…in which I talk with filmmaker and author Michelle Cornwell-Jordan, and cinematographer Alex Espinoza about their upcoming project, Kadupul, starring dancer Brianna Jordan. Brianna, who will also serve as the artistic director, developed the original concept, and pitched the idea as a dance film. She and Michelle developed the them, and Michelle wrote the script from their work together. Michelle will direct the film, which is currently in pre-production, and so I invited her to share some info about the project here on the Infamous Scribbler.
Q (Infamous Scribbler, AKA Rachel!): Tell me a little bit about yourself and the project.
A (Michelle Cornwell-Jordan): Hello Rachel! I’m so honored and excited to be here today! I am a writer, screenwriter, producer, director, culinary arts apprentice, book nerd, music geek and steampunk lover! In 2016 I founded the new 4CWMedia Productions which (in future plans) will publish written material (i.e. novels and a culinary travel magazine) as well as produce video/audio projects. Presently, I have 12 Young Adult Titles/New Adult Titles, mainly steampunk and science fiction under my belt. IndieReview Behind The Scenes, an online radio podcast, is a media platform I’ve produced and participated as host (along with four other wonderful authors) since March 2012. The show to date has had over 120,000 listens, and we’ve recently moved to on-line video chats.
Recently I wrote and produced a short fantasy video with the desire to create a web series (that’s still on my to-do list) called Alliance Chronicles: Clockwork Eclipse, which was inspired by characters from my School Nightz novella trilogy. The video project was filmed and directed by Logan Gilpin with Under The Tower Productions in 2016. It is now in post editing.
Kadupul is my present project, where I act as the executive producer and screenwriter for this indie short film, in collaboration with artistic director Brianna Jordan (of the newly formed Born To Dance Productions). Sky Halliday is our choreographer. The director/filmmaker…our magnificent cinematographer is Alex Espinoza of Luz Pictura Productions and Dallas Film Crew!
Q: KADUPUL What is it?
A: Tagline: “Let Your Passion Define You”
Kadupul was the brain child of discussions I had with Brianna. When she became a student at UNT, a whole new world opened to her. But in that new world there were some dangers that were prevalent. There were stories of attacks happening on campus during the same time; I had several guests on my radio broadcast who dealt with the topic of physical attacks. Either they worked with those who had been raped or were victims themselves on college campuses. So when Brianna approached me regarding during a dance short film, I thought it an awesome idea! We looked at what was out there, finding many movies such as the Step Up franchise etc.
But we wanted to do a film that meant more…that could help and inspire others as well as entertain. So thinking the story of a young woman, who after being attacked uses dance to find healing and strength, would be the right thing for us! Our hope is that this film could be seen by universities, high school students etc., wherever there are young adults, as a resource on not only the dangers, but using what they love to overcome the darkness in life.
We will deal with some tough topics such as rape, especially date rape, but our focus will be the aftermath…the healing and the strength. The love of friends and self and doing what you love. That is the theme!
Q: KADUPUL Where did the title come from?
A: The word Kadupul is also the name of a night blossoming flower, that if picked will die during the day. It is the most expensive flower in the world. We thought this an awesome title for this project because of the main character Klarissa Bloom who, after the darkness of her attack, creates the beauty of a new life.
THE STORY: Klarissa Bloom is a college sophomore who is a traditional/disciplined dancer mainly of ballet, contemporary and modern dance. But after her attack, she spirals into darkness and uses the energetic moves to translate her pain and anger into her performances. With the help of her friends and the handsome new grad student…Klarissa heals through dance, becoming a stronger person.
Introducing the Team
Cinematographer Alex Espinoza My name is Alex Espinoza. I am passionate about my hometown of Dallas, TX and I am the founder of a local organization, the Dallas Film Crew, a creative community of artists, producers, and filmmakers. I have a passion for uniting the community and creating opportunities for other filmmakers. I also enjoy the filmmaking process and wish to improve my skills as a cinematographer; I try to always push my limits with every project and do something that can provide a challenge.
CAST of KADUPUL
Brianna Jordan as Klarissa Bloom Follow: @brianna_danz98 Instagram
Angel Ray as Zander St. John Follow: @angelray3 Instagram
Julie Allegro as Ravyen Allard Follow: @julie_allegro Instagram
Scott Renteria as Julian Daniels Follow: http://bit.ly/2fnc7sI Face Book
Mose “ProKid” Thomas as Jacob Frye Follow: http://bit.ly/2hooHZv Face Book
Choreography Sky Halliday Follow: @skyflyhalliday Instagram
Michelle writes, first, I asked our Cinematographer Alex Espinoza to chime in and give his inspiration for Kadupul and to tell what his challenges are for this film and how he is approaching them.:)
As a cinematographer, the challenge is working with light on this film. I want to be able to balance how light is used and make sure it does not detract from the dancers’ performance. This is the same for the camera movement; I have to able to capture the performance of the dancers without getting too crazy on camera movements. Last is the lighting; this is a dark subject matter and the lighting needs to reflect it, but there needs to be a sense of hope and healing in the look and tone.
Q: What are some of the influences behind this project?
Birdman, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu, is a huge inspiration for this short. The use of dancing to tell the story mixed in with a narrative gave me an inspiration to follow a theatrical feel. I want to incorporate seamless transitions from dancing to narrative through the use of some creative lighting tactics.
I believe the major challenge for me in this project was learning to maneuver within the film industry. Although I’ve worked seriously in the book industry for six years, I am still considered a novice and have much to learn! But I did have a basic understanding of “bookdom” with being an avid reader and lover of writing/writers. (Authors are my rock stars!) I’ve studied the book world since my teens! Although I am a movie lover, working in filmmaking (actually producing those awesome stories on the screen) is totally a different animal than just buying my ticket and sitting in the theater! Learning the language of film, the format of writing a “good” screenplay which is down to the barest bones instead of the lushness of 50,000 or more words such as in a novel has been a challenge! Acquiring the talent for the film project…a talented cinematographer (I learned there were different types of directors…see…we’re back to terminology lol). Then finding the cast…who can also dance or have the ability and desire to learn! Negotiating with agents, and learning the difference between SAG actors and also non union actors. Negotiating contracts and with the cast all being professionals and actively pursuing performing as a career, everyone involved has intense and crazy schedules! So coordinating practice schedules and film days! Scouting and finding locations and of course setting a budget for all of this!
I looked to God for help and I’ve taken each challenge one step at a time! I allowed myself a year to plan and budget for this project. I started acquiring cast and setting the budget in February 2017 and we shoot on January 27th and 28th 2018! I ask A LOT of questions and I Google for information. I have joined and plan to continue to immerse myself in the Dallas Film Crew organization and I attend the screenwriter’s crew meetings.
So much goes into even a small independent film. Interacting and building a team is imperative, there’s NO WAY to do this alone! Of course much of this on my plate is because I am also the producer, which (as it is with independent publishing novels) there’s a lot to the “business” of writing! So each person’s journey will be different, depending on whether they are the scriptwriter handing off their masterpiece to the director and producers etc. Versus someone attempting to wear all the hats!
I’ve learned so much through the incredible Dallas Film Crew members and Alex Espinoza, and everyone I have come into contact with from the actors to agents, etc. All realized I am new to this and have shown patience in helping me to learn each aspect! I have been blessed to have met some wonderful individuals on this journey to film day where we’ll shoot at the lovely Crescent Moon Bellydance studio! Lol We truly appreciate Miabella, the owner for allowing us to come in and create Klarissa’s world! See more about Crescent Moon here: Website: http://bit.ly/2hqio3L
Q: Anything to add? Where can people go to learn more?
A: Well, I’m so happy to have been able to chat about this project. We are very excited and looking forward to begin practice on September 30th and we’re counting the days to film days in January! We hope to share a story that will inspire others to seek what means the most to them in their darkest times, and use that to help them navigate back to the light. Check out some of our behind the scenes dance practices and production photos. More is to come as we really gear up! Also check out Who We Are short film explaining more about the wonderful organization, the Dallas Film Crew! Also I post updates on my Instagram and Author Face Book page.
Thanks so much Rachel for having us and everyone remember, it’s not the situation, set-back or negatives that creates you…but the moving forward and not giving up and allowing YOUR passions to define you
Stay Tuned! The Kadupul Team
~ ~ ~