Your new movie Limerence - in a few words, what is it about?
“Phoebe, whose powers and perceptions are fueled by her goddess
namesake, lives an isolated life in the antique movie palace left to her
by her absent parents. Although her brother, Alden, is supportive, he is
at a loss to be helpful. When Tig, a confident and outgoing lesbian, turns
up to hawk fliers for her play, Phoebe is a bug on a pin, instantly and
overwhelmingly caught in Tig's unwitting spell. Phoebe undergoes a private
trip down the rabbit hole, her intense longing transmuting into visions
and dreams and hysterical jealousy, which culminates in her stunning
visual confession of desire and need for connection.”
Essentially, the film is about the experience of lovesickness. Our main
character is a woman who falls in love but finds herself incapable of
expressing her feelings in any real way. She just tries to choke them down
and ignore them, but eventually the fantasy takes on a life of its own,
and her desires are unleashed. We want to show how and why love--or the
hope of love--can make people do really crazy things.
fun part is taking the audience on that roller coaster with her. Our story
gets extremely trippy and weird at times, but there’s a method behind
our madness. We want to make the audience feel as disoriented and turned
on and confused as Phoebe feels.
How did the project fall together in the first place?
It started as a simple love story the lead actress Angela Riccetti and I
cooked up to push the boundaries of our skillset. We started talking about
our personal experiences with love and heartache, and we quickly realized
that the fine line between love and mental illness was a really
interesting place to go. Our story got more and more surreal over time,
and strangely, the weirder it got, the more real it felt. Falling in love
is an intense thing. It rewires you as a person. So telling a story about
a very real, literal physical transformation just felt right.
John saw an early version of the script and was down to help make the film
from very early on. He was a real voice of reason in the latter stages of
the writing process, and of course, he’s an awesome producer. If you saw
the script, you’d know just how insane this film will be to make, but
he’s handled every challenge I’ve thrown his way with ease. There’s
absolutely no way we’d be able to make this film without his leadership
JOHN: At Glass City
Films, we’ve always had this undercurrent
of testing the boundaries of genre. For example, my two films as a
and Happily After,
both are hard to peg and describe to people. Is Chrysalis
a horror/zombie film or a drama about these three characters struggling to
survive in a barren world? Or is it a love story between Josh and
Penelope? Can it be all of those things? Is Happily
romance, a drama, or a thriller, or some strange mismash of all three?
for us, Limerence
was a perfect continuation of our company’s journey. It’s set in
the Midwest with almost an entirely Chicago-based cast and crew, which
always ranks high on our list of priorities, but it’s also a difficult
story to pin down! Is it a love story? Do the disturbing,
unsettling elements of our film trend towards horror or fantasy? In the
end, all films, to us, are about characters, and the choices they make
that define them, and the growth they experience as a result of those
choices and their consequences. Whether we’re talking about
zombies or love stories or coming-of-age films, if you don’t care about
the characters, it’s a worthless endeavor. For us, character
transcends genre, and Limerence
has character in spades.
Dan, what were your sources of inspiration when writing Limerence?
And is any of the movie based on personal experiences?
Yeah, a ton of the film is based on some personal experiences I had
dealing with unrequited love. The “thermostat” in my head is always
turned up a little too high for my tastes, so when I feel something, I
really feel it. I obsess over things. I had a small nervous breakdown once
after falling in love with someone who wasn’t particularly interested in
me. I wanted to stop feeling the way I did, but the more I tried to stop,
the bigger the feelings became. I was a mess.
Other inspirations? We have tons. We’ve talked for hours and hours about
films that mess with the viewer’s sense of reality, films like Fight
The Skin, Amelie, Persona,
or even the ending to 2001:
A Space Odyssey.
There’s something unique about film in that you are communicating
primarily with symbols and images, not words. It gives you the ability to
speak directly to a viewer’s subconscious. It’s very primal and raw.
What can you tell us about your film's intended look and feel?
Inside out. A light emerging from the darkness.
I’m being intentionally vague. :) A lot of the strategy behind this film
is to use everything BUT words to affect the audience—iconography,
symbolism, music, sound, color, composition, juxtaposition of images, even
references to other stories, etc.
We actually want you to watch the film and “get it” and still not be
able to put it into words in a way that feels complete. We want you to
experience Phoebe’s anxiety, her confusion, and her obsessive hope
surrounding this new person in her life. We want to grab your heart and
and knock you on your ass, because that’s what falling in love feels
like. Words just don’t do the job.
Part of the appeal for me is the idea of cinema as something that conveys
feeling and emotion, not necessarily just plot or information. You
will walk out of this movie, this visual experience we’re creating, and
hopefully have a visceral reaction it, something that helps you as a
viewer understand what it’s like for someone to fall in love so deeply
and completely, and overwhelmingly.
you can tell us about your key cast yet, and why exactly these people?
Angie’s our lead actress, but she also developed this story with me over
the last five years at this point. So it’s safe to say this role was
made for her. She is the perfect vehicle for this character. She really
knows how to play vulnerability and awkwardness when it’s called for,
but there’s still a fire (no pun intended) underneath it that is hard to
far as the other cast goes: Michaela Petro plays Tig, the object of
Phoebe’s affections, and she’s just as magnetic in real life as Tig
needs to be in this film. People just fall in love with her when they meet
her, so she has that quality we needed to make this story make sense. As
soon as I found her I stopped looking. She just was
Hart Barron plays Alden, Phoebe’s younger brother who helps run the
theater with her. Timmy’s known mostly as a comedian and improviser, but
there’s a big heart and a lot of sympathy underneath his brand of humor,
and that was exactly what we were looking for in Alden. We needed someone
in the story to serve as witness, to care about Phoebe but push her when
necessary. Also, frankly this story needed some tension-breaking and
comedic relief, otherwise the audience would collapse underneath the
weight of Phoebe’s limerence.
least part of Limerence is filmed in an old movie theatre - so you
just have to talk about that location for a bit!
Two old movie theaters actually, both movie palaces that are close to a
hundred years old each. The Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge is our primary
location—it’s most of what you see in the trailer. The Art Deco
architecture is perfect for our “modern myth” approach to this story.
Everything about it feels imposing, heavy, ancient and mythological. It
looks like a temple. And that statue in the lobby, and those masks in the
marquee! We were already playing with those themes in the screenplay, and
when we saw the Pickwick we just knew it was the perfect environment for
Our other location is the Music Box Theater in Chicago. That’s where we
shot a lot of the actual projection booth footage. Thank goodness they
were willing to work with us, because the Music Box is one of the last
theaters left that still actually run a dual-projection film system. Most
theaters dumped that stuff and moved on to the automated platter systems
or digital projectors years ago, but the Music Box still does it the old
way, and they do it very, very well. It requires a lot of craft and
attention to detail to run film like that. You have to change reels every
20 minutes, so the work demands a lot more care and attention to detail.
You have to be in that booth all day taking care of those machines. As a
result, a lot of projectionists have to find ways to deal with that
isolation or they start to feel anxious and trapped.
These locations are more than just eye candy, they really help us tell the
story. Phoebe’s lonely, obsessive and prone to fantasy. She feels
trapped by her responsibilities to the theater, but she’s the only one
really qualified to run it. Being a great projectionist is one of the few
things she’s got going for her. I think when the audience sees these
locations, sees how demanding it is to operate that sort of projection
system, they’ll just get the character that much quicker.
where do you see the challenges when it comes to producing Limerence?
One of my favorite things about Limerence,
apart from the obvious thematic elements, is that location Dan just
described: an old movie house, which suggests a character and history all
its own. Our teaser’s movie theater is a composite of the Music
Box and the Pickwick Theater because both have elements we absolutely
love, and the eventual film will also be a composite of those two
working in a theater, and especially in a projection booth, means
logistical and scheduling challenges: we’ll have to work around the
theater schedules, so our days will be shorter, and filming in a real
projection booth means very closed quarters and minimal room for lighting
setups and camera angles! Part of our budget also accounts for
insurance requirements, rental costs, and other needs. And that says
nothing about teaching Angie to work with the projectors convincingly on
addition, there are many visual effects in the film, some of which will be
supplemented with CG FX but most of which Dan wants to do as much
practically as possible. And that always presents a challenge in terms of
time on set, but the result is always worth it because it feels more
tactile for the audience. Filmmakers like Peter Jackson or
Christopher Nolan will always supplement their CGI artistry with practical
elements like miniatures or forced perspective or models, and that’s
something that impacts not only the story but the audience’s reaction to
way, though, I think it’s safe to say we’re super excited to tackle
all these challenges.
far as I know, you're presently running a fundraiser for Limerence
- so what can you tell us about your campaign?
Yup! We’re in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35,000
to produce Limerence. Our first Kickstarter campaign - for the
post-apocalyptic feature film Chrysalis
- raised over $35k in the summer of 2012 and the resulting film went to
over 30 film festivals and won awards all over the country, so we owe a
lot of our success to Kickstarter and to our backers who supported us!
And we really believe in crowdfunding as a way to bring backers and fans
into the discussion about the film, to bring them into the process of
making the movie. So we’re updating every day with new looks into
the process: interviews with the actors, notes from myself and Dan,
behind-the-scenes videos, photos and sketches from the shoot, and even
some fun Valentine’s Day surprises.
funds are raised, what's the schedule - and any idea when and where the
film will be released onto the general public yet (though I know it's
probably waaay too early to ask)?
Right now, we're aiming for a shoot in the late summer. Originally we
hoped to film shortly after the Kickstarter wrapped, but our schedule has
to align with theater availability, and the campaign would butt up right
against when the theaters would start getting busy again. And we’ve got
a ton of pre-production work still to do with storyboards, costumes,
production design elements, visual FX testing, and the usual logistics!
So we're hoping for a two-week shoot in mid-August 2016, followed by a
very thorough and vigorous post-production process and hopefully a
completed film by February 2017!
Any future projects
Nothing at the moment from the Glass City Films side! Between
wrapping up Chrysalis’s festival run and starting up
year, I imagine we’ll be focused on this film until it wraps and starts
its own festival run in 2017. On my end, I’ll be directing a short
horror film, tentatively titled Cry
later this spring and finishing that over the summer.
DAN: I’ve read some early drafts of Cry
It’s definitely my favorite type of story, something that takes a fairly
common and relatable issue and just completely turns it upside down and
inside out. And it’s got that great blend of horror and sick humor that
we all seem to love.
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
Proof-of-concept teaser - https://vimeo.com/152594268
BTS #1: Story and Character - https://vimeo.com/154140812
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Yeah, one thing! You know that last shot in the teaser? A lot of that was
done in-camera with practical FX. I’ll leave it to you guys to guess
what part and how we pulled it off. :)
for the interview!