This weekend White Knuckles – a film by sabi will be playing at the Derby City Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday at 1:00pm Eastern. Both Larry Strauss and Martie Ashworth have been nominated for best actor and best actress respectively for their portrayal of William and Julie in the film, directed by yours truly. It was a labor of love for all involved, and I’m excited to also share with you a wonderful review from industry veteran Carol Green on White Knuckles.
“WHITE KNUCKLES took me by surprise and has stayed with me ever since I visited the home of Julie (Martie Ashworth) and William (Larry Strauss) to see how they were doing. At least the way it feels in the aftermath of viewing a film by Sabi that takes us into the world of an older married couple whose time together could have, should have, maybe would have brought them closer after all these years. Instead, they are walking on egg shells, sitting on pins and needles, and closing their fists until their knuckles turn white with the frustration of a marriage gone awry. They are in pain.
Like visiting old friends or neighbors we’ve known for years, WHITE KNUCKLES invites us into a home filled with plants cared for by a wife who tenderly removes each aphid and a husband who could care less. As visitor/moviegoers, we are allowed an intimacy far greater than what is shared between Julie and William. And yet, by our witness, we come to explore the moments, the misses, the what-could-have-beens of theirs and our own lives.
WHITE KNUCKLES resonates deep within us. We become lost in our own reverie, falling in and out of the story as our emotions take us to places we often leave boarded up. And yet, we return to revel in Julie’s luminous smile, to support her in her quandary, to rejoice when her friend Dora (Sue Gaetzman) arrives for coffee and a little levity. Dora has no idea that her casual conversation has provided her friend with a DIY scheme that Julie can easily create right there in her kitchen to manifest a relatively quick and dirty resolution to the marriage. Oh, what evil lurks behind the gingham curtains…
Kevin Shah and his collective known as Sabi no doubt created an environment of such trust that actors were comfortable enough to reveal the essence of their characters with brutal honesty. I know these people. I knew these people. We all do. They are our mirrors.
Days after seeing WHITE KNUCKLES, I remember my late mother, my former husband, the road taken and the road not taken. How did I end up here at this chapter of my life? It must have been the kind of little, incremental events and their effect on my path that lead me here. And like, Julie and William, what’s next?
If film is art, what is its purpose? To look at a painting and walk away or to feel something, to remember that feeling long after that moment is gone? With the experience of WHITE KNUCKLES, it is to see powerful actors commit to their characters and their audience, to enjoy beautiful cinematography and music and intimate direction rare in mainstream offerings, and to suffer with these people whose lives reflect our own.
Carol Green Producer, Publicist
A Short Film About Letting Go: World Premiere – a sabi pictures memoir
A Short Film About Letting Go world premiered at the Dances With Films 2010 festival in Los Angeles to a crowded audience gathered for the Fusion Shorts program at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 theater in Hollywood. This film has achieved beyond our expectations financially & creatively, and the life-long relationships forged by taking a chance on this art film has expanded the Sabi family and our brand of films in immeasurable ways.
All of us at Sabi Pictures are proud of this film and the talent behind it & in the coming weeks we will continue to get the word out there about this work of art. A Short Film About Letting Go recently played at the Hollyshorts Film Festival on Sunset in Hollywood, as well as at the Sacramento Film Festival. Letting Go is also on DVD with 40+ minutes of bonus content at cinefist.com
This sabi pictures memoir features J. Erik Reese, Daniel Carmody, Joshua Nitschke, Mark Ridley, Christopher Sowers & Aqua Yost. Narration is by J. Erik Reese. Music is by Deklun and what you hear was composed for the film.
Kevin K. Shah www.sabipictures.com
Actor and Parkinson’s activist Larry Strauss recently invited me to say a few words at the Historical Society of Laguna Woods, where he was being honored by friends family and distinguished guests.
Below are some excerpts from my speech.
“Larry Strauss is a true friend and fellow artist whom I first met Larry at an audition for a film I was directing called White Knuckles. The film has subsequently played here at Laguna for audiences twice, thanks to Larry’s efforts in getting it screened for you. Larry came into the audition to play William — a character who was at a bad place in his life and his marriage and who was desperately in need of a change. As Larry’s director, I needed him to play a beautiful and tragic self-loathing character — that behind a rough and abrasive exterior was a man full of warmth and wisdom….”
“…I also wanted the actors to draw from their own lives and experiences to tap into the character through a process of guided improvisation, so when it came time to shoot — it was easier for me to get Larry to play the warm and wise-cracking fun part of the character (as we all know and love Larry) but harder to play the part of the man that is at a time in his life where everything is stagnant and not moving forward. And perhaps that’s because its not who larry is naturally — he’s a man that despite the circumstances has always seen the silver lining and always has time for a joke or a wise-crack to put a smile on everyone’s face…
“…I remember at the end of one of the first few dramatic scenes we shot — Larry asked me if he could sweep Martie (Julie in the film) off her feet and and dance with her to cheer her up — to bring joy and happiness to their lives. Though it was a perfectly good idea and would be a great scene, I told him that the story was about her poisoning him, and his being ‘joyful’ or ‘loving’ early-on might make Julie second-guess what she’s doing (too early). I knew where it was coming from, though — and what Larry’s intentions were: It was coming from the light that is Larry — in real life he’s a beacon (rather than a black hole).
“… In a couple weeks White Knuckles will play at the Derby City Film Festival where both Larry and Martie Ashworth have been nominated for Best Actor & Best Actress — and a few weeks after that the film continues to the Buffalo-Niagra Film Festival. As the film continues to get out there, I am indebted to Larry for the performance he gave and the friendship that was forged. Larry, I want to close by saying you are an amazing actor, and a fantastic human being, and I’m grateful that we created something wonderful together that will outlive us both. Congratulations on being Historical Society’s honoree, you deserve it and many more good things are yet to come.”
Kevin K. Shah Director White Knuckles