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The Devils Violinist (2015 SS Fest Entry)

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(DRAMA) The vignette of a Man, a Violinist, who has sold his soul to the Devil, and must now repay that debt, for all of eternity… with strings, of course.
Writer, Director, Producer – Jeff Lamb
Executive Producer – Margaret Leong Checca
Composer – Carl Sondrol
Cinematography – Chris Westlund
Sound Design – Carl Sondrol
Editor – Jeff Lamb
The Violinist – Barry Socher
The Devil – Bob Brindley
The Crowd – Ellie Gilbert, Maren Berry, Nate Cornett, Sean Eisele, Mike Holley, Isreial Norton, Lauren Trabucchi

Backstory relating to the making of the film:
Backstory relating to the making of the film:
The seed of the idea for The Devil’s Violinist can all be attributed to Stanley Kubrick. During a visit to the Kubrick retrospective at LACMA, I came across a painting. The piece – Violinist on a Bench by Marc Chagall, caused a double take, then a 2-minute silent observation, before moving on. But then I immediately backtracked to take a photo of the placard so that I would always remember the piece’s name.

During that period of silent observation, I couldn’t help feeling haunted by this beautiful piece. Perhaps it was the pitch black eyes on the man, or the way he was just off center, allowing a small second man to look away from us. Or perhaps it was because I had just come from seeing props from The Shining.

Regardless, I knew immediately that this painting had given me inspiration. I HAD to make something based off of this painting – based off of what this painting made me feel. I wanted to convey the same sense of haunting beauty that I got from this painting, and put it on film. I wanted The Devil’s Violinist to be a pure sensory experience – for people to lose themselves in the music, and what’s playing out on screen.

The Devil’s Violinist is a minimalist film, a vignette of a moment in The Man’s eternity. There is no dialogue, only music, so as to not take away from the beauty of the song. The camera moves simply, smoothly, with very few shots and cuts. I want people to feel as if they are there, standing across from the Man as he plays.

The ability to shoot on 35mm film is extremely important to The Devil’s Violinist – not only for the visual asthetic, but also as a statement on the times. My generation is all digital, all the time… yet the “analog” way is something pure that needs to be kept alive. While the shift to digital will continue to push, I don’t think film will ever fully go away, it is something timeless

Interesting stories about the making of the film
I wanted this short film to feel as real, as organic, as possible. So it was important to me to have a live performance by a real performer. The only requirement I had for casting was that I find a real violinist with a bushy white beard – something I figured had to exist in Los Angeles. It did, or more specifically, he did. Barry Socher, the Violinist, is a current member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, First Violins, and was the unanimous name that was mentioned to me when I began my search. After getting in touch with Barry, explaining the project, he was immediately on board. I believe all artists, musicians, and creative people, can relate to the struggles of what it means to bear your soul for your craft.

The song, composed by Carl Sondrol, is an original piece – written specifically for this short film, and was performed live on set. The song that is featured in the short film is exactly as performed by Barry during filming.

As the piece was being written, Carl, Barry and I got together to perform, make notes, and really hone the song in. I closed my eyes while listening to the very first performance. I wanted to see if the music gave me the same beautifully haunted feeling that the painting had inspired. Needless to say it did, and here we are.

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