the black sea
"the black sea" is a narrative feature film about five friends who go to a beach house on the Oregon Coast for a weekend trip; one of them disappears. While the plot is a pot-boiler, the tone and approach are mysterious and elliptical in nature. I sometimes call it a thriller in the guise of a tone poem. Events unfold like a shared hypnotic dream; more questions are raised than answered.
I started writing the screenplay in 2004. Since this was to be my feature directing debut the movie’s real strength was that it contained just a few speaking roles and was set at one location (read: could be shot cheaply and easily). The narrative ambitions were initially slight.
In early 2005 I was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor. The screenplay moved to the back-burner while I underwent two surgeries and relocated to Boston for specialized radiation treatment. When I returned to the script late in 2007, I found the basic idea for the story was still appealing (both in general and in terms of production) but my directorial approach had been altered by my experience. I entered a long phase of rewriting. What began as a simple disappearance plot became a darker, tone-driven story about 5 people, ostensibly friends, consumed by the subjective minutiae of their own lives, stuck together in one location for a weekend, all of them confronting different speeds and registers of oblivion.
I am inspired by all narrative cinema in general but for this project in particular I was influenced by “Knife in the Water”, “L’Intrus”, “Lost Highway”, “The Big Chill”, “Persona” , “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, “Morvern Callar”, and “Three Women”.
I am most interested in the extremes of the human character, the darkest darks and the lightest lights, and how these polarities are affected by trial.
I need your help to make this movie. Any amount you are able to give, large or small, is welcome. All contributions go directly to hard production costs: film stock and processing, camera rental, lighting package, location fees, hiring cast and crew, equipment rental, food and so on. To the right you’ll see a list of amenities and rewards based on contribution levels.
We are seeking a minimum of $32,000 for the production phase of the film. We have to at least hit this minimum to receive any funding however we are able to receive more than the minimum. Our maximum goal is $75,000. Raising anything beyond the minimum will allow us to upgrade certain locations and equipment and hire additional personnel as well as to secure post-production rental facilities and start thinking about marketing, film festivals and beyond.
We’re shooting in January 2013, across 18 shoot days, all on location in Oregon, in both Arch Cape and Portland. The film will be photographed on Super 16mm film by award-winning cinematographer Scott Ballard and edited by Evonne Moritz.
Thank you for your support.