MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from?
The summer of 2011, I was busy making another short narrative film when my daughter, studying theater in college, asked if I'd make something with her. We hadn't collaborated on anything since we'd painted a mural on our basement wall back when she was in elementary school, so I was delighted by her request. I didn't have a budget or a lot of time, but I did have an empty house that was up for sale, and mixed emotions about giving up that home, where both my daughter and her older brother, had grown up. I also had a melody in my head that I had composed to chant with a Hebrew prayer, and a shared love of singing with my daughter. The story of "Old Country Lullaby," grew from there.
MIFS: How much did the project change from concept to final edit?
The story and setting are so modest that the project went pretty much according to my original concept. I had wanted the camera to travel around the empty house, as a way of saying goodbye, but we didn't have a steady-cam or a dolly, and I didn't think a shaky camera would be suitable for the feeling I was trying to create. As a result, we pretty much had three camera set-ups in the house and a more static feel, which still worked.
MIFS:Where there any challenges during production?
The opening sequence called for the most ambitious shots of the movie. As I said, we didn't have any special equipment, besides a slider, to help create movement, so my cameraman sat on the front of a car as I drove him closer to the house where Mira, the young woman who is moving away with her family, is packing up.
MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
The film not only gave me a chance to act and sing with my daughter, which I loved, it also represented the start of a wonderful collaboration with Randy Lee (cameraman and editor) and Melanie Killingsworth (audio technician). Since then our three-person team has made two documentaries and a music video. Modest as it is, "Old Country Lullaby," has sprung many vital roots.
Old Country Lullaby screens Nov 10th in the Lubar Auditorium, MAM at 5pm.