It’s a wrap

I am writing you from my cousin’s house in Georgia. We arrived in the USA 3 days ago, a little tattered, me with an ear infection and Forest exhausted from the 10-day trip all over Romania right before we got on the plane. Driving over there is a real battle, especially when the car brakes down in the middle of your journey. It was crazy!

As I look back on Romania, my heart is filled with gratitude for all that it had to hold. We had incredible experiences, frustrating times and difficult journeys. Looking into the vampire/strigoi stories was much like pulling the curtain and peering into the darkness of our human souls. I am not only referring to the belief in “evil” but also to our capacity to exclude and demonize others for simply being different.
At times, we may need supernatural language to interpret someone’s cruel and unusual actions. Lots of thoughts …

From my investigations and filming, it’s difficult to conclude on whether there are such things as supernatural creatures and powers. There’s enough evidence to prove both sides. I look forward to editing the film and sharing it with you.

On to new adventures … a new movie!

As we were wrapping up filming our vampire/strigoi film in Romania, a dear friend of ours recommended us for an unusual project. A Swiss entrepreneur wants to take six American families on a free vacation to Egypt. He has no political affiliation or religious agenda. He simply wants to offer this trip to people who are concerned about our country’s and the world’s safety when it comes to Muslims and show them the Egyptian culture. There’s a saying: “If we can have a war of words then we can avoid a real war.”

Where do I fit in? I was asked to be the director of the film. Can you believe it? Me, lil’ ol’ me. Forest is producing.
As a filmmaker I am thrilled to be directing another feature film!
As a human, my heart is eager to contribute towards acts of kindness and understanding.

We’re in the process of casting right now so if you know someone who’d like to come on the trip, let me know. I would love to get someone from Chicago.

Thank you for reading.

If you’d like to see my movie-a-month challenge films, please join my mailing list.

Ingrid

For regular updates, join my MAILING LIST.

Last film of 2016

dsc00491One of the Romanian customs says that you can and should wish everyone a happy new year during the month of January. Today is the last day. Happy New Year!

I know it’s been a tumultuous end of the year and an even more divisive new year. I still hold true that stories bind us together and remind us of our own common ground and humanity.

With Forest helping, I’ve been working on the big film, the vampire documentary. Three weeks left in Romania. I find myself flirting with the feeling of panic. Did I do a good enough job so far? Will I finish capturing everything that this film needs? Is it even going to make sense?
This feeling is ever available during the creative process. I try to see it as a friend and an opportunity to trust and move forward.

Part of the reason for my making a different short film for every month of this year is to repeatedly face all of feelings of the creative process and linger not in their embraces.

Movement is key.

Can you believe I did it? The challenge is completed. 12 short films in a year! Done! That feels good.

Start thinking about your favorite 4 films that I made this year. I’ll polish them and then … we can submit them to festivals and beyond!

Last thing I’m going to say before I part the curtains and show you this month’s strigoi short film (my first of the suspense genre) is that the title of the film, this new Chinese year of the rooster and my starting this challenge right after last Chinese year is a coincidence. Or is it?

Sending you love and gratitude.
Write back when you can.

Ingrid

To watch this film and the other 2016 monthly films, join my mailing list http://bit.ly/IngridsList

PS. The photo above is from the village of Arghis. Over 600 years ago, Vlad Dracula himself was here, perhaps leaving his footsteps on this very road.

PPS. If you’d like to keep up with my weekly video updates, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. http://bit.ly/VampireFilmVideoUpdates

Anuta

With 2016 waving goodbye and 2017 quickly approaching, here I am, running towards you with my latest offering; movie 11 of 12, “Anuta.”

I met Anuţa (pronounced Anutza) on the vampire search trail which took us north of Transyvania, in Maramures. I feel in love with her within the first 2 minutes of meeting her. As soon as she shared her love of singing, I asked her to sing for me. It became clear that she would be the subject of my December film.

Maybe it’s ego centric to see one’s life in the reflection of another but she made me think of what my life would have been like had my parents refused to let me go to music school.

I love this woman for the beauty of her soul, the delicate and mesmerizing sound of her voice and for the fact that she lives with ardor and an uncompromising sense of self. As she might wish she took a different path in life, my wish is that I may be as strong and graceful as she is.

And while I’m wishing, here’s a wish for you.
May 2017 bring you health, joy, strength and wonder.

I am grateful for you!

love,
Ingrid

To watch Anuta’s film, join my mailing list here: http://bit.ly/IngridsList

Sergiu

I am writing you all the way from Romania. It’s a chilly evening. We may get snow tonight. I can smell it in the air. Funny how I’ve been gone from here for almost 18 years but I can still recognize the smell of winter.

Today I walked to the market with my mom. We bought lots of flowers and candles. Tomorrow we go to the cemetery to remember my grandparents and great grandparents. There will be lots of light candles on the graves; to show them the way to us, for that one embrace a year. It’s my first iluminatie in many years.

It’s been non-stop for the past 8+ weeks. I launched the Kickstarter campaign for the feature documentary of vampires and thanks to you, we blew it out of the water. Then Forest and I played a live set at Pandora Radio in Oakland and immediately after went to Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, KS where we made so many new amazing friends and got very little sleep.
From there we flew straight to Romania and I began working on my October film.
Then we got sick with colds, then we traveled up the Carpathian Mountains to get footage for the big movie and now, we’re home so I can finish editing the short film, write to you and film the day of the dead today.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. It’s so much more beautiful because I get to share it with you.

sergiu-cioban-ingrid-serban-film

I’ve always loved shepherds. As a child, I admired them fearfully from afar. Like bus drivers, shepherds were superhuman in my imagination. The kinds of guardians of life that are to be respected and not quite understood.

Making this film is a dream come true for me. Sergiu who was a poor outcast had the love for his sheep to propel him forward. I wanted to keep the film short so I couldn’t include all of the stories he told me. He once spent a whole bitter winter in a cave with his sheep so he could save them from the communist government. He used to steal into the village at night and get wine from my grandparents so he could make his polenta with it. That’s how he kept warm, he says.

A man who loves his sheep above all else.

Love,
Ingrid

PS. Sergiu asked me if I could print a 3ft x 3ft laminated copy of this photo of him. I said I would. 🙂

Join my mailing list to watch this film and the rest of the 2016 monthly films.

Strigoi on Kickstarter

I’m early in sending you this month’s film. It’s only the 15th!

I love September 15th. It used to be the first day of school in Romania; the smell of new books, the routine, friends and the feeling of the unknown waiting for me to discover it.
Since I’ve been out of school, I’ve wanted to do something momentous on September 15th. Here I am, doing it. Finally!

With lots of preparation and hard work, I have launched a Kickstarter campaign for my first feature film. The tag line is …

With nothing but a camera and the belief that she will go unharmed, a filmmaker returns to her roots in search of real vampires.

It’s really happening. I am returning to my homeland in search for “Strigoi, The Real Vampires of Transylvania.”

The video I made for the Kickstarter campaign will be my monthly film for September. (I have a mind to make another film this month if I get the chance. So much to do. I have to get ready to speak on a panel at Tallgrass Film Festival next month, I’m helping Forest with his radio campaign for his new album release and I have to still find someone to sublet our place while we’re gone. Oh, and also drawing a vampire goat.)

I would love it if you would check out and share the campaign.
http://bit.ly/StrigoiFilm

I created a twitter account for the film @StrigoiFilm The account’s birthday is September 13th, 1896. Having fun with the details.

kickstarter_logo_light_lrg

love,

Ingrid