Archive for May, 2013


And here’s the main reason why post-production on EROTICIDE will be put on hold. I’ve been cast in a play at the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.

The show is called PARAPHILIA: EVERYONE HAS A SEXUAL DISORDER, written and directed by Lorne Svarc and I’ll be playing the role of Jonah, a scientist with a pre-mature ejaculation problem.

The play will be performed six times throughout the festival on the following dates/times:

– Friday, June 14th at 11:15pm
– Saturday, June 15th at 6:15pm
– Tuesday, June 18th at 7:45pm
– Friday, June 21st at 4:15pm
– Saturday, June 22nd at 11:30pm
– Sunday, June 23rd at 9:30pm

The venue that the show will be performed at is:

– Mission Santa Cruz (60 Rachel W.)

Ticket prices are:

– $10 (+ $2 surcharge)
– $6 (+ $2 surcharge) if you’re a CERTIFIED SEX THERAPIST

For more information, check out the show’s listing on the Fringe Festival’s official site: http://www.montrealfringe.ca/en/show/paraphilia-everybody-has-sexual-disorder

Hope to see you all there! 😀

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Looks like I won’t be able to get much editing done on EROTICIDE anytime soon. I was given a Mac on loan and while the computer has all the necessary software for me to edit my film, it only has 2 GB of RAM(!) to process everything with.

That’s right folks. I’m expected to edit a film shot on the Canon 5D Mark II in which several shots alone are between 1-2 GB on a computer with only 2 GB of RAM.

Needless to say, this isn’t going to work.

So post-production has temporarily been put on hold until a new computer can be found and/or I possibly entertain the prospect of handing off the footage to another editor with access to a more powerful system.

There’s also another reason why post-prod on EROTICIDE will have to be put on hold, at least for a month, but I’ll wait to announce that news later on today… 😉

#SinemaSaliba2013

Here are some of the highlights from the excellent EROTICIDE production stills taken by photographer, King-Wei Chu.

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Here are some pics taken on the set of EROTICIDE by photographer, Nadia Khalifa.

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Cast and Crew Photo at Burritoville by Nadia Khalifa.

Cast and Crew Photo at Burritoville by Nadia Khalifa.

EROTICIDE is officially a wrap and at the end of the day, I think I can safely say this was the greatest experience I ever had making a film, either my own or someone else’s.

There are many reasons why I feel this way, but I suppose they all boil down to one – this was the first time that I felt I was directing a real film.

Now what is a “real film,” you ask?

Well, a real film is working with actors who actually care about the material they’re given, so much so that they’re willing to devote most of their spare time to rehearsing both with me and privately amongst themselves. A real film is having an actual crew comprised of departments and department heads all diligently working towards the common goal of bringing the director’s vision to life. A real film has a budget either self-raised or if you’re really lucky (like I was), bestowed upon you by a generous executive producer who doesn’t care what the script is about, but is investing solely in the fact that he believes in you as an artist and trusts you enough to spend his money wisely.

As a filmmaker, I was fortunately to have all of these things and so much more and for that I will forever be grateful to the cast and crew of EROTICIDE.

One of the reasons why the shoot went so well was because of all the prep work the actors and I did prior to the actual shoot. I can’t stress enough how important it is to rehearse with your actors and block out the scenes in advance, ideally at the actual locations you’ll be shooting. We sat for hours discussing the script, the characters, motivations and so on and as a result discovered new things that were incorporated into the story. We would have never had the time to do this if we simply arrived on set without ever having met beforehand. As a result, there was rarely an instance when we had to do another take because of an actor flub. More often than not, it was a technical issue, something that made me realize that perhaps it’s best to do tech rehearsals beforehand as well on the next shoot.

Me and my lovely cast posing outside of Burritoville.

Me and my lovely cast posing outside of Burritoville.

I am so proud of my amazing cast. These three actors are the finest thespians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They are REAL ACTORS through and through as evident by the fact that their initial questions about their roles didn’t concern with how they themselves would look on camera, but rather how far were they going to have to push themselves to bring these characters to life.

Provided he doesn’t do anything silly like join ACTRA, Jocelin Haas, has a job as a leading man at Sinema Saliba for as long as he wants it. This guy is simply wonderful to work with. A gentleman and a gentle man, Jocelin truly gave the performance of a lifetime and put himself on the line both physically and emotionally in a way that I could never even imagine. I can’t wait for you guys to see his Yan.

When it comes to auditions, I often look for a “spark” in an actor. Something that will give me the impression that this person can realistically pull off the role they’re auditioning for. When Stephanie van Rijn came in to read for Elise, she actually managed to make me cry. Needless to say, she had the “spark.” By the end of the actual shoot, that spark turned into the brightest and loudest set of fireworks this side of the 4th of July. There were moments when I had to leave the set because her performance evoked such a profound emotional response that I needed a moment or two to compose myself and wipe the tears from my eyes. Stephanie is a magnificent actress and I can’t thank her enough for being so brave and so wonderful to work with.

And finally there’s Lisa Di Capa. I’ve gone on record as saying Lisa’s my all-time favorite actress to work with and after EROTICIDE, she’s only reinforced that. I wish every actor/actress could take a page out of her book and learn what it is to be a genuine performer who totally and convincingly immerses themselves into a role in the name of art. Then again, if every actor did that, Lisa would cease to be special and I would die a little inside. So I guess it’s a good thing that most actors aren’t that remarkable then as Lisa is and will continue to be my brightest star, my muse and a real inspiration for many years to come.

Me with King-Wei Chu, the official BTS photographer of EROTICIDE.

Me with King-Wei Chu, the official BTS photographer of EROTICIDE.

The shoot itself was a big success. I initially quoted Patrick (my executive producer) a $3,000 budget with a 5-day shooting schedule. But because we were so organized and so efficient with our spending, I managed to bring this film under-budget (we only spent $2,500) AND under-schedule (we shot over 4 days). Not bad for an “auteur” filmmaker, eh? 😉

Some days were more pleasant than others. The first weekend, particularly Day 2 was a rather trying day. Mostly because of the elaborate setups we had planned that day which had us going a little later than scheduled. But in the end, I don’t think people really minded, especially when we watched some of the rushes afterwards.

The final day at Burritoville was the most intense day of all as we had a little over 20 shots planned that day and only had access to the venue for the one day. To give you a better perspective, on average we were shooting 10 shots a day, so we were basically combining a 2-day shoot into one.

Tempers flared from time to time, particularly among certain members of the crew. But I suppose that goes with the territory when you assemble a crew of people who have different backgrounds in film and have very precise ideas of how films ought to be made. Those ideas will inevitably clash with each other.

But in the end, I can’t really complain as for the first time ever, I can honestly say I was able to get virtually everything I needed in this film, without having to compromise a thing. If we needed another take, we shot another take. If we needed to go a little “overtime,” I gave everyone the option to leave if they really wanted to. The fact that nobody did only reminded me of how lucky I was to have a team so devoted to the project that they were willing to miss the last bus of the evening and take a cab home, if it meant spending a little extra time to get a shot or scene right.

Photo by King-Wei Chu.

Photo by King-Wei Chu.

And finally, I must thank my beautiful wife, Andree-Anne who served as the caterer on the film. For some, the prospect of a vegan meal may have seemed less than appetizing. But my wife’s phenomenal culinary skills proved that you don’t need to rely on the suffering of innocent animals to cook delicious and nutritious meals that energize the crew. Pretty much everyone agreed that the food on set was one of the many highlights of working on EROTICIDE.

So that’s pretty much it. If I seem a little vague in terms of what exactly we shot on what day, that’s all on purpose, believe you me. Aside from the pithy few sentences I’ve used to describe the plot, EROTICIDE is very much my EYES WIDE SHUT insofar as I’m keeping mum on any and every detail concerning specifics. This is a film that will need to be experienced on the big screen without any spoilers so don’t expect any on this blog. 😉

The next big step is post-production. I’ll be handling the editing as well as sound design and editing and will likely remain locked in my office over the summer as I aim for a late-September premiere.

I’ll most likely post updates as time goes on, but for now, let the countdown to the World Premiere of EROTICIDE begin! 🙂

#SinemaSaliba2013

Day 1 of production on EROTICIDE is in the can and as far as first days on productions go, this was by far, the smoothest and most well-organized ones I’ve ever been a part of.

Now, that’s not to say the shoot didn’t have its fair share of hiccups. Our production sound mixer for the first part of the shoot never showed up on set. When my Assistant Director called him to see what was the hold up, the guy said he was on another shoot, and thought that that was our shoot. Let me just let that sink in for a minute. The guy thought this other shoot he was doing at the same time as ours, was EROTICIDE. I wasn’t sure whether to be angry or laugh uncontrollably. Needless to say, he was fired but I’d still like to get together for a beer with him some day and ask him, after meeting me in person at a rehearsal and knowing full well what I look like, who did he think “Matthew Saliba” was on the shoot he went on thinking it was ours?

Thankfully our AD stepped in to do sound, until our head production sound mixer returned from a wedding he attended in the morning to record sound for the rest of the day.

Unlike previous shoots, where I had a tendency to sort of “wing it” as far as coming up with shots go, I had an elaborate and detailed shot list going into EROTICIDE and boy did that ever help. I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan your blocking and shots in advance. Of course, having said that, there’s still something to be said about having an “organic” experience on set and leaving room for some improvisation.

So much to the chagrin of my AD, we did change a few things on the fly. But in the end, he couldn’t complain too much as our changes resulted in the number of shots needed to get being drastically reduced to a couple. For example, there’s a rather intense scene in which our two leads return home from a contentious dinner and fight as soon as they get home. This was supposed to be captured in a series of “coverage” shots. However, I decided that from a creative standpoint as well as an acting one, that we basically film an epic long take that follows our characters getting on an elevator, going up 20 floors, getting off the elevator, walking down the hallway, entering the apartment, having their fight, and then walking off onto the balcony.

The shot looks absolutely amazing and Jocelin Haas and Stephanie Van Rijn absolutely nailed it with their performances.

Needless to say, it was fairly complex and lots of curse words were uttered by yours truly when things like boom shadows and unwanted appearances by members of the crew (well, ok, me) appearing slightly off frame kept creeping up take after take. But sometimes it’s worth taking extra time to get the shot right, and I think you’ll see when the film is released, that it was worth the extra time we put into it.

The highlight of the day for a lot of people was unquestionably the food. On non-paid indie shoots, aside from a completed copy of the film, food is more often than not, the source of “payment” for your cast and crew. Unfortunately, a lot of shoots are very stingy when it comes to that department, often relying on takeout pizza, KFC or Subway sandwiches.

This time around, I had my amazing wife handle catering for my film and she cooked one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had – Penne Vodka. I may ask my wife, Andree-Anne, to write a guest article on here where she can share her recipes to help spruce up your indie shoots.

Well, that about covers the events for Day 1. The footage looks great, the performances are strong and I couldn’t be happier. Looking forward to what Day 2 brings about.

#SinemaSaliba2013