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The Marriage Project

A Film By Signe Baumane & Sturgis Warner

The Marriage Project is an animated feature film that uses a variety of art mediums (sculpture, theater, songs, drawings) to explore the concept of gender by following one woman’s journey through her marriages, imagined and real. Her experiences transform her from a fiery girl craving love to a domestic abuse victim and lead to her discovery of gender fluidity and self-acceptance. This true story explores how gender roles are shaped by the stereotypes and mythology of our cultures, while also affected by biology and chemicals in our bodies. The film will challenge gender perceptions and offer new ways to understand complicated feelings.

FUNDRAISING DESCRIPTION:

Since animation is a time and labor-consuming process, we already started building sets to be able to create 340 sets, 8,674 props and 67 moving paper mache sculptures in time for start of production in June 2017. The character design is in development to be finalized by October 2016. We are recording the dialogue with 10 actors and songs with 4 musicians in the fall of 2016. The sound track will be used to time the animation movement in the production phase.

The Major Project Activities that will require funding during the production period:

1. Lighting the sets using a visual approach similar to the lighting used in theater.

2. Photographing the sets and sculptures with a digital camera in stop-motion sequences to create motion of the background moves, zooms and pans etc. There are 135 scenes in the film that require stop-motion animation.

3. Character animation in the 2D technique on top of moving 3D backgrounds will be done in traditional animation – 30,000 drawings made by hand, with pencil on paper that are then scanned and colored in Photoshop.

4. Line-test to match the animation with the sound track; Early editing takes place during this part of the process.

5. Assembling the colored drawings in After Effects, combining them with stop-motion sequences and making QuickTime movies for editing.

6. Editing a rough cut with Final Cut Pro software.

BIOS OF THE FILMMAKING TEAM:

Signe Baumane, Director

At the age of 14, Signe Baumane began publishing short stories in Latvia. She received a BA in Philosophy from Moscow State University, then started to work at Riga’s Animated Film Studio as a cel painter. With support of government grants, Signe made 3 animated shorts in Latvia, then moved to New York and worked for independent animator Bill Plympton as an art director and production manager. In 1998, Signe received her US green card as ‘extraordinary ability alien’ and began making films at her own studio. In 2005 she became a NYFA Fellow in Film. She received two grants from the Jerome Foundation – one for her animated short “Birth”, the other for her animated feature “Rocks In My Pockets”. She also received 3 grants from NYSCA. Signe has written, directed and animated 15 shorts and one feature film, which collectively have been accepted in over 300 film festivals around the world and received many awards.

Sturgis Warner, Producer

Sturgis Warner has been part of the New York theater scene for 42 years as an actor, director and producer. He specializes in new plays and new play development. He is Artistic Director of Twilight Theatre Company which develops new plays and occasionally produces them. He is an active member of New York Theatre Workshop’s Usual Suspects, and is on the Artistic Cabinet of The Lark Play Development Center. As Co-Producer of Signe Baumane’s animated feature film “Rocks In My Pockets” he helped to develop the script and directed her 88-minute voiceover. The voiceover script was treated as a new play and was rehearsed as such, every day for seven weeks. He was the lighting designer when sets were photographed and brought his producing skills to the marketing and distribution of the film. He has been instrumental in the development of the script of “The Marriage Project” – all 21 drafts – and has been fundraising, building sets and casting the film, as well.

Associated Members

Signe Baumane

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