The Chase is on. The Hunt. The restless quest to fulfill our own ideals of Love. On the streets of New York, as passing pedestrians vent their domestic dissatisfactions, a man leaves his wife and falls in love with a Siren.
From the eye of the narrator-Siren comes a vision of domestic apocalypse. The connection between men and women is broken and in need of repair not replacement. Frank, married, 60’s, emerges from the city streets that teem with pedestrians whose brief conversations reveal they are all in the chase for love. Frank joins the chase, too, as he pursues Reyna, a Mexican-American escort. In the course of their encounter, each tries to turn the other into their mate. They fail. At dawn on Valentine’s Day, Frank tells Paula, his wife of 30 years, his dream that night of a catastrophe that claimed both their lives. As they were dying he told her, in the dream: “I’m glad it was you that I married.” Paula makes him repeat that. He does. They open to each other. In the last scene, Reyna again crosses Frank’s path.
The script has been “in development” for about six years. It has had two full readings with different casts. Scenes have been rewritten, added, removed—one turned into a short screenplay—new characters have come in, old characters cut, and now, ten titles later, the kaleidoscope is clear. I have reached the statute of limitations on re-writes and either I make this thing or I go up in smoke. Most of what I write takes place in the domestic briar-patch and the driving action of this project is to present the male/female disconnect across a broad cultural spectrum. The story is about movement, advancement, and the invisibility of change. Who will carry their lives forward and who will stay stuck in the chase-to-nowhere. What seems like a possible love story hits the rocks of reality and what seems like an impossible marriage extracts its bond of renewal from a dream of death.
Love is not Love is a 90-minute Romantic Drama shot in 4K, B&W on Sony and Red cameras, Ronin and Movi. The project is under the SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Agreement with a cap of $250K. Interior scenes have been and will be shot on location at the Brewery in downtown LA and in Calabasas, CA. Exteriors in Syracuse, NY. Filming began July, 2017 and will complete January, 2018.
I have always been more fascinated by the irrational swirl of interior particles of the human condition than the linear logic of exterior plots. In assembling and arranging these particles, a story emerges in the same way that images evolve from the points of color used by the Impressionists. My approach is a form of psychological pointillism and my portraits and landscapes capture movements of the interior. My target is not the rational vein. I’d rather tap into the subjective and spontaneous eye—the private eye, of the viewer. I seek a style that shifts like smoke in a light breeze, striking a shape one minute, striking another the next, a dream style that heightens one reality then becomes another without transition, or the transition itself becomes the brief reality. The films I like best are those which put me in places without the breadcrumbs to tell me how I got there. My goal and style, then, is that of the private eye or, the private “I”. Our inner lives, our secrets, our privacies—all these comprise the impressionistic world of the Interior, the Drama of the Private “I”.
As a director, I’m learning how incredibly specific I must be in order to achieve the emotional drift of even the smallest moment of intent.
No matter if you are on stage, or at your desk, or behind the camera, the moment of life that you are seeking vanishes at the same moment it happens. All I can hope to create is one moment that may linger and recur. Stephen Keep Mills