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

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Soul Music

Soul Music, a short film by Ingrid SerbanHello my dear friends, old and new and all cherished.

As usual, this and all my other monthly films are not perfected but finished. It’s my practice this year. To let it go and not tinker with it until it’s “perfect.” Thank you for watching and being so supportive. I¬†can’t wait to hear what you think of this one.¬†

If you can think of a better title for this film, let me know. I’m open to ideas.

Here comes the impossible task. I wanted to compose real musical pieces that I “hear” in other people’s bodies and souls. Yes, I’m not forgetting the soul. The Soul is the grand orchestrator and conductor.

I am writing you from the bus driving down Lombard street in San Francisco. There’s wifi on the bus. Slow but good enough to write you this letter.

What a day! I just finished the edit and ran to the bus station. The film is not uploaded to vimeo yet (slow internet at work today) but by the time you get this message it will be there waiting for you.

This month I took on an impossible task!

Let me rewind for a bit. It was June 1st and I was lying in bed at night awake, thinking about sound and planets and what is it that brings harmony and discord between us. I grabbed onto a mental thread and followed it.
Sound is vibration. We, our bodies are constantly vibrating with life. This means that we are producing a constant sound. A song! Maybe the harmony and dissonance that we feel with each other has to do with the clashing or harmonizing of our “songs.” Kind of like Pythagoras‘ “Music of the Spheres” but within. It gives a whole new meaning to listening. The symphony of life.

Soul Music by Ingrid Serban

Password protected film link here:¬†https://vimeo.com/173000874So I asked a few people I love to stand in front of my camera and look into the lens for 2 whole minutes. Amazing vulnerability, beauty and a sense of the infinite … That’s what I’ve been feeling all day editing. As if I traveled to the stars and saw what we’re made of. Powerful stuff, looking into each other’s eyes.

(If you’d like to watch this film, please email me. I will add you to my mailing list and send you the password for this film. My monthly films of 2016 are only available to people on my mailing list.)
Love,
Ingrid

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

 

Weep and Wail, music video

My computer is at 24% (we’re in the city and I forgot my power cord), the video is slow …. ly uploading to vimeo, I’m breathing and staying calm …. ish. It’s been a total mad dash.

This music video for Forest‘s song “Weep and Wail” has been by far the most challenging monthly movie project for many reasons.¬†I felt¬†extra pressure to make it so that the artist aka my husband would¬†love it.¬†I had to work with the most actors I’ve worked with so far who were all just delightful, including the most exemplary music video extras you could ever find.¬†Plus, I did lots and lots of driving in traffic to and from the east bay. Twice.
The editing has been borderline torturous. Lots of “I love it” “I hate it.”

Ok, enough with the hardships, I really like the way it turned out. Not perfect, but that’s the point of these monthly exercises; to live with imperfection.

(If you’d like to watch this film, please email me. I will add you to my mailing list and send you the password for this film.)
WATCH it here https://vimeo.com/164864762

Weep and Wail, Forest Sun music video

My friend Suzanne came though for me and videotaped Nevada clouds because there was not a could in the sky here in the bay. The benefit of Facebook. ūüôā
Big thanks to Jordan and Joaquin for sending me the most beautiful Australian and New Mexican skies.

I finished filming on Wednesday evening, started editing on Thursday evening and had bits of time yesterday and today in-between films and events at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I even got to be on a Virtual Reality filmmaking panel. What? It was virtually captivating.

As always, thank you SO much for taking the time to watch my films. Write back if you can.

About sharing these films: Feel free to forward my email to friends. I’m not sharing any of these films publicly¬†on social media as they are in progress but if you feel that someone would enjoy them forward away.

Love,
Ingrid

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

The Joy Project a film by Ingrid Serban

The Joy Project …

… is the title of my March movie. A race to the finish line for sure!
Next month, I’m going to finish the edit a week before the end of the month. Big plans! ha

How did this film come about? I was inspired by one of Forest‘s new songs¬†“Won’t¬†wait ’til I get to heaven to share my joy.” I can’t wait to share that music with you. I’m singing¬†an entire gospel choir’s worth of voice. Glory, glory!

(For the password, please email me. I will add you to my mailing list and send you the password for this film.)
So here it is: https://vimeo.com/161138656

As always, I love hearing your feedback.

Extra credit!
Would you like to share what brings you joy? 
Post a short video of yourself sharing what brigs you joys on FB and tag me and if you’re feeling fancy, add¬†#IngridsMovieChallenge to your post.
Maybe we can start a wave of gratitude on the social media platforms.

Lots of love,
Ingrid

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

Vamp Questionaire

First off, how are you?

Second, if I told you I was making a vampire documentary (which you already know that I am) what would you want to see in it?
I’ve never ever had this much ahead-of-time to prepare for a film. I would love to hear your thoughts. I’m going to put all your ideas up on my board and let them incubate.


Third, lil ol’ me has been invited to be on the filmmaker advisory board at¬†Tallgrass Film Festival¬†in Wichita, KS. Every year, they choose 6 filmmakers and I am one of them. This is such a great honor. I didn’t want to share the news right away because I thought that maybe they made a mistake and I wanted to give them a couple of weeks to change their minds. This isn’t false humility on my part, it’s me looking at the other 5 filmmakers and realizing how accomplished they are.
I’d better hurry up and get more amazing …. by October 2016. ha!Michael Romanowski, Ingrid Serban and Forest Sun at the Grammy Nominee Party in San Francisco, CA

Lastly, in music news, Forest and I have been working on some new material that we’re hoping to release in the next couple of months. We recorded with one of the top engineers in the country, Michael Romanowski (above) in a beautiful historical studio in Berkeley, CA called Fantasy. I am planning on creating some visual treats to go with the release. … more on that next time.

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my letters and be interested in what I do. This goes both ways. I always love hearing about you and your life so write back when you can.

Ingrid

PS. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun with Instagram¬†which prompted Forest to make up a contest. Whoever gets to 1k followers on Instagram gets a 20-minute foot massage from the other. That’s a big commitment and he’s way ahead of me.


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

Christmas

May your days be filled with peace …

One of my Christmas traditions is to share a song with you. Didn’t realize the context of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” until I read a bit more about it. (wiki)

“When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.”

Here’s to a Christmas in harmony with the angels’ song.
XmasFreeze


Who are those guys singing with me?
Short story: It’s been almost two months since I have moved into my new film office in San Francisco. It’s been amazing and productive and fun. Aside from having my own space to create, I’ve been making some wonderful (and highly¬†spontaneous) filmmaker friends. Dan Danman (behind the camera) and Chris Thomas (playing bass in the video) are my office neighbors across the hall and they’re working on a great feature comedy. (Check them out at¬†www.potluckproductions.net) Jon Tyler, I just met¬†and all I know so far are his ukulele playing, his great singing and his sunny disposition. Looking forward to making more music with¬†them.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful and love-filled Christmas and New Year. Write back when you can.

hugs,
Ingrid

PS. I finished the short film/ad for the French circus. If you’d like to watch it it’s here:¬†https://vimeo.com/ingridserbanfilms/stolen-moonlight¬†


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http://bit.ly/IngridsList

Thankful for you

I’m Thankful for YOU

We’re having a very quiet Thanksgiving celebration this year; just the two of us. We¬†went to Muir Beach this morning, walked on the beach, smiled at strangers and breathed the ocean air. Just what the doctor ordered after a week of the flu.

I’m so very grateful for health, for living in my favorite place in the world, for my Forest, for my parents and extended family in Romania, for the crisp air of November, for my play pretend mind and for¬†you, my friends and life-traveling companions. Thank you for reading these letters and for believing in me. You make a big difference.

I wish you a wonderful day filled with the stillness of quiet love and thanksgiving.

love,
Ingrid

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

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March

How are you?

I’m good. It feels as if I’ve been very busy. Amongst other things, I created a new website for Forest on squarespace. That was a steep learning curve! There are quite a few photos of me on that site. haha I also made a new site for myself¬†(still in progress) and a brand new one for our film production company Goat Lips Productions.

Let’s see …. what else. Big film news: In addition to the Asheville Film Fest in NC, our short film “All Sales Final” got accepted into the Chennai International Film Festival, India AND into Tiburon International Film Fest AND (although this is still a secret) into the Albuquerque Film Fest!!!

I’m so proud of our lil film. ūüôā

If you’d like to join us in Tiburon, CA or Albuquerque, NM, please let me know. I would love to see you there.

We’re also working on setting up a concert in Santa Fe when we come out to Albuquerque in June. I’ll keep you posted.

Hope to hear from you.
love,
Ingrid

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Asheville Cinema Festival

movies, music and more movies

I guess the one benefit of not writing very often is that I now have a lot to tell you.
Hope you’re doing well and that you’ve enjoyed the rest of your summer and now fall. I love November; the air gets crisp, the sky is clear and I love thinking about the holidays. Christmas is my favorite time of year. ūüôā

The first great news is that our short film, “All Sales Final” got accepted into the¬†Asheville Cinema Festival. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that!! This is the festival who premiered “Silver Linings Notebook” and “The Artist.” The director of the festival actually called me on the phone to congratulate us. I thought it was a prank call at first. ha!

All Sales Final by Ingrid Serban

Good news #2 is in music.

My two singles, “Grandma’s House’ and “Someday” were just accepted by Pandora.
http://bit.ly/GrandmasHouseOnPandora
http://bit.ly/SomedayOnPandoraAaaaand, good news #3 is that we made another short film. This one’s a documentary about Transylvania, my birth place. It’s called “Transilvania Frumoasa,” Transylvania the Beautiful.¬†I love it!¬†There was so much good footage but I kept it at 5 minutes.¬†Just need to mix the sound and it’s ready for sneak peaks, film¬†festivals & beyond.¬†(more info here)

TF Poster

I think that’s about it on my end.
Let me know how you’re doing.

Ingrid

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