Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hannah Jane McMurray wins Best Supporting Actress at 2015 LIIFE Awards!

The 2015 Long Island International Film Expo officially opens July 10th with a block of films that includes the premiere of Halina . . . however some of the awards have been revealed today in select categories. And I'm very proud to announce that Hannah Jane McMurray has won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Halina!

LIIFE has been growing exponentially over the last few years and it's fast becoming recognized as a definitive New York festival. This brings in much more competition for filmmakers like me (from some big name films, as it seems), which makes this win even more special. This award will be officially given out at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony on July 16th.

If you're in the Washington DC area this summer, you can see Hannah Jane live in the touring production of Peter Pan.

If you'd like to see her on a big screen on Long Island for the world premiere of Halina on July 10th, hurry up and get your tickets here (purchase tickets for day 3 block 3).

Congratulations to Hannah Jane on the first of what is hopefully many instances of recognition for her amazing portrayal as Halina!

Monday, June 22, 2015

On the Set of The Burden of Choice: Day 2

I didn't get to snap many photos during day 2 of the shoot, so we'll all have to eagerly wait for the set photographer's pictures to be delivered before we get the really good pics.

Day 2 focused almost entirely on Elisa and Pooya and the interaction of their characters. We shot in a pretty small room, but DP Marc did a fantastic job of making it work with multiple angles and some creative dolly work. Since the majority of Halina was two people sitting across from each other talking, we came up with a new look and set of angles to differentiate this project more. For example we did some profiles shots, like this screen grab below:
I really liked watching the conversation in this scene play out because there is a wide array of emotions in Elisa's character, and she jumped from one to another with ease. There's a part where she has an outburst that pretty much spills out my personal feelings more than I've ever scripted before, so seeing her do that monologue was magic. Then there's Pooya, who is just a fascinating character actor and so much fun to watch.
I plan to start editing this week. As usual I'll log the footage first - which is the more time-consuming part - and then I should be able to get a rough cut done fairly quickly.

A few notes in case anyone's wondering: I don't cameo in this one (boo!), and there are no actors in here that appeared in Purgatory Comics or Halina. However, there are hidden references to both of those films. I'm not trying to create an expanded universe; I'm actually trying to create an expanded multiverse. I'll explain what that means...one day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

On the Set of The Burden of Choice: Day 1

Now that the  dust has finally settled, I can do my customary blogging on the production days for The Burden of Choice. This was a 2-day shoot and probably one of the smoothest shoots I've ever been a part of. A big factor in that was the location, which was my own house. No comic book stores, no giant castles...I had an environment completely under my control for the entire shoot, and I felt that relief every second of the project. 
Another big reason this was such a relaxing and enjoyable shoot was the crew. It was mostly Halina people, and it was a bunch of good people, there to make a good movie. No egos, no cynicism; just a team that wants to make it happen. As with Halina, equipment came in via Elefant Films who made a special delivery the morning of the shoot.
Then there were the actors. How many nice things can I say about them before it's weird? Seriously, how much can I gush before it stops meaning anything? They ruled.
For day 1 we shot all of Tarion's scenes, most of Jessica's scenes, half of Elisa's scenes, a fun cameo, and all of Dane Peevy's scenes. Dane is our child actor who now holds the record for the youngest actor in the WM Production universe. He came in with high energy that absolutely reminded me of myself as a kid...but then when I called "action," he performed like a champion and stayed focused (unlike I would've been able to do as a kid).
All-in-all, this was probably one of the most relaxing shooting days for me personally because I was able to just enjoy it.  Yet another reason for that was Mara, my amazing Assistant Director who did a lot of the heavy lifting

I can't wait to get some footage up. I can't wait to you guys see Elisa, or the scene with her and Jessica together, or the hilarious cameo. I'll try to blog about day 2 tomorrow. Until then!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Halina" to Screen at NewFilmmakers Summer Series

Halina was invited to screen at NewFilmmakers, an ongoing film series that screens the hottest new film projects by up and coming independent filmmakers.

We'll be screening on the evening of Wednesday, August 19th in a film block that kicks off at 7:00pm. Tickets will be available at the door before the screening for just $6! The box office opens at 5:30pm.

This will mark the official New York City debut of Halina so as you can imagine, I'm very pumped. NewFilmmakers.com even set up a Halina page right here. See you in August, NYC!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sonic Cinema Gives "Halina" an A+

Another review for Halina has hit the interwebs - this one from the good folks at Sonic Cinema. And I'm ecstatic to report that they graded Halina with an A+ score!

"Suarez’s film doesn’t feel like a sci-fi film by the end, but in the ways it challenges our thinking of what the genre can offer, it works as well as the best ones do."

Read the review in its entirety right here but I should warn you, this review has some mild spoilers. Nothing earth-shattering, but it dives deeper into the plot than the other reviews and may reveal details you don't want to know if you're going in pure!

I recently added a "Press" section to the official Halina web site that collects all the reviews so far and hopefully will grow in the near future.