THE COW OF QUEENS: Artistic Statement and Look Book
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
I am currently in the development stages of my feature, The Cow Of Queens. Check out my artistic statement and look book.
My dad was my best friend. He called me “Kate the Great” and “Little Shit” in the same sentence. He taught me to drive trucks and built me a pair of stilts. When he got sick, I couldn’t leave his side. He didn’t want to go and we fought with everything we had right up to the end. Cancer is a dance between hope and acceptance. Hope powers you through the circus of pills and painful treatments. However, there’s a tipping point when hope becomes a form of denial and only creates more suffering. Here, acceptance is the only balm. But surrender too soon, and you’ll always wonder if you should’ve fought harder. My dad’s final days were a mud-slinging fight to the death. When it was all over I was haunted by the question, “When and how do you say goodbye?” Then I heard some neighbors talking about a cow that escaped the local slaughterhouse who spent the day evading the NYPD. Instantly I found my answer. THE COW OF QUEENS re-imagines my dad and I, as a Don Quixote/Sancho Panza duo on a mission to right one last wrong. The adventure is a chance to say goodbye and accept the inevitable but also defy death because, damn, this cow is going to live.
Personal experience has taught me that darkness and light are braided together. I love stories about characters having fun in the midst of terrible pain. Del and Sonya are in drama but they are doing everything they can to make it feel like an action-adventure. Tonally, this is a visceral film that should take the viewer on a wild ride from laughing to weeping to cheering for the cow.
Visually, the cinematography will express Del and Sonya’s shit-storm of absurd, sweet, and painful encounters. Placing the camera in the center of the action with multiple focal points and open framing will create an immersive three-dimensional feel and the sense that anything can happen. The story unfolds over the course of one day and I will use long takes to keep us rooted in real-time as the duo journey through the changing landscape of Queens. Racing cancer, time will feel unpredictable and precious.
Life at its edge feels operatic. When my dad was dying, a simple trip to CVS felt surreal. Colors felt vibrant. Time moved at an uneven pace. I saw signs and interconnection everywhere. There was an undercurrent of love for human-kind and a deep appreciation for the mundane magic of being alive. I want to film Queens from this heightened POV.
However, the performances and blocking will feel honest and grounded. The actors should feel authentic to the city and I want to cast a mix of local professionals as well as non-traditional actors. As in my past films, I will rehearse with the actors to deepen their characters and build their relationships. Del and Sonya’s relationship should feel intimate, undefineable, and irreplaceable.
This film is also a love letter to Queens, a big city that feels like a small town. It’s the kind of place where you know your neighbors and the person behind you in line will spot you if you forgot your wallet. The city is quirky, fun, and sparkling with culture. I hope to celebrate the city while soothing so many of us who have been sideswiped by loss. The Cow of Queens shits a kind of fairy dust on everything it encounters and, for one day, the city dances.