Paris in September

Ingrid Serban

Summer’s is gracefully bowing at the end of her show.
Did you enjoy some sunshine somewhere?
The Parisians take off for a whole month!! I’m still in awe at such extravagance.

Last time I wrote you I was in San Francisco. Almost 3 months later, I am writing to you from Paris.
A whole lotta life happened.
I finished the “Free Trip to Egypt” US tour (more info on how you can watch it, below), went to Romania for 6 weeks and now I am back in Paris.

I wish I could tell you everything that happened since June but it would make for a very long letter. What doesn’t kill you simply doesn’t kill you. I don’t know if it made me stronger.
Maybe.

… in just a few words 

I bought a one-way ticket to Romania and decided I would face my ghosts; greatest fears, greatest hopes, stuff I never dared say to the people who matter the most. I stayed for 6 weeks. During that time, I spent 10 days in my grandma’s old house. No one lives there now. I let my tears fall on the old dust and hoped the mud would make me see.

I found some things.
pieces of my heart, mostly.
I found beauty without
and fierceness within
tender skin with a lion’s heart
a vast lake with depths uncharted
I found a light that feels like home.

… in other news

Paris is a good place to miss California in. 
The work on Strigoi continues with my French team.
Step by step, my vision becomes clearer. 
For now.


Free Trip to Egypt” is now available on Cinema on Demand though TUGG. You can request a screening in your town or join one that’s already happening. 

NEXT SCREENINGS
Larkspur, CA – Sept 6, 8, 10
Albany, CA – Sept 12th
Providence, RI – Sept 17th
Huston, TX – Sept 26th

If you want to host or join a screening in your town, visit the TUGG website HERE.

“…effectively moving…”
Los Angeles Times


That’s about it from me. 
If you’d like to see my Romania journey in photos you can head over to my INSTAGRAM page.

If you feel like replying, do it.
I’ll write back.

love,
Ingrid

Post scriptum …

BERNAL HEIGHTS FILM FEST,
San Francisco, CA
My short doc, “The Shepherd,” is screening here tomorrow.
It’s about Sergiu, my shepherd friend from my grandma’s village. 

Friday, Sept 6th @6pm 
BERNAL BRANCH LIBRARY
500 Cortland Avenue 
San Francisco, CA
FREE admission

Reality Check

The wall behind me, in this photo, belongs to Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. I was there this weekend for the premiere of the first feature film I directed. Free Trip to Egypt.
On Sunday morning, I walked in the southern California heat and remembered. I had my first “real” acting gig at Paramount. That day felt like all my farfetched dreams might just be coming true.
Mirage.

Life has taken a few twists and turns since then. Dreams changed, clarified like butter over heat. I’ve been doing and living and shaking things up. Mostly jumping into deep waters and not drowning.
Yet.

The road behind me stretches indefinitely. The road ahead of me beckons me to keep going. Where, I do not know yet. Makes me think of a story I wrote in high-school about a pilgrim on the road to Mecca who found something other than he expected. Stories.
Looking for truth.


What I know is that I will finish the “Free Trip to Egypt” tour which ends this Wednesday, June 12th. (It’s had sold-out premieres in NYC and LA. The herculean effort we all put in is amounting to something that is reaching hearts and minds. I am very grateful for that.)
In about a week, I will return to Paris and continue the work on Strigoi. I will finish that film (talk about twists and turns).
Once that is finished, I will listen to the call that feels most true and follow it.

Thank you for being with me on this journey.
Thank you for taking an interest and for all your encouragement.

Hope life is treating you well wherever you may be.

Ingrid

PS. Free Trip to Egypt is screening in 500 theatres across the US tomorrow, June 12th. I will be at the San Francisco screening HERE.
If you want to see it in your town, you can find a theatre near you here:
https://www.fathomevents.com/events/free-trip-to-egypt

Free Trip to Egypt trailer

Coming to the US, but first

I fasted for Lent and now I’m fasting for Ramadan. I’m not converting to anything or anyone. It’s not about joining a religion but about taking part in the human intention to create compassion and peace, within and without.
I still have a couple of people I’m angry at so I have some work to do to get to that peace and compassion.

I was never into fasting. I thought I could never do it because I love food too much but it turns out I like it. I have a couple of flammable moments here and there but for the most part it quiets my mind. Not to mention all the extra time I have during the day! For Ramadan, you don’t eat until the sun sets. For Lent I gave up sugar, alcohol and cheese and went mostly vegetarian. Lent was harder but I loved it too. Just to think that 2 years ago I had my first experience of Ramadan in Egypt. More on that below…

On the MUSIC side, I made a video for NPR’s Tiny Desk for “Leaves,” a song I wrote in a quiet and tiny apartment below Sacre Coeur. The salon window opened onto a big tree. Except for a baby crying nearby, the quiet and serene atmosphere of the flat stood in stark contrast to my metro stop. Barbes-Rochechouart station is as close as you can get to running the gauntlet.

I was in this apartment long enough to see the tree go from bare branches to green leaves. I felt utterly alone, betrayed and lost. I shed many tears there. I also made a best friend and felt the beginning of what it’s like not to feel alone when you’re alone. I tried to put all of that into this song. I hope you like it.


FILMwise, the documentary I directed, “Free Trip to Egypt,” is having its theatrical premiere in the US in just a few weeks. I will be in NYCLos Angelesand San Francisco. It’s been a harrowing and exhilarating experience. As most of you know, this film has been the catalyst to great loss and great gain in my life. The upcoming trip will be a mixed bag of feelings but I am mostly grateful. 
If you would like to watch it and can’t make the NYC, LA premieres, the film will screen in 500 theatres across the US on June 12th (including San Francisco where I will be.)
For trailer, dates and ticket links, go see the goat HERE.

I hope to see you on this trip and if I don’t, please know how grateful I am that you let me into your mailbox aka your heart, and that you care about my adventures, my successes and my failures. 

All my best from the city of lights,

Ingrid

PS. I have Strigoi news to share as well but I will tell you more in my next letter.

xxx

Almost there

Two more days until my Stageit show!
It’s ONLINE so you can watch from anywhere.

Dear friends, it’s actually happening! I will be singing for you in two days. It’s almost surreal but it also feels like the most natural thing in the world.
I feel ready. I’ve been rehearsing a lot.
I’ve tried to bring as much beauty and be as truthful in writing these songs as I can muster. 

Seems that writing and performing are two different things, kind of like acting and directing. I’ve been reading this amazing book on Mysticism in Sound and Music. It’s quietly revolutionary. It speaks right to my heart and validates the thoughts I’ve had on music, harmony and dissonance. Light and darkness … So much!
I don’t want to get too much into it here because you should read it for yourself. The idea that all is vibration, that everything is music and that music is divine language is something that has governed my life for a while. I could talk about this for-ever!

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to put my heart into movies and songs and share them with you. I can’t even tell you how honored I feel by each of you who’s bought a ticket for the show on Sunday. I am truly grateful and I hope that you will be enriched for having shared that experience with me.

The show sold out twice today which made me feel all the love, so I have released more tickets.


It was a real surprise to see that I am the top featured show on Stageit today!

Feels like I’m getting something I didn’t pay for, like the free metro ride I got today because the ticket machine was broken. 🙂


In Strigoi news …

Here’s my latest video from London.
If you’re not subscribed to my YouTube channel or on social media, you might have not seen it yet. This is part I. Part II is coming soon. 

Part I of II

Thank you for reading and sharing and being and caring.

Hope to see you Sunday and if not, someday, somewhere along the path the wind carries me. 

love,

Ingrid

PS. My top 3 supporters on Stageit get a hand-written postcard from me from Paris. Maybe I’ll write you a poem, a prophecy, a drawing, a blessing, a wish … 

PPS. There is some news I’m sitting on. I can’t share yet because it’s not fully confirmed, so please cross your fingers for me.

Staying home and singing

There’s so much to tell you, I don’t know where to begin.
First off, thank you for being part of my community here. A special welcome to all of you who have just arrived. Wish I could give you a glass of champagne in proper Parisian fashion.

Second, I want to tell you a little bit about that volatile situation I mentioned on FB. I was to go into the middle east and direct a documentary film during a rescue mission. The story was and is very compelling and one I believed in fully but it fell through.

So, I’m staying in Paris, focusing on my vampire documentary and the release of the Egypt film I directed. The two films are in such stark contrast when it comes to the production details. With “Free Trip to Egypt,” we have a big team working on the release, around the clock, it seems. With “Strigoi,” it’s just me, sticky notes on a wall and the occasional strolls in the cemetery with my vampire expert friend.


A Music Story

It’s been a rich and difficult couple of years. The things that have kept me going, aside from inner fortitude, or stubbornness, are my friends and music. I started writing songs. I have a handful of them now and as you know, I’ve been debating whether I have the courage to share them with you or not. I think I’ve always wanted to but I wasn’t sure if it would be too personal or if the songs are even decent.

Photo by Victoria Smith in Laurel Canyon, LA

I’m doing it on Sunday MARCH 31st @ 1PST. 
I’m using StageIt so the concert will be streamed live. It’s like a house concert except I’m playing the songs in Paris and you watch them on your computer in your comfy pants. 
You have to make a reservation if you’d like to see my performance. It’s pay-what-you-can.
Save your “seat” here:
https://www.stageit.com/ingrid_serban/my_solo_debut/67035

I’ll end here for now. There’ve been so many realizations and inner work and tears and some laughter too but I think the songs will say all of that and more.

Thank you for reading.
I hope to see you on the 31st.


In other news ….

We just released a new trailer for Free Trip to Egypt.

The film is set to hit theaters in the US mid May.
If all goes well, I will be in LA and NYC for the premieres. 

Thank you for reading.

All my best,

Ingrid

and breathe …

To see 2018, I look into the mirror.
What’s left of what I started with?
Did I learn? Did I grow?
Are the changes within showing on my face?

This year dunked me under water so many times I thought I would never come back up to the surface.
Although it has felt like an attempt on my life, 2018 exercised its full power to dislodge me from most everything I called safe. Home, city, relationship … I am grateful for the saints along the way. 

Was it Leonard Cohen who said that light gets in through the cracks? And so it seems that a little bit did.
When I look, really look into the mirror, I see it glimmer in my eyes, like that eternal serpent of awakening.

Mirrors don’t judge.

Here I am.
And there you are.
Thank us all.

Michelangelo said that he merely removes the superfluous pieces of stone to reveal the statue within. 2018 shaped me into more of me, tender skin with a lion’s heart. I wrote that in a song. I’ve been writing songs but they feel so personal, I don’t know when I’ll gather the courage to share them.


This is one of my photos of the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations in Paris.
I posted a longer account with more photos and videos on my INSTAGRAM page.

2019 Goals …

1. Finish “Strigoi.”
2. Make another doc.
3. Continue to write my fiction project and film as much of it as possible.
3. Write more songs and maybe share them.
4. Keep meditating and writing in my journal.
5. Spend time with the people I love.
6. Eat croissants, go to museums and spend time in nature.
7. Be here.


Love Spell for 2019

For 2019.
I love you even before I know you.
For my friends.
You are so much more than my heart once wished for. Saints.
For all of us.
May we be our true selves to such an extent that the symphony of our co-existence resonates fully into the here and now and the always. 


If you’d like to support the post production of Strigoi, let me know. One option is to make a tax-deductible donation through my fiscal sponsor, SFFILM (only available until March 2019), another way is to send your donations directly to me via Paypal. You will be credited on screen, of course, and I am happy to extend the Kickstarter rewards if you’re interested.

I’m moving towards being able to share some footage with you soon. I’m editing it myself so it’s a little daunting. Encouragements much appreciated. 

Here’s my latest Strigoi video update from outside Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Thank you for reading.

Please FOLLOW this blog or for my secret films, subscribe to my mailing list HERE.

A Personal Story

When it rains it pours, that’s the saying, right?
As far as the story I’m about to tell you goes, it’s been more of a steady drizzle that accumulated in a lake behind the wall of a dam.
That wall broke a few days ago.

DSC05264

Romania, last week.
My plane lands under a damp sky, the familiar landscape gives me a welcome respite from the constant pounding of the work stress in Paris. I drink from that feeling of safety, not knowing that it wouldn’t last long.
The next day, I am sitting on a bench next to my mother, surrounded by the sounds and smells of a lazy summer afternoon. I am sharing details of my life and work. I more or less paint a picture of myself with a red cape around my shoulders, conquering the world.

My mother listens. A pause. I hear fine cracks crawling across that metaphorical dam wall. She tells me that I should have taken a different path in life, that I have changed so much she cannot recognize me anymore. Water starts to gather around my ankles. I keep talking in an attempt to cover the wall fissures with my explanations and justifications. I hear a loud crack and the water rushes in. It’s too late to follow my dreams. I have ruined my life. Where did she go wrong in raising me? What did she do to deserve this?
I am fully submerged under water.

Already teetering on the verge of despair with some recent work/inter-personal dynamics, my mother’s words and the pain in her eyes push me over the edge into a whirlpool of hopelessness.
I have failed her. Again.


Floarea is my great-great-grandmother and Ana, my great-grandmother, is her daughter.
It’s the 1930’s. Ana lives with her parents and six siblings in a tiny house in a remote Transylvanian village. At sixteen, one of her older brothers takes her to the capital to work as a house keeper. Ana is a bright and beautiful young woman, her diligent work sets her apart. The family she works for care for her so much that they offer to adopt her and leave their vast fortune to her.
Floarea doesn’t agree to the adoption, she summons her daughter back to the village and quickly marries her to a short man with an even shorter temper, my great-grandfather. Ana lives the rest of her life in a small house in the village where I was born. Her husband is bitter and cruel. She is kind and patient, never once complaining.


Why am I telling you these two stories? Because I am my mother’s daughter, my grandmother’s grand-daughter, my great-grandmother’s great-granddaughter and my great-great-grandmother’s great-great-granddaughter and because I learned that I can breathe underwater.

I understand my mother’s fear and I understand Floarea’s fear.
There is no uber wealthy family wanting to adopt me but being able to stand on my own two feet, to pursue my dreams and tell my stories is the greatest wealth I can ever wish for.

A little less than a year ago, I started writing a story about a woman who against all odds, forges her own path. Her name is Fleur, which translated in Romanian is Floarea. I found out my grand-grand-grandmother’s name and the story I just shared with you just last week. It’s an uncanny coincidence, the names, don’t you think?

Maybe Floarea is watching me from somewhere.
Maybe she wishes she had made a different choice with her daughter.
Maybe I’m her second chance?

Either way …

I understand my parents’ fears.
I will always love them.
I am going my own way.

Photo by Jordan Buetow.