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
Sabi Pictures is pleased to announce the production of ten new films in Sweden, from director J. Erik Reese.
Sverige: a series of short films by Sabi Pictures
Sabi Pictures is excited to announce the start on production of a new series overseas slated for completion in 2009. From the creative team that brought you Moments and Take 2 comes a series of films shot in Sweden that were highly influenced by Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue.
The starring role is Mikael Ayele (This Can’t be Heaven, Elle’s Kite, Tired of Dancing by Myself).
Creative Producing is Daniel Carmody (Take 2, Moments),And creative team includes Joshua Nitschke (Take 2, Moments), Kevin K. Shah (White Knuckles) and Zak Forsman (Heart of Now).
“Sa – veh – ree – ya. Now try it over and over again… you’ll sound like a perfect Swede! Sverige simply means Sweden… These episodic series revolve around the character Jonas (Mikael Ayele). Inspired by Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue.
Sverige embodies events that take place in one area. In Sverige, a young man arrives in a small town in Sweden where he resides. There he begins to find himself changing with life: pain & growth.
–J. Erik Reese
White Knuckles was born out of a deep desire to explore a story with a group of artists through the collaborative medium of film – and to explore it as much as possible while the story is happening – while it’s on its feet in production – while the characters fully inhabit the actors.
The means of accomplishing this would be a team of artists that could invest themselves personally in the shared vision of the project, and could work as a unified whole that could shift, adapt and adjust whenever the story changed based on the flexible nature of capturing dramatic improvisation. This could only be accomplished by maintaining a collective atmosphere of safety and trust with the crew, filmmakers and the cast. An atmosphere where the actors could feel like they can fully explore their characters without any judgments or self-direction. A creative space where the actors can go deeper in the improvisational present moment, and the filmmakers and the crew can support and guide them along. A truly interdependent process where there are no idle hands on set – a place where everyone is involved, and each member on the production is truly critical.
With White Knuckles, we wanted to see what would happen if we wrote a script and then took it away at some point during production – when the film begins to breathe on its own. We wanted to see “what happens with the characters” and we wanted to see “where will the story go?” It was in a large part about curiousity. Though we had a screenplay that would be great to shoot – we thought that perhaps guiding the improvisation initially, we could fully let go later and produce real surprises and true-to-life dialogue and moments that could not have otherwise been planned.
To do this in a drama that goes to the places White Knuckles does – it took the safety net of the rest of the cast and crew to make this work. Really, it took each other – and every individual working together as a unified whole to make this real “Interdependent” film happen.
There is a point in every soulful, artful film production where the actors seem to fully inhabit the characters, sooner or later. On set, sometimes this happens early – other times certain key aspects of the character emerge later depending on the circumstance. But ultimately – there is a collaborative search for truth that makes ‘a film by Sabi Pictures’ – and if the film is honest (as I believe White Knuckles is) than perhaps it will be blessed to find its audience.
It is a rare group of talented filmmakers that converged to create White Knuckles. And what we have in this film, is in my humble opinion, a true example of interdependent filmmaking. As filmmakers – we all simply wanted to be able to let go of pages and pre-conceived notions and rather listen very closely to what comes out of (and what comes from within the soul) of the character. We wanted to hear an authentic voice, and wanted to see the story that was the deeper, more meaningful, more real version (than the duplication of the intentions on the page). We want to see the sum that is greater than it’s parts – a piece of real art emerging from our collective creative contributions together.
This is ultimately the collective desire of a collaborative group of artists working on an Interdependent Film. Interdependent Filmmaking is the kind of filmmaking where one uses “us” and “we” and “our” more often than they use “I” when describing the process of making that film. We think that White Knuckles is unique because of the interdependent nature of the shoot. The WK website’s “Creative” section details examples of how many of us together collaborated on this film, and there will also be some behind the scenes posted to get a look at the faces that made it happen.
As with every interdependent film, there are so many hands on the work that it is hard to summarize or describe the process of each member that took part – but each person’s contribution made the film possible. And though the credits on the film will generally reveal every person’s name that contributed – there are so many more roles that were filled by each member than can possibly be listed.
Calling White Knuckles and interdependent film is a way to say Thank You – to acknowledge that the film could not be possible without the entire interwoven web of creative contributions, a network of interdependent people, that all get behind one idea. It’s a beautiful thing when it works, and it is the most fulfilling kind of filmmaking. And Interdependent Filmmaking is the evolution of the art form, in my humble opinion.
I’m honored to have been a part of this process at Sabi Pictures. Sure it is an ever-changing and an ever-evolving process with each new story – but the unique way of making each film bears one thing in common between everything we’ve made: there is simply no room and no time for inflated egos when a group of artists want to venture into the great unknown of making a film together. There is only room to learn from one another, for true collaboration, for support of each other under any circumstance, and for the collective desire to see the story through to the end no matter what.
We had a very talented group of individuals that came together to bring you the interdependent film White Knuckles – as well as Heart of Now. We guided the stories to the end rather than pushed them, and what resulted from the process thus far may move you, and perhaps even surprise you.
Kevin K. Shah Interdependent Filmmaker from White Knuckles