ATLFF 2010: Brief Talk on Short Films

Interviews with the Directors of Four Short Films

Short films are often overlooked in the hype surrounding film festivals and truthfully it is somewhat understandable. The features are like the quarterbacks of the film world. They’re the ones that bring home the big prizes and can change the face of film-making for at least 6 months. However, short films are the life-blood of film festivals because they can often help usher in talent that will bear fruit in years to come that is merely hinted at in their short film work. Often the best filmmaking can be found in short films, so I definitely recommend all film lovers to check into at least one if not multiple short film programs the next time they’re planning their festival schedule. I was able to catch a few shorts that will be playing at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival and took a moment to check in with the filmmakers of these shorts.

Tedious ExistenceThe Tedious Existence of Terrell B. Howell (Looking for Love Shorts)David Silverman, USA, 2009, 25 minutes, English

Terrell Howell’s tedious existence, and his relationship with his wife, changes forever when he meets Joy, a seductive young woman who reignites his passions.

What was the inspiration for your film?

My wife, Kelly, wanted to write a story about every day people stuck in the monotony of every day life.  Her goal was to tell a story that was unique yet universal. My inspiration as director was my wife asking me to help her make the film. A unique addition to my "honey do" list!

What was the most challenging aspect of the production of your film?

The most difficult thing about the production was location procurement, management, scouting and the rest. When you don't have money to secure and lock down a location, you inherit a lot of challenges to overcome. Sound is also a big issue on location, especially when you're shooting in restaurants and gas stations that are open for business!

What’s next for you?

To see what is next, you can check out our website: www.cakebabyproductions.com. Our new short is already in the can and awaiting a premiere! Check out "Pony Rides Are for Girls" on our site, and be sure to fan the film on Facebook.

Puppets of War (Drama Shorts)Corey Ellis, Francis McDonald, USA, 2009, 26 minutes, English

Set in a trench on the front line of a looming battle, one young soldier experiences the anguish and stress of the first Great War. Yeah, they’re puppets.

What was the inspiration for your film?

The film began as an idea to use puppets in an unconventional genre.  We’d never scene a puppet/war film and it was such an ambitious idea for the three of us, we thought we’d give it a shot.

What was the most challenging aspect of the production of your film?

By far the most challenging aspect of production was the creation of the puppets and sets.   We spent several months just building the puppets from scratch and constructing a set in our own living room.

What’s next for you?

No ideas yet, but from what we’ve learned as filmmakers over the time spent working on Puppets of War, I believe we will challenge ourselves even further and create something even more wild and fun!

This Side Up (Comedy Shorts)Eric Blue, USA, 2009, 12 minutesIn English and Spanish with English subtitles

Jack decides to ship himself in a crate to see his girl friend in Florida. Along the way he come across more than he ever expected in transit.

BLUE, the writer/director/producer of THIS SIDE UP, is the founder of BlueLantern Films (http://www.bluelanternfilms.com)

What was the inspiration for your film?

THIS SIDE UP was inspired by true events. The real story was that of a college student shipping himself in a crate to visit his family. He was actually arrested and went to jail from what I understand. I took this story and embellished it quite a bit to make it funnier and more exciting. The idea of the Hispanic character, also shipping himself in a crate, was added to make it a buddy movie of sorts. I was shooting for a Dean Martin / Jerry Lewis type of dynamic. It is incredible to me that someone would actually do something as stupid and dangerous as shipping themselves in a crate in real life. Our story ends much better, and funnier, than the real event.

What was the most challenging aspect of the production of your film?

It is the first movie that we have done that combines live action, animation and CGI effects. We shot the movie on the RED ONE camera and did a lot of our post work at RIOT Atlanta. Scott Salamon, our producer, did an amazing job and really pushed the post side of things. He worked with Deron Hoffmeyer, our digital effects artist, to create an incredible animation sequence and some stunning effects. This movie wouldn't have been the same without Scott and Deron. The hardest part for me was staying patient during the effects and animation portion of post production. The work can be very slow but the finished product is definitely worth it! Check it out at The Atlanta Film Festival. We screen during the comedy short film program.

What’s next for you?

Our next movie is a feature film called, THE HIGH ROAD. It is a road trip comedy and is about a twenty something guy and his girl friend driving a hearse full of high grade marijuana across Georgia to save the family farm from foreclosure. It's a really funny story and we are presently in the fund raising and casting stages of the movie. We are working with a casting director out of LA to get some star power in the lead role. Hopefully we'll have an official announcement on that soon. For more information about THE HIGH ROAD you can check out our web site.

The World of Film Festivals (Comedy Shorts) Jim Jacob, USA, 2009, 5 minutes, English

All the interesting facts and ideas about film festivals you ever would want to know. The chat includes the business of film festival prizes and sponsors as well as a candid exploration of types of films and venues in connection with film festivals. To top it off there are several tips for making attending festivals more enjoyable.

Jim Jacob, the writer/director of The World of Film Festivals, answered our survey questions like this.

What was the inspiration for your film?

My inspiration was just attending film festivals as well as reading about them.

What was the most challenging aspect of the production of your film?

The most challenging aspect of the production of the film was how to make the film minimalist but also give it a little variety.

What’s next for you?

My next project will probably be another, somewhat similar, short, which I'm currently writing.

Martin Kelley is Editor-in-Chief of CinemATL.com. He's also a local screenwriter and filmmaker who co-founded the Atlanta Screenwriters Group, one of the largest screenwriting organizations in the Southeast. His latest film "Battle" is in post production www.battle-movie.com