Dec 29 2014

Oleander Wrapped in Time for Christmas

Published by at 01:34 under Misc. Luxembourg

SOURCE: http://www.chronicle.lu

At the end of October, the short film Oleander was shot around the Abbaye de Neumunster in Luxembourg-Grund, with Giles Foreman coming over from the UK to direct the film which was produced by Luxembourg resident Tara Donnell who hails from Canada.

Oleander is being produced independantly from funds raised from workshops and from a crowd funding campaign; Tara assembled a crew of 20 and a cast (including extras) of nearly 60 people for the shoot.

Over the last year, Tara has developed a script which explores some of the barriers to equality for women and girls in today’s society. These issues, such as the trafficking of girls and women for the sex industry, happen all over the world, often in plain sight. In order to protect girls and boys from a life of modern day slavery, it will take more than legislation to disrupt the supply and demand chain that keeps the industry going stong.

The story takes place in modern day Luxembourg at a posh charity event at the Abbaye de Neumünster, one of Luxembourg’s beautiful historical buildings which has become a centre for culture. The beauty of Luxembourg and its multicultural, multilingual people will be celebrated in this film.

Eve Walker (played by Tara) arrives at the Abbey to sing her first gig with a blues band, She has a difficult past that she has managed to bury until this evening when she comes face to face with one of the men who abused her as a teenager.

The organiser (Margarethe von Lande, played by Sabine Rossbach) and her husband Michel are a wealthy couple who are at the top of the social heap. The anxiety and reality behind the shiny veneer of wealth and success are seen in Margarethe who struggles to maintain her position and project the perfect image with mental illness just under the surface. Michel von Lande, played by Yves Schaaf, has developed a very successful investment firm with his partner Pol Caraba (played by Dan Halici), and this charity has been set up by the two as a convenient place to funnel money and offset taxes.

A young, ambitious reporter, Hanna Wagner (played by Mendaly Ries) is covering the event, and stumbles upon a story that promises to expose corruption. Sneaky Pete, a local blues and jazz band perform in the film, with several of their original songs being played.

The Luxembourg Chronicle got to talk with Tara who said “The filming went better than I could have imagined. We were really fortunate to be able to film in the Abbey, a beautiful historical building and centre for culture. Given the skeleton crew and large number of extras, we were very lucky that people involved worked tirelessly and with a smile, dedicated to the project’s success. We were able to get all the important shots done within 3 nights thanks to our very organised and skilled 1st AD (Addistant Director), Clare Wood. Colleen Blake and Osanna Samuel worked very hard behind the scenes doing about five jobs each. I could not have done it without them. The crew, many of whom didn’t know each other, worked together extremely well, creating a positive and friendly working environment. In all, there were about 80 people who came along and worked in some capacity, mostly donating their time. I was humbled by the great response and hard work of everyone.

Writing, producing and starring in a piece of that scale was, in hindsight, a lot to do for one person. It was a great learning experience and I have received some very positive feedback. I am already working on writing the next few episodes for Oleander, and Giles and I are planning the next year of acting workshops, with potentially another short film at the end of it. You can find out more about the training we offer on www.gfcalux.com.”

Some of the actors also commented on their involvement. Yves Schaaf, a Luxembourgish national who played one of the main charaters, said “To me it was a big challenge becoming someone who I absolutely am not. But being surrounded by my lovely and motivated actors-family and with the faboulous help of Giles Foreman and Liana Nyquist it was really good fun and a great experience I would not want to have missed.”

Sabine Rossbach, who also played one of the main characters, said “We went into shooting the film as a welded/grown-together group who had experienced quite a few hardcore personal and professional moments together during the workshop series. I think there was a a lot of power coming from this background, which transmitting to the whole team behind and before the camera. We were guided by the very people who have mentored us all along and who we trust (Giles and Liana in particular). This is a rare and invaluable opportunity for an actor who is starting out.”

Giles Foreman, was over from London last week to start editing the film in the post-production phase. He said “We hope to be finished editing by mid January. We will be applying for some funding for post production in the new year, and would welcome any financial help that may come our way. We need about €2,500 more to pay for colour grading and sound design, which we can not get done for free. Anyone donating at least €750 would be given the title of executive producer.”

Photo (L-R): Giles Foreman, actress Leila Schauss

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SOURCE: http://www.chronicle.lu

At the end of October, the short film Oleander was shot around the Abbaye de Neumunster in Luxembourg-Grund, with Giles Foreman coming over from the UK to direct the film which was produced by Luxembourg resident Tara Donnell who hails from Canada.

Oleander is being produced independantly from funds raised from workshops and from a crowd funding campaign; Tara assembled a crew of 20 and a cast (including extras) of nearly 60 people for the shoot.

Over the last year, Tara has developed a script which explores some of the barriers to equality for women and girls in today’s society. These issues, such as the trafficking of girls and women for the sex industry, happen all over the world, often in plain sight. In order to protect girls and boys from a life of modern day slavery, it will take more than legislation to disrupt the supply and demand chain that keeps the industry going stong.

The story takes place in modern day Luxembourg at a posh charity event at the Abbaye de Neumünster, one of Luxembourg’s beautiful historical buildings which has become a centre for culture. The beauty of Luxembourg and its multicultural, multilingual people will be celebrated in this film.

Eve Walker (played by Tara) arrives at the Abbey to sing her first gig with a blues band, She has a difficult past that she has managed to bury until this evening when she comes face to face with one of the men who abused her as a teenager.

The organiser (Margarethe von Lande, played by Sabine Rossbach) and her husband Michel are a wealthy couple who are at the top of the social heap. The anxiety and reality behind the shiny veneer of wealth and success are seen in Margarethe who struggles to maintain her position and project the perfect image with mental illness just under the surface. Michel von Lande, played by Yves Schaaf, has developed a very successful investment firm with his partner Pol Caraba (played by Dan Halici), and this charity has been set up by the two as a convenient place to funnel money and offset taxes.

A young, ambitious reporter, Hanna Wagner (played by Mendaly Ries) is covering the event, and stumbles upon a story that promises to expose corruption. Sneaky Pete, a local blues and jazz band perform in the film, with several of their original songs being played.

The Luxembourg Chronicle got to talk with Tara who said “The filming went better than I could have imagined. We were really fortunate to be able to film in the Abbey, a beautiful historical building and centre for culture. Given the skeleton crew and large number of extras, we were very lucky that people involved worked tirelessly and with a smile, dedicated to the project’s success. We were able to get all the important shots done within 3 nights thanks to our very organised and skilled 1st AD (Addistant Director), Clare Wood. Colleen Blake and Osanna Samuel worked very hard behind the scenes doing about five jobs each. I could not have done it without them. The crew, many of whom didn’t know each other, worked together extremely well, creating a positive and friendly working environment. In all, there were about 80 people who came along and worked in some capacity, mostly donating their time. I was humbled by the great response and hard work of everyone.

Writing, producing and starring in a piece of that scale was, in hindsight, a lot to do for one person. It was a great learning experience and I have received some very positive feedback. I am already working on writing the next few episodes for Oleander, and Giles and I are planning the next year of acting workshops, with potentially another short film at the end of it. You can find out more about the training we offer on www.gfcalux.com.”

Some of the actors also commented on their involvement. Yves Schaaf, a Luxembourgish national who played one of the main charaters, said “To me it was a big challenge becoming someone who I absolutely am not. But being surrounded by my lovely and motivated actors-family and with the faboulous help of Giles Foreman and Liana Nyquist it was really good fun and a great experience I would not want to have missed.”

Sabine Rossbach, who also played one of the main characters, said “We went into shooting the film as a welded/grown-together group who had experienced quite a few hardcore personal and professional moments together during the workshop series. I think there was a a lot of power coming from this background, which transmitting to the whole team behind and before the camera. We were guided by the very people who have mentored us all along and who we trust (Giles and Liana in particular). This is a rare and invaluable opportunity for an actor who is starting out.”

Giles Foreman, was over from London last week to start editing the film in the post-production phase. He said “We hope to be finished editing by mid January. We will be applying for some funding for post production in the new year, and would welcome any financial help that may come our way. We need about €2,500 more to pay for colour grading and sound design, which we can not get done for free. Anyone donating at least €750 would be given the title of executive producer.”

Photo (L-R): Giles Foreman, actress Leila Schauss

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