By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

“SAVING LINCOLN” Finishes Post-Production Process

Authentic Lincoln Film introduces a new filmmaking technique, CineCollage, into industry lexicon

Los Angeles, July 12, 2012 – SAVING LINCOLN, a new film based on the true story of our 16th President and his bodyguard, has completed production. Directed by Salvador Litvak and starring Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, and Bruce Davison, SAVING LINCOLN tells a unique tale in a unique way: using actual Civil War era photographs as locations, the film explores Lincoln’s fiery trial as Commander-in-Chief through the eyes of his closest friend and protector – U.S. Marshal Ward Hill Lamon.

In the process, SAVING LINCOLN officially introduces a new cinematic style to the industry: CineCollage.  Developed by director Salvador Litvak, the new filmmaking technique allowed a sprawling period piece to be made on an indie budget (a full description of CineCollage is included below). While various types of layered images have been used in other films, this is the first time CineCollage, or “cinematic collage,” will be employed for every scene in a feature film, and the first time that the technique has been branded in an official capacity.

About the production process, Litvak said: “We had a huge story to tell, and we were determined to tell it.  During our research, we dug into the enormous trove of Civil War photography in the Library of Congress, and I visualized scenes taking place in those locations. In the wake of movies like ‘Sin City’ and ‘300,’ I realized we could use the photos to replace physical sets. Of course, the process was far more complex and time-consuming than I imagined, but thanks to an extremely creative and passionate team, we were able to make SAVING LINCOLN a reality.  Further possibilities for CineCollage are unlimited, particularly for subjects that can exploit well-photographed periods and locations.”

Based on detailed research by Litvak and writing partner Nina Davidovich Litvak, SAVING LINCOLN follows Abraham Lincoln’s journey from country lawyer to conflicted Commander-in-Chief, as recounted by his self-appointed bodyguard, Marshal Lamon. Lamon halted many attempts on President Lincoln’s life, but he was not present at Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot. To understand why, one must hear his tale.  SAVING LINCOLN stars Tom Amandes (as President Lincoln), Lea Coco (as Ward Hill Lamon), Penelope Ann Miller (as Mary Todd Lincoln), Creed Bratton (as Senator Charles Sumner), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (as Elizabeth Keckly), and Bruce Davison (as William H. Seward).

CineCollage, by definition, uses existing images as a backdrop to create a cinematic collage. The process combines off-the-shelf visual effects tools with techniques borrowed from theater, animation, and photography.  A typical scene contains live-action elements – including principal actors, tiled layers of extras, furniture and props – all shot on a green screen stage, as well as multiple layers of location and architectural elements culled from period photography. The layers are composited together to create a stylized look that works hand in hand with the story’s narrative structure: in this case, Marshal Lamon’s very personal recollection of his friend, Abraham Lincoln.

SAVING LINCOLN is directed by Salvador Litvak, written by Nina Davidovich Litvak and Salvador Litvak, produced by Reuben Lim, and executive produced by Horatio C. Kemeny. The film stars Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, Creed Bratton, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, and Bruce Davison, with songs performed by American roots-rocker Dave Alvin.

For more information about SAVING LINCOLN, please visit the official website at http://www.savinglincoln.com/, “like” the page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SavingLincoln, and follow the stories of US Marshal Ward Hill Lamon at twitter.com/savinglincoln.

And today is a notable date in Lincoln history as it is the anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens (July 12, 1864) – the only time an American President stood on the field of battle, and is a crucial scene in the movie.

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2 Responses to ““SAVING LINCOLN” Finishes Post-Production Process”

  1. Russ Gleeson says:

    Thanks for the up date Mr.Pride. Folks that loved Lincoln REALLY need an authentic representation and this can’t miss that mark with the ‘Cine Collage’ approach. Can’t wait t’see it!!! Russ

  2. Glad we could help out ! What a great experience! We can’t wait to see the final cut! Thanks .

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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