Sam Grover on set of LEDA. Photo by Trevor Robert/The Commuter.

LEDA: A ‘horribly unique’ cinematic experience

By Trevor Roberts
Area 31 is a film studio and currently the headquarters for the indie feature film ‘LEDA.’  ‘LEDA’ is the brainchild of the man who manages Area 31, Samuel Grover.
Grover graduated from Stevenson University when it was still known as Villa Julie College.  From there he started working as a lead editor at a local production company called Digital Bard, which is where he originally came up with the idea for ‘LEDA’ four years before production.  While working at Digital Bard he ran into the owner of Archai Media, an equipment rental company at Area 31. After doing some work for trade for Archai Media Grover then started managing both Archai Media and Area 31.  Grover then had what he needed to shoot his feature ‘LEDA.’
What is ‘LEDA?’
‘LEDA’ is based on the Greek myth Leda and the Swan. It’s kind of a classic myth that is been in thousands of different paintings and such from Leonardo Da Vinci to Salvador Dali.  Our story kind of follows the myth and sets the stage for Zeus’s interaction with Leda and how that affects her relationship with her husband and the distance that they grow. So it’s also in 3D and we are doing very minimal dialogue because I wanted to push the project in a more experimental realm.
Why did you want to go the experimental route?

I think the early days of cinema they would experiment more like a scientist.  They would find different ways to tell a story and then I feel like it kind of hit a stopping ground or at least several different plateaus.  And I think we are really on one right now with Hollywood. Everything is just a rehash and its getting really tired and I think more people need to be pushing the envelope.  So we cut the dialogue very much down in order to try and re-establish how to tell a story visually.

What tools are you using to help better tell the story visually, you mentioned 3D?

We worked in the 3D angle because a lot of the time I feel like for blockbusters and stuff 3D is just a spectacle element, but we’re using that to build from 2D into deep 3D as Leda and her husband start to lose touch with each other.

So the movie moves from 2D to 3D?

Mmmhmm.

Is it set in modern time?

It feels like a period piece, like early 1900s but I’m trying very much to have it feel like no time no place, almost like something out of a dream.  We try and keep the mythical elements as well as some more modern elements.  Its rather inspired by the myth than being the myth.

What’s the timeline for production look like?

So we are on our second block of shooting right now. We are about 25% into production and then we got a big block in November and some in December.  We are hoping to have everything in the can by December.  And then we hope to be editing throughout early next year with a finished version by early spring.

When can people see it?

We are going to do film festivals first. I’m trying for a March deadline so I can push it into festivals.  And then I’m planning on having a series of local screenings.  Other than that it will be spending next year trying to have it get picked up by a distributer and at least to a small run of theatrical release before your on demand and such.

How are you funding the movie besides out of pocket?

We currently have a Kickstarter going and we are trying to raise $35,000 from that to get us at least most of the way through the rest of production.  We have realized that, although, everyone is working for just about nothing and we are getting gear for trade and we cutting so many costs, there is still the small things like food, renting vehicles to haul gear and getting these amazing locations that all add up quick.  So we are basically shooting a $500,000 movie for $100,000, but $100,000 isn’t something I have in my bank account.  We are also searching for some production partners to invest in the project.

What genre would you say the movie is?

We’ve been calling it a thriller but it definitely has some horror elements and some very dramatic lighting.  So, it’s definitely a tragedy, it’s got thriller elements, it’s got romance elements and it’s got some horror elements.

What would you tell people to get them excited about ‘LEDA’?

I’d say it’s gonna be a horribly unique cinematic experience. It is definitely going to be something you’ve never seen before.

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