Category Archives: HELL

HELL is Now Online!

Welcome to HELL
In the summer of 2012, I started working on my experimental film HELL. The journey took me (mostly via Skype) to London, Brazil, Barcelona, New York, Atlanta, Destin, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to work with 10 amazing women as we crafted these stories together, and dug deep into our own flaws. Each actress wrote the story of her Circle of Hell with me, and then put together the shoot on her end in whichever city she resided. I was only on set for Lady Dis, Lust, and my own. It was an exercise in trust in more ways than one. And it all culminated with an article in Parabola Magazine, and a premiere in New York at the Anthology Film Archives. (two dreams of mine come true!)

While working on each circle, I blogged extensively about the process and inspiration behind our levels of Hell.  You can read those here:  HELL BLOG POSTS

And now the entire film is online!

Welcome… Let the Lady Dis guide you – not through the extremes of the world, but an everyday Hell we can all relate to. Each vignette is one to two and a half minutes long.

Turn up your sound and enjoy! And if you care to share, please let me know which circle spoke to you the most. I’ve so enjoyed hearing from audience members about where they found themselves along the way!

WATCH HEREhttp://www.filmannex.com/movie/hell/41509

HELL teaser poster

HELL – The Circle of Limbo

And here we are at the final Circle of HELL: LIMBO…

After a year and a half, I can’t believe the film is complete and ready to head out into the world.  It’s been a tremendous journey, and one that I’m very grateful for.

It’s fitting, then, that I save Limbo to the last, because Viviane Franco, the actress in this vignette, was the first on board. When I thought of this project, I knew I wanted the shorts to be unique and reflect the personalities and experiences of the actresses, and myself.  So, my mind immediately went to dance and to Viviane.  She is one of my friends from Flamenco class and a wonderful dancer!  We didn’t necessarily want to write choreography to express the story of Limbo, but more to use the movements, improvised, to express one side of living on “the in between”.  The side of freedom.

Window

Viviane lives in Brazil and filmed LIMBO in a park in Sao Paulo. The building featured in the segment looks like a big white dome with multiple doors and windows, reminiscent of the castle with 7 gates in Dante’s Limbo. Here, we find two Viviane’s: the one of sorrow and the one, sublime.  The yin and yang of life, where I believe we all live.  We are neither in a constant state of sin nor virtue, but fluctuating from one to the other. I don’t think we could healthfully embrace only one.  And when we are in one state, we are often seeking the other.  Thus the footage of Viviane on the “crowded streets of Limbo” (aka Sao Paulo) as she winds her way through the ocean of souls.

streets of limboThis vignette was a bit different in that we didn’t have a script to work from. Viviane and I had discussed the idea at length, but hadn’t mapped anything out.  She went to the Park with images, thoughts and feelings in mind and sent me a dvd of footage to select from.  Kind of a propos for Limbo to not have any certainties.

I edited the footage together and we skyped again to talk about words.  Again, nothing concrete, just what came to mind, and a week later Viviane sent me a stream of poetry relating to Limbo, I, in turn, wrote that into a narration.

I love how this collaboration took place, it was very unconventional and not even really planned that way – it just happened.

And so Limbo is where the Lady Dis leaves us, at a place of hope and dream with a steady hand on the darkness and brilliance of life. A place where we “once again behold the stars.”

buildingHELL has its premiere screening at the Anthology Film Archives on October 9th.

To read about the other circles of HELL, Click HERE

Come Join Us for the HELL Screening in New York!

If you’re in New York, come join us on Wed, October 9th for the official premiere screening of HELL.

Lady Dis FinalDETAILS: Wed, Oct. 9th, 7:00pm-8:00pm – Anthology Film Archives, Maya Deren Theater, 2nd Ave @ 2nd Street, New York

BUY TICKETS: $7, MUST be purchased in advance (Monday by midnight, 10/7), NO sales at the door – PURCHASE

EVENING FEATURES: Persephone – Tale of the Deer Queen, Promos for BRIDE and TITANIA, HELL screening; Q&A with director Lisa Stock, cast & crew

Come support Women in Film!!

BUY TICKETS  – Click HERE

 

 

HELL – The Circle of Treachery

Treachery is deemed the worst sin by Dante, therefore, it’s the one I begin with. My film starts at the bottom of Hell and winds its way up toward Limbo. The film is neither shocking nor extreme. I’m not aiming to compete with the violence on “Game of Thrones” or the Machiavellian nature of “Madmen”. Each sin is a metaphor for what we find in our everyday lives. Maybe not situations we would find ourselves in, but definitely things we see and experience every day.

There are a lot of treacherous people in this world, there are a lot of violent, greedy, heretics. But mostly there are annoying people who do greedy things or gluttonous things or get angry at us. And sometimes, we walk right into their web. Never do I believe that a person deserves to be on the receiving end of a sin, especially the violent or fraudulent type, but when they are, or when I am – I wonder how I go there. What signs did I miss, who did I trust I shouldn’t have, just how desperate was I? Eventually, the clues fall into place and I hope I’ve learned a lesson for the next time.

CardsThe short for Treachery came about in an interesting way. I let the actresses of HELL choose which circle they wanted to portray until there was only one left, and that’s because no one wanted Treachery. Can’t blame them! So, I turned to Victoria Hay (TITANIA), and asked her to do it – and she agreed to take on the challenge without hesitation. Over the past several years, I’ve stretched many characters over Victoria’s skin, and she never fails to find the humanity in a scarred fairy, a queen about to be burned in a kiln, or a treacherous croupier.

Victoria CroupierIn order to entice the audience into HELL, I wanted Victoria to look like a Bond girl in a casino.  Check and check. The film was shot on a soundstage in London, and Victoria learned how to shuffle cards for the role – it’s the little details that count.  And there’s no better person to welcome our Inferno travelers than someone ready to take everything they have with a smile. (I think Vegas must run on this rule too.) When we sit down at a table to gamble and have some fun, we actually end up giving away more than your vacation money. Croupiers are good at what they do, they know our body language, our face expressions, and most important, our intentions.  We want to win right?  No, we want to hold onto our pride. That is more valuable than assets. But desperation and addiction, such as gambling, take all of that away. Or rather, we give it up.

Victoria Double

These vignettes are not meant to be judgmental, they take place as the sin is happening, but I do hope they are self-reflective. Are they manipulative? Sure. All film is manipulative to a certain extent. What matters is how you use it. Actors manipulative an audience into caring for their characters or hating their characters – for the noble art of storytelling. Treacherous people manipulate you into giving up everything you have for ignoble reasons. So, they come together in HELL over a gambling table as the lovely croupier is giving you some advice while robbing you blind.

Will you buy into it? I think if Victoria Hay has anything to do with it – you will. 

HELL has its official premiere on Oct. 9th in New York.

Read about the other circles HERE

And watch the trailer HERE

HELL – The Circle of Heresy

So, heresy.  This is the one sin I can’t place in the Underworld, much less label a “sin”.  I know, heresy against the church would get you sent to Hell. But ultimately, it’s just someone’s opinion or view on life.  Therefore, when it came time to write this script – we were a bit stumped.

H TitleAnything goes today. You can say pretty much whatever you want on TV, at work, or at Thanksgiving dinner and no one will really be shocked – or burn you at the stake. (Thank god) Our beliefs are our own and we have a right to them. Others may not agree with us, they might whisper to one another that we’re heretics – but not in the Spanish Inquisition sense of the word. (Sadly, this is not currently true of all countries, but we’re an American film production, so we’re reflecting on our own experiences.)

What would be the most heretical thing you could say?  It depends on who you’re saying it to and why.  And THAT is where our Heresy began.  The why.

Heresy1

This vignette stars Michelle Santagate (Brother & Sister), and Glenn Peters (Surrendering, TITANIA) as a Hollywood starlet being interviewed in the 1950’s. (note the fun vintage tv screen) To make our point, we decided to get historic, and have the actress drop a bomb during the interview that would have blown up all television sets back then – but not today. And then have her commit heresy on herself.  How does one do that?  You waiver in your beliefs.

Michelle and I talked for hours about how this sin is harmful. Words or beliefs will no longer get you killed or locked up, they might, at times, lose you a few friends – but heresy does it’s most damage when you are untrue to yourself. People fight for what they believe in, we’ve seen it with several movements in this country from the Revolutionary War to civil rights to women’s rights to immigration rights. And there’s nothing more heartbreaking than when someone gives up their fight.  And why?  What, in today’s world, do we really have to lose?

I think a lot of people will cheer halfway through this short, and then suck their breath in at the end. But I don’t know if it’s so much for the character Michelle plays, or for all the times we shrugged our shoulders and walked away.

What say you?  What are you fighting for?

Heresy2

Official HELL Trailer can be seen HERE.  HELL has it’s official premiere at the Anthology Film Archives in NYC on Oct. 9th.

 

To read about more of the Circles of HELL, Click HERE