Before El Fina


TYPE
: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production

LOGLINE

A reclusive artist invites life-long friends to her isolated farm and reveals a shocking plan. Before the weekend ends, secrets are sacrificed forcing a devastating choice.

SYNOPSIS

After the sudden death of her husband, a reclusive artist invites life long friends to her farm in Spain and reveals a shocking plan. Before the weekend ends, the friends must sacrifice secrets from the past and force her to make a devastating choice.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

In Before El Finâ a group of 40-something friends approach a midlife reckoning. For many of us the dazzling internet revolution and acceleration of communication and technology has brought with it a paradoxical sense of loss. We paired up in the old way, captured our past on celluloid and rely on faulty memories to preserve our stories. We are the generation that came of age in the analog world but have spent most of our adulthood in an emerging digital world. I chose Andalusia as the setting for this film because of all the places I have lived and visited, this part of the world seems to defy the razor of modernity in the most unique of ways. Stubbornly traditional, the people of this region nurture a deep appreciation for what they have, and a preternatural awareness of the fragility of its rugged, fertile natural environment. When I set out to create the world of this film, I made for myself a set of parameters that were both practical and thematic: A short time span, a single location, and characters who have known each other a long time. Films that have influenced me: La Règle du Jeu, Persona, Knife in the Water, The Big Chill, and Festen… All these movies rely on great performances, the excavation of memory and a claustrophobic world that heightens sexual and dramatic tension. While all of the details of Leah’s story and character are different, the core mystery of her decision is the same paradox that fascinated me when I first heard about it. As the film has evolved, every step of the way I have had to remind myself to stay faithful to the true north of this story: a tragic choice engendered out of friendship, loyalty, and love.

KEY CREW

Nathan Buck - Screenwriter / Director

After early careers as a professional actor, musician and mime artist Nathan Buck began working in film and video production in the UK in the early 2000’s. He started learning the business of film assisting producers Nick O'Hagan and Paul Raphael on feature films and worked his way up to the role of line producer before moving into writing and directing.

After arriving in NYC in 2005 his feature-length documentary Real Gone! Dance competed successfully at the American Dance Film Festival in 2009. He specialized in arts documentaries while living with his wife, Megumi Eda, a professional dancer and filmmaker, and their 2 children in Harlem. Nathan began directing narrative shorts in the 90’s and has worked extensively as a video editor and shooter for 20 years.

Nathan was invited to be filmmaker-in-residence at the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in 2015, where he also directed the short film “Solitude” by Mia McCullough.

In 2018 he and his family moved to Berlin where he shifted his focus back to writing and narrative drama.

Before El Finâ is Nathan’s first full-length narrative film.

He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he majored in Performance Studies.

Christina Mallet - Producer

A film producer and photographer with a background in teaching underachieving students in inner city schools, Christina’s gifts are abundant, and vividly apparent to everyone who meets her. While wildly creative herself, she tunes in right away to the potential in others. And when Christina hears about a great idea for a project, she is relentless in her support of making that idea become a reality. But Christina never does things by the book. In fact, it’s her unconventional approach that attracts collaborators and gives her projects unexpected energy that keeps it flowing all the way to completion.

Christina made her own dream come true in 2006 when she launched her photography studio in Seattle; and after living in South Africa and Luxembourg, before finally moving to Berlin, Germany in 2018, she bridged her love for the still image to the moving image, finding a most rewarding home in the world of film.

With her husband and two children, she has lived in a variety of places around the world, stepping easily into new cultures while celebrating the positivity of the other people she encounters in her daily life — from the streets of Cape Town to the subway cars of Berlin.

Philippe Brenninkmeyer - Actor, playing Gregory

Philippe has extensive experience in both American and European theater, television and film. He starred in the German series Liebe-Lügen-Leidenschaften and the hit series Freundschaft mit Herz.  Philippe has worked with the US Comedy Troupe Broken Lizard in their “cult” films Super Troopers, Beerfest and Slammin’ Salmon, I Heart Shakey, The Babymakers, and Dark Circles. 

Philippe has also appeared in Zazy, Choking Man (Ghost Robot) with Aaron Paul and Mandy Patinkin and in A Reasonable Doubt with Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper. 

Notable American television performances include: Sex and the City, Law & Order, Undercovers, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NCIS, NCIS LA and CSI Miami. Philippe also played a lead opposite Jon Hamm in the Mad Men episode “The Jet Set”.

Nahéma Ricci - Actor, playing Alix

Aged 21, Nahéma Ricci was born in Montreal (Canada) to immigrant parents of Franco-Tunisian descent. She recently completed the 2018-2019 Dance as a Profession program at Danceworks School in Berlin (Germany). Previously, Nahéma obtained the lead role in Sophie Deraspe's feature film Antigone (scheduled for release in September 2019, ACPAV). She also played a lead character in the feature film Ailleurs directed by Samuel Matteau (2017, Vélocité productions).

As an actor, she has participated in several short and medium-length films by emerging filmmakers. She contributed to the various stages of creation associated with the production of the performance Cet intervalle (2017) and Atlas (2018) by director Morena Prats. At the same time, she attended the theater section of the Cegep Saint-Laurent arts program from 2015 to 2017.

 

Milton Kam - Director of Photography

As a cinematographer, material which explores the human condition interests me most. I like to examine the best way to interpret the essence of a story, with the director as my guide. I consider myself the conduit of his or her vision, it's guardian, as well as its audience.

My goal is to exceed a director's expectation of how ideas can be translated into imagery, and how this can ultimately touch, confront, inspire, thrill, move, and maybe even transform the viewer.

I enjoy my long-term collaborations with experienced storytellers such as Simon Rumley, Ela Thier and Rick Lopez, for the maturity and imagination with which they reflect on the world of their films. 

I’ve been lucky that my work has taken me to almost every continent, shooting documentaries in places as diverse as Vietnam, Rwanda, Japan and Argentina; features in Great Britain, Sri Lanka, and Suriname; and television in New Zealand, Colombia, and the US.

My work as a cinematographer includes Vanaja a rural drama set in India for which I received a 2008 Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Cinematography and the award for Best Cinematography at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

My most prolific collaboration is with British director Simon Rumley, with whom I made Red White Blue; Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word; Fashionista; and the upcoming Crowhurst and One Upon A Time In London.

My credits also include television assignments such as Amazon Prime’s American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, Netflix’s Roman Empire - Reign Of Blood, NatGeo’s American Genius and The History Channel’s Kingpin. 


 

Suzanne Barnes - Costume Designer

Suzanne Barnes has over 20 years of experience in both the UK and US film industries. Suzanne developed her taste for features in 1997, whilst assisting OscarTM winning designer Sandy Powell on Todd Haynes' ‘The Velvet Goldmine'. In 2011 Suzanne was approached to design her first US SAG/DGA Film ‘Dark Hearts' in continued collaboration with director Rudolf Buitendach which was nominated as best international feature at Raindance in 2012.

Her next feature project ‘Where the Road Runs Out', was shot in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, and Rotterdam and was selected to screen at the San Diego Film Festival 2014 and won Best Feature Award and a Black Reel Award for Outstanding World Cinema Motion Picture 2017.

In 2013 she designed ‘In Embryo', shot in Los Angeles, the directional debut by lauded Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen. Other film work includes ‘Apartment 407' formerly known as 'Selling Isobel' about sex trafficking which won Best Indie film at the 2016 Raindance film festival in London and the ECU - European Independent Film Festival award 2017 for Best Film - Non-European.

Suzanne co-designed the Thriller ‘Never Here' written and directed by Camille Thoman, shot in New York in 2014 with a stellar cast including the late Sam Shepard.

In 2016, Suzanne had the pleasure of designing the costumes for esteemed actress Jennifer Morrison's directorial debut 'Sun Dogs' which won Best Picture Feature and Director at Mammoth Film Festival 2018.

Suzanne's second collaboration with Ulrich Thomsen titled ‘Gutterbee' is currently in post-production. Filmed in New Mexico with Academy awarded cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle.

At the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Suzanne was part of the Grand Jury Prize Dramatic winning film, ‘Clemency’, written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu.

 

 

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ACCOLADES

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IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2019
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Chosen by Kickstarter as a Kickstarter 'Project We Love'
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Successfully Completed a 35 day Kickstarter Campaign to Raise 50,000 Euros

 

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