LOST TO LOVE is a story about a former couple. Guy and Nicole. Guy is sixteen years older than Nicole. She was eighteen and living on the edge when they were together. It all felt very exciting, but ultimately she didn’t know where it was going, felt uneasy about the age difference, and she broke it off.
Ten years later: Guy has slipped from being a well-to-do business man living in a big condo, to working as a laborer and living in a small mobile home. For ten years he’s been pining away for Nicole’s return, feeling that life has been empty without her, and obsessing over the Polaroid pictures and mementos he collected from their relationship. Nicole has found herself in a secure marriage with someone her own age, and has become a mom. But living a middle-class life, which was once her dream, has led her to the brink of insanity, and she wonders if the very thing she is missing is the uncompromising and all-encompassing love Guy had for her. She decides to visit him, and the film begins. Over the next several days and nights that they spend together, they find something neither expected.
One of the things that makes LOST TO LOVE such a great project to be a part of is the fantastic people who have contributed their talents to it.
Actors Sarah Milici and Greg Michaels gave their all, and created such engaging characters that it is impossible not to be drawn in to their story. The producers, Ryan K. Adams, Wen Marcoux, and Gil Ponce, of Block My Eye Productions, worked tirelessly to put together a rock-solid production with incredibly talented people on board. Sarah Crowe, as First Assistant Director, drove the shooting forward, and without her efforts the shooting would never have been completed. Lindsey Watkins on makeup and wardrobe, Erin K. Viraldo on props and set-dressing, and Candelaria Herrera supervising the script were indispensable. And we were lucky to have Jens Larsen recording brilliant sound. The camera and lighting department, including Ian Lucero, Evan Feen, Jeremiah Gibbons, Art Reynolds, and Coty James, and led by director of photography Ryan K. Adams, did a superb job under difficult limitations of time and equipment. All of these people brought a level of craft that shouldn’t have been possible on such a budget. I am honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such people in production, and watch them raise the level of the project by their dedicated and unwavering professionalism.
Writing the script was a labor of ten years of love for me. Of course it went through many changes throughout that time, and I was fortunate to have many talented people give me input. Mark Fergus, co-writer of CHILDREN OF MEN and IRON MAN, gave me fantastic input, and his encouragement was indispensable. He said "Stephen, I finished [reading] the script a few days ago -- fantastic job. My advice: find some money and just shoot this!" He also compared the script to the first feature of the creator of THE ENGLISH PATIENT: "Have you ever seen TRULY MADLY DEEPLY (RIP the great Anthony Minghella)?; your story shares some of its great, crazy texture of a mad love affair."
I couldn’t have finished the script without script consultant Elaine Zicree who saw so deeply into my efforts, and gave me five hours of notes one night over the phone, which is took me two months, full time, to execute. There were others as well who took the time to read and give feedback, among them Jessica Franz, a writer and actress in Hollywood.
Upon reading the script she commented, “It is very lightly written, but in a very profound way. It has very smart dialogue about life, and philosophies of life, and why people come together, and why they stay together. And it has a lot of funny moments, because of the sarcastic side of the film, and the whole setting is very American. And the emotional side is overwhelming too. It strikes you, and catches you, and makes you cry, and laugh, and long, and you feel very strongly towards them, like Romeo and Juliet.”
But when I finally had a finished script, and for one-and-a-half years tried to raise money to make the film, I met with little success. I remembered what I had been told by a number of people, but Elaine Zicree put it most succinctly: “No one at any studio will understand a word of what you write.” I found the comment funny at the time, and somewhat disappointing. I also found I wore it as a badge of honor. My friend, filmmaker Stuart Baker, commented several times that the only way anyone would really understand what I intend to do in this film is to make the film. It was seemingly a catch-22, since it made sense that someone would want to understand before investing. However, after attending a two-day “No-Budget Filmmaking” workshop given by Mark Stolaroff, I began to see that the film could get made, if I was willing to risk my own money in making it. Seeing no other way, and with the encouragement of Ryan K. Adams, among others, I resolved to do what I was told at NYU never to do: make the film with my own money.
I pushed my funds and financial security to the limit, and put up the money to make the film on an ultra-low-budget basis. I went back to Seattle, where I had lived for fifteen years before moving to Los Angeles, because I knew the personnel could be found there to help me to realize this dream. And finally, after almost a twelve-year journey, the film was in the can.
It was hard to mix making a living with editing the film, because the film is the most important thing in my life. But I had to do that. It took me over a year to cut it from the initial 147 minutes to the present 95 minutes. But now, finally, it is in a form that works amazingly well, and serves to carry the viewer on an emotional roller-coaster, while conveying some deeper truths, and making them laugh as well.
That brings me to the present. A few items are needed to bring the project home, namely postproduction sound work, a musical score, and a title sequence, all of which are necessary to set the correct tone for the film, and guide the viewer through it’s rather complicated landscape.
That’s why this Kickstarter campaign has been launched. I hope you will feel moved to contribute anything you can to the long effort to make this movie. Your contribution will be added to the great efforts already made by some very talented people, and the result will be a unique and heartfelt glimpse into the life of true love between two exceptional characters.
Please visit www.losttolove.com for more insight into the project, including videos in which I speak from my heart about the film
You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
--Stephen Les March 9th, 2011
- (30 days)