Lisa, Laura Heywood and Christoff told me about an article in March 4, 2004 edition of The Cavalier Daily, which is the independent daily newspaper at the University of Virginia. The article talks about a film named "Marianne" which was inspired by Tori's song Marianne. The film was created by Rom Alejandro and was chosen as one of 20 nominees for the Rosebud Film Festival.
You can read this article online at cavalierdaily.com or below.
Rosebud Film Festival Nominees bloom
Cavalier Daily Senior Writer
"And they say Marianne killed herself." Many people could identify these as lyrics to the Tori Amos song "Marianne." But to first-year Rom Alejandro, they have a much deeper meaning.
"When we were coming up with ideas [for the movie], my friend Patrick told me that he had a friend who committed suicide," Alejandro said. "He said the song 'Marianne' by Tori Amos reminded him of that, so it was that song that inspired this movie."
The movie to which Alejandro refers is his film, "Marianne," which recently was chosen as one of 20 nominees for the Rosebud Film Festival.
"We weren't really expecting the film to go to any festival at all, and when it got accepted, we were like, 'Wow,'" Alejandro said. "It was definitely a nice surprise."
Just like the Tori Amos song, Alejandro's film "Marianne" deals with a girl who has committed suicide and the effect of the suicide on her friends.
"When Patrick was telling me about his friend, he talked about how everyone reacted differently," Alejandro said. "I thought it would be cool if we could incorporate that into the film."
The movie follows four of Marianne's friends as they each find out about her death. They all gather together and start fighting. In the midst of the fighting, they notice a picture of Marianne with the four of them. Up to this point, the entire film has been shot in black and white.
"The black and white was for the depressing effect of [the film]," Alejandro said.
When the four friends look at the picture, they are taken back to that day, and instantly the screen turns to full color. On that particular day, the four friends had gotten into a brawl.
While they were fighting, Marianne was standing against the wall bawling. The pictured moment ends, and the viewer is returned to the black-and-white world in which the friends are looking at the picture. They decide to smash the frame, and upon doing so, they discover a message that Marianne wrote on the back of the photo. They read the message, and their anger subsides. They leave the room as friends and again the screen shifts toward color and light.
Another interesting aspect of the film is that there is no spoken dialogue. The film is completely silent except for the background music.
"We originally wanted to do a silent film because you have to rely on shot compositions," Alejandro said. "Film is so close and in depth with the actor, and I think a lot of good acting has to do with the way actors move and react to each other. The cool thing about silent movies is that you get to tell a story through actions and images only."
In the grand scheme of things, "Marianne" teaches us to appreciate life.
"I want [viewers] to think about their own lives and how important their relationships with other people are," Alejandro said. "I want people to leave the theater thinking about how important their friends are to them."
Alejandro knows a thing or two about the importance of friends -- that's how he got started making movies.
"I started making movies my freshman year of high school," he said. "My best friend and I were at the beach, and we were really bored, so we took a digital camera that took 15 second mpegs and made a short movie. We started off making mock-umentaries. Then I went to governor's school. They did a film festival there, so we entered a film, and we won."
Alejandro also has worked on the set of a large-scale independent film with a group from Richmond.
"What's cool about making independent films is that it's such an intense creative process," Alejandro said. "During preproduction, you come up with the ideas. The actual shooting is really stressful, but you still find a way to have fun. In post-production, I really like editing because I get really excited when the music matches up well or if a shot looks really good."
Alejandro is looking forward to his Rosebud experience.
"My biggest hope for the festival is that a producer or someone really likes what they see and that they want to talk to me about it," he said. "If [Marianne] does win though, I don't know, I'll put the money towards a fund to make more movies."