I’ve been working on this for too long, six years minimum. It has had two full readings with different casts. Scenes have been rewritten, added, removed, workshopped, the script has been submitted for festivals. New characters have come in, old characters cut, and now, ten titles later, the kaleidoscope has become clear: having exceeded the statute of limitations on re-writes, I was either going to make this thing or go up in smoke.
Then this occurred. My painter-son Wyatt was up on his lease at the Brewery and bound for Berlin. One of his murals is now our film’s poster. The studio was large, the ceilings high and it was easy to imagine its transformation into a sound stage for the film. I took over his lease and we shot all but one series of scenes right there at the Brewery—from July ’17 to April ’18. Our other locations were a lovely home in Calabasas, CA, The Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop, CA, and a solitary, dead sculpture of a tree just off Route 395 about a mile out of Bishop heading up to Mammoth Lakes, CA.
The truly experimental and exciting part was shooting all the New York City exterior scenes right inside there at the Brewery as well. Rear-screen projection and 3 silent treadmills made the magic happen and an 14’ X 20’ screen projected the city scenes that Cinematographer Steven Fadellin and I brought back from the city itself.
The decision to shoot in B&W was mutual between me and Steven and occurred early on in the process. Steven brought in a B&W photo of a man on a dirt road surrounded by trees and fields. The eye went at once to the man. If the photo had been in color, we would have had to look for him while noticing the colors of the fields, sky, etc. Color would have made the photo more of a Where’s Waldo experience, whereas the B&W told us exactly where our focus wanted to be. B&W puts the emphasis on the people, their faces, and the background is not an equal player. The decision made, what remained was how to light it and Key Gaffer John Belanger and Steven did their homework to make it come to life, not in a derivative way—we weren’t making a Noir homage—but in an original way, recognizable but imaginative. They innovated light.
I am more attracted to the irrational swirl of interior particles of the human condition than the linear logic of exterior plots—sort of a psychological pointillism. The most epic dramas are all silently pitched on internal battlefields and we enter them like dreams, cracking the code of their riddles. I want to put the viewers in places and situations they recognize but without the breadcrumbs to tell them how they got there. I want to open their private eye onto the impressionistic world of the Interior. Our shared Interior. The drama I prefer is the drama of the private “I”.
Currently in Post-Production, “Love is not Love” is a 90-minute Romantic Drama shot in B&W, 4K, using Sony and Red cameras, and movi m15. Triskelion Entertainment, LLC was established in 2002, and produces original works for the screen. Completed films include the feature “Hotel Lobby” (2003), and three shorts: “A Cigar at the Beach” (2006), “Gift for Reba” (2007), and “LIMINAL” (2008). Triskelion Entertainment, LLC is a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and “Love is not Love” was shot under their Ultra Low Budget Agreement. Editing is now the order of the day under the quick and artful eye of Karen Glienke. No date has been set for release.
Joelle is a Sibyl, a Siren, and the Narrator. She is also the leader of a commedia dell’arte Street Troupe that plays out the prime domestic conflict of civilizations past and present: Arlecchino refuses his domestic role to play the part of the adventurer-lover. Only freshly cooked food from Arlequina can keep him from running astray. Joelle uses a cautionary prop, an hourglass, which she fills with “sand” (ping-pong balls). As the balls cascade through the glass, Joelle has a vision and she begins the story of a man blinded by his fantasies. “Man is alone. He walks in the desert of his desires.”, she says as she sets the desert on the streets of Manhattan. The man, Frank, 60’s, finds himself walking behind two Irish Construction Workers who dissect the myth of Tristan and Isolde in an unsuccessful effort to resolve their own dysfunctional relationships. They also discuss whether Life is determined by Fate or Choice. Passing a long line of people at a museum, one Construction Worker identifies with the stasis: “like a parade that stopped” where no-one gets anywhere because they’re stuck. He and his colleague dare each other to break the curse and “bust it” to freedom. Frank gets in the line and falls immediately under the spell of the woman behind him. They play out the last scene from Casablanca before she gets a phone call from her husband and leaves. Frank turns back into the line and stares straight into the face of another beautiful stranger. She walks away and Frank gives chase through the city and arrives at her door. Her name is Reyna, she has a small dog named Mr. Mini, she is Mexican-American, and she is an escort. During the course of their many appointments, their love for each other grows. They confess each is married and, in a moment of openness and trust she reveals that Emilia is her real name. On his birthday, she makes a bid to be a couple out in the world not just in bed, but Frank can’t make the leap and her role will never change. She prevents him from holding Mr. Mini and Frank leaves her apt. stung by the loss. Days later, he wanders back. The door is unlocked. The place is empty. The dream is gone. He sees only her reflection behind him in the mirror. Frank’s 30-year marriage to Paula has become surreal. He dramatizes the distance in their marriage. Taking out the container of garbage, he becomes Sisyphus rolling the rocks Paula keeps tossing in. He sees their marriage as a stage play, casting himself as a Beggar and Paula as Queen Elizabeth with a 75-yr. old Mad Hamlet insisting on decisive action. Beggar Frank pleads for divorce. Queen Paula never looks up from her paperback that she reads in bed. Frank comes downstairs for his morning coffee only to face Paula-as-Prosecutor, who lays out the case that he’s a loser and the last person she wants to get her naked. Paula confronts Frank in their kitchen at night where he is about to take an Ambien. As Paula pours herself a Vodka, he tells her a little story about a fictional “Franco” who fears death. “Franco” is in the wrong movie with the wrong director and vulnerable to killers who live in the shadows. If only Sergio Leone was directing, says Frank, “Franco” could sleep like Clint, ready and able to defend himself, gun in hand no matter how many bandits surrounded him—using his masculinity to survive. The end of the story brings them to silence and their distance crescendos in a dream where Frank and Paula evaporate in front of each other as Frank’s hand traces his name down an unopened Valentine’s Day card. Right on cue, the Construction Workers are back on the street, mocking Valentine’s Day as the scourge of men equivalent in scope to the infamous Massacre. As they rail on, they pass Joelle and put money in her collection box. Joelle performs romantic justice by having the two Irish Construction Workers meet two Irish women—in line, no less—buying a sandwich at Mohammed’s food cart. Instinctively, they recite between them an old Irish lullaby, in Gaelic. Their bond is set and the wild and warrior men are tamed and delivered from their isolation. The same cannot be said of Frank who continues to walk alone on a path in Central Park, leaves falling around him, the images of Emilia fresh as ever in his mind.
On the December streets of Manhattan, Frank, 60’s, is about to encounter a woman who will restore and haunt his soul in this romantic drama of fantasy, fate, and yearning.