Based on the industry-changing cinematic styles of cinema verité and the French New Wave, “subHysteria” is a guerrilla film featuring 16 improv actors in a New York City subway car.
Filming took place from November 12 to 16 at the FDNY Training Facility on Randall’s Island in New York City. The film was conceptualized by the award-winning director Leonard Zelig and was also written by Roberto Alcazar and Javier Perez-Karam, producers of the film. “subHysteria” makes its world premiere in the summer of 2009.
Without warning, small groups of people from all walks of life find themselves trapped underground in the subway. As the hours pass without outside communication, sufficient food, or any conceivable method of escape, the real possibility of death overcomes the passengers. “It has been almost 50 years since John Cassavetes’ groundbreaking film ‘Shadows’, and my intention is not to reinvent the history of independent filmmaking,” Zelig said. “I want to refresh the genre, to bring back the freedom, uniqueness and organic flavor of improv filmmaking.”
As a Branded Content property, “subHysteria” was a great opportunity to include Product Placement and to create Branded Content, says Roberto Alcazar, Principal and Founder of EO agency. “Rare for such a small film, we always treated like a blockbuster”. ”The subway car was filled with advertising of brands such as CASIO, Palm Bay International’s Montgras, The US Spain chamber of Commerce, Missile clothing line and Mexico Now. Actors read magazines such as casa y HOGAR and try to make calls with their iPhones. DVD Specials such as behind the scenes and special features are also branded by top national brands.
As part of the creative process, the "subHysteria" team is interacting with the audience through their blog http://subhysteria.wordpress.com/, soliciting the ideas of what each commenter would do with just five hours to live. The casts spend five days on set in “The Subway Simulator”, a nonfunctioning train car where New York City firefighters train for emergency situations.
Featured cast members include Mexican actor Osvaldo Benavides; Canadian TV show host, Sally Gifford; Ginger Kroll, who appears in the upcoming film "Notorious"; and Elaiza Gill, who appeared in “The Color of Fame” which was the Venezuelan Selection as foreign film for the 2009 Academy Awards. Osvaldo Benavides’ feature films include “Sueño” with John Leguizamo, “Piedras verdes” and “Por la libre”. He has appeared on stage in “Trainspotting”, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”, and “The Graduate” among others. Sally Gifford is best known as a host of the Canadian Broadcast Channel’s national children’s show, “The-X”, where she interviewed Lindsay Lohan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Hilary Duff, and Jude Law. Recent film roles include “In God’s Country” (2007) and the upcoming Lifetime original movie, “Killing Mr. Kissel”, opposite John Stamos. Rounding out the cast are Rebeca Aleman, Estelle Bajou, Quadiri Bolare, Isabella Cascarano, Gayle da Costa, Hwalan, Lavrenti Lopes, Tommaso Matelli, Hector Palma and Cem Uyanik.