This Purim season, something new and exciting is about to burst onto the Jewish media landscape and it’s sure to impress and delight: Kolrom Multimedia and Emes Productions present “Megillas Lester“, a totally unprecedented film that combines unparalleled creativity, adventure and humor with cutting edge technology. The red carpet is being rolled out for this fabulous new production this coming Tuesday at Lincoln Center.
“This is something truly unique,” says Mr. Chananya “CJ” Kramer, Director of Kolrom Multimedia. “”Nothing quite like it has ever been done at this level – specifically designed for the frum community…”.”
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Fifteen years ago, while working his summer job as division head in camp Romimu, Kramer wrote down the story idea as a script for a camp play. His fantastical escapade features Doniel Lesterovitch (“Lester”), a young boy who inadvertently turns the Purim story upside down.
Lester, while directing his own school’s Purim play, gets bumped on the head and suddenly findshimself at the feast of King Achashverosh. After being commanded to summon queen Vashti to the party – Lester is so convincing that Vashti actually decides to go! By the time Lester realizes what’s happened it’s too late… a whole new plot has been set in motion. Vashti is not killed, there is no search for a new queen, so Esther never comes to the palace, and that leaves nobody to save the Jews from evil Haman! A hilarious sub plot develops involving Bigsan and Seresh’s murderschemes, and Lester runs all over Shushan tryingto set the Purim story back on track. Eventually, Lester learns and important lesson the Almightyrunning the world and putting the right people in the right place at the right time.
“Back then it was all just a dream”, says Mr.Kramer, “and because producing a historically based period piece is such a huge financial undertaking, it remained just a dream for a long time.”
In August of 2013, everything changed. Kolrom procured underwriting for the film by teaming up with Emes Productions, a company impressed with Kramer’s story and multimedia capabilities. Since then they have been working hard to develop this animated Purim story, of the highest quality, geared specifically to Torah communities.
“This is not the Purim story”, reminds Mr . Kramer, “rather, an original fictional tale as told by a young boy who knows the Purim story well and uses his imagination to incorporate those facts into his own adventure.”
“Megillas Lester” also features several original songs, composed by the project’s musical director, Shmuli Rosenberg of SkyLine Music. The songs are truly a highlight of the production, with catchy sing-able melodies, and phrases that not only entertain but also impart fundamental lessons. Concepts related to Hashgacha P’ratis – (Divine Intervention), and Emunah are portrayed through the characters in a fun and easy-to-digest platform suitable for young and old alike. “It was challenging to write music that portrayed evil Haman or drunken Persians at Achashverosh’s feast while still keeping the mood light, humorous, and family friendly”, explains Rosenberg, “By varying the instrumentation to reflect the period but also infusing some modern-day fun sounds, we were able to create a unique blend that really works for our characters”.
Writer and lyricist, Malka Leah Josephs, worked with Mr. Rosenberg to weave the words of Chazal into his tunes without losing the flavor and fun of the music. The result is a perfect melodious blend of humor, sentimentality and wit.
RAISING THE BAR FOR QUALITY JEWISH PRODUCTIONS:
Motion capture is a cutting edge technology that streamlines the animation process and allows for more realistic movement. Formerly reserved for only big budget studio productions, Kolrom Multimedia now houses the only MOCAP (Motion Capture) studio in the entire state of Maryland. Outfitted with sixteen perfectly calibrated specialized cameras that line the ceiling and walls of the studio, this innovative technique allows movements to be authentically harnessed and computerized for a more precise and satisfying viewing experience. Once the vocal actors have recorded all the spoken parts and songs, the motion capture actors put on special suits outfitted with 49 highly sensitive markers. They then “act out” the script, performing specific motions in the calibrated studio. The technology team then translates those movements to the characters we see on screen.
Megillas Lester’s art designers created all of the sets and characters in the film using 3D modeling and animation. This has nothing to do with big dark glasses – it’s actually an extremely advanced technology that allows the spaces to be drawn and built three dimensionally, so that the camera angle can be placed on any and all sides of the object or character and items or entire rooms can actually be seen from all vantage points. This allows for a much fuller visual experience and takes on a far more true-to-life feel than standard 2-D animation.
After seven months of hard work from a full crew, “Megillas Lester” is ready to be released just in time for Purim 2014. “It’s creatively wonderful,” said Michael Bihovsky, an accomplished Jewish actor who plays the role of Lester, “I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
The exclusive screening event for Megillas Lester will be held at at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium (111 Amsterdam Ave.) on Tuesday, March 4th at 7:00 PM.
Tickets are $20 per person. Seating is limited.
For more information and to purchase tickets please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Megillas Lester is available on CD and bluray and online from ArtScroll.