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Our first Shorts Festival continues into the weekend with a pair of screenings on Saturday (Buy Tickets) and Sunday (Buy Tickets), both with different programs. We reached out to the filmmakers of the last day of the fest to answer a few stock questions to get some insight into their projects, and to give y’all an idea of what to expect.

06

This is My Home
Filmmaker: Mark Cersosimo & Kelsey Holtaway

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
Stumbling upon what appeared to be a vintage shop, brightly lit display window and all, we began to walk in. A man sitting out front warned us that we were welcome to explore, but nothing inside was for sale. Our interests piqued, we began to browse through the collections the man out front had built throughout his life. This is a story of a man and his home.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
Our inspiration for the film stems 100% from the subject himself. Anthony Pisano. After a very short brief interaction, and spending just a couple of minutes inside his home, we knew right then and there that this had to be shared with as many people as possible. It was not a story we were willing to let go unheard. Never once in our combined 51 years on this earth have either of us ever stumbled upon anything quite like this.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
On an unseasonably warm November night while walking to get ice cream, we paused on the sidewalk, gazing past the open door of what appeared to be an antique shop. Bright neon sign in the window, Frank Sinatra music blasting, it seemed like a great place to pick up a few odd trinkets. We both shrugged our shoulders and began to walk in.

It was then that an elderly man sitting outside, who we presumed was the shop owner, spoke up – “Hey, ladies first.” He was right, how rude, so we switched our places and once again began entering – “One other thing” he said, “Just so you know, nothing inside is for sale. You can browse all you want, but you can’t buy anything.” What an odd tactic for an antique shop we thought. As we were looking around the first room in this railroad apartment, about half way through we spotted a desk area, but beyond that, the lighting began to fade, and figured the area was off limits. Standing in the middle of this place, suddenly it hit us – “Wait a minute” we thought. “Are we in this guys’ house?”

We made our way back out front and asked him, all he told us that we were unusually quick and implored us to go back in and continue exploring “Go all the way to the back,” he said. “You have to really see everything.” Hesitantly, we walked back inside and started our second look around. This time, as we walked past the desk area and into the shadows, we spotted a bed – yup, it suddenly became clear that this was in fact this man’s home. Past the bed, we were greeted by a friendly cat sitting atop a piano sitting right at the corner of the kitchen. After about 15 minutes we wandered back up front, thanked him for letting us peruse his home and then went on our way down the street to get our ice cream.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Mark is working on a documentary about The Roving Typist, a writer who types stories for strangers on his typewriter in the parks around NYC. It will be released in early December.

05

La Segmentation Des Sentiments
Filmmaker: Sarah Barbault & Emilie Barbault Nizier

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
A young woman is wandering in Paris, in her apartment, waiting for someone… Or for love.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
The first thing is that we wanted to work with Alysson Paradis, we’ve met her through friends at a party and we fell in love with her. And then, we wanted to talk about all the little things a young woman can feel in her love life especially when she’s waiting for someone or for love. We definitely wanted to show everything without any dialogue. That was the big challenge for us. Our previous short films were full of dialogue!

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
We were an all-girl crew, five exactly… We only had a few hours to shoot our film, we had to move from one location to another by foot, so everybody was carrying equipment even our actress. And the funny thing was that we bumped into a big movie crew who was shooting Polisse Maiwenn’s film (who later received the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes). We all knew some of the crew members and we stopped a few minutes to chat with them.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Yes. We just shot last Sunday the video for the song “Waiting For You” by Minor Alps (Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws and Juliana Hatfield) in Paris with two French actors, Julie Gayet and Philippe Rebbot. Then we’re hoping to shoot our first feature film next summer, with the same two actors and Alysson. And Matthew Caws will write the score for the film. Hence the video!

07

Master of the Broken House
Filmmaker: Rob Chapman

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
Master of the Broken House is about a struggling film student who becomes obsessed with a homeless man’s startlingly profound screenplay about a house that walks and the adventures of the man who lives inside of it.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
The inspiration for Master of the Broken House came in waves throughout the creative process, from writing to production to editing to music. Inherently meta, the film’s meaning was constructed by layering the self reflexive insights we had about the filmmaking process while actually making the film.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
We had three or four hours to use a tiny “soundstage” (30 ft x 40 ft, maybe) to film the entirety of the walking house live action segments. Of course, like any good filmmakers, we ran out of time, got kicked out and had to deconstruct the set despite having several scenes left to film. After begging our generous professor for assistance, he covertly secured a large classroom, allowing us to film the rest of the scenes.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Amit Ashraf, the film’s writer and animator, recently released his first feature, Udhao, in theaters in Bangladesh. Amit is also in development on his first animated feature. I have been editing video professionally since film school and have several film projects in the early stages of the pipeline.

04

Kin
Filmmaker: Rachel Lambert

1. Give a short pitch of your short
A reclusive young woman is paid a surprise visit from her estranged brother, bearing bad news and a mysterious gift.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
I don’t know if it’s inspiration so much as a desire to talk about some questions we had about how pain and trauma affect us over time, depending on how we deal with it. We created a person that has done all she can to sever herself from who she was, where she is from and what plagues her. But, despite her efforts, her family, her pain, still finds a way to land at her doorstep. I guess it was a story that allowed Nate and I to ask ourselves, and our audience, whether we are ever really ‘free’ from our roots, and whatever ghosts live there that haunt us.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
It was the end of our second day of shooting, we had just endured this intense, vicious fight scene, and while the work was good, there were some incredible sound pollution issues that I think affected performances. But I could see where I could make it work in the edit and decided to move on for time. I had the SD card sent to the DIT [digital image technician] to dump and started prepping last shots. My producer, Denis, came out of the office to ask me to join him in there quickly — obviously, I knew there was a problem. I was told that the SD card was not reading and our DIT believed we would not be able to retrieve any of those hours we shot.

I knew how tired everyone was, but there was no way we could make the film without this footage. So I called in my DP [director of photography] to get a sense of his response, and immediately he was up for re-shooting. Once I had that energy from him, I felt good making the call, so I went out and told our actors the situation. I then promptly poured us all a few shots of Dickel and we suited up.

What followed was the best work I’d seen from my actors, and primarily what we ended up using came from those re-shoots. We called wrap and suddenly my DIT ran out excited – the original SD card was suddenly working! We would get the footage after all…..to this day I chalk it up to a lesson that was serendipitously imposed upon me: trust your instincts. I knew I hadn’t gotten what I wanted but my fear of imposing myself on my team overruled my knowing what the film needed. I still own that SD card. It sits on my desk, looking on as I work.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Nathan and I spent the last year and a half developing our first feature film, In the Radiant City, which I will also direct, and we are now officially slated to shoot in Spring 2014. Javier Gonzalez and Goldapple Entertainment are producing, and we will be shooting in Louisville, Kentucky.

02

Epilogue
Filmmaker: Dylan Allen

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
After the end of an epic adventure, a hero and his lover struggle to figure out what comes next.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
Watching the same action/adventure movies over and over as a kid and wondering what happens after the credits. What does a hero do when there’s nothing left to find and no one left to kill? He’s always single for his new love interest in the sequel, which means he had to break up with the previous one at some point. I wanted to see what that might look like.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
We were shooting in a gorge, in the rain, the whole crew up to their ankles in mud, with no hope of finishing what we’d intended to shoot, when I realized I could cut two pages of dialogue, make the scene stronger and get everyone the hell out of there.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
Currently finishing up a script for my first feature, a sci-fi rock and roll adventure set in Nashville, TN.

rust

Rust
Filmmaker: Chris Muller

1. Give a short pitch of your short.
It’s about a man having all these precarious elements in his life that are rebounding off each other and creating an environment in his mind that he feels he can’t get out of. I wanted to create an exaggerated narrative on the effects that outside influences have on a hapless person.

2. What was your inspiration for this project?
Certainly, Evan Glodell’s Bellflower. After seeing the film, I couldn’t help myself from re-watching it a few more times. It’s strange because it’s a flawed film, but the images just stayed with me for months after. Maybe the fact that the budget was around $15,000 for that film (don’t quote me on that) [Close enough. Bellflower had a $17,000 budget. – ed] made me realize that I could do something like it without even near the same budget. I think I ended up spending a couple hundred dollars at the most, which was mostly pizza for my crew.

3. What’s your best story from this shoot?
Being my first short film that I’ve even been a part of, I don’t think I have a specific story that sticks with me. The entire process was entirely new to me so every aspect has its own bemusing elements that I had no choice but to work through.

I’d say figuring out how to spray blood onto the wall was most memorable. I used an air compressor and bought a tiny hose that I attached to the nozzle, then strung the hose under my shirt and out the top of it and taped it to the back of my head. The only people on set for this sequence was me and my [director of photography], so I had to set off the trigger while I was acting in the scene.

4. What’s next? Do you have anything in the pipe you’d like to talk about?
I’m going to make my second short film this spring, but nothing else is “in the pipe” as of today. If you’d like to hire me, I’ll listen.