I just wrapped production on a short narrative film with directors Magdalena Zyzak and Zachary Cotler. The story’s main scene takes place in a bedroom in which the lead character, played by the talented Goran Kostic, has barricaded himself. He is joined by his wife (Lili Bordan) and mistress (Sophie Ellsberg), and their discourse in this environment offers a poetic and refreshing gaze onto the clichés of sex and death.
The visual elements of the film were designed to reflect a delicate balance of hyper-realism and the fantastical, and this balance shifts as the viewer advances through the narrative. The look of the piece was inspired principally by the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, and Kubrick’s painterly Barry Lyndon. The primary reference for the main bedroom scene was J.F. Sebastian’s apartment in Blade Runner.
This was a rewarding project for me artistically: the aesthetic architecture of the film was complex, the directors were inspiring to work with, and the mood on set was positive and at times wonderfully intense. All of us—crew, actors, and management—pushed this project beyond many of the conventions that have come to dominate American narrative filmmaking, and we held each other accountable to this goal. Though there were only four days of principal photography (bracketed by several shorter days of insert shots and pick-ups), the show had the family feel of an independent feature.
Special thanks go to gaffer Chris Galdes, key grip David Lanes, and first AC Ian Degner. It was also such a pleasure to work with the film’s production designer, Jona Tochet. Without her art direction the film’s cinematography never could have achieved its full potential.
Next stop: Tbilisi, Georgia.