Tooter Anon

If you smelt it, you must have dealt it. 

Tooter Anon screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Bring The Kids screening. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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My name is Isabella Cuevas Pierson. I’m a 20-year-old filmmaker/photographer from Washington. I enjoy making narratives and music videos.

A Brief Interview with Isabella:

Why did you decide to make this film?

I had recently seen the Maltese Falcon and loved it. I figured it would be a fun project to poke fun at noir films. It was easy to get my family on board with the idea. We had a lot of fun making it together. 

What was your favorite part about making it?

My favorite part was shooting it. The actors are my sisters and cousins. When we’re all together it’s tradition to make a short, which usually ends up being a comedy. There was a lot of improvisation and laughing on set.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on a larger project to shoot over the summer. A drama/thriller, somewhere from 5 to 15 minutes. I’m very excited about it. I’m trying to step away from shorts (as much as I love making them) and focus on bigger scale projects.

Find Isabella & Tooter Anon online: 

Website: http://isabellacuevaspierson.weebly.com/
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user12907969
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/isabellaspace/

When The Leaves Fall

A young boy seeks to cure his brother's terminal illness when he overhears the doctor's diagnosis. 

When The Leaves Fall screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Northwest Is Best screening. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Tommy Tang is a videographer and photographer at the University of Washington's Media and Communications program. His documentaries on social issues and underrepresented communities have screened on FUSION TV and at Slamdance, NFFTY, STIFF, and BSDFF.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Interview with Tommy:

Why did you decide to make this film?

It was created for a Super 8 Filmmaking contest sponsored by Kodak. I was inspired by the short film Falling Leaves from 1912, but I felt that the original had an ending that wasn't true to life so I changed the story to fit a modern-day setting and to tell a more ambiguous message.

What was your favorite part about making it?

The child actors, Timothy and Isaac, were great fun to work with. Their intelligence, enthusiasm, and playfulness made filming a treat.

What are you working on now?

I am writing and directing feature-length thriller film called Contraband that will be shot entirely in Washington. It is currently in pre-production and will be released by early 2018.

Stereotype

A bullied teenage boy journeys into the night wanting to avenge his brother's death, only to find himself locked in a moral dilemma that will change his life forever. 

Stereotype screened at NFFTY 2016 at Closing Night. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Jordan McGibney is currently working as a freelance Director, Producer and Editor within the UK. Starting out as a photographer and graphic designer with a passion for theatre Jordan combined his skill-sets and began to train in Film. Working through the BFI Film Academy and NFTS Talent Campus Jordan went on to create a number of films including the multi award winning short film ‘Stereotype’. With a focus on creating thrilling stories with deep social and political themes he has worked in a number of genres and will be taking on his first feature in 2018. 

 


A Brief Interview with Jordan:

Why did you decide to make this film?

Within my city there has been a huge increase in knife crime that has affected hundreds of families. Rather than make a film that just showed the horrific nature of these acts, I wanted to tell a story that showcased the good spirit of people.

Everyday communities are stereotyped because of the actions of the few yet there are so many inspirational stories of forgiveness, heroism and love that we don’t see in the mainstream media.

Stereotype was a film close to my heart and I wanted to send a message out to anyone that no matter what you are going through the biggest strength you have is the power of choice.

What was your favorite part about making it?

Working with the actors to create some really intense scenes was probably my favourite part about making the film. I cast a lot from the Television workshop in Nottingham and it was great to see them take the script and really add to it. We did several pre-scenes, rehearsals and eventually rounded it down to what we thought was realistic. When we were on set it was great seeing them collaborate and find new choices in the moment.

One of my other favourite parts was collaborating with Mike McLoughlin and Gyorgy Laszlo to create the world. We wanted the film to have an international feel so that anyone could relate to the story. We chose these bright colourful sets combined with pools of top lighting to create this dark mood. I feel with the work they both did, the locations became an extra character in the film. It was my first time working with such experienced crewmembers and they taught me a lot about the art of filmmaking.

What are you working on now?

I currently have a few projects on the go however my main focus is a prison drama I am hoping to shoot this summer. With all the cut backs going on in the UK we are seeing record high attacks and suicides within the system. I’d like to open up a greater discussion about the importance of education and a fuller understanding of mental health within the prison system. If anyone would like to collaborate or support this project please drop me an email via Jordan@mcgibneyproductions.co.uk.

Crossing Brooks County

Those who cross the United States - Mexico border in Brooks County, Texas often face devastating consequences. This film paints a portrait of life and death 70 miles north of the border.  

Crossing Brooks County screened at NFFTY 2016 at The Human Race screening and took home the Audience Award. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS:

From left to right: Kaley Belval, Nina Lindberg and Eric Cotton 

From left to right: Kaley Belval, Nina Lindberg and Eric Cotton 

Kaley's bio: 

Kaley Belval is currently a Graphic Designer for the Idaho Mountain Express in Ketchum, Idaho. She designs advertisements and works on the layout of the paper, as well as uploading content to the paper's website and helping to integrate video into the newsroom. She is also the Production Coordinator for the Family of Woman Film Festival, which brings films made by/about women from all over the world in order to "think globally and act locally". Belval was an Associate Producer on the PBS film, Munich '72 and Beyond immediately after graduation from Ithaca College. She is originally from Woodbury, CT and has a Bachelor of Arts in Documentary Studies and Production with minors in Women's & Gender Studies and Honors.

Eric's bio: 

Eric Cotton is the Assistant Editor and Archival Associate Producer for Insignia Films in New York City. After recently completing a three-part, six-hour series on WWI for The American Experience on PBS, Cotton is now working on a one-hour piece about the SeaLab experiments of the 1960s. SeaLab (WT) is also set to air on The American Experience on PBS. He is currently coordinating post production activity for the film, as well as conducting all of the archival research. Cotton also recently worked for Ark Media in New York City as an archival associate producer for the PBS series Finding Your Roots. Cotton is originally from Naples, New York. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 with a major in Television and Radio with a concentration in Documentary Production.

Nina's bio: 

Nina Lindberg is currently the Video Production Coordinator for the Colgate University Athletics Department in Hamilton, New York. Lindberg manages all of the department’s live and pre-produced video requirements.She produces season preview videos, athletic department features and handles assorted photography assignments. She is also directs all live board shows for the Class of 1965 Hockey Arena. In addition to her work at Colgate, Lindberg has also worked with the NCAA Digital and Social department at the FCS Division 1 Football National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas and the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Lansing, New York, native is a 2015 graduate of Ithaca College, majoring in documentary studies and production.


A BRIEF INTERVIEW WITH KALEY, ERIC AND NINA:

Why did you decide to make this film?

Kaley: We decided to make this film, originally, as part of a class our junior year at Ithaca College. After completing the course, we chose to continue it as our thesis project because we found the story too important to stop working on. Immigration is not something that any of us were directly affected by, but it has become something we are extremely passionate about. We wanted to help others learn more about it as well, especially in light of all the current talk about undocumented immigration.

Eric: We decided to make this film because we felt that it was an extremely important story to tell. With today's political climate, it is easy to get lost in all of the statistics and name calling and forget that these are real people who are risking their lives to come here to try to improve their circumstances. We decided to make this film to try to bring the focus back to the humane issues surrounding undocumented immigration.

Nina: It was the Brooks County community that ultimately inspired us to create this film. From the mayor, to the sheriff's department, to local ranchers, the majority of people of Brooks County truly cared about the lives of those crossing the border. Regardless of political ideals, they cared about their safety and they understood that these people were not criminals but often criminalized. This film forced us to take a step back from the political drama portrayed in mainstream media and recognize the incredible humanitarian effort taking place in the small Southern Texas County. 

What was your favorite part about making it?

Kaley: My favorite part about making Crossing Brooks County was learning about each person’s individual perspective that we came in contact with. Although we definitely did not agree with the perspective of some people that we interviewed, it helped to understand where the other side was coming from and just how greatly immigration impacts everyone. It gave me a new perspective on my own privileges, as an American citizen, as well as the issue of immigration as a whole.

Eric: My favorite part about making this film was getting to meet so many warm hearted people. From the sheriff's department to the family members of immigrants to the ranchers, everyone really opened themselves up to us and made us feel welcomed.

Nina: My favorite part about making this film was getting to know everyone involved. We were able to build a trusting relationship with many of those featured in the piece because they knew we had their best interest at heart. With that in mind, they really opened up to us. They invited us into their homes, introduced us to their friends and family, and really made us feel welcome in their community.

What are you working on now?

Kaley: I am currently working as a graphic designer for the Idaho Mountain Express, designing ads as well as page layout for the paper (and working on integrating video production into the newsroom too). I am also the Production Assistant for the upcoming 10th Annual Family of Woman Film Festival, helping with all of the technological needs for the screenings and events. This past year, I worked as an Associate Producer on the documentary Munich ’72 and Beyond, which was aired on PBS and was an official selection of a number of film festivals.

Eric: I'm currently an Assistant Editor and Associate Producer with Insignia Films. After spending the last year working on a three part, six hour series titled The Great War, I have begun working on a new project about early saturated diving experiments conducted by the US government in the 1960s. Both of these projects are being made for PBS's American Experience.

Nina: I am currently the Video Production Coordinator for Colgate University Athletics. I create content such as short features, hype videos, PSA's, and highlight packages for our website, social media, and video boards at our ice hockey and football facilities


Find Kaley, Eric, Nina & Crossing Brooks County online: 

Website: https://www.facebook.com/strongsidemedia/

From Here Nor There

An outsider experiences what it is like to be integrated into two different inner circles and must choose the lifestyle that is best suited for himself.  

From Here Nor There screened at NFFTY 2016 at Closing Night. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Alex is a cinematographer and director based in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently in post-production with his thesis film from NYU where he graduated in 2015. He is also in development stages with several other shorts. Alex is attracted to all things bizarre, surreal, and unexplained in cinema and the real world.

 

 

 

 

A Brief Interview with Alex:

Why did you decide to make this film?

There were several themes, techniques, and images, that I had studied and come to love over my time at NYU and this film was an opportunity to culminate all of that during my study abroad program in Prague. For example the opening scene is based on a painting by Gustave Caillebotte entitled "The Floor Scrapers" which originally struck me for its composition and lighting but ended up having a more profound influence on how I dealt with class and social groups in the film. Also, the idea that characters were talking in four different languages yet still understanding each other was not only a logistical solution to having an international cast, but an idea I had wanted to execute for a while. My favorite moment of the film (which I had written before I knew a Mexican would be playing opposite a Slovak and speaking in their native tongues) is when Pavel asks Andros, "Do you understand me?" and Andros responds, "Yes but I don't know why" and after a beat Pavel answers, "We often don't". I think that moment sums up why I wanted to make this movie - to contrast inclusion and empathy with exclusivity and independence. And lastly, I love this movie called "Johnny Suede" where a pair of suede shoes fall out of the sky and crash on top of a telephone booth that the main character happens to be in. The shoes perfectly fit and he becomes Johnny Suede. Since then I have tried to fit in things randomly falling from the sky in most of my work, and when it happens in 'From Here Nor There', it always gets a great reaction in screenings. More laughs than I expected, but a reaction nonetheless and I'll take it.

What was your favorite part about making it?

My favorite part of making 'From Here Nor There' was working with 35mm film for the first time. We were allotted so little film for our projects, it was so stressful, I think it was 12 minutes worth. I ended up personally buying an extra roll so I had 16 minutes but I knew I still needed more for the length of my script. My movie happened to be the last one on the schedule to go into production out of the ten films we were making that semester. So every time we went into production for another film I almost bargained and made deals with the other directors for them to give me their leftover scraps of unexposed film if they had any. By the time I went into production I might have had 19 minutes or so. We shot no master shots and hardly a second take. The actors hated it. But the sound of film spinning thru the camera really put the pressure on and I think we all thrived in that environment. We ended up making a 9 minute 30 second movie with 19 minutes of film in two days. Luckily there was a rainstorm in the second half of the second day, so the cast and crew had to take shelter in a couple of vans for an hour or two and in that time we re-wrote the ending because we had lost too much time. The light ended up being amazing after the rainstorm and we were rushing to finish before the sun went down, crew members running thru muddy fields, freshly loaded magazines from the leftover scraps, maybe 45 seconds worth of film at a time. And then in the middle of one of the last takes when we had planned for two more shots, the film had run out. And everybody was like, "okay, I guess that's it..." That process was so different and fun but I told myself I would do exactly the opposite on my next film, which I ended up doing, shooting on two digital cameras at once. But when I look back I realize the film process restrained me and brought the best out of me.

What are you working on now?

To pay the rent I am working as a cinematographer in the corporate/commercial world since I graduated film school in 2015. As a cinematographer I am in development with several shorts and a feature that may come into fruition later in 2017. As a director I have my thesis film in post that was shot in the beginning of 2015 - let's just say that, "we're tryna find the story in post" and that's a bit of  an understatement. It's called "Shining Path, Bright Future" about two unhappy best friends on a weird night out on New Years Eve in New York City. But even more importantly, I have one true goal on my mind these days and that is to write a short film, that takes place in the aesthetically gorgeous modern house I grew up in. It is currently on the market, and I will be very hard on myself if it sells before I get the chance to make something beautiful in there.

Find Alex & From Here Nor There online: 

Website: fjellbergswerdlowe.com

Looking Down

Riley has to make a decision that will determine the course of her entire life. 

Looking Down screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Opening Night screening and received the Audience Award. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Joe Staehly is a 23 year old director and DP who specializes in visual story telling. He’s been shooting silly videos with friends since he was 10 years old. Then, he made it his career. His work has appeared on MTV and he has worked for a variety of clients and artists including Maybelline, Draft Kings, Notre Dame, and G-Fuel. He loves conveying emotion through video, and working with original creative concepts. He wants every new project to be better than his last, so he continually pushes himself to always create new and interesting stories.


A Brief Interview with Joe:

Why did you decide to make this film?

I decided to make the film for my senior thesis at Drexel University. The concept of small choices creating large impacts through out life has always intrigued me and it was something I wanted to explore by making this film.

What was your favorite part about making it?

My favorite part of making Looking Down was all of the traveling I had to do in order to create Riley's adventure sequence. We went to some really awesome spots throughout Minnesota and Los Angeles that I otherwise never would have experienced.

What are you working on now?

I have a few commercials and music videos in the works right now that I'm really excited to get started on!

Find Joe & Looking Down online: 

Website: www.setinmotion.com

Grey Space

An insomniac enters an abstract void where he reconnects with his deceased wife.

Grey Space screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Art In Motion screening, and won the Art In Motion Audience Award at NFFTY 2016 as well.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Jordan Rosenbloom is a director, editor and producer from Ottawa, Canada. His films have screened at festivals worldwide, including the Cannes Film Festival, Hollyshorts, NFFTY, and WorldFest Houston. Jordan has consulted in script development for The Weinstein Company, Nine Stories Productions, and Amazon Studios, and edits and produces content for Def Jam/Universal Music.

A Brief Interview with Jordan:

Why did you decide to make this film?

I wanted to communicate ideas with very little dialogue, and I wanted to build an abstract space that mirrored my characters’ hopeless states of mind. I challenged myself to shoot on 16mm film, and I wanted to create a piece that was motivated by framing, music and mood. 

What was your favorite part about making it?

I really enjoyed conceptualizing the look of the piece, in attempting to marry its themes with its imagery. I loved editing the film as well, which really was a process of discovery and experimentation. I enjoyed working closely with my composer Katy Jarzebowski. 

What are you working on now?

I am currently in pre-production on my next film Waiting, while working as a script/story consultant for Amazon Studios and editing/producing content for Def Jam Recordings. 

Find Jordan & Grey Space online: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greyspacefilm/

Cuddle Up To Me

In Portland, Oregon, there is a shop for those that seek human touch and a warm embrace. Meet Samantha Hess, professional cuddler, and the people who frequent her shop. 

Cuddle Up To Me screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Northwest Is Best screening. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Nach Dudsdeemaytha is an independent producer and project manager. He works out of his humble production office at This is a Spoon Studios in Vancouver, where he produces, directs, and edits narrative content, documentaries, and corporate videos. 

 

 

 

A Brief Interview with Nach:

Why did you decide to make this film?

On a routine bus ride to school one day, I picked up the local paper to read -- that day, the front-page feature was about a cuddling business in my hometown. It really caught my attention; I had never heard of any business like it, at least not in North America. I had so many questions I wanted to ask. I was in a documentary class at the time and was looking for a documentary subject for a film… that newspaper article could not have come at a better time!

Some preliminary research led me to Samantha Hess in Portland, who called herself the “pioneer” of the (relatively new) professional cuddling industry. My original idea for the short documentary was to focus on the subject of touch in general. I spent some time researching about the science behind platonic touch, and its psychological effects. I reached out to professors, researchers, and professionals in the field of touch to schedule interviews with them, Samantha being one of those people.

However, as time went on, I became more engrossed in Samantha’s life story, and how she decided to pursue cuddling as a professional career. Sam introduced me to some of her clients, each with their own unique story of how they came to meet Sam. With the help of my good friends Wes Chew & Kelcie Hudson, and our professors, we decided to take a short trip to Portland to capture Sam’s story, and their stories of her clients.

What are you working on now?

I recently finished production on a Storyhive-funded webseries called Inconceivable, directed by my business partner and NFFTY alumni, Joel McCarthy. It’s inspired by (hilariously) true events from Joel’s life that may or may not involve a baby. We are in post-production full-time; the series is slated to release this summer.

As of February 17th, I will also have finished a film I co-wrote and produced called Cypher, a story about the underground rap battle scene in 1997 LA. It was made in part of the Crazy 8s Film Competition in Vancouver, where chosen filmmakers get 8 days to shoot & edit their film.

Find Nach & Cuddle Up To Me online: 

Website: http://www.thisisaspoon.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thisisaspoon
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/nach

Junk Mail

98-year-old Mary reminds us that people her age are sometimes forgotten, but still very much alive. Call your grandma.

Junk Mail screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Friday Night Shorts screening. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

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Charles Frank is a director, editor, and co-founder of Voyager Creative. He makes films that are empathetic, humanistic and heart filled. His two proudest pieces of work, Junk Mail and My Baby You’ll Be, have reached over 10 million people online, and have been featured in The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and Upworthy, among others. In 2016, he was honored at the SHOOT New Directors Showcase, and has directed for brands such as Miller Lite, Hasbro, and Future of Storytelling. He has also edited documentaries for Dick's Sporting Goods and The New York Times Op-Docs. Through all of his work, he strives to connect audiences to the subjects on screen, but also to one another. 

A Brief Interview with Charles:

Why did you decide to make this film?

I was working on a day-in-the-life doc shoot about a girl from Afghanistan studying at Lafayette College. As part of it, we followed her with a group of friends down the road to this nondescript building. To our surprised, we opened the door to a large group of elderly woman cheering and warmly greeting the familiar faces of their Lafeyette College volunteers. We only spent a couple hours there, but it was by far the most memorable part of the shoot. We decided one day we’d come back and spend some more time there… so we did!

What was your favorite part about making it?

Most documentary subjects are intimidated by the cameras and strangers interrupting their everyday life. But at the senior center, and particularly with the main subject, Mary, we were so happily welcomed in. It seemed as if everyone was incredibly confident in who they were, and had no reservations about sharing and being open on camera.

What are you working on now?

I just finished up working on my first feature documentary serving as an editor – it should be coming out within the next couple of months! Other than that, I’m pitching on a few different documentary series, and slowly chipping away at a longer term doc story about these two brothers I grew up with… I’m not yet sure where it will take me, but that’s the fun part!

Find Charles & Junk Mail online: 

Website: www.voyagercreative.com
Facebook: facebook.com/voyagercreative
Instagram: @voyagercreative -- instagram.com/voyagercreative

How We Are Now

Peter, a retired actor, lives with his partner of sixty years, Douglas. As Douglas approaches his eighty-third birthday, they offer an intimate view into how old age affects their live: from getting our of best in the morning to how they think about the future. 

How We Are Now screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Come As You Are screening. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Born in Milan and raised in London, Andrea is an ambitious and versatile filmmaker, with a particular interest in the absurd, the grotesque and the darkly comic.

After graduating with a BA in Theatre & Performance from the University of Warwick, he was accepted on an MA course at The London Film School. During his time at the school, Andrea wrote and directed several shorts, both fiction and documentary, which have since been shown in major film festivals around the world. 

Home Education is his graduation project. He is currently working on the feature version of the script.

A Brief Interview with Andrea:

Why did you decide to make this film?

As someone who has always been afraid of physical decline, old age is a phase in life that fascinates me. In old age, the future becomes increasingly uncertain and we can’t make the same long-term plans we do when we’re younger because the majority of our life is behind us.

I felt that this philosophical aspect of old age is very rarely, if ever, tackled in documentary and yet it’s such an essential part of our lives to confront and explore. If you come to terms with it earlier then I think that you can see the value in being elderly. 

The film explores the subject closely and our contributors were incredibly willing to show us very intimate details in their life that a lot of people in their position might have been frightened or embarrassed to reveal. In their humour and profound reflection, they demonstrated that though physical decline and lifestyle changes are a large part of growing old, we can face them with great positivity by looking ahead and adapting to our situation.

What was your favorite part about making it?

Peter and Douglas, our subjects. Their humour, honesty, affection and the love they had for each other were quite overwhelming and we became close friends during and after shooting the documentary. They became like a second set of grandparents. Sadly Douglas passed away last year but we were given the very moving task of designing the booklet for his funeral, which was a very emotional experience.

What are you working on now?

I am now writing the feature script for my latest short film 'Home Education', a darkly-comic psychological thriller set in the English countryside. I am also preparing to hopefully shoot a documentary in Afghanistan later next year, following two girls and how since the fall of the Taliban regime they have been able to receive an education and are now in university.

Find Andrea & How We Are Now online: 

Website: http://andreaniada.com/
How We Are Now Website: http://www.howwearenowfilm.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/howwearenow
Twitter: @HowWeAreNowFilm -- https://twitter.com/HowWeAreNowFilm

 

Ellie

Film of the Week

Desperate measures are taken to escape a violent world concealed within an isolated cottage. 

Ellie screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Edge of Your Seat category. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Morgana McKenzie is an award-winning filmmaker, creating her own short films and working as a cinematographer and colorist for other filmmakers. Morgana’s films have screened internationally at over 100 festivals and won over 30 awards. Morgana’s latest short film “Ellie” screened at over 25 festivals and won 14 awards including the Gerturde Löwengren Award for Best Fiction film from TIFF Next Wave Jump Cuts. Morgana was awarded Best Director Under 25 at the 2015 Ottawa Independent Video Awards, and Best Emerging Female Filmmaker award at NFFTY 2014 in Seattle.

Morgana's film "GIFTS" screened at NFFTY 2014, and was awarded NFFTY's first Best Emerging Female Filmmaker award, and a scholarship to The Prodigy Camp. Her narrative music video "We All Go the Same" screened at NFFTY 2015.

Morgana shooting test footage for an upcoming film. 

Morgana shooting test footage for an upcoming film. 

A Brief Interview with Morgana:

Why did you decide to make this film?

After receiving a scholarship from NFFTY in 2014 to attend The Prodigy Camp, I wrote Ellie as my camp film. Camp was an awesome experience, but ultimately shooting Ellie ended up being too complex to complete within the camp’s three hour shooting window. That incomplete 2014 version of Ellie was a learning experience, and I put the project on hold. Nearly a year later I was able to revisit the idea of making Ellie again, but back in Canada. I funded through Kickstarter and raised more than my target, worked with a professional casting director to hire union actors, and found a great location in Quebec to rent. The fact that I had to put the film on hold for a year ended up working to my advantage. With Ellie I wanted to create something in the style of a classic suspense film, where violence happens off camera and information isn’t immediately clear. Putting the film on hold allowed me time to stay true to these goals, and develop Ellie the way I saw best.

What was your favorite part about making it?

The most memorable moments for me came from the shoot days. Ellie was shot over one week in a cabin, with crew and actors staying on location. This made for a very intimate working environment where everyone became close quick. It made for better shoots, but it also gave me lasting friendships that I didn’t anticipate making. I was able to fly out my friend and fellow filmmaker Max Retik to work on lighting. We met at NFFTY and became friends, but being able to work together during that week was really wonderful. With Max and the rest of the cast and crew, the shoot became very relaxed and smooth, and one of the best I’ve had so far.

What are you working on now?

I am in the final stages of post production on a music video for the song “Atlas World” by London group Liu Bei. It is a narrative music video that follows a young child through a beautifully nightmarish journey, as the song itself is a contrast of beauty, wonder, and darkness. To achieve the look I wanted, I managed to get permits to shoot in some unique local heritage sites including caves, ruins, and bogs. But that meant long and challenging shoots, in tight spaces or outdoors in the rain, often in thigh-high water for hours at a time. The upside is I have some really interesting visuals that I’m excited to share when the music video is released in a month or two!

Find Morgana Online: 

Website: http://morganamckenzie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morganafilms/
Instagram: @MorganaFilms -- https://www.instagram.com/morganafilms/
Twitter: @MorganaFilms -- https://twitter.com/MorganaFilms

 

Bird In Cage

An intense visual experience; a dance phrase repeats three times in a skylit room with variations on shot composition, film editing, and frame rate.

Bird in Cage screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Experimental Visions category. It also played at the American Dance Festival, 40 North Dance Film Festival, and the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.

Bird in Cage | Dance from Martin Barshai on Vimeo.

About the Director:

 
 

After college (NYU) and a year in hell-hole Los Angeles, Martin Barshai moved to Long Beach. He makes videos of things that inspire him like great stories or skilled dancers. He once did a low-paid freelance video for Vogue Magazine. He thought making that video would bring him a lot more work than it has. His film BIRD IN CAGE has screened all over the USA: Seattle, Durham, New York City, Boulder, and San Diego. A shoestring budget 5 Episode web series called NARANJA was also crafted over the course of his first year in L.A. He likes showing the final episode to his friends. Martin’s DIY work ethic and ability to convince old college friends to make movies with him is a guarantee he will one day direct multi-million dollar projects. For now, he is focused on developing a style unlike anything that’s come before it. Toodaloo!

A brief interview with Martin:

Why did you decide to make this film?

There was an enormous urgency to escape New York City while I was living there. It’s an interesting city that sucks you in and tries to keep you there and sometimes you feel like you just want to break out. So the idea I was trying to express was this longing for freedom– from the monotonous repetition of living in NYC, the high stress and fast pace. I wanted to make a video that had more edits per second than anything I’ve seen before. I also love Phil Glass.

What was your favorite part about making it?

The editing process. It was supposed to be a slow paced video cut to “Music for Airports” by Brian Eno. Leslie, the dancer, actually choreographed the piece to that song. In the editing room (which was just my old college desk in my apartment), I realized that I could take that choreography and make it something completely different because it had such slow and methodical movement.

What are you working on now?

I’ve co-written and directed what I hope will be a viral video framed as a product unpacking Vlog titled “Snapchat Spectacles Winter Haul 2016 — Oops I broke them! ;)” If you’ve seen it, I guess it worked. If not, then it exists among the realm of the majority– wandering in the abyss of obscurity.

Find Martin Online:

Website: www.martinbarshai.com

Instagram: @mbarshai

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