a great deal during the edit - an initial idea can change into a completely different film. The films I've made come from my interests (my two dog films, Iditarod.... A Far Distant Place, and Prison Pups - I'm a dog junkie, I love dogs). And my previous two films, Thy Will Be Done: A transsexual woman's journey through family and faith, and A Chance To Dress, kind of fell into my lap. They became opportunities to learn about two communities that I would never have had the chance to know. The journey in making those two films was enlightening and a wonderful education. I grew up while making those films. I'm so grateful, all those films and the people involved were a gift.