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.

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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. 🙂

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The Weatherman

The Weatherman, a short film by Ingrid Serban and Kim Rollo Emanuel…. all I’m going to say is that you might enjoy this if you enjoy silliness. I’m a little nervous, I admit it, to share this with you, but I laughed a lot making it and laughter is good.

Quick story of how I came to make it.
4 years ago I met Kim at the farmer’s market. He makes the best skin care ever and I’ve been using it ever since.
We soon became good friends and he confessed this wacky idea he had some 30+ years ago about a man who changes weather patterns with his special skill.
With the help of Emily Rudisill and Elena & Phoebe who are Kim’s business partner and employee, we made that crazy idea into a film.

It’s almost midnight so I must get on with sending you this email.

Big thanks again to Cassie Jaye for the use of her camera and to Dan Damman(my office neighbor and awesome filmmaker) for lending me some really nice lenses and Forest for helping with the edit and encouraging me to create original sound effects.

Tell me what you think of it.

My monthly films are only available to people on my mailing list. To watch the Weatherman, email me. I’ll add you to my list and send you the link and password to watch the film.

xo
Ingrid

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http://bit.ly/IngridsList

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. 😉

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

 

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

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http://bit.ly/IngridsList

February Film

The Arrow and the Song

Here it is!
I finished filming last night and edited today.
(for the password please email me. I will add you to my mailing list and send you the password! Thank you.)

https://vimeo.com/157232053

This film is an illustrated poem. I found it by chance and loved it at first read.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I shot an arrow into the air,
It feel to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.”

Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Love,
Ingrid

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http://bit.ly/IngridsList