COMING SOON--"SECRET LIFE, SECRET DEATH"--Crescent Theater, June 10
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Genevieve Davis
Watch the trailer at:
The independent film, SECRET LIFE, SECRET DEATH will play in a special showing in Mobile, Alabama on June 10 at 2 p.m. at the Crescent Theater.
SECRET LIFE, SECRET DEATH is an innovative, genre-breaking mystery that seamlessly blends art, history and music. Professional artist Genevieve Davis produced, directed, designed and edited the film. Comprised of both documentary and dramatization elements, the movie tells the secret story of a young mother who falls into crime in Gangland Chicago in the Roaring 20's and later runs a shady hotel in No-Man's Land Northern Wisconsin, until her death under suspicious circumstances.
Here's what Bill Helmer, co-author of The St. Valentine's Day Massacre and former editor of Playboy Magazine, wrote:
"Super photography (how ya do that?), excellent research. Could not have done better on the costumes and cars (everybody screws those up). Great sets and performances by everybody (how did you find so many good people?) Those great old Chicago pictures, (some of which I've never seen,) and the now-delapidated buildings were worked perfectly into the script. Am completely amazed that you pulled off such a great thing. "
The tragic tale is narrated by filmmaker Genevieve Davis, whose wry comments as she unearths the tragic story of her grandmother's secret life and death in crime, derives from an 8 year research project which took her to the archives and streets of Chicago, and the former brothels of remote Northern Wisconsin.
Al Capone is a minor character. John Dillinger makes an appearance. The young mother and her son view the body of Big Jim Colosimo at his funeral, after his Gangland Chicago assassination. The film presents Prohibition and Bootlegging scenes. The corruption of Law and Order in Chicago and Northern Wisconsin are exposed by eye witnesses, and you find out how the mother and her son were demolished by it.
Professional artist Genevieve Davis tells the fascinating story not cinematically, but rather in a highly original, artistic visual language, which evokes the times from the 1910's through the 1940's. Instead of paint on her palette, Davis works with the innovation and creativity of an artist, by weaving together three elements: 1. actors dressed in vintage clothing, 2. historic artifacts - old family photos, historic photos, vintage matchbook covers true crime comics and vintage newspaper clippings, documents and letters, and 3. period locations, antique cars and trains.
In the intriguing visual language Davis creates with this palette, these elements are reassembled in a multitude of ways that capture interest. You see people acting out scenes inside historical photographs. You see layered images, images run with cutouts, images behind images, images through images. This sophisticated collage of imagery creates visual interest, while at the same time synthesizes content, to create a unique synergistic language that conveys the feeling of the era and the style of the times, from 1909 to 1948.
Through the magic of green screen, Davis also places her actors inside historic photos of old Chicago streets and the Levee, bringing this forgotten piece of Chicago history to life. Highlights include fascinating panoramic views of vintage Chicago, a bootlegger's tour of joints on the Levee, and a trip to a brothel on a vintage "L".
This stylish story telling is also accomplished with the sound track of vintage music, Tangos, Ragtime, Jazz, Blues and Big Bands. The sound track evokes the angst-ridden emotions of a woman trapped in crime, as well as the historical eras the film travels through.
The synergistic result is a unique visual and audio language which tells a historic tale in an artistic way, with animated montages and music videos that convey the fascinating story. The end result, is a one-of-a kind film, meshing fine art, period style, historical research, and genealogy to tell the intriguing true story of one woman's life and death in crime.
The sound track features a treasure trove of vintage Ragtime, Jazz, Blues, Big Band music, and dramatic, Tangos. In addition, two vintage classic songs were recorded especially for the movie, "Careless Love" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Theater organist Bill Ganz plays the "St. Louis Blues" for the night in the brothel scene. Mr. Ganz, who is 95 years old, grew up in Chicago, where his mother supported her family as a professional theater organist in movie houses in the 20's.
This is Producer/Director Genevieve Davis's first feature movie. In addition to producing, directing and writing SECRET LIFE, SECRET DEATH, she is a professional artist. Davis's artistic hand is evident in the lush visual design of the film, and her creative use of historic photos, which are layered, cut out, reassembled and combined with vintage music, cars and actors in period clothing, to create a synergistic language that is not cinematic, but rather artistic. For instance, in the Tango Scene the thrill of falling in love is described with photos of historical tango dancers, transformed into animated paintings and then merged with live action close ups of dancing feet. Instead of paint on her palette, Davis works with the innovation and creativity of an artist, by weaving together historic artifacts, - old family photos, historic photos, vintage matchbook ads, true crime comics and vintage newspaper clippings, documents and letters - with period locations, antique cars and trains, and 85 actors dressed in vintage clothing.
The unusual documentary style seamlessly combines a visual feast of vintage historical photographs of Chicago with dramatizations using live action. From a tiny, blurred snapshot, City of Chicago Historian, Tim Samuelson, helped the filmmaker locate the South Side apartment building the main character and her child live in in the 1920's. Davis then used the building as a green screen "location" in the film. Historian Samuelson also provided a list of Levee locations still in existence. Davis then filmed an actual Clark Street building and fire escape, and later combined that shot with live action, in a green screen studio. Thus in the final composite, three crazed madams in the late 1800's fighting on an actual Levee fire escape and one of them is tossed down into the street.