Maybe nothing in the history of human creativity has had the enduring dramatic power of the classic stories told in Greek mythology. The characters and themes in these immortal tales have informed and entertained humanity for centuries, and have provided the story structures that have become a part of our life experiences ever since.
It’s no surprise then that much of our enduring entertainment, including fiction, poetry, dance and film, is based on classic Greek mythology. Those heroic stories are the foundation for virtually every form of artistic expression, a connection that has lasted for many hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Which brings us to an exciting new incarnation of classic Greek storytelling, a filmmaking venture called Siren, which incorporates the classic mythological elements of the Iliad and the Odyssey in a contemporary setting, and humanizes the stories in a way that everyone can relate to.
Siren tells the story of a young woman, Kira, who has a rocky relationship with her mother, Claire, and whose world is turned upside down by tragedy. Kira, played by Dina Cataldi, loses her mother and only then finds out she is a Siren. The Sirens, a group which included her mother and now includes Kira, have the duty of protecting the goddess Persephone, played by Eileen Alana.
At Claire’s funeral, Kira meets her estranged uncle and is informed about a world that is invisible to mortals. Kira rejects this news, but is then thrown into a scenario of challenging dramatic events, where she begins to discover more about her identity and her new role as a Siren. The events have been instigated by Persephone after she decides to leave the bondage that her husband Hades (Mark Tallman) and mother Demeter (Maria Di Angelis) have imposed on her for the past 2,000 years.
It is through the help of Leslie that Persephone is able to escape both the Sect, a dangerous and possessed group of demons who are loyal to her father Hades, and the Scopuli, the powerful army controlled by her mother. Upon Persephone’s escape, Hades and Demeter violently reignite their rivalry, which jeopardizes the fate of the world. Hades coerces the Greek hero Odysseus (Anthony St. James), to help track Persephone down and bring her back. But Hades intent is treacherous, as he decides to kill his wife, usurp her power and use an ancient power to resurrect all of the Gods.
Siren contains dramatic themes of self-discovery and a longing for freedom that everyone can relate to, and combines the powerful elements of Greek drama with a humanity that brings all the characters to life as fully realized beings, a connection extending from antiquity to the modern day. Never before have the classic elements of tragedy and redemption been told in such a beautiful and emotionally touching way. Siren is the story of a woman finding her freedom and empowering herself. In breaking through, Kira also is able to free her parents from the eternal mythological cycle, as she finally bridges the gap between immortals and normal human beings.
Siren tries to bring these life lessons to its audience, portraying the feeling and emotions that are common to everyone, but with all the action and passion that are found in a heroic movie. â€œSiren combines the sweetness of self-realization and freedom with an action story. There is literally something in this story for everyone,â€ says Director Justin Burgess.
Though the story is classic and the actors all highly talented and committed to the project, it’s never easy getting a production like Siren to its intended audience. Intended to be a trilogy, this high concept film is projected as the first installment in a 3-part series that would put it in the same high profile category as films like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or The Matrix. â€œThis material is so strong that it will not only change the way that people look at Greek mythology, it will also change the way they look at the current day and the way that films are made,â€ say Burgess. â€œThere really hasn’t been anything done like this before, something that captures the full spectrum and spectacle of action films, including intense drama, and yet also has the sweetness of a chick flick. Siren seamlessly incorporates all of those elements.â€
The characters of Siren were created by Dina Cataldi, who was inspired by the idea of projecting the stories of classic Greeks myths into the modern day. Working with assistance from director Justin Burgess, who got involved to fulfill a promise to direct her, they have been able to create a world of action and drama that also includes many emotional human elements. It’s a project whose time has come, and judging from the dedication involved in the production, the final result will be something unlike any other film project. â€œWe had to approach this effort fearlessly,â€ says Burgess. â€œI told the team before we started that we can’t be involved in this as just friends, we have to become family. That means in the sense that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt your family or let your family down, we will not disappoint each other in the realization of this film. We are all committed to putting this story out as a first rate viewing experience, something that you will be talking about long after you leave the theater.â€
There are countless stories in the filmmaking business about success through perseverance, actors like Jeremy Piven and a stream of projects that were unsuccessful until they were able to find exactly the right role or combination of elements that allowed them to break through and become successful. Siren is a project that intends to overcome all obstacles, an inspired concept that has been buoyed up by the sheer enthusiasm and talent of its actors and production staff, and it continues to gain momentum. Jaeme Griffin, the executive producer, considered by director Burgess as a â€œparachute of all timesâ€ has been demonstrating to overcome insurmountable obstacles almost daily. She is the dream of all production team. â€œ I never think in terms of problems, but rather solutions. Everything can be talked about and everything has a solution to it with the proper communicationâ€ says Jaeme. (Listening to her, it feels like there is no one who would not need her!)
With a strong premise in terms of the film’s theme, a robust script that involves five lead characters and fifteen supporting actors in the cast, and the exotic-but-familiar context of Greek mythology, Siren has a lot going for it. â€œWe’re actually taking mythological characters and continuing their story in the modern world,â€ Burgess explains. â€œThis film features heroic female lead characters who are involved in a typical underdog story; it’s the person who you least expect to win the day that comes through in the end. This is based on textbook Iliad and Odyssey themes, and is also an action film with enough female-oriented human drama to play on the Lifetime Channel after the big screen.â€
Sirenis slated to run about 2 hours and 17 minutes, and a teaser with some of the film’s action elements has just been finished. In the teaser, we see a version of how Hades is brought to life (on a reduced scale) and the longing of an imprisoned Persephone looking for freedom. We also see a pivotal character and sub-plot between Castor (Martin Harvey) and Sophia, as well as some of the action elements that will be fully developed in the feature version of the film. â€œCreating the feeling of the immense power of Hades was the best way to get some of the feel of the film across, and this short piece is visually striking due in no small part to the production efforts of Mitchell Lipsiner and Wilmar Luna,â€ says Director Burgess.
The first installment in the Siren trilogy is budgeted at approximately $40-58M, with a projected worldwide gross somewhere north of $600 million. â€œThat’s not a bad return on investment,â€ Burgess says. â€œWe’re very committed to making sure the vision we have makes it intact to our audience and it’s almost like this project has become its own force of nature, where people just show up out of nowhere when needed and it just continues to gather momentum. I’ve never been involved in a filmmaking experience like this before; the commitment and energy with this group is completely unique.â€
With its universal themes and epic scope, Siren is conceived as a film that will stand the test of time, classic themes being told in a classic film style fully mounted in a contemporary setting. Its humanized mythology projected into a modern context offers the broadest possible appeal, and the film is certain to resonate with a broad spectrum of movie lovers everywhere.
There are a number of Westsiders in this movie, including Adrienne Papp of Spotlight and Atlantic Publicity, the number one firm on the Westside of Los Angeles.
â€œ We are all here to make this movie known to all who look for class, experience, and a real touchable charm that is so hard to find these days. Something you can hang onto and think about after you immersed yourself in this classic yet modern drama,â€ says Adrienne who lives in Santa Monica.
To view the teaser please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0cASHQtYFE
We will closely follow what happens to Siren Productions and their success in Hollywood as expressed by the director and producer(s)!