4 down, 2 to go

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while, so before you continue reading I would highly encourage you to follow me on snapchat (username Maria Lavelle) and instagram (MariaLavelle1 & Lanoet) because that’s where it happens these days.

Like I told you last time, we’re in the midst of a three-week production period where we’ll shoot a total of six short films on super 16 film (aka the old-fashioned way), so my days have mostly consisted of waking up at 4 AM, hustling and bustling on set for as many as 12 hours or more, before taking a shower and going to bed while waiting for the cycle to repeat itself.

On Pepi’s set of “LAM/B” on Staten Island.

A few inches too short for the tripod? No problem; we have pumpkins! Lin, Kai (on pumpkin) and Avi.

So far, we’ve wrapped four films, and as if being on set wasn’t pure bliss in itself, we’ve also had the chance to see a variety of locations, weather conditions and real-life characters at every corner of the city.

We shot in a secluded community garden in East Village for Avi’s film “Scattered,” all over Staten Island for Pepi’s “LAM/B,” in the middle of Times Square for Lin’s “When you’re taking a selfie without your sunglasses,” and in Brooklyn for my very own “TENDER” — which I’ll tell you more about in my next post.

On the set of “TENDER” – with Sonya Vai (leading actress), Lin, me and Kai.

This coming weekend we’ll stay in Brooklyn shooting Kai’s “Mr. Edelman,” followed by Jorge’s “Eyes up” in Central Park.

There’s no other way I’d rather explore the city, and seeing a new place through the lens of a camera is really unlike anything else. Actually, just being on set with the hardest working people I know for hours and days on end is unlike anything else.


On the set of my film “TENDER.” Stay tuned for my next post. Photo: Avi Kabir.

Running from location to location with tons of heavy equipment with a clock ticking makes us look like hardheaded participants in The Amazing Race, while the intensity and quiet of loading the camera mags inside a light-proof changing bag — without being able to see what our hands are doing — makes us feel like surgeons on Grey’s Anatomy. For the remaining time we either feel like actual filmmakers or soldiers in the Army.

The teamspirit, adrenalin, efficiency, pressure and precision it takes to put together these small pieces of art containing our storytelling voices is one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever been a part of.

That feeling was only intensified when we — after four days of back-to-back shooting — gathered our belongings from a pumpkin patch on Staten Island, and the warm wind was accompanied by beams of bright orange light that shone upon our tired faces. I don’t know if it was the combination of exhaustion, hunger, sunburned skin and pure satisfaction that made it so magical, but magical it was.

Photo: Avi Kabir.

In my next post I’ll tell you all about my experience of directing my first non-documentary short film in NY.

Bless,
Maria

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