SHORTSFESTLOGOBONW-smOur first Shorts Festival kicks off Thursday night (Buy Tickets) with our first batch of shorts selected by our cinema department. We reached out to the filmmakers of night one to answer a few stock questions to get some insight into their projects, and to give y’all an idea of what to expect.

10

The Pitch
Filmmaker: Joe Palacios

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
A young writer pitches his best ideas to a movie executive, hilarity ensues…

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
I was inspired to mock the ideas that are out there, all the remakes and rehashes that get churned out, but mainly it was for a good laugh.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
The shoot was fun to do with all involved, where we were all just shouting out ridiculous things to pitch. Things too blue to mention in this answer.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
My next idea is a short with no dialogue but lots of action!

Amateur
Filmmaker: Ryan Koo

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
In Amateur, a basketball recruiter employs under-the-table methods to convince a high school player to transfer schools. Amateur is a short prequel for my forthcoming feature film Manchild, which will follow a middle school star as he is discovered by the basketball recruiting machine.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
It’s hard to get a feature film made. It’s harder to get a feature film about a team sport, starring children, made. You need extras and gyms and good kid actors… so after working on my feature for two years, I took a minor character from the feature — a recruiter — and told his story. How did he get to the point he’s at in Manchild where he’s recruiting middle schoolers? Amateur tells that story.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
There’s a scene in Amateur involving a car. The actors that showed up to drive said car did not have driver’s licenses and had never driven a car it turned out — this is New York we’re talking about, so I guess it’s more possible here than anywhere. Whoever was driving the car before me — it was a ZipCar — crashed it. So, we were all set for the scene where actors drive a car, except for the fact that we didn’t have a car, or anyone to drive it. This is independent filmmaking!

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Manchild! We’re raising financing to shoot the feature this summer.

09

Possum
Filmmaker: Eleanor Wilson

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
Possum is a drama about a couple who are dealing with trauma in two very different ways and having a hard time navigating each other. It’s about loss, care, gender, expectations, and it’s set in upstate on the weekend of Halloween. That’s about all I can say without giving too much away!

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
I was upstate at the house where we shot the film and was riding one day and saw this dead possum on the side of the road. It was the first possum I’d seen in America – I’m from Australia and they look very different over there! Here, they have strange, human-like, beige hands. The image really stuck with me for days and I started thinking “what type of person would become obsessed with this?” It sort of brought up a lot of fears of mine and I worked backwards from that.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
Our production designer, Andy, had spent 3 days making the dead possum, dunking it in mud and letting it dry so the fur was all matted and gross, figuring out exactly where to position the hands, the blood and so on. Then on the day we finally shot that scene, there was an actual dead possum right around the corner from where we were shooting. He was so excited he wanted to go scoop it up and bring it back to set but we were like “Andy! Let it go! It’s just a wide shot!” He was very dedicated. He ended up taking a bunch of pictures of it and using it for inspiration, and general grossing out of everyone on set.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
I’m about to lock myself away upstate this Thanksgiving and try and get a draft of a feature I’m working on finished. It’s a psychological thriller about the feeling of losing your identity as you get older; how we cling to memories of ourselves to define who we are.

08

Open City: The Dreamer
Filmmaker: A. V. Rockwell

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
Larry Connor, better know as Antenna Man, has made a living by playing his saxophone on NYC’s subway for the past thirty years. Known locally for his legendary subway performances, we spent a few nights documenting Antenna Man’s adventures underground, getting to know the deeper struggles and vices he deals with.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
In a way, we found each other. I saw Antenna Man on the train when I was headed home late one night. Immediately I was frustrated because I sat in the subway car so intrigued by the persona he created to surround his sax performance. It was a poetic moment I regretted being unable to film. I promised myself if I ever bumped into him again, I’d make it happen, and surely enough weeks later, after sharing my experience with a friend, we bumped into him in the train station!

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
The first night we went out, we had a late start as we waited for a crew member who was supposed to take part in the shoot. In the meantime, we chatted with Larry, paying little to no mind to how many beers he chugged down as we stood outside of a Deli. Needless to say, Amy (the film’s producer) and I began freaking out once we realized how intoxicated he was when we started filming. Thankfully, we somehow made it through the night and captured some amazing footage.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Well, The Dreamer is a part of an on-going series of short films I’ve been releasing, entitled Open City Mixtape. It’s the story of New York’s inner city through a collection of short tales about the people who live here. It’s been an amazing experience over the past year and right now we’re in the midst of filming the last set of shorts in the series. Aside from that, I’m working on a feature-length script for a project I’d like to begin developing in 2014.

03

Green Death
Filmmakers: Nicholas Bedo

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
Betty Bloo has just been widowed five minutes after being wed by evil extraterrestrial jewel thieves. Now she must fight through unspeakable terror and impossible obstacles to save her beloved daughter, Victoria.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
I wanted to make a simple short film on the beach over the summer, contrasting the beauty of the sun and waves with the crude slime of old sci-fi aesthetic. I looked towards the monster movies of the ’50’s, The Horror Of Party Beach, The Man From Planet X, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, as inspiration. Those movies are so fun to me and toe the line between horror and comedy that I needed to have a go at it.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
When we we’re practicing the alien hose death shot, our wonderful actress, Mona Depena, accidentally sprayed our alien, Charlie Lao, in the face before he had the mask on. Good thing it was a hot summer day.

The morning of the first shooting day before anyone was awake, about 5 AM, I awoke to my girlfriend/producer, Faith Kelly, on the phone with some one, it sounded bad. She got off the phone and told me that she was talking with our camera man who was sleeping in the other room. He forgot his camera in the New York City, a 45min train ride away, and we we’re supposed to start shooting in an hour or two. I hid under the covers.

Faith drove our camera man as fast as she could to catch the next train, the only train that could get him to the city and back in time for the shoot to start an hour late. The camera man told faith as he walked towards the train “Damn! I forgot the keys to my apartment at the house!” I don’t know how Faith did it but she managed to rush back to the house, beat the train and get the keys back to him before the train came. She told me she was almost hit by the train as she ran to give him the keys back.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
I learned a lot from shooting this movie, mainly because of all the mistakes I made. My crew was too big the days called for us to shoot way more then we could, and the script needed work. But all in all I’m very happy with what came out of it.