Murder in North Beach

Hello,

I hope this letter finds you well. Along with this month’s film I’ll give you a quick recap of the month.

I’ve been preparing some more for making our feature documentary about vampires. As it stands now, I’d like to go film it in the fall and winter in Romania.
I had a great meeting with 2 doc filmmakers I really admire whose latest film was featured by the New Yorker as part of their new film series on Amazon. Zach and Alyssa are super cool and knowledgeable and very generous with their expertise.

Last week, I was hired to go and direct/film a feature doc in the Santa Cruz mountains. That was crazy! I learned and sweated A LOT. I can tell you more about that later.


And now, to the business at hand, this month’s film: Murder in North Beach.
I love a good murder mystery. I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie, especially of her “Hercule Poirot” series, of AC Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” (I really like the 80’s British series with Jeremy Brett) and the Australian series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” on Netflix.

Murder in North Beach by Ingrid Serban and Cassie Jaye

This film is only available to people on my mailing list. If you’d like to join, email me and I’ll add you and send you the password to watch this film.

How it all began:
One evening, I went over to my neighbor Kristie’s house. I was hanging out in her kitchen and just couldn’t get over the lighting in there. It was so perfect! I took a few photos that night and decided to do something there. A few days later, I woke up with an idea. I went to my desk and wrote it; a murder mystery short film to take place in my friend’s kitchen. You can imagine my excitement at this little wish come true. I wrote a part for myself in it too so the playfulness of this project just went up another notch. And it does’t stop there! As I’m writing and thinking about names for my characters, it’s very clear to me that the name of the victim should be Ms. Molinari.
A couple of days later I’m walking down the street and I happen to look up just in time to see Molinari’s Delicatessen in large letters on a wall. Chills and giddiness and meant-to-be-ness!

Murder in North Beach, short film

Long story short, I asked my dear friend Cassie Jaye to co-direct with me (she is my favorite director ever) and Evan Davies to be the cinematographer. Allie Larkin whom I love like a sister googled special effects makeup techniques and did a pro-job on Ms. Molinari’s neck as well as script supervised. Forest played the role of the detective, made lentil soup for everyone and is also the music supervisor.
I asked Kristie who’s kitchen we filmed in to play the leading role and the other neighbors to play either themselves or the dead body.
Scott Steiner recorded all the dialogue and lent us his house to shoot the murder scene in.
No one had acted before! It was crazy fun.

Murder in North Beach, a short film by Ingrid Serban and Cassie Jaye

Challenges we worked with:

Evan had pulled a muscle in his thigh and was in a lot of pain but ¬†still carried a heavy camera with no easy rig AND pulled focus all by himself. He’s a super human!
Not having acting experience on a film set poses all kinds of challenges too. I love working with non-actors.

The craziest challenge of it all was that Kristie worked for … I still don’t know what it’s called, but some sort of place where they take dead people and “process” them for organ donations. Not pretty. Just as we started filming someone died in strange circumstances and Kristie had to do her job. Imagine shooting scenes in-between phone calls to mortuaries, a crazy boss yelling at her over the phone and a possible real ghost floating about. Kristie was a trooper!

Murder in North Beach, a short film by Ingrid Serban and Cassie Jaye

All that said, the production was really fun for us and the neighbors, Evan’s leg recovered and I would work again with these guys in a heart beat.
I would really like to re-write this story in a longer format, maybe a 20-minute episode. Or turn it into a series? What do you think?
It’s not perfect, but it’s a sketch of something we’d like to create later down the line.
I had a lot of fun acting. Hope to do that again soon. I’ll talk to the writer and see what she can do. ūüėČ

Thank you SO much again for watching these films and giving me your feedback!
I think it’s time to think about festivals.
Which one is your favorite film so far?

love,
Ingrid

If you’d like to receive my newsletter in your inbox,¬†you can¬†join my mailing list here.
http://bit.ly/IngridsList

Grown-up

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, for better or for worse. Along with pondering comes remembering and I got to thinking about my childhood and how I always wanted to be a grown-up. I was washing dishes at the¬†very moment when I realized that I am living my dream come-true. I am a grown-up!

Is it everything I hoped it would be? Aside from my plan to smoke when I grew up ( I abandoned that one quickly¬†enough), it all feels pretty much right-on. The best way I can describe it is that I feel that I have myself all to myself. It’s a good feeling.

A lesson learned from here is that although¬†I’ve set a pretty achievable goal for myself, I can still celebrate it.
As I was washing the dishes in warm water, also thinking about my grandma whose passing will be a year-old this December, I felt accomplished and grateful. I remembered how she loved to wash dishes in warm water and how she always offered to make sweet ‘urechi.’ I miss her more now than when she was alive. It’s so strange how that ultimate separation spreads a perfecting sheen on our loved ones.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you in the spirit of self reflection, gratitude and celebration.


 

In exciting news, I have walked through the gates of the San Francisco Film society and became one of their fiscal sponsorship recipients. This is such an honor! They are supporting me in creating a full-length documentary titled “Strigoi, the Real Vampires of Transylvania.”

More on that on the Goat Lips Productions site.


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Last little piece of news, Forest and I just got back from the Tallgrass Film Festival where we joined our friends¬†Oscar Torre and Chuti Tiu¬†in celebrating the world premiere of¬†Cassie Jaye &¬†Evan Davies‘ movie “Who’s There,” in which we are actors.
The Tallgrass experience was out of this world! Those folks really know how to put on a film festival. Wow!

Other than that, I’m really hoping my family comes over for Thanksgiving and that the squirrels stop digging my herb garden.

Much love,
Write back when you can.

Ingrid

PS. Here’s an article in the¬†Fashion Globe¬†about how we made a award-winning movie on an iPhone. Very kind of them to feature us. Many thanks to Tiffany Le.¬†
http://www.thefashionglobe.com/make-an-award-winning-film-using-a-smartphone

If you’d like to receive my newsletter in your inbox,¬†you can¬†join my mailing list here.