I’m very happy to announce that my new short narrative “Magdalena” is now shot and ready for post production phase. “Magdalena” is described by a tagline that doesn’t elaborate much on the plot; “Some doors should not be knocked on” but with 7 minutes of running time I find it extremely difficult to give out a synopsis without spoiling it so let’s just leave it to that tagline therefor now.
In terms of preproduction, I honestly had a rough time coming up with a definite story, but it’s no secret that the plot is based on a real personal experience that I partly had when scouting the “Un Pueblo textile” area looking for a story or a character to based my story on. In my quest to find the quintessential Cuban who would open the door for a philosophical discussion of life in a communist country, I climbed this Khrushchyovka (Which was very similar to my own Armenia’s version BTW) with stairs in the middle and doors on left and right of each floor. As I began taking photos from the top of the building this random local Cuban guy called me from down the stairs and… well the rest is my fictional story.
Beside writing the story and finding location, casting of this short was one of my biggest challenges and looking and the results I admit that the actors I ended up having are hands down two of the most important assets of this production. The casting was truly a matter of luck but I can’t deny that just like my diminishing belief at love at first sight, I still believe in seeing and knowing that this is your actor.
I had a story and I had a location but the character I was looking for had to be a foreigner just like me; “Lost and confused” because the entire world including the language, settings and people were so different. (And I mean different) I wanted him to have this typical polite American tourist look, but not to necessary look like an American at the same time. I was suggested by my peers to act because maybe they thought I was funny (When I pitched the piece everyone laughed so I guess I was funny) But I had this beard and I kind was trying to recreate the image of a rebel “Che” with my Cuban hat and cigarettes so I couldn’t really see myself as the best fit until on the third day I met this guy from Chicago who apparently had been stuck at a US airport somewhere in the East Coast due to the late January blizzards, which had delayed his flight for a couple of days. His name was James and when I first saw him I noticed this immense confusion in his eyes that was exactly what I wanted from a nonspeaking character. Like me he wasn’t speaking Spanish and while everyone else was running around trying to prep for shoot he was just trying to understand what the hell is going on here. What a coincidence! I thought. (To be continued)