Color Thief is a love letter to the world of art, a reflection on whether it makes sense or not to belong to that world. It is a deep view from within the guts of the artist that aims to experience their emotions and the reason for the persistent impulse to continue the arduous task of creating and feeling satisfied. If even possible. Submerging ourselves in the world of doubt, because without doubt there is no art. A journey through the loneliness of the “Artist”, finding their point of view, a view of reality different than the rest of the world, where it is not the story that matters, but how it is told. Portraying the constant search, to uncover fundamental desires, rediscover the mystery of infancy and the need to reproduce through creation. And to be driven by the smell of paint and turpentine; to caress the blank canvas with a slowly growing tint of color which is the essence of painting.
Lily, at 84 years old, while she paints what is probably her last and best picture, reflects on what it means to be an artist. When she realizes that she is missing a color to finish her work, and seeing that she has no money, she makes a drastic decision…
For Lily painting is her work, the only thing that interests her. While painting her picture, she reflects not only on what her life has been like, what she left behind, and what she has renounced, including her family, which never supported her in her artistic endeavors. But also her motives, her irrational needs, her only future where painting is the only way to live, otherwise her life has no meaning, signifying nothing, signifying death. Lily paints because she feels free with her own time: minutes, hours, days, because failures are hers alone and her successes can be shared with whom she wants. When she has to make her drastic decision she does not hesitate for a second. Stealing to continue creating…it is the only possible way.
Color Thief is a narrative in the style of an intimate documentary with shades of comedy. The images, the light. and the color are all brushes that will convey to the viewer all of the feelings perceived by the artist. Creation has very clear sensory characteristics: pain, suffering, anxiety, doubt, but also excitement, happiness, bursts of energy and a feeling of absolute freedom.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
The concept started after a series of inspiring interviews with high profile Spanish artists from different disciplines, including singers, actors, poets and painters… Ana Belén, Concha Gómez-Acebo, Victor Manuel, Joan Manuel Serrat, José Suarez Inclán, and as a special collaborator and consultant Iñaki Gabilondo. Iñaki is known as one of the most popular and recognized journalists in Spain. The story is driven by these interviews combining the thoughts and knowledge of all these creators and putting them on a canvas of paper. Although Color Thief will be told as a poetic documentary, the story is fictional and loosely based on a real event that occurred in New York. A young artist, not that long ago, robbed an art store, but rather than take money, the artist only took paint and just enough to finish his art piece. He was never arrested and I suppose he was able to complete his work in peace. As a writer and director, when I heard of this story I fell in love with that character. I asked myself: why would an artist do what he does? What keeps him fighting when it is so difficult to live this kind of life? Why do I keep fighting as an artist? As an unanswerable question my subconscious would ask me from time to time, I would try to work out an answer, but since no revelation would come I decided to reach out to other artists and ask them. I soon realized it was a question even those with successful careers wrestle with. I’d like to think that Color Thief is a lyrical telling of these subconscious questions of the “artist» and it seems it’s the reason why all of them have fallen in love with this project and become part of it. I changed the gender and age of the character to a old woman because I wanted to talk about time, time and experience, and because a female character has a very different perspective than a male character. Taking into consideration a past when women didn’t have the same opportunities as men, I thought an 80 year old woman who renounced almost everything for Art would be more interesting. Even my own grandmother, who was an artist/painter all her life, didn’t have to renounce her family because she was lucky and found a “crazy” husband who understood her. Of course, we know many women haven’t been so lucky. Along these lines, this movie discusses what it means to grow old, to consider death and the elements of life that we renounce, but also the excitement and freedom that art gives you. A freedom to control your time, and for me, that is the most important thing you can have. So I’d like to think Color Thief is a love letter to the world of art because it’s the expression of a culture. It also will offer a fresh perspective on the beauty and importance behind creation no matter what discipline. I believe without this form of expression there can be no evolution of humanity. In this film I want to show the difficulty of being part of that world. A crucial form of communication between human beings that has been around since the beginning of time. Art was engraved in rocks, in caves and still persists into the present.
I decided to work with Igor, the DP, when I saw his previous work. His style and concept of the film was very similar to mine, what made it faster and easier to complete our work. We decided to shoot Color Thief with the Canon 1DC using a selection of prime lenses meant to capture the details of every frame. Our plan was always to capture the details of an art studio: the light, the shadows, the sound, the atmosphere. To create a work where the audience will smell and taste the paint, feel the essence of the picture as if they were there, in the studio, with our main character, Lily. That’s the reason I chose to work with Henriette Vittadini, our Art Director, another important part of this project. I believe with her experience and great talent achieved our goals. To accomplish this experience the bulk of the budget was used to rent the equipment necessary to recreate that “painting”. Having the best material means it can be produced without skimping on the details. Half of this project’s budget was spent on lighting and the detailed frames needed to create the atmosphere, while the other 50% was used on the set design of an art studio filled with paintings, sculpture and artwork. This deliberate composition and these detailed concepts created that environment.
ROBIN MARTIN – ACTRESS
Robin (Ginsburg) worked as an actress in California from1976-1988, performing in dozens of award winning productions. In her favorite, Cowboy Mouth, by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, she shared the stage with Ed Harris and Jack Slater, with Darrell Larson directing. She attended California Institute of the Arts and worked on films at The American Film Institute. Professional film credits includeFrances, directed by Graham Clifford; Hammett, directed by Wim Wenders and Waiting for the Light, directed by Christopher Monger in which she was featured as two different teachers. She portrayed Sheila Fisher for two seasons, 1984-86 on the prime time soap opera Knots Landing. The story line of her character, an adoptive mother having to give back her twins, became extremely popular. The season finale ‘84, entitled «The Long and Winding Road», ranked as the #1 program for the week in the Nielsen Ratings. In 1989, she became a New Yorker and Robin Martin. In New York, she worked on local shows like Law and Order and more experimental video works shown at the Whitney Biennial. Writing fiction took over her focus in 1994. Recently, she has worked on several short films and the feature Make Yourself at Home (aka Fetish) directed by Soopum Sohn.
Color Thief´s keys creators: Igor Kropotov (Director of Photography) Igor Kropotov was born in Russia and having lived in Belgium and Italy has supplemented his acute skills in cinematography with an open and fresh perspective. His lifelong passion for capturing a cinematic viewpoint is reflected in his early years of filming sponsored skateboarding videos and having his film photography displayed at an exhibition in one of Moscow’s popular gallery spaces. With an education at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts at the Film & Television program, Igor is in high demand by professionals in the industry. His most recent work includes a wide range of narrative films, TV series «The President’s Gatekeepers» for the Discovery Channel, music videos and commercials. Igor continues bringing his artistic vision to life through his mastery of a key tool: the camera. Henriette Vittadini (Art Director) Originally from Italy, Henriette has lived and worked in Milan, London and New York, developing, through her career, good knowledge and skills in directing, editing and designing, and art direction. She has worked on a number of award-winning short films, the last of which – director Simone Rovellini’s C’est la Vie – was selected at Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and is currently on top of web lists as Vimeo Staff Picks and reviewed by news websites as Italy’s national newspaper La Repubblica. She has also worked as assistant Specialist for the Contemporary Art and the Furniture departments at Sotheby’s in London, where she has lived for almost three years. In New York she has worked with art director Peter Mayer on advertising campaigns for clients as John Varvatos and DBOX, and on a music video for Brooklyn-based artist Sonia Montez. Such experience allowed her to develop and refine her understanding of aesthetics especially in relation to history and culture. Natalia López Muñoz (Line Producer) Natalia López Muñoz (1986 Madrid, Spain) is a filmmaker stablished in NYC since 2009 and has been involved in over twenty short films and feature films after graduating from NYFA, including awarded projects such as Celeste by José Maria Norton and The Southern Belle by Bora Bora Films. She has directed film and theatre, taken over the role of Assistant Director and producing fiction, music videos and other non-fictional projects for the past years, having the oportunity to work with experienced professionals as commercial and TV director David Guillén (Buenafuente, Spain).