The look of the film is influenced by the location, and the colors of Suriname – the browns and greens of the place. Rivers are brown, as are the often-decaying buildings in this UNESCO world heritage site. Although we will shoot digitally, we are going for a look that reflects a faded picture, an old 16-mm film. The Alexa is especially wonderful for post production as you can see so beautifully in the film HUGO, that was shot with an Alexa.
Hence, some of the film’s look will be achieved in post-production, with a two-week offline edit, followed by a day of color correction and grading which will emphasis the strong colors and striking cinematography of the film.
Genre: This film is a dramatic adventure. Although fictional, the facts about the place and history are based on research and historical facts.
The cinematography and camerawork is an essential part of the storytelling. For the dance scenes we will often have a handheld camera that dances with the dancer, such as done in the film “Quarantine”. Slow moving camera work can be used to enhance the movement. We plan to film with the new Alexa. The camera has tremendous depth of field, which will be especially enticing for the larger scenes and the outdoor shots.
Music and sound: Vernon Reid will compose an original soundtrack. He will strive to incorporate authentic local and Jewish music with a contemporary spin. Reid earlier composed the music for both Quarantine and Savoneta researching authentic music and composing an original score. He visited Suriname and has already done research on the place and music. As in both Another Building 1 and 2, life sounds (wind/feet/special nature sounds) will be recorded to enhance the feel of the place.
Marilys Ernst will be the sound designer and music editor. Silence, distant barking dogs, frogs, splashing water, sounds of the rainforest, feet on sand will enhance the mood and feel of the place through sound design.
Dance in this film is always either an extension of the character, or part of a celebration as in the case of the traditional dance in the maroon village. As such the choreography is pedestrian, gestural or natural, not an academic style of dance that lacks connection to the character.
Art direction, costumes, and makeup will be minimal. No sets will be designed; actual places will be used as they are. Only light will be used to enhance the shoot. Costumes are contemporary and for the three female protagonists will be donated by Urban Zen, Ms. Donna Karan’s private label. In the larger scenes when we use local talent and members of the villages and congregation, we will ask them to use their own clothing and we will have a stylist/costumer on hand to make alterations or change small details if needed. Makeup is natural, so everyone will look as if they wear no makeup at all.
Casting is key to the film. We will audition local talent for the larger scenes and will hold casting for principal English speaking actors in the Netherlands, where a large Surinamese population lives, and in the United States. For the lead role(s), actors that can dance, or dancers that act are a must.
Locations were the inspiration for this film. Mainly the end location, the synagogue and bathhouse with the mosque next to it made me delve into this Jewish community and its history. We will film inside a house in Paramaribo, at the Joden Savannen, and a Saramaccan village all located alongside the rivers in the Amazon, and inside and outside the Neve Shalom Synagogue.
The audience we like to reach is a younger population with limited knowledge of history and geography. Christa started her first film when she was teaching both high school and college, and noticed how there was little curiosity in matters of history or larger social issues, unless presented in a way that would make a younger generation interested in subjects and places unknown to them.
Her earlier film High School about teen pregnancy and the first film in the Another Building series has really drawn in this demographic. High School, (which received an ABC TV award) was used extensively as a tool to get teens to talk about pregnancy. Quarantine is still going strong with a yearlong run at the 92stY and frequent screenings at universities and festivals, after an extensive international jury selection of several film festivals and has a distribution contract with TenduTV. Savoneta is on permanent exhibition in Curacao at the Savonet Museum for nature and culture.
For this particular film we hope to also engage a wide general Jewish population, and will actively engage communities in US, the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Suriname and Israel. We want to make a contribution to the history of the Jewish people and to the history of Suriname.
The aim of this film is to create something cinematic, moving, and above all thought and inquiry provoking. In many ways this film will do away with several stereotypes such as a preconceived notion of what a Jewish community looks like and how several religious communities live together. Suriname is a multi-cultural and multi-religious country where a mosque sits next to a synagogue next to a Hindu temple next to a Roman Catholic Church. It is a country with vast natural beauty and a rich history.
The theme of the film is in essence a universal age-old quest for identity. The film also deals with growing up, rebelling, and the relations between mother and child through three generations, and the different interpretations of what it means to be Jewish in Suriname. Some sub-themes deal with racism and the environment.
Distribution: TenduTV has agreed to be the digital distributor for Farewell My Paradise. Tendu TV is a digital network specializing in performing arts programming, and features partnerships with most major digital video stores, including iTunes, Microsoft, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, CinemaNow and YouTube. TenduTV distributes programming in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, and has plans to expand to 25 countries by the end of 2012. TenduTV’s digital distribution reaches mobile devices, tablets, personal computers and televisions. In addition, the film will be submitted to festivals and universities, and we will pursue a Cable TV broadcast.
Farewell My Paradise will be submitted to the most relevant film festivals around the word. We will also actively seek out distribution via cable TV and submit the film to the Jewish Cable TV, Discovery Education Channel, Current TV, Sundance Channel, National Geographic, MTV Global, Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and PBS.
We will market Farewell My Paradise at local screenings and will focus on the Jewish Studies Program at different colleges. Christa has spoken at different universities about her work, and we will draw on that network for this next film. She spoke at Barnard College in their Africana studies and architectural department, at the American College Dance Festival where she is a judge, at the Institute of Art and Memory at Mullenburg college in PA.
We will also seek engagement and screenings at the Smitsonian, Jewish Community Centers and Synagogues, Dance Communities, 92ndStY, and BAM.