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FILM IN DEVELOPMENT
...he finds himself swept up in the ambiguity of bohemian newcommers invading his neighborhood amidst his own struggle to escape life in a local gang.
STATEMENT
DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENT
SYNOPSIS

   




CREDITS

Camera: Anton Esteban and Ukachi Arinzeh
Assistant Director: Mauricio Vasquez
Edited by: Yonatan Galili and Anabela Zigova
Sound mix: Pawel Sek

Legal consulting: Diego Velazquez

Supported by: Lightning New Media, Inc., Audio-Vision Program MKSR, Commworks - William E. Kirksey, Barenholtz Productions, Petra Kolevska, Artreal, s.r.o., Stephanie Sharis, Bushboyfilms , and Projectile Arts.

 

Exhibited at Le Roy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University in 2006 and a colloquium at the “Transgression Conference” at John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY.

Screenplay developed by: Anabela Zigova

In collaboration with:
Panama Vincente Alba, Caridad "La Bruja" De La Luz, Nathan Crooker, Ricky Singh, Izzy Ruiz, Donielle Lee, Pablo Tuffino, Melissa Sotto, and Kristina Dargelyte.





SYNOPSIS
On a deceptively innocuous summer day in a gentrifying industrial area in Brooklyn, we meet Lora Rakoczi, a young Eastern European existentialist deeply entrenched in a world of confused souls. While she moves methodically through her day, from one disjointed hang-out to the next, clad in sky blue latex platform shoes, she leaves a series of corpses behind her. Following her path in disturbing lock-step is Miguel Ortiz, a gang member with a tough veneer but an innocent core, who is shocked by the destruction in Lora’s wake. While she and her cronies willingly wither away their hours in their glamorized ghetto, getting high and mocking society, Miguel is decidedly trapped there. Tangled up in the endless cycle of gangs and crime and violence, Miguel now wants out for the sake of his 4 yr old beguiling daughter, Leila.
 
Lora, on the other hand, may recognize the senselessness around her but is too embedded in the fabric on banality to free herself. Only Alex, who loves this tattered soul, glimpses Lora's evaporating vulnerability and attempts to resuscitate it, but he too struggles to find faith. As night falls and the drinks and drugs flow and the inhibitions fade away, along with any feeling at all, the partying reaches a crescendo. The emptiness of these people’s lives begs the question of whether they’re alive at all or just faking it. Amid jealous accusations, piercing tirades, and taunting strip teases, the chaos builds and mortality is no longer a guise but a serious fact. Within a split second, the threat of death is real and only one person can save Lora’s life.



STATEMENT

Film tracks Brooklyn-born Miguel Ortiz who ostensibly is following Lora Rakoczi, an Eastern-European who just moved into his now-gentrifying neighborhood. Miguel, a young man struggling to abandon his gang ties, is not trailing Lora after all. This trompe l'oeil of the moving image is the aesthetic and ethical core of the film, which resonates with internalized prejudices that conflict with what is “real.”

As socioeconomic classes morph and collide, the demarcation of the inner city is more psychological than physical. When Miguel observes a motionless body, given his condition of struggle and survival, he sees death. By contrast, Lora and her middle-class friends “play dead” and are “slumming” in a metaphorical sense.

For this film project, the process is as important as the product, and in the amalgam, what results is an emerging genre of shared authorship. The project relies on a range of disciplinary studies (urban development,

 

 

post-colonial theory, criminology) and media (Internet, drawings, workshops). Unlike a traditional linear project, driven by a script that forces an imagined reality, this project is authored by its very subjects and its audience. The formative, iterative process examines the visual language behind loaded terms like “the ghetto” and “privilege.” These analytical exercises embody the true definition of dialogue and participation – and yield an exciting stretch in current boundaries of filmaking.

Zigova is born and raised in former Czechoslovakia and her work is tied her personal history of isolation and then post-Communist nationalism. Her work also reveals how Eastern-Europeans settle in low-income areas of Brooklyn and insert their “post-totalitarian” and "New Europe" point of view and sensibility onto the context of NYC. Through Miguel and Lora, we are challenged to debunk divisive old world cultural models and imagine a post-colonial world of self-determination and interconnectedness.