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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long Time No Blog...

It's been almost 4 months since I wrapped up the Kickstarter campaign.
So many people came out of the woodworks to lend a hand (a buck, I mean). It was humbling and stimulating and scary...
The 2 months of heavy promotion took their toll, however, and the journey back from the extroverted, manic PR mode to a more introverted creative mode, proved longer than I expected.

Lil' scratching in B&W

I have long been toying with the idea of creating the novel in B&W. In fact it was the original plan but during the shooting phase I kept getting seduced by the tantalizing color images that were pouring onto my screen.
I have recently remarried the B&W option. Sure, it may cut down on the delicious visceral impact of each image but in the long run it will afford me greater latitude in the story telling as a whole.

There is something about the way we absorb B&W imagery which leaves our many psychological responses to color untouched and offers it's content up for a more literary engagement.
It is more like reading, less like passive absorbtion.
It's not that I have anything against color. (Anyone who's seen the way I dress knows that that is hardly the case!) This story just does not want messy splotches of vibrating somatic-state inducers interfering with it's line of inquiry.
This line of inquiry being the complimentary interaction between the cinematic moving image, indicated by the photographs, and story telling in sequential stills as executed in the comics form.

The B&W choice is also in keeping with the spirit of my homage to the original fotonovelas (also called cine'-roman and roman-photo) of the 50's 60's and 70's..

An exhilarating, celebratory look at the power of the cine'-romans of the era is Fredrico Fellini's The White Sheik (1952)


Alberto Sordi as the White Sheik with an extra. (I have no recollection of this particular scene from the film... Can anyone enlighten me?)

A fascinating experiment in still/motion subject is the short film La Jetee (1962) by Chris Marker. It's a film offered up in sequential stills. So deep is our drive to complete the actions, that shortly after watching it, I forgot that it was in stills!

A poster for La Jetee


Monday, July 5, 2010

CRAFTY TUESDAYS!


Catriona Rubenis-Stevens as the craft-wizard from ISNESS, Lil', as she threads her needle in preparation for some not-so-sterile surgery...
ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF AN EXCLUSIVE FORUM FOR ISNESS BACKERS!
It is called "CRAFTY TUESDAYS" and is a late night brain child of mine contrived to pamper my existing backers and attract some new one's!
The studio, now turned craft workshop for the miniature work, is a very welcoming environment for crafty gatherings. We have space, tools, materials, craft books, cookies, tea and great music!
WE'LL BE MEETING EVERY TUESDAY OF 2010 AT 6pm FOR 3 HOURS OF FREE-FLOWING CREATIVITY & RADICAL CRAFTING:
Sewing, weaving, knitting, spinning, beading, any hybrids of the above and much more!
Bring your own project or conjure one up on the spot!
To join, click the widget bellow and make a pledge (at any level!) to "ISNESS".
Be sure to mention CRAFTY TUESDAYS in your comment to me or e-mail me directly at sallweis@gmail.com to get on the Craft Tuesday Mail List!

See you Tuesday!



Monday, June 21, 2010

Interview with Williamsburg Greenpoint News+Arts


Stavit Allweis’ “Isness”: A Cinematic Graphic Novel-in-Progress

By Jennifer Storch
Photos by Lelo Lourenzo & Kimberly Boldrini



Strange beings inhabit a studio on the Northside in Williamsburg. Here are some of them: incredibly crafted rodents and fowl (thanks to special effects artist/prop maker Hiroe Goto); a taxidermized ferret oozing synthetic entrails; a lion of a man with an oversized ball sack; a voluptuous woman preparing dinner as her hair blows in a whirlwind of domestic ecstasy; a dying soldier and a young girl who has taken him in as her doll as she delves into an imaginative escape from reality; a boy who flutters around like a baby bird; a teenager on the brink of womanhood exploring sexuality with a younger brother, teddy bears, and Playboy; rotting food and a home brewery.

What’s all this? It’s what Stavit Allweis sees as some of the components of what will become the pages of an epic book of sequential art. Visual artist turned director Allweis’ “set” looks Felliniesque, with its frenzy of activity: costumes are being designed, sewn and embellished; miniature sets are being constructed; and Allweis is planning the next weekly shoots. Over the course of the last months, she has been using green screen, a technique for compositing two images. This, along with the props which date back to the 1970s, inspires her in this unusual project.



For the full Interview, click here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Launched!!!

Click the widget to view the Kickstarter video, Filmed and edited by Lee Peterkin.
You can become a backer for as little as $5!
Every new backer adds to the "popularity" of the project on Kickstarter, which in turn generates more support! Go for it. Take part in the insanity of ISNESS!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank You Circle Arts!





I cant tell you how many times this organization, and in particular Amy Shapiro, their president, came through for me during the long months of hunting down props and materials for the production.
Thanks Circle Arts!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's A Wrap!


Image: Lelo Lourenzo

From left to right:
Back row: Lee Sebastiany, Michael Calloway, Tom Regan, Jen Storch, Amanda Ryan, Mia Bauman.
Middle row: Amy Bittner, James Allerdyce, Isabelle Thiele, Anna Kohler, Arielle Toelke, Alexandra Ceribelli.
Kneeling row: Aiden peleg, Stephanie DeLatour, Toby Levin, Catriona Rubenis-Stevens, Stavit Allweis, Nachshon Peleg, Zoola.
Front row: Emma Peleg, Kimberly Boldrini, Lelo Lourenzo.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Last Shoot. Wow! Already?

This was one strange shoot.
Knowing it was our last, I expected some sort of party atmosphere...
No such thing. It was quiet, sluggish, might I say sad?...
Toby had to jump from scene to scene catching up on missing material. Pretty demanding, considering that his scene partners were not present.
Later we popped a bottle of champagne (O.k... fizzy wine) and sat around taking turns fantasizing out loud about where we might be two years from now.
(I want to extend special thanks to my first photographer Kimberly Boldrini, who besides excellent photography, always brought her unique perspective on life to the set and offered up moments of reflection such as this one.)


Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lil' & The General, A morbid Duet

The last shoot with Catriona and James and a culmination of their deep interpretation of the bizarre affair between a deluded child and a dying man.
It was also a SFX orgy as we had not 1, or 2, but 4 (!!!) wonderful artists headed by Arielle Toelke having their way with the pliable, patient James.
Shooting the duet was a messy, awkward affair but heart wrenching all the same. I can't wait to record the song to go with this one...


Image: Lelo Lourenzo


Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Arielle Toelke, Mia Bauman, Amanda Ryan & Michael Duggan were responsible for this man's sorry state.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Location at Sandy Hook N.J.

Getting ready for our first and only location shoot was like packing for a very strange camping trip. Boxes were marked "Doll-Skin" "Poop" "Hunter's Gear" and such. Not your regular beach fare...
The logistics nearly blew a fuse in my brain. I know how to get 2 kids safely to the beach and back, but 8 very unique individuals was a little out of my league.
Having said this, getting away from the green screen for awhile was exhilarating.
All put up graciously with the diminished physical conditions, with the carrying of heavy gear over half a mile of muscle-wrecking sand and eating sandy food for two days.


Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Catriona didn't hold back and delivered a wildly idiosyncratic "Beach Lil'".
Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Cat and James take a break from the physically demanding work, to pose for a double portrait.

Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Alex and I rush to wrap the freezing actors after their dip in the sub zero water.


Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Lee looking awful handsome and natural in his "wilderness" setting.
You'd never guess that he was rather uncomfortable walking barefoot on ant's nests and crawling, thorny vines.


Stacking the crew to create a no-budget, on the fly crane

Last few stitches sealing James in the "doll-skin"...

James, completely stitched in.



James and Mia slipping a quick rest in before James' glamour shot

Our box-O-turds, hand made, from simple kitchen ingredients.
(Yes, they are edible and organic!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Seeing It All From Lil's P.O.V

An intimate shoot with the oddest couple in "ISNESS".
It had been 2 months since the last shoot with Catriona and James so it felt a little like a reunion. A rather hallucinatory bizarre reunion... It was wonderful to see James, yet again, commit so fully to the character of Emily, Lil's imaginary friend. Very, very charming.
Lelo and Kim slapped the good ol' Vaseline on their lenses for that true vintage, dreamy effect.
Later Catriona re-staged Lil' coughing up the hairball at dinner, it was gross and titillating. We finally got the close ups we missed in March.


Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Enviable love.

Image: Lelo Lourenzo

The angelic James Allerdyce.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Flashback Shoot

Flashbacks are tricky business.
In tracking back to the origins of the larger than life love affair between my leading Matriarch and Patriarch, I had to ask the actors for quite a bit. Tom was a great sport and got a hair cut just in time. Also, rambunctious sex poses were required such as would challenge any 20 year old yogi hipster (Sorry, no images of those. You'll have to buy the book!)

Image: Lelo Lourenzo
Breastfeeding and smoking. Yup. That's the 70's for ya.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hunter Goes Glam-Rock

Lee took the challenge, left his comfort zone and committed fully to the Glam Rock archetype mixing in vanity, femininity and brazen, sexy physicality.
We all enjoyed this shoot so much.
Loud music, singing, shouting... what's not to like?

Image: Christopher Perino (Guest Photographer)

Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Watching the "Dailies"...


From left to right: Alex, Kim, Lelo and me.

Can you tell how tired we are?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shooting the Tough Stuff

Yesterday's shoot was probably the most demanding one in the entire story, particularly for the actors.
I'm glad I saved it for later in the production. The trust and rapport we built over the last few months payed off in a huge way. Stunning, generous performances were given by Lee, Toby and Stephanie as they explored their characters' climactic moments.
Image: Lelo Lourenzo
Lars' unraveling was both beautiful and painful to watch.
It was hard to resist the urge to run onto the set and "save" him.


Image: Jen Storch
How much can you trust a recently deranged sister?
Lars will soon find out.


Image: Lelo Lourenzo
The aftermath of the explosive events in Lars' room.
We had to re-do the floor, there was so much broken glass.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Go Hunter




This was one of the first images taken yesterday and you just know, that anything starting like this, is going to end badly. The giant bottle of fake blood we bought at the beginning of the production was reduced to a few drops and one more character has been eliminated.
Where is this all going? It's looking more and more like a horror flick!... I sure hope that the B&W final product will do wonders to tone down the gore and elevate the dramatic.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Birth, Food, Sex & Death.. All in an Evening's Shoot

I don't think we ever shot so many scenes in one session as we did last night. Finished short of midnight and looked up to see Kim and Lelo's faces exhausted and drained. Moment of guilt. Stephanie and Lee who also shot were let go earlier but Anna who worked till the bitter end, just waltzed out with a bottle of wine as if her night was just starting.
She had just given us a mesmerizing performance for the butchering scene while we gawked, not knowing whether to laugh of barf.
Hiroe and Cristina had obviously done a fantastic job prepping these animals for their ghoulish death.


Image: Lelo Lourenzo

At times it looked like a magician's show, at times like opening Christmas presents and at times like a derange cooking show.

Image: Kimberly Boldrini

No comment.

Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Hiroe looking on with satisfaction as her stashed "goodies" finally see the light of day.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Bridal Night to Remember

Stephanie and Lee gave a beautiful performance yesterday.
They were well prepared and stayed deeply entrenched in their opposing archetypes throughout.
Lee and Stephanie did all their own stunts (As if there was an option...) courageously and beautifully.
It was a pleasure to shoot them work. Watching the resulting images later was sort of heart wrenching.


Image: Kimberly Boldrini


Image: Kimberly Boldrini


Image: Kimberly Boldrini







Monday, April 19, 2010

Back on Track!

It was a very efficient shoot yesterday and a wonderful send off to the 2nd and last portion of the production.
Anna and Tom got to do most of their acting lying down (we heard no complaints there!) and Jen got to man two "light-sticks" simultaneously (Is there an industry name for a bulb on the end of a broomstick?) and tolerate the obvious arm-pain with stoic resilience.
Some may have taken away from this shoot a certain disturbing ending of the baby, incidentally made out of dough, and involving our beautiful canine starlet...
But I prefer to linger on other more benign sights such as Tom in Petro's sexy underwear dirtied so well by Alex, or Stephanie stuffing 3 joints into her mouth as the drunk Natashia...

Image: Lelo Lourenzo
Once cast, Zoola threw herself into the role of "Dog" with the passion of a true star.

Image: Lelo Lourenzo

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Relaxing at MoCCA


Image: Maggie Fishman

Standing behind a table all day felt like being on vacation, compared to a shoot day... Got to talk to tons of interesting people. Sold a few books too... and promoted ISNESS shamelessly! Thanks to those of you who visited me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

APRIL 10-11 MoCCA Fest!

Taking a break from production to be at the coolest alternative comics festival in the world.
Come visit! I'll be selling my illustrated 'HEARTS IN JEOP" and promoting the graphic novel.
I'll be sharing a table with Erin Cadigan and her luscious, fantastical T-shirts and with anthropologist-turned-comic-artist Maggie Fishman. This event is a feast for the eyes and minds of anyone who lives on the words-literature-illustration-comics-film spectrum.
WWW.MOCCANY.COM for more info.


The cover of Hearts In Jeop

Postcard image and design by Lelo Lourenzo

Monday, March 15, 2010

Celebrating the Midpoint of Production With a Fine Dinner


Image by Lelo Laurenzo


The wine flowed and so did blood, tears and goulash.
We shot fast fast, I'm amazed that Lelo and Kim were able to catch what they did.
The sheer incompatibility of the family members in the story really surfaces in this scene.
The dinner marks the turning point from mere post-apocalyptic dysfunction to downright Greek tragedy.
The amazing roast-pig is the creation of the talented Hiroe Gotto who spent most of the previous night giving it the finishing touches.
The bridal makeup and hair on Stephanie DeLatour were done by Amanda Ryan and it was Mia Bauman who had the pleasure of messing up James Allerdyce yet again.
On the right is Catriona Rubenis-Stevens who gave a stellar performance as Lil'.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Finally "Hunter" In All His Glory!


Image by Kimberly Boldrini

Hunter's costumes took the longest to design. We had been through at least five "drafts" until we settled on this amalgam of wild-man-hero elements from different cultures.
Lee endured the weight and awkwardness of his additional accessories gracefully. They included 4 amazing dead animal props completed just in time by Hiroe Gotto and Cristina Atkins.
The dog was an intruder, though now we're considering casting her.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Toby and Lee Working the Bath Scene


Image by Lelo Lourenzo

It was a really special shoot. No storyboard. We relied on the knowledge and rapport we established over the last few shoots. We worked slower, making decisions as we went along.
We may have just found our modus operandi for this bastard child of film and comics. At least for now...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just Another Day in a Post Apocalyptic Household

Image: Lelo Lourenzo


Image: Kimberly Boldrini

Yesterday was an ambitious shoot. Lots of aspects of the home life.
Still struggling with lights/actor/camera positioning.
Anna and Tom gave it their all and set a standard for Nanna and Petro's passionate, larger than life relationship.

Anna had her makeup half off when Stephanie promptly reminded us that we forgot to shoot an entire scene... OK, I'm sure this happens to the best... Doesn't it?