Refuge The Movie
Refuge The Movie
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Refuge The Movie
 

Four days visiting my close friend of 55+ yrs,Mark Medoff ...  

Posted by:

Steve Katz

,  August 3, 2009.

Four days visiting my close friend of 55+ yrs, Mark Medoff, on the set of his new movie: "Refuge",with my friend and lover, Toni Schang.

07/17/09

We(Toni and I)arrive from Vancouver in La Mesilla around 4PM.Check in at La Meson de Mesilla,a beautifil small hotel/B&B). Ginger Perkins,Mark's co-producer and an extraordinary open,friendly super well organized person,picked us up and drove us to the set...an airplane hanger about 15 min outside the City.

First saw Skeets,another 1958 Miami Beach High classmate of Mark's and mine.Then Mark.He greeted me,in the Charlie Brownish way he always has,by saying my  name"Steve Katz",as if he were calling me out for an attendance check in Grade 12.For me,as always he was like the Boric Acid factory--a sight for sore eyes.Big  warm hug.He was busy;very busy. And it was hot;very hot.He met Toni and introduced us around.

We tagged along with him to another part of the hanger to see recorded shots of the day.Then back. We were travel weary and only stayed for an hour or so.Headed back to La Meson for a swim and rest.

Dinner at La Meson with Mark,Stephanie,Ginger,Lena,Chris Mcd,Skeets,J.D. and Toni and me. Nice,interesting,intelligent,warm, open social dinner.Starting to feel the seduction,as a supportive outsider,of being in a project like this:intensive but cooperative--instant,powerful connections.

Weird coincidence: Lena and Toni went to the same catholic girls school in NYC(Lena 30 yrs later than Toni).What are the odds of meeting someone in Las Cruces NM,who lives in LA when you live in Vancouver who went to the the same school you did in NYC?(And,of course, 3 of us at the table graduated from Beach High in '58---but our meeting was on purpose.).


07/18/09

Went to the set of the day around 1:30---Skeets already there---she was genuinely enjoying every minute--great personality unchanged from how she was in High School.).The set was a private home near Mark and Stephanie's place.Huge grounds and sprawling  home(as is the Medoff spread.).

Very hot again--over 100.Part of the grounds--near the residence the owner had a perma set of authentic western buildings and areas for his horses.One incredible bldg was a fully stocked General Store;real,old stuff. The genuine articles.

Got to talk with Mark at the shooting breaks--laughed a lot.

Dinner with Mark,Stephanie,Rachel and Debbie(Mark and Stephanie's lovely daughters) and Toni and Skeets and me.At La Posta(the old Wells Fargo stop in Old Mesill\).

Very good food and fun time.

 

07/19/09:9:30AM

The set is inside El Patio,a bar in Old Mesilla.Principal scene is where Jack (Chris McD) picks up Amelia(Linda H.)--steals her from her date and dances with her. J.D. and his band playing two of his tunes,one slightly up tempo,one slow. Skeets and I dance, as extras, to the fast one;Toni and I to the slow one..Fun!

Watching Mark work really interesting and impressive---incredible attention to detail.Also, the crew,Laura and Reuben specially,strikingly competent.

Lunch with Skeets,Mark(a cameo) and Toni at Double Eagle.Very good food. Fun lunch.

Afternoon set at The Overlook(overlooking Las Cruces--about 15 min away). Under a tent like cover to escape the heat. Movie making is tedious. But interesting to us--our virgin exposure to all this.

Evening: Drinks at La Meson with J.D. Then dinner at Double Eagle with J.D.,Skeets,Stephanie,Toni and me. Great meal Lots of fun.

 

07/20/09

Our last day--needed to leave @ 4PM to drive to El Paso for our journey home.And,the day off for cast and crew.
At Mark's and Stephanie's fabulous home.Amazing,wonderful place.

J.D. teaching me a few chords on his guitar.Lena,strikingly beautiful, trying on different outfits and asking for everyone's feedback. The new,very young editors( Harry and Max) arrive and come out to lunch with Mark,Stephanie,J.D..Skeets and Toni and me. Talked movies---unanimous opinion on "Flirting With Disaster" and "Princess Bride" making the enduring favs lists.

Back to Mark's for a last brief visit; Got a great tip on breaststroke for swimming from Kagan(sp?) , Mark's oldest grandchild and a serious competitor.

Hugs and kisses goodbyes.

Exit,stage left.

Wonderful,wonderful experience.

Love from

Steve and Toni

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Refuge The Movie


CATCHING UP ON AUGUST 1  

Posted by:

Mark Medoff

,  August 3, 2009.

Finished the first section of the Melodie/Officer Gummy scenes at 2 AM.  We're a tired group but if there's grumbling, I don't hear it. First A.D. Laura keeps us on task.  She saved my rear end two days ago.  I had worked out the shooting of the first Mortuary scene -- arrival of Amelia and Darryl -- at 5:30 that morning, sitting in my nice chair in my library (now the REFUGE office), as I am now -- then when it was time to set it up with Reuben, I literally forgot to do half the shot.  We looked at the footage, were stumped how to set up a cut to Darryl inside the RV after the drive-up dolly shot.  Laura figured it out.  She always asks the right questions, so long as Reuben and I don't slip out of earshot and concoct something we 1) don't need, 2) shouldn't spend the time doing, 3) could use for a movie other than this one.

Reuben doing so much great handheld shooting; "handheld," though is inaccurate:  hands, yes, but shoulder, low back, hips, calves.  My guy is going to need a chiropractor and a massage therapist.  I'm buying. [His Second A.C., Benito Barcenas, came up with several good saves over the last couple of days.]

Ginger is doing many jobs -- all of them well and with good cheer, though I know she's stretched toward the limit (but won't allow herself to get there).  I told her we'll list under various pseudonyms in the credits.  Producer under how own name, catering, transpo, cheerleading, second-seconding under names with her initials.

Dan Williams, the key grip, feels the students under him and others are getting a great learning experience.  I hope so.  I know this:  
the kids are working very hard and very well.  PA's Zac and Keagan seem only to run on assignment.  I'm happy to say both are coming into the Creative Media Institute at NMSU; I owe them a lot of attention.

Production Designer Stephen Hansen shows up with signage and gizmos that seem to appear out of nowhere.  The border crossing -- one side the USA, the other Mexico -- had so many clever signs that I felt guilty not making Amelia's final scene about the signage and not her. If you've seen Stephen's sculptures, you know the man has a unique sense of humor.

Linda refused shelter in the 105 degree heat that day at the Rio Grande, then did her crossing the border scene -- four set-ups to get her from pecan grove sanctuary to paved road to river road and bridge to closed and defunct border crossing to her walkaway.  She climbs a dirt road, disappears around a curve into the desert.  Three times. Without complaint.  Wanting -- always -- to get it right.

Hair and make-up ladies, Pepper and Amy, smile at me, give he a pat -- always there, ready.  Take such care with their actors.

Amy Lanasa and Brandon Brown are Melodie and Officer Gummy.  Lot of hands over mouths to keep from ruining takes with laughter.

Chris PG and the b'ball players played for hours in the b.g.  Their big scene tonight.  We worked out the winning basket -- behind the back bounce pass from Darryl to his playing partner.  $200.  Shiloh Holloway, who lived with us his senior year of high school long ago, helps map the play.  Chris straps his ankles.  Plays in cowboy boots. Guys and a ball; try to keep them from playing.  My brain thinks I can still play; my body knows the truth.

Start at 7PM tonight, the time at which we usually end.  Try to take a nap.  Now.

Refuge The Movie


Refuge The Movie


MARIA FAJARDO ZUCCONI…Mesa and the Movie  

Posted by:

Maria

,  August 3, 2009.

My husband, Harold, and I had a blast taking our dog Mesa to work with Chris Payne Gilbert and Linda Hamilton on the set of the movie “Refuge”.  Our adventure began with finding the set.  We drove down dirt roads lined with pecan trees as far as the eye could see in every direction.  Despite having been here all my life, I had never been to the deep dark depths of the pecan groves.  It was cool.   When we arrived the set was abuzz with activity. 

We were greeted by Marissa.  She was very gracious and helpful getting us to the right spot.  Chris and Linda were already there preparing for the morning shoot.  Chris (Mesa’s new best friend) met us and greeted the dogs.  You can tell when someone is a Vizsla person, the dogs take to them right away if they are, and ignore them if they are not. 

Everyone was so friendly with both Mesa and Abi who we brought along in case Mesa needed an understudy.  They socialized with the crew and had a great time being spoiled.  By way of introduction, I first met Mark when he had one of his dogs in my dog training class many years ago, and later when I trained Emily, his Old English Sheepdog. 

The day began with review of the scene and what everyone, including the dog, were supposed to do.  I had marks that I had to teach Mesa to go to.   Mesa also had to run to Chris and pretend that she was his dog.   It took a couple takes to get her zeroed in on Chris and not want to visit with the whole crew. It was really interesting and surprising how Chris and Linda could change emotional states so quickly.  They would take a few minutes of what looked like deep meditation and then emerge a different personality.  The change was so abrupt that I was worried that Mesa would sense the emotional change and react differently. However, Mesa was able to adjust.  The next big challenge was when Linda drove off in the ATV.  Running with ATV’s is one of Mesa’s favorite things to do, but Chris had established a real bond.  Surprisingly, Mesa stayed with Chris.   

In Mesa’s final shot she had to leave Chris and walk back to the house.  The first time Chris sent her “home” she said ok, and went to visit the rest of the crew.  We needed a quick rework to get Mesa to move off into the distance and slow down.  Mesa, like most Vizslas, likes to do everything fast.  The next attempt I accidently stepped into view during the shooting so it had to be done again.  When Mesa finally understood, it went well.  When she left she moved like she was in the breed ring, an elegant stride full of purpose.  I was so proud of her. 

Neither of us had ever been in a movie before, and in her training she never had to go to marks, be friendly to new people, or take commands from someone else.  It was a blast trying to figure out how to adapt the commands that Mesa knows to get the job Mark Medoff, the Director, wanted done.  The crew and actors being so friendly and supportive sure helped.  Mesa and I had fun doing the scenes and watching how everything works on a set. Thank you for the wonderful experience.

Refuge The Movie


Refuge The Movie


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