Article published in Inner Vibrations magazine, Sept 2014 Read original article here.
A Goddess is a female deity with supernatural powers - as defined in the world wide web's Wikipedia. However, with such a strong title featuring a word that means so many things to different people, film director Gabe Rodriguez didn't realize how powerful words can affect a script and/or a project as it did with his latest short film, "Goddess of Time", starring Dina Cataldi, Nate Steinwachs, and Casey Bartolucci.
It all started when Gabe and a colleague were brainstorming about their next film project which was originally intended to be a basic action-adventure story, but as fate would have it, nothing happened the way they planned. What could've been a classic chic-flick evolved throughout the writing and filming process into a deep, thought provoking, time traveling, mystic adventure casting a female duo playing Brooklyn's Bushwick NYPD officers - a modern day spin on strong women taking on a man's job in serving to protect the innocent.
After receiving a neighboring complaint, the police partners make a visit to a gypsy psychics parlor to warn her about scaring the people with evil spells or bad deeds. In return, the psychic warns one of the officers, Orysia Rozhenko, played by Dina Cataldi, with a threat of trouble that will soon find a friend she has yet to meet.
In a series of time traveling events, Rozhenko, visits past and future lifetimes of two warring soldiers, played by Nate Steinwachs and Casey Bartolucci, that awaken her knowledge for spiritual truth. Realizing how the military serve as a reputation for a different form of law enforcement as she witnesses blood on the battlefield, she discovers that good and evil do exist - which is why she chose to incarnate as a cop in this lifetime. Choosing this profession was for a reason, one that she almost forgot until learning some valuable lessons from the victims that she helped along her journey. The fact that law enforcement is a job that was once entrusted only to men due to its "dominant" characteristics, proves how far we've evolved today. Embracing both her masculine and feminism sides is what makes her whole, a Goddess, who fights for justice between right and wrong.
When speaking with the screenplay writer and director, Gabe Rodriguez, he shares an honest confession that he's never been the so called "spiritual" type, nor did he intend to create a film with such deep insight. "I'm an Atheist", he confidently says.
"Spiritual is a word without a clear definition," says Rodriguez. "It covers a wide array of assumptions for different people. The first time someone told me he found the film spiritually significant, it was a happy accident to me. There's an abstract element to it but there's also a clear message in the ending when Dina's character says, 'Now I remember why I wanted to be a cop. Right and wrong do exist... and heroism exists. People are just a shade of grey.' Initially I was unsure if it would come off as preachy or as if we were moralizing to the audience, but now I'm really glad that conclusion is there. It grounds the rest of the film."
Ironically, one of the best criticisms that the director admits to receiving was how so many people wished that the film was longer. Although some may view it as negative because audiences were left with some unanswered questions, Gabe views it as one of the best critiques an Artist can have due to the anticipation of wanting more - sort of like a cliff hanger.
Despite the Director not being the most spiritual person, he does recognize a certain magic in the way the film came together in a serendipitous way that wasn't intentionally planned. For example, the make-up artist that he booked for a hospital scene surprisingly didn't show up on the day of the shoot, and what could've turned into a disaster actually became a blessing in disguise as the lack of make-up made the patients "look like shit" (Which is what he wanted anyway)! Costume designer Brittany Moskowitz provided a WWII battlefield location with her long island backyard and her entire family helped out on set. Even the way the lead actress came on board was natural. Gabe discovered Dina Cataldi not by seeing her act, but from seeing her interviewed in the IndieGoGo campaign video for an action webseries. Since he was searching for a woman to play a tough cop, Dina was perfect! How it all fell into place was a mystery to him, but he went with the flow.
"Of all the films I've worked on, Goddess of Time, is the one that seemed to have a mind of its own, and that affected audiences in the most diverse ways. I'm really grateful to cinematoghrapher Clarke Mayer and editor Dana Glidden, who are my backbone, and the film could absolutely never have been made without the support and hard work of producer Orysia Kucher, whom I named my lead character after."