About this project
Sweetheart Roland is a folktale from the Erzgebirge— a mountainous region of eastern Germany and western Czech Republic. The brothers Grimm first recorded the story, but its oral history is much older.
I've transported this tale of magic, jealousy and murder from one mining community to another— the Appalachian Mountains provide the setting for this film.
We're working in the silent medium with an original musical score. The acting is gestural, theatrical and decidedly pre-Method. I'm inspired by the work of German expressionist filmmakers as well as by the gothic musical tradition of Appalachia. Bertolt Brecht's verfremdungseffekt informs this work, especially as it is realized by director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Visually, this film makes ample use of light; I refer to Boticelli's light-saturated figural work as well as Egon Schiele's æsthetic of the body and use of negative space.
We are filming on location in and around Knoxville, Tennessee, the silent film capital of America. Our producer, Kelly Shipe, is a proud member of the Screen Actor's Guild, which will qualify Sweetheart Roland for inclusion on IMDB and other associated benefits. We intend to enter several film festivals worldwide and plan on premiering with a live musical performance of the score.
Yes. We are using lots of color. In fact, we want to pay tribute to the way early cinema projected thru colored gels, sometimes changing colors several times throughout a screening. This will be achieved through lighting concept and symbolic use of color.
Okay, okay, I get it, you don't like Stanislavsky, but who do you like? What acting school do you ascribe to?
Well, first, let me say that I don't hate Stanislavsky. I think Stanislavsky did a good job at what he set out to do and that as it was applied to Hollywood via "the Method," it helped Hollywood achieve her goal of higher levels of realism. All that was great, but we're not going for realism at all in my picture. I appreciate things like commedia dell'arte and other forms of performance that rely on doctrines of form to indicate meaning and interpret reality in a deeply personal way. Also, Stanislavsky's disciple, Chekhov, who really went beyond his mentor's work in exploring the pyscho-symbolic layer of body performance has really informed my thinking on acting.
Great question! If I remember correctly, Brecht's feelings about the audience were that they should not be allowed to identify too strongly with the characters and give in to that illusion or they may become complacent and miss the metaphors and symbols he had so masterfully created. I'm not saying I'm a master— not by a long shot!— but something about that theory has always stayed with me. This act of expressing human psychology in a way that is at once objective and alienating is so intriguing!— that those dark parts of all of us as humans, held up to the garish light of day don't feel at all familiar, and yet you know they are yours. It's sort of a confessional you know?
Alan Bajandas is a local musical artist who has performed with Jolie Holland and has experience in scoring silent films before. He is currently re-scoring Carl Theodor Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc.
I mean that the artists do not in any way try to replicate reality, but rather to interpret real psychological and emotional states through body performance.
The main expense is going to be lights. They say that good lamps make the difference between your project looking like a home video or a film. Makeup is going to be a pretty big expense as well because we want to invest in the type of makeup that was historically used in film and is now rather expensive. We already have an awesome camera and most everyone is working for free. We would like to pay our cinematographer a little for the days he works. The costumes were something we've already bought but need reimbursed for. Finally, the expense of entering the finished product in film festivals is something we need to set aside some funds for.
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