Suppose you arrive for your first day of flight school and there is no instructor. Upon asking at the front desk, the receptionist merely informs you that you are to climb into the first plane on the flight line, take ‘er up, cruise for a while and then land. You are on your own.
Now, suppose it is not aviation, but filmmaking that is your endeavor. You have a storyline, but almost no skills to bring to the quest. Maybe it should, but it does not stop you. You get the project off the ground and land it in spite of the obstacles. Crazy, right?
It could be that sanity is over-rated. Two novice filmmakers have done it. It has been a bumpy ride for Sascha Turnheim and Trista Allman, co-impresarios of Staying Afloat. Whether they would have done it had they known what was in store is academic at this point, they have landed the plane.
For those who have not been following their odyssey, here is a short synopsis of the plot from IMDB:
Staying Afloat revolves around the life of Lucas Mayne, a good-natured young man who has a serious addiction to keeping his family, friends, and girlfriend happy. Lucas hides another secret of addiction that inevitably reveals its ugly self as Lucas learns of betrayal from his girlfriend, best friends and father. He discovers his best friend of childhood, Max, has overdosed and died after finding his son was taken from him and he had no one to turn to but the streets and the pain relief of opiates and dope. The nature of Max and Lucas's friendship is shown through the revolution of their introduction into addiction, and why it is so impossible to stay sober when you feel you have nothing left to live for. Lucas Mayne goes through a roller coaster ride in this film and the audience will be taken on this ride with him as he discovers that he has come to his crossroads at such a young age. To make matters worse he lets his emotions get the best of him and the drugs that he becomes addicted to replace the people in his life that aren't there for him.
The Boston Film Industry Examiner reported on Staying Afloat even before it was called Staying afloat. Our last post was about the Kickstarter campaign. Much has happened since.
We caught up with the team on Sunday. Austrian native Sascha spoke with Teutonic deliberation. Trista, however, was a volcano of enthusiasm. This is not to say Herr Turnheim is without feeling. It is clear he loves the project with his heart. Of course, we have spoken to him previously.
As stated, she is a novice. Her prior experience on set was limited to taking still photos. Trista, who also goes by the screen name Trista La, was introduced to Sascha and he asked her to direct. He did not tell her how her job would snowball. Had he, she might have taken off. In all probability, he did not know.
Trista ended up being credited for cinematography and writing. She worked on casting and editing. About editing, she learned Final Cut by the seat of her pants (another aviation metaphor there). When Sascha had to go to Austria last December, she took over.
Two of the actors are union and Sascha needed to deal with the bureaucratic paperwork involved, an experience he is in no sense wistful about.
Another task in the movie biz is promoting. Trista helped set up parties and events. The VIP premiere took place January 13th at McGreevy’s. If you’re living under a rock, that’s the Dropkick Murphy’s venue in Boston. Next was the public screening on the 22nd in a Quincy Point venue.
Time moves on, and the preliminary screenings are done. Trista and Sascha et al are going to do the theatrical premiere at the Kendall Square Cinema on February 28th. One should be there at 6:30 p.m. They are enforcing a strict dress code; Look Sharp. For more information, visit the premiere page on facebook.
We don’t want to give the impression that Staying Afloat is all Trista, all the time. Neither would Trista. She describes Sascha as a “machine.” The two have been through the fire together. She recounted when they filmed an all-nighter at the popular Carlo’s Cucina Italiana in Allston. Sascha was due back at school in Amherst at 9:00 a.m. They began setting up at 8:00 p.m. and shooting went to 6:00 a.m. Sascha never left his post, but never got to Amherst that morning.
As evidence they have accomplished something big, an LA producer is interested in polishing it up. If you haven’t seen the trailer you can watch it embedded with this article. It looks polished already.
We will have more information about the accompanying music. Meanwhile, you will have to see the movie to find out if Lucas triumphs over his demons. As to real life Trista and Sascha and their CheckM8 Films team, the production obstacles they faced have been victoriously surmounted.
To order tickets for the premiere, go here.