"Notes From The New World"

The fourth film in our Dostoyevsky-LA Project - a re-envisioning of Dostoevsky's classic novella transported to LA of 2011 (click here for storyline and more!).


Initial Posters:


 Final Posters:


Click at the posters to see the bigger images!



Notes about "THE NOTES"

MAY 6TH, 2010


By Vitaly Sumin, Writer, Director, Producer.

The principal photography wrapped in May 2010! Ever since the disappearance of Robert Hurley, the co-screenwriter, the production faced odd challenges and hurdles. (Please read about them and view our Video Journals.) Hurley’s disappearance remains a perplexing mystery. Yet, with perseverance, tenacity, and the dedication and hard work by our talented cast and crew, we have successfully completed a great principal photography. Although many of our original cast and crew members had to leave the production for various reasons (see our pre-production pages), we were lucky to have found such talented new cast and crew members. I am so proud and thankful for their talent, hard work, and dedication. Of course, as a small independent film, it wasn’t easy. Everyone put in long hours and endured tough challenges. We couldn’t pamper the cast and crew like a major studio film. The food wasn’t always so good, and we certainly could have used more equipment. But these challenges only caused everyone to work harder, and we’re excited to be moving into post-production with terrific footage.

Thank you to the great cast and crew of “Notes from the New World.”


OCTOBER 15TH, 2009


By Richard Crater, Casting Director:

The Film is Cast!". Sweet words for all the creative team in any project, but especially true here. As casting director, one of my primary concerns is to find and deliver not just a talented assortment of actors - but the RIGHT assortment.  Chemistry is important, as is the vision of the director. During the (extended) audition process, we were able to discover some wonderful actors, and put together the puzzle in such a way that will help ensure a fine finished product. Curiously enough, there were some actors who came in and did an excellent job at one role - but were ultimately booked for a very different part - a tribute to their versatility. I can honestly say we took as much care in the selection of each role - from the leads to smaller roles,  because each choice effects the fabric and personality of the ensemble - which to me is key. A benefit of working in Independent  films, IS that artistic integrity - not being bound to a particular studio, or having the process overseen by "committee"  allows the artistic vision to flourish.

I am also very proud of some of the actors who were NOT cast. In the midst of callbacks, it was my goal to offer a number of subtle choices to the director - not just the few best. Therefore, while not being able to use them for THIS project, I was confident that ANY of the people brought in for the final callbacks COULD play the part very well, (each in their own way), and so it became a matter of mixing and matching styles or attributes while never sacrificing quality.... I will most certainly remember them for future projects.

But the process continues to evolve, I just got an E-mail telling me that we need 3 new characters created in a re-write. Oh, well... back to work.


August 2nd 2009

by Vitaly Sumin, Writer/Producer/Director:

Rich Crater who was casting director on "Shades of Day" and myself met in Tino (a nice Italian restaurant in Valley Village) and decided to go ahead with the auditions. Rich showed a genuine enthusiasm for the project. Nowdays he owns a small theater on Lankarshim Blvd - in  Noho Media District - so the auditions will take place there. It took us almost 4 months to find the right actors for "Shades of Day". Let's hope that this time the process will be shorter


From the e-mails by Rich Crater, Casting Director:

August 8th 2009

Dear Vitaly:

OK....... Here are the character descriptions for the breakdown on the  3 leads, I might even add Bob (easy to describe) to the list before I  submit it. . I'll release them as SOON as you give me your input - I  kept them a little vague but evocative, to get the most submissions to  choose from. I'll also include a blurb about the story (taken from your  treatment) and a tiny bit of background about the production...

STEVEN:  (Lead) - Male, Mid-20's ---Thoughtful, volatile, talented and  attractive. An actor who throws himself into the role of the great  Russian writer Dostoevsky (for whom he may bear an eerie resemblance)  .... he drinks heavily and has nightmarish dreams of the past. Political, easily agitated, becomes embroiled in relationships with two  women AND a mystery.

IRINA: (Lead) Very Beautiful Female, mid to late 20's ---  An actress  turned prostitute, she radiates a cold calm - but can jump from emotion  to emotion without skipping a beat. Manipulative. Has the look of a  cover girl - but has deep dark secrets. Irina is of Russian heritage  with piercing eyes, probably blonde, and sophisticated. Not easily  embarrassed or intimidated --- a professional aloofness which only  later gives way to tears of desperation and fear.

SONIA: (Lead) - Young Latino Woman- 18 to 22  --- Speaks mostly Spanish. Understands very little English (or DOES she?) A compelling  face, poor and vulnerable - the kind of girl you want to protect.  Passionate. We are looking for a very expressive actress - able to  communicate through mime or even dance. Sonia has a naive, sunny energy  and purity, with a vivid imagination  - although she is in great danger. Is THAT why she is spying on Steven?

August 10th 2009

Dear V:

Good news.... after only a day's listing, I have nearly 500 submissions  on the 3 roles. Some of them look very promising. What I would LIKE to do is take a day or two of PRE-screenings in the afternoons before I  bring the more likely callbacks in for you (which we can, of course do  in the mornings). I'll have everyone on tape, should you want to double  check my evaluations - it just might move faster and we can see more candidates.


August 15th

First prescreening!

By Colin Walsh, 2nd Assistant to Director:

 Yesterday we auditioned people for the roles of Irina, Sonia and Steven.  Probably about 15 people in total, mostly for Irina.  3 read for Sonia, 3 read for Steven.  I was in the lobby most of the time greeting people and giving them the sides so I didn't get to see the totality of most people's auditions, but from what I did see it seemed like there were several good people that turned up.  It was very interesting to be on that side of auditions.  I had never seen them from that side before.  The auditions lasted until 4.  We are planning another small audition session for Monday afternoon with roughly the same amount of people coming. Also at the auditions I met Lailah, Jules and Rich.  They definitely seem like good people.


Extracts from the long e-mail by Lailah Moridzadeh, Assistant to Producer:

Well I got to the theatre and a couple people were waiting outside.  A sign up sheet was on the table.  Inside, I met up with Jules, Colin, and Rich.  Rich was setting up a few things...

...So, I would like to see the "theatrical" guy and the shorter guy again.  As far as the girls, both Latina girls would be great to see again, and I liked the girl with the curly blonde hair, and perhaps I'd like to see the girl with the long black dress for "Irina"... I think Rich Crater feels confident in these girls and so do I. So we will invite them again.

...Rich said that in order to interview any actors for a "Behind The Scenes" documentary we would need them to sign a release. He said you would know what that is.

...Rich showed me the thick amount of pictures from applicants that he listed as "1, 2, or 3."  Wow, Vitaly, you have many, many people that want to try out.  We did have some cancellations, but at least we saw good actors come through!

September 4th

Second prescreening!

By Colin Walsh, 2nd Assistant to Director:

...There were a lot more people.  I was again in the lobby handing out sides and asking people to sign the release forms.  This time I was able to answer more people’s questions.  So that's cool.  There were some good people today.  It is fascinating to me to see how differently people read each of the parts and see what they do.  Some of the most noticeable differences to me are in the Sonias. Some play her as young and kind of childish whereas others play her as reserved and shy.

I also met Tony today.  He seems like a pretty good guy.


By Tony Woo, Cinematographer for "Behind The Scenes'" documentary:

I had a very good time today shooting the audition. Certainly the theater gave unique atmosphere.

Interviews went well, although I need to check on the sound because the waiting lounge was kind of loud due to the outside traffic. I didn't shoot the interview with Rich because I thought it needs a proper setup with well lit environment and decent sound equips. So I figured we can do the interview with key staff, Rich and Vitaly, on Monday after the audition. And the help is coming on Monday !..

I have about 1 hour and 30 minutes footage today. Overall, it went well.

September 16th

Third prescreening!

By Lailah Moridzadeh, Assistant to Producer:

Things are progressing nicely, but we’re far from ready.  We held more auditions and invited a plethora of actors to... click here for more texts and pictures!



Theater Hub

         Audition                    Rich Crater (right)

               Lailah and Jules                         Tony

Click at the pictures to see the bigger images!

“Shades of Day” is in a good company!

Our film is included by Gerald Pirog, professor of Rutgers University, New Jersey in his spring 2006 course “Dostoevsky and Cinema” along with the works by Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese, Robert Bresson, Lucino Visconti, Paul Shrader, Akira Kurosawa...     

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