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:
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: