Title: THEY (THE WOMEN)
Category: Short Film
Length: 25 minutes
Format: Digital 4K
Shooting: July 15-29
Premiere: January 2020, Eastman School of Music
THE WOMEN (ELAS in Galician)--the story of Avelaíña, a woman who grows indestructible in old age from harshness of life that typifies Galician existence historically. The film portrays Galicia--a historical region in northwestern Spain--through its women, and their struggles for survival appear in relation to Galician folklore.
The film is structured around 8 traumatic moments in Avelaíña's life, from infancy to old age. Each of these scenes culminates with a visitation from the Maragato, a frightening creature with the skull and horns of a cow, part of the Galician Carnival festival. Each blow the Maragato gives Avelaíña with a whip represents the blows of life she has received. In the final scenes we see how Avelaíña is able to conquer the Maragato with the aide of a charm called a trisquel--a 3-spiraled design--which she wears on a necklace that has been passed down from mother to daughter over generations. We see at this moment how the Galician strength of character takes shape from the chisel blows of difficulty. Avelaíña personifies an almost god-like figure, the Galician female, characterized by her paradoxical way of attaining the utmost interior strength at the moment of her greatest physical weakness.
2016, Los Angeles. Had just landed in the U.S. a year earlier and was lucky enough to land a job that summer in the music studio of my dreams (hint, I took 4 years of German in case I got the chance some day in life to meet the head composer). One day after work I went to the LA Film Festival to see a documentary about Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble--which featured the famous Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato. There, in the middle of an enormous theatre overflowing with people, they began to speak of "Galicia." People of all ages from all around the world were fascinated by "the middle of nowhere" where I grew up. That was when I suddenly felt a burning desire to give life to Galicia in terms that would be universally understood. My time away from home has opened my eyes to a Galicia that I can best envision from a distance.
2018, Rochester, New York. October. I walk into the office of the director of the Film Scoring program at Eastman. My Master's thesis due two years later consists of putting music to a project of substantial length. So I make my pitch: "Mark, I´d like to make a film--a film about Galicia, based on the life of my grandmother. You know, her brother burned to death in front of her eyes when she was barely 3 years old." You can imagine Mark's face. "Got a real freak here, OMG!" But he was very curious about the project and he gave me his enthusiastic approval.
The ball started rolling. Galicia, as seen in the eyes of Americans. In people's eyes on both sides of the Atlantic, you could see the thrill of giving life to the charm and magic of Galician culture. Thus THE WOMAN came to life. Walking home one day, I found the screenplay taking shape in my head. I got home, sat down, and with tears in my eyes I began to write.
This film represents to me a very unique opportunity --given my age as a student and the projection through Eastman in my last year here-- to transform my home, my country, my family, my vision of life and the vision of those who wish to work with me into a work of art that universally relatable. I believe this kind of effort has more value than ever today due to increased globalization. The aim of my work is to foster our relationship with beauty through film and music in a world consumed by materialism and an increasing sense of lack of direction and purpose. Today we live long lives, but it's as though we are losing reasons to want to stay alive in the first place. This is a void that art can fill, and it is the reason for ELAS to be made.
About the Premiere
THE WOMEN (ELAS) will be premiered as a Master's thesis in this theatre of the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York). At this event, my original soundtrack will be played by the EFAME Orchestra. World-famous composers will be among the audience, as will other artists who have the wherewithal to propel this project beyond the level of our team's humble aspirations.
We value your generosity. We carefully designed our perks so that with your contribution you would become part of the ELAS project and team: the poster of the film, the full orchestral soundtrack on paper, the screenplay, all signed and personally dedicated to you by the cast and crew; exclusives from behind the scenes of the film and music making process; a dinner with the team, individual Skype meetings, hugs and kisses from our protagonist, the "old woman" Avelaíña, and many, many more. A broad range of options depending on how much you can/want to get involved. With your contribution, each of you becomes a mother of THE WOMEN. You could even become our producer, the mother of all ;-).
We are a team of young artists from Spain and the U.S. Each of us has an outstanding portfolio, and we count on expert advice from successful professionals in the field for this project.
Screenplay, Directing, Soundtrack - Aaron Siebert
Assistant Director, Director of Photography - Nahuel Anxo
Production - Cecilia Gil
Art - Sara Barcia
Camera Assistant - Iria Potti, Ana Campos
Sound - Dani Cornes
Sound Assistant - Denis Carballás
Montage and Post - Matthew Kozak, Benjamin Chatfield, Nahuel Anxo, Trevor Canham
Production Consultants - Samuel Rausell, Octavio Vázquez, Nani Matos
Where will your contributions go?
When we made the decision to start this project a few months ago, we began exclusively with our own personal funds. We feel passionate about enriching people's lives through art. This conviction has led us to dedicate our time, our energy, and our own money to make ELAS possible.
Your contributions will serve to mitigate the financial burden of this film and enable us to produce a level of quality that would otherwise be unaffordable for us. Thanks to your support we will be able to cover the costs of shooting (food, transportation, settings, scenery, etc.) as well as the costs of production equipment (drone, slider for the cameras, lighting, props, etc.).
It's worth noting that the soundtrack will feature an innovative fusion of conventional orchestral and electronic music for film with traditional Celtic instruments from Galicia such as bagpipes, the hurdy gurdy, and more. Your contributions will also help pay the musicians, sound engineers, and recording studio space, all necessary for producing the soundtrack.
Pre-production: December 2018 – June 2019
Shooting: 15-29 de Julio
Post-prodution: September - December 2019
Premiere: January 2020, in this theatre at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)
Delivery of Perks: January 2020.
Distribution, screenings at festivals, possible screenings with live orquestra EFAME