This Is Your Song
Will you love me in December as you do in May?
Project type: Narrative Feature
Project status: Post-Production
Director/Writer/Producer: Hassan Said
Producer: Masha Karpoukhina
Writer: Lourdes Figueroa
Cinematographer: Peggy Peralta
Jules: Briana Walsh
James: Jordan Potch
Penny: Joanna Kay
Daniel: Edward Hightower
Zeus: L. Jeffrey Moore
Cary: Luke Myers
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On the night of their wedding anniversary, a bohemian theatre actress and a beatnik inspired writer confront the strife of their relationship, dreams and the city they once loved.
Set in contemporary San Francisco, Jules, a dedicated bohemian theatre actress struggles and confronts what seems to be an unhappy stifled marriage, a dead end theatre industry, and a city that is outgrowing her. Jules realizes she needs to escape her current life. On a beautiful fall night of their seven year anniversary, James, her husband, an inspired beatnik writer, surprises Jules with a well prepared romantic dinner, yet Jules had forgotten all about it. Later on that cold evening, James hands Jules a letter that is addressed from New York, she realizes it has been opened. Jules reads it anxiously and discovers that she has been accepted into an off-Broadway show and they look forward to having her in the Spring. As the night progresses, their marriage unravels secrets they both kept from each other. James confesses about a one-night stand admitting infidelity. Jules’ response is unexpectedly forgiving and gentle. The truth of how they feel for each other spills out intensely through quarrel after quarrel revealing a false reality of their union. Jules and James realize that their marriage has become a place unrecognizable to what they had always imagined as their future together is put to the test. Will their love in the end conquer all?.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Hassan Said — Director/Writer/Producer
Hassan Said is a trilingual, Egyptian born, award winning Director as well as Producer, Writer, Videographer & Editor- with over decade plus experience in motion pictures, commercials, music videos, documentary and web content. Furthermore, Hassan is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild of America. He has created content in English, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and French. Upon graduating from Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Hassan began working as a videographer/editor at the renowned agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners for clients like Yahoo, NBA, Sprint, Cheetos, Dickies, HP, Adobe, Haagen Dazs, to name a few.
Not soon after, Hassan traveled to Angola with the sponsorship of ministry of culture to produce and mentor a Portuguese speaking film Alambamento which went on to win multiple awards and gain distribution in over 40+ countries as well as platforms like Amazon, iTunes and more. Fast forward several years later, his work has won multiple awards, screened in over 50 festivals in over 40 countries with write-ups by independent critics as well as international magazine outlets globally. Later he moved to Los Angeles working on multiple projects from commercials to television to narrative with prominent clients like Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, MJZ, Biscuit Filmworks, Focus Features, NBC and more in multiple capacities.
Currently he is developing over five feature films, music videos and other projects in the United States and abroad. He hopes to continue to tell stories of self-awareness and vivid realities. His poetic use of striking characters and imagery explores the psychological impact of both life’s shocking and heartwarming moments.
Awards and Accolades: WINNER of the German Independence Award for Best foreign language short film at the Oldenburgh International Film Festival – MUTE • WINNER of the Award of Merit for Short film and Direction – The Accolade Film Awards – MUTE • WINNER of Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Cinematography at International Euro FIlm Festival – SAL Y LIMON • WINNER of Best Short Film at Luanda International Film Festival – ALAMBAMENTO • WINNER of the silver palm award at Mexico International Film Festival – IT’S A STRANGE WORLD • WINNER of Best Experimental at Epidemic Film Festival – INFAMY • WINNER of Best Film at GSP Film Festival – ALAMBAMENTO • WINNER of achievement in Cinematography at AVA Awards – BITCH • WINNER of the Jury Award for Best Editing at the Big Easy Film Festival – MUTE • WINNER of Best Score at Los Angeles Live Score FIlm Festival – DEATH WILL TREMBLE — (In addition, 30 plus Official Selections in various prestigious film festivals around the globe.)
Masha Karpoukhina — Producer
Masha Karpoukhina was born and grew up in Moscow, Russia in a family of filmmakers and visual artists. She came to the United States in 1994 and received a Bachelors for Film & Television at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is a founding member at Colorfool Films and a Senior Shooter and Editing Manager at Micro-Documentaries where she helps produce authentic & actionable films to help advance the missions of hundreds of non-profits across the globe. She has also been producing in the Bay Area for 7 years.
As both Writer/Director and Producer, Masha approaches film as an experience that needs to both inform and transform. Her work has been accepted into numerous Film Festivals (Napa Valley Film Festival, Bay Area Global Film Festival and Chicago International Social Change Film Festival among others) and screened across the Bay Area (including Dissilience San Francisco, The Stanford University, Ark221 and more) where she has been an active participant in the vibrant, independent & underground cinema culture.
Lourdes Figueroa — Writer
Lourdes Figueroa is a poet based in San Francisco. She received her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry from the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Something Worth Revising, eleven eleven, Backwords Press, Night Music Literary journal, SF Poets’ Eleven a poetry anthology of poems selected by Jack Hirschman, Generations Literary journal, her first chapbook yolotl was published by bay area press Spooky Actions Books, and some of her work is upcoming in elderly a journal of poetry. She has been featured in readings with current SF Poet Laureate Kim Shuck and past SF Poet Laureates Alejandro Murjia and Jack Hirschman. She has collaborated on different mediums and different forms of writing with artists of the SF community. In 2017 in collaboration with two other writers she worked as a playwright for Detour Dance Company that produced the play Fugue, dedicated to the queer history of San Francisco. Lourdes believes the poem must be active in all aspects of the work whether in sentence, photograph, story, or film. Lourdes is committed to her community working as an interpreter, translator and advocate.
Peggy Peralta — Cinematographer
Born and raised in the Philippines, Peggy at age 23, migrated to San Francisco in pursuit of living a creative life. There she earned an MFA in Motion Pictures from the Academy of Art University, fell more deeply in love with cinema and discovered her love for flying cameras. She is now a certified Steadicam Operator, one of the very few women practitioners in the industry world-wide. As a cinematographer, her work is distinct for its heart, energy and perspective. Every project she dives into becomes an opportunity to discover, create and inspire. She was awarded Best Emerging Filmmaker by SF International Women’s Film Festival in 2005. Since then, she has continued to be a trusted collaborator of many directors, shooting projects funded by organizations like San Francisco Film Society, Danish Arts Council and French National Center of Fine Arts. Her works have screened in film festivals around the globe including the Rotterdam International Film Festival & Busan International Film Festival among others. In 2013, she received a Cinematography Special Jury Award from the LA Asian Pacific Film Fest for lensing the documentary Harana. A New Color, her 2nd feature documentary, premiered at the 2015 Mill Valley Film Festival. Both feature documentaries won Audience Awards in various film festivals and have aired on PBS.
She is passionate about telling stories that amplify alternative voices. She believes in the power of cinema to not only entertain but to also challenge our ways of seeing, thinking and feeling. She continues to thrive as an artist in San Francisco, a city she’s proud to call her second home.
Briana Walsh — Jules
Walsh is a New Jersey native who has planted her heart in San Francisco. After graduating with a BFA in Writing for Film & Television from the Academy of Art, she joined Shelton Studios to further expand her knowledge and passion for acting. Her breakout role came in 2016 as the former Southern belle, Stella Kowalski, in Julie Dimas-Lockfeld’s Theater Bay Area Award nominated rendition of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at The Shelton Theater. Briana’s latest endeavors include performances in The Swindon UK Fringe Festival. The all-female cast ensemble performed Nowhere Man by local budding playwright Nina Sacco and The Lady Killers by Matt Fox in front of a British audience. The two pieces were also performed back to back at The Etcetera Theatre in Camden Town. Briana recently starred in Tennessee William’s Baby Doll, a TBA recommended production directed by Bay Area legend Will Marchetti.
Jordan Potch — James
Jordan Potch is an actor from Sacramento, California. Jordan prides himself on being able to portray a versatile set of characters from a wide array of genres, although his main work consists of dark, haunting and psychologically complex roles. Jordan Potch has won an Award for Best Actor at Hero Film Fest 2016 for his portrayal of The Joker in the short film Batman The First Laugh as well as playing the character of Marcus in the award winning short film The Inbetween. Jordan Potch is extremely excited to be working with Hassan Said and making the character of James his own.
This Is Your Song is a story about love, not a love story. A contemporary drama, set over the course of one night, about married young lovers surviving in the changing modern American landscape. Jules and James confront and quarrel over their future, trust, infidelity, matrimony, and a city that once engulfed them with warmth. Set in San Francisco, conceptualized in the vein of a play with mostly theatre actors, executed in ONE TAKE, without any edits or cuts of immersive emotional experience. Our crew is mostly made up of minorities and immigrants of the finest talent working tirelessly to bring this film to life.
The idea originally began to sprout in the fall of 2017- where suddenly I have been facing a very tough year, from a roller coaster emotional divorce, diagnosed with high blood pressure, suffering a concussion, my father went through a number of surgeries as well as my mother suffering a heart attack overseas while I wasn’t there. For the past seven years all I did was hustle after freelance work to stay afloat in a marriage and debts, while attempting to get one out of six feature films off the ground one way or another. Writing one screenplay after the other in order to craft the simplest, smallest and most intimate possible story. The result was that I lost my home and living mostly out of my car, went broke, and forgoed any hope in every possible aspect of my existence, caving in a very dark place of mental/emotional disintegration. Contemplating my previous relationships, maybe I was desperate for love, always have been part of my life, ‘Cause a lot of people are frightened to death of love. I was in a quandary, philosophical quandary, because, I thought, if I am not my brother’s keeper, who am I; where does my life end and my sense of responsibility to other lives begin. This is how this picture came to life.
Determined, with over 13 years of making short films, 40 festival selections, 30 countries and many awards later- I set out to write with, and mentor my co-writer/talented poet Lourdes Figueroa to bring a Female voice to the project to diversify the voices and actions. I had been dabbling with some ideas in my head about a film that takes place in mostly one location with two characters, in one take, and it all started to piece together making it hard to turn around on such a concept. We finished the first draft of the screenplay in two weeks, with in mind the technical feat of timing and executing this whole story in one single take from beginning to end; seeing how a long term marriage can simply put to the test in the course of a night. To experiment further, I decided to send the screenplay not only to fellow master screenwriters and filmmakers, but also regular friends and acquaintances who knew nothing about the craft of screenwriting. The reaction of readers was overwhelmingly positive- we knew we were creating something honest, relatable and special, striking major chords with readers- some readers cried, others sided with Jules over James and vice versa- creating a confirmed realization that the story affects people in an intimate, personal way.
Shortly after, the team started to assemble and the film took a life of its own. I drove up to San Francisco in my car which became my contemporary definition of home, and setup times to meet a number of theatre companies/houses who welcomed me with open arms, offering any form of help, hungry for a unique story to shoot in their beloved city, resulting in me being engorged in my excitement to push forward into doing everything i can to bring this motion picture to life in my favorite city in the world.
The film touches upon if not embraces the ever changing nature of our behavior in a romantic intimate union. Examining the “I vs ME vs US” dynamic through psychological and behavioral exploration of situations and love in way of softness but also through brutal truth and at times manipulation; when you co-exist with a partner for so long. Furthermore, the landscape of San Francisco in all aspects specifically how social-inequality bleeds into our day to day lives . As a marriage disintegrates, we witness and feel the weight of a love that struggles to exist in place that is beginning to leave no space for the working class nor the artist. The weight of gentrification and the reality of the artist of color lives in the middle of a perishing union. The question of the American Dream and the reality of classism envelop the end of a love story.
Inspiration came to me revisiting Ingmar Bergman’s films, who was notorious for his theatre influence. Also reading again various of the the favorite writings of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller during that period of desolation. My primary focus while manifesting the film was starting with the audience- creating an archetype of play within a film in a continuous 90 min take unedited/uncut story, captured on a wide angle lens, unveiling the secrets and layers of the characters struggling to breath them to one another, unable to look away from the tension brewing in front of their eyes with only ambient sounds and a vinyl record in the distance. Wrapping it with a bow and ending: a timeline montage of their first times their eyes seen one another, falling in love and consummation. The hardship of maintaining a relationship, goals, aspirations, power struggle, absence of love, and socio-economic inequality which is universal themes we all relate to in various instances of our lives expressed in the film.
This motion picture contributes and uplifts the Bay Area filmmaking community because the work embraces the artist of color in the head departments of this production. Furthermore, as writer of the script I seek to work with a diverse group of artists that will contribute to the development of the film and further the story. Professionally, I believe in diverse collaboration and this is the strength of what will propel the work forward. An original story, an homage to Bergman and Cassavetes type films which fewer and fewer of them stories exist today in the same vein.
In the end Jules and James love each other ever so deeply and madly, and besides what the film tries to always show case that love conquers all, in most times, it doesn’t win, and that is ok because it provides room for learning, healing and growth. They are two of a kind, battling each other in life’s cage while hiding their everlasting love for each other, struggling to find their place in the world alone and achieving what they set out together. Not only that their relationship is put to the test, but their identity and who they thought they were this whole relationship comes into question. in a multilayered, multi dimensional portrayals of a character driven story. The audience will laugh, will cry, will be angry in moments and relieved in others- it’s a small magnum opus of hypnotic intertwining emotions. A universal story that if were to be translated in any other language will touch the heart of anyone, at any age group, who cared or loved another deeply at one point in their lives.
Slowly picking up my life again by making a film that I put my entire mental and emotional energy to whole-heartedly, my spirit couldn’t be more excited. This is not just another feature picture, its a sense of closure to a painful reality I lived through and others as well through breakups, deaths, and at times out worldly circumstances. To me personally it’s a way to make sense to a failed marriage as well as previous relationships- a pattern in ones choices and what build up led to that moment. A sense of closure and understanding to one of life hardest challenges I ever had to face- losing the one your love. In the end, I believe, everything that I do – I make it real as I can. Make it alive. Make it tangible. Find the truth of that moment.
We shot the film, we pulled off a 97 minute single take, we have all been changed one way or another from this one-of-a-kind experience, we became better filmmakers and created a heart felt film that is universal and old as time.
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