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By Michael Schilf · August 4, 2012
Authentic Lincoln Film introduces a new filmmaking technique, CineCollage, into industry lexicon.
Los Angeles, July 12, 2012 – SAVING LINCOLN, a new film based on the true story of our 16th President and his bodyguard, has completed production. Directed by Salvador Litvak and starring Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, and Bruce Davison, SAVING LINCOLN tells a unique tale in a unique way: using actual Civil War era photographs as locations, the film explores Lincoln’s fiery trial as Commander-in-Chief through the eyes of his closest friend and protector – U.S. Marshal Ward Hill Lamon.
In the process, SAVING LINCOLN officially introduces a new cinematic style to the industry: CineCollage. Developed by director Salvador Litvak, the new filmmaking technique allowed a sprawling period piece to be made on an indie budget (a full description of CineCollage is included below). While various types of layered images have been used in other films, this is the first time CineCollage, or “cinematic collage,” will be employed for every scene in a feature film, and the first time that the technique has been branded in an official capacity.
About the production process, Litvak said: “We had a huge story to tell, and we were determined to tell it. During our research, we dug into the enormous trove of Civil War photography in the Library of Congress, and I visualized scenes taking place in those locations. In the wake of movies like ‘Sin City’ and ‘300,’ I realized we could use the photos to replace physical sets. Of course, the process was far more complex and time-consuming than I imagined, but thanks to an extremely creative and passionate team, we were able to make SAVING LINCOLN a reality. Further possibilities for CineCollage are unlimited, particularly for subjects that can exploit well-photographed periods and locations.”
Based on detailed research by Litvak and writing partner Nina Davidovich Litvak, SAVING LINCOLN follows Abraham Lincoln’s journey from country lawyer to conflicted Commander-in-Chief, as recounted by his self-appointed bodyguard, Marshal Lamon. Lamon halted many attempts on President Lincoln's life, but he was not present at Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot. To understand why, one must hear his tale. SAVING LINCOLN stars Tom Amandes (as President Lincoln), Lea Coco (as Ward Hill Lamon), Penelope Ann Miller (as Mary Todd Lincoln), Creed Bratton (as Senator Charles Sumner), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (as Elizabeth Keckly), and Bruce Davison (as William H. Seward).
CineCollage, by definition, uses existing images as a backdrop to create a cinematic collage. The process combines off-the-shelf visual effects tools with techniques borrowed from theater, animation, and photography. A typical scene contains live-action elements – including principal actors, tiled layers of extras, furniture and props – all shot on a green screen stage, as well as multiple layers of location and architectural elements culled from period photography. The layers are composited together to create a stylized look that works hand in hand with the story’s narrative structure: in this case, Marshal Lamon’s very personal recollection of his friend, Abraham Lincoln.
SAVING LINCOLN is directed by Salvador Litvak, written by Nina Davidovich Litvak and Salvador Litvak, produced by Reuben Lim, and executive produced by Horatio C. Kemeny. The film stars Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Penelope Ann Miller, Creed Bratton, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, and Bruce Davison, with songs performed by American roots-rocker Dave Alvin.