Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sahkanaga - A Photo Essay - Part 3

The crew for Sahkanaga consisted of both paid and volunteer personnel. Pictured above from left to right are Sahale J. (2nd AC), James M. (1st AC), Damian W. (DP), Rodman S. (Key Set PA), Gennaro M. (Gaffer), Trevor N. (lead actor), and Michelle C.(2nd AD). I had asked everyone to pose as if they were campers on some excursion in a Hollywood horror film, pre-murder. Most people seemed to embrace the direction, but several clearly were not in the mood to pose for a picture. Then again, maybe they're conveying something deeper than cannot be captured with a photo.

Here is a photo of John S. and Kristin R. (lead actress) overseeing the building of a 25 foot (approximate distance) dolly set up in a cemetery.

John S. rehearses a scene with Kristin R. and Trevor N. in the woods behind that same cemetery. They are in the bottom right hand corner. You can see Kristin's white shirt.

I hid in the garage for this shot because they were filming in 360 degrees. That is John S. in the Piggly Wiggly shirt. Though normally a cute and lovable icon, the wiggly piggly here actually looks rather sinister. Two mottos used on Piggly Wiggly t-shirts are "I dig the Pig!" and "What happens at the pig...stays at the pig!" The latter was more famously used for Las Vegas, which never credited Piggly Wiggly with the creation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sahkanaga - A Photo Essay - Part 2

So, as I said, we filmed Sahkanaga in and around Chickamauga in northwest Georgia in June of 2009. The key crew members (Producer, Director, DP, Gaffer, Production Designer, Gaffer and 1st AC) lodged in a house together at Mountain Cove Farms for the duration of pre-production and principal photography.

Our first set of photos is of Mountain Cove Farms, an 11,500 acre tract of picturesque land bordered by Pigeon Mountain on the east and Lookout Mountain on the west. Mountain Cove Farms is at the very southern end of what's known as McLemore Cove, which lives in the greater Chickamauga Valley.
This is the entrance to Mountain Cove Farms from Highway 157. Cows grazed on one side of the road. It led to a winding road cutting through the mountains down into the valley. The heifer in the bottom right corner watched me while I took his or her photograph.

This picture was taken as I was driving away from the house for the last time - back to Atlanta. This was our home during the production of the film. We lived here, worked here and shot many scenes from the film just a stone's throw from the house. It was a newer house meant for tourists I imagine. It had four bedrooms, rented furniture, one phone line with a strange area code, six New Yorkers, a sound mixer from New Jersey, a musician from Birmingham, an adopted kitten named Crash and me living in it. In order to notify the Fedex man, someone hung this homemade cardboard sign with our address: 856. 856 Dougherty Gap Rd. We often had important packages sent to another address because mail service was spotty.
You'll notice in the first black and white photo, the land stretching up to the house is bare, but in the second, it's flush with hay. The second photo was taken before the hay was harvested. We filmed during the fever of hay season and saw the mobile hay balers in action on more than one occasion.

I see the appeal of the living in the mountains, removed from urban life. To be able to wake up every morning and walk outside to the porch and sit in a lawn chair and look at the mountains and drink some orange juice (If I drank coffee, this would sound more literary, but I like orange juice.) is a great luxury. It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's unknowable. It's similar to waking up near the ocean. It's a place where the world seems infinite and human life is intertwined with the Earth. During these moments you feel like a guest, like someone is pampering you, but in reality no one is. I remember talking to John S.(writer/director) about the film we were making and he said, (Forgive my paraphrasing here, John.) "When we die, our bodies become part of the Earth again. As sad as death is, there is something comforting and right about that." He may have never uttered those words, but that's what I took from it. With that, I'll leave you with this photo of John lying on a driveway collecting his thoughts (or catching a quick catnap) during one the shooting days.

Sahkanaga premieres in Atlanta this Friday at 6pm at the Atlanta Film Festival. Go see it.

Sahkanaga - A Photo Essay - Part 1

Here is just a little taste of some 35mm black and white photographs I took while on the set of Sahkanaga back in May and June of 2009. Working on that film (I was the 1st AD.) was one of the highlights of my life. I will post some each day leading up to the dueling guns premiere of this wonderful film at the Independent Film Festival Boston and the Atlanta Film Festival.

Go see it!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Abandoned Movie Theaters or Our Churches are Crumbling

For 74 more photos of movie palaces, castles, cathedrals, chateaus, citadels and just plain old houses, click here.