2 MASKS // green screen production

2 MASKS is an experimental short film by Ezekiel Victor, featuring his original streetwear designs in a movie trailer style fashion statement where local legends, the Pilot and the Silkman, battle it out in small town America. I produced a day of pickup shots featuring media types such as news corresponders, podcasters, and a late night show. Bethany Rolland was the Art Director, Rome Widenhouse worked the camera and lighting, and Braethun Bharathae-Lane was sound design. We had the pleasure of working with actors like Daniel Ballard, Gracie Fulghum, Bruce Green, Ben Patterson, Jeffery Ray, Brewier Welch, and Brenna Williams.

BEATERS poster

Putting the final touches on the project, Madeleine Richardson and I generated a poster for BEATERS, our short film which premiered on the opening night of the Cat Fly Film Festival. The film was written and directed by Rome Widenhouse, and stars Cat Wityk, Erich Reinhard, and Brian Bost. BEATERS and its poster can be found on IMDb, and the film is available to watch in its entirety for free on Vimeo.

CAT FLY // festival follow up

Cat Fly Film Fest held its inaugural event over April Fools weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. The festival was an immense success, not only because it was a wonderful event for networking with other emerging filmmakers, but because it sold out all three nights! I know how hard the founders– Brittany Jackson, Madeleine Richardson, Keeley Turner, and Cat Wityk– worked to make the festival such a meaningful and memorable event, so the hype was all well deserved!

Opening Night presented a slew of dramatic shorts such as THE SMOKE TRILOGY which was co-directed by MJ Slide and GOOD HAIR’s own Catherine Dee Holly as well as BEATERS which I produced and Rome Widenhouse directed. The rest of the lineup was filled out by Asheville based filmmakers Kira Burksy, Katie Damien, Kendra Warren, Ryan DuVal, Wayne Wandering, and Amplified Media‘s Jared Kay.

The Asheville School of Film was gracious enough to allow us to host a workshop in their classroom space on Saturday morning which was led by myself and the aforementioned MJ Slide and Catherine Dee Holly. We talked about how to produce short films on a tight budget, focusing on the legal and logistical aspects of the production process that you simply can’t skimp out on no matter how large or small your budget, specifically how to strategize for indie films below or around $10,000 which is considered ultra-low budget by SAG-AFTRA standards.

Comedy Night!! Photos by @threeregionnc #catfly #catflyfilmfest #aprilfools #comedy #indiefilmfest #ncfilm #avl #asheville

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Comedy Night was an absolute blast, especially with standup from Asheville locals Cory Thompson and Minori Hinds as well as Atlanta’s own Dedrick Flynn and Fray Forde, both primary actors in GOOD HAIR which screened later that night under the COMEDY & CURLS umbrella. The first film was my directorial debut THE REPLICA RAID, starring Jeff Alexander who hosted the event. Multiple web-series were also showcased, including Stefan Liner’s WHEN FACT MET FICTION which also starred Jeff Alexander across from Rebekah Babelay, and Andrew Vasco’s TRANSPLANTING, a series about a woman who adjusts to Asheville after moving from New York. Keeley Turner and Katie Damien also played comedic shorts.

The Filmmakers’ Brunch on Sunday morning was one of the more heartwarming and intimate affairs of the entire weekend. It was a pleasure to casually hang out over breakfast and mimosas with all the amazing creative people pictured above. I could list everyone in the photo, but I bet if I allow a few years, many of these faces will become very well known as the filmmakers and artists they strive to be.

so proud of these people @catflyfilmfest #catfly #filmfestival #indiefilm

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The entire weekend was simply amazing, and it was all thanks to the talented team pictured above, especially the founders. None of this would have happened without their coordinated efforts and talents for marketing and event planning, as well as everyone who volunteered their time as festival staff. If the Asheville community didn’t want a classy film festival that honored local talent before, they surely recognize now that it was a niche that needed to be filled. Here’s to next year!

THE REPLICA RAID poster

THE REPLICA RAID has been finished for a few weeks now, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it in the meantime before it screens at the Cat Fly Indie Film Fest on March 31st, programmed by Brittany Jackson, Madeleine Richardson, and Cat Wityk, who also worked on this short, per the credits on the poster.

Image by Ted Kendrick

I created the poster design above for festival use, and may submit the short to other appropriate festivals later in the year. THE REPLICA RAID will also be online and available for view later this month, so be on the lookout for a link soon enough.

THE REPLICA RAID // intro and update

THE REPLICA RAID is an upcoming short film written and directed by myself with much of the same crew from UPSTAGED and Project Scrambled Eggs such as Rome Widenhouse (Director of Photography / Editor), Madeleine Richardson (1st AD), Cat Wityk (Script Supervisor), and Brittany Jackson (Gaffer). THE REPLICA RAID stars primary actor Jeff Alexander and his body double John Duper Morse.

Previously known as Project Burglary, the plot revolves around a strange, surreal Sci-Fi scenario between an art thief and his doppelgänger which begins with caution, carries over into confusion, before diving into combat. THE REPLICA RAID was my first foray into choreographing a fight scene. The project is now in post-production and expected to be complete by early 2017. Tony Mozz is composing an original soundtrack and artificial sounds will be recorded via foley.

Below is a painting of the Ouroboros symbol which was used as a prop in the film in both a practical and metaphorical sense, now one punch short of being a well-preserved piece of prestige artwork, though still a Rome Widenhouse original.

PROJECT GLOOM // concept art update

Project Gloom is the codename to my upcoming horror comic series that has been gestating in my head for a few years, but only in development since August 2016. I’m excited to have an outlet that will allow me to experiment with the boundaries of comics in thirteen separate chapters with almost as many artists.

My team has shifted somewhat recently, first and foremost with the addition of Rome Widenhouse as Editor. He’s already been active in the refinement of the series ending, so I’m happy to have him onboard for the initial issues. Secondly, artist Gabriel Fobert is taking on a more extensive role in the series. Find concept art by Fobert (@crypt_crow) on the Hatman phenomenon below.

#ink #sketch #art #trenchcoat #hatman The hat man cometh! 🎩

A photo posted by Gabriel Fobert (@crypt_crow) on

My collaborators and I had a production meeting over drinks at Burial Beer Co. just shortly before Halloween, which was both inspirational and rejuvenating. I am currently juggling two scripts on Project Gloom simultaneously, both the first and third issues, with drafts expected for completion within the month.

PROJECT SCRAMBLED EGGS // intro

Though the official title is still up in the air, what I’m calling Project Scrambled Eggs is a southern gothic, dark comedy short film about destroying objects of the past to make room for the future. Scrambled Eggs will star actors Catherine Wityk, Erich Reinhard, and Brian Bost with much of the same crew behind UPSTAGED, our entry into the 2016 Asheville 48 Hour Film Project, involving filmmakers Brittany Jackson (Gaffer), Madeleine Richardson (DoP), and Daniel Hall (1st AD).

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Director Rome Widenhouse, actress Cat Wityk, and I came up with the concept earlier this year as a practice short for the 48HFP, planned primarily to test our ability to smash an object as we were expecting to break a TV for the 48HFP (though that never actually happened). Rome gets credit for writing most of the scenario involved in Scrambled Eggs, though Cat heavily changed the direction of her character Mabel, and I like to think I brought the ending together and ironed out the rest. Per usual for work with this crew, I pulled double duty as Producer and Sound Recordist.

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We filmed the first scene on Friday 9/9 at the Widenhouse family’s property in Woodfin, NC where we parked a Honda Civic in the middle of a field and removed the hood and tires to make it look like a piece of junk. We planned to finish the shoot that next Monday, but scheduling conflicts moved the final scenes over to the following month. We only just wrapped principle photography on Friday 10/21.

Project Scrambled Eggs has entered post-production and expected to be finished by the end of the year. Based on the footage I’ve seen so far, the short could be a strong contender for a programming presence in local film festivals next year as it will definitely be a beautiful piece of work.

PROJECT BURGLARY // short film

I recently reunited with the crew responsible for UPSTAGED, our entry in the Asheville 48 Hour Film Festival, on a new short film I’ll call Project Burglary for now. The story involves an art thief who finds himself in a surreal, Sci-Fi situation, which is played to its full effect using extreme dutch angles, the black and white aesthetic, and artificial sound via foley.

project_burglaryImage by @madsrich

Project Burglarly starred actor Jeff Ryan Alexander (The Inspectors / Transplanting / Office Christmas Party) with John Duper Morse as his body double and crew including myself (Director), Rome Widenhouse (Director of Photography), Madeleine Richardson (1st AD), Cat Wityk (Script Supervisor), and Brittany Jackson (Gaffer). The short was shot on Monday 9/26 in the living room of the Widenhouse residence in Woodfin, NC.

I adapted this piece from a project I shot for a class at UNC Asheville in 2011 and chose to revisit the concept since the previous version was never completed. The cameraman mixed up the recording button, so every time he thought we were rolling, he was actually cutting. We were left with footage involving the set up of each shot with the camera shutting off as soon as I said “Action!” Luckily I was able to recycle the footage for a documentary about the failed project later that semester.

Revisiting the concept five years later proved to go exponentially more smoothly as I was joined by much capable filmmakers. I wrote roughly three new drafts of the 2-page script after important creative feedback from Rome and Cat, incorporating more unifying moments and symbolism, including a painting of the Ouroboros created by Rome Widenhouse, which you can see getting destroyed in the Instagram video below.

one punch #shortfilm #theReplicaRaid #artthief #art #canvas #skimask #punch #rolling #action #production #fightscene

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Project Burglary has now entered post-production, edited by Madeleine Richardson. After picture lock, we will begin to create the foley sounds and ambient soundtrack. Expect an announcement with Project Burglary’s official title and its accompanying plans for release by the end of the year.

UPSTAGED // 48 Hour Film Project 2016

Earlier this summer, I participated in the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project as Writer, Producer, Sound Recordist, and Team Leader for F-Stop Fitzgerald.

I was joined by an amazing team of filmmakers including Actress Catherine Wityk and Editor Madeleine Richardson who both worked with me at Social Construct Films. We were lucky to meet Rome Widenhouse a few weeks prior who came onboard as our Director. On-screen talent consisted of Actors Jacob Stephen, Bjorn Goller, Erich Reinhard, Jeffrey DeCristofaro, and the aforementioned Catherine Wityk in addition to many extras. The lovely Brittany Jackson was our Gaffer for light design, Jack Fleming helped as an Assistant Editor, and the one and only Tony Mozz provided sound mixing and an original soundtrack.

We were given two days to write, shoot, and edit the entire short with three elements that every team were required to include: 1) glass of milk as a prop, 2) comedian Andy Stirling as a character, and 3) the phrase “Worst case scenario…” This was all in addition to fitting into a predetermined genre. We received the choice of either Romance or Fable and decided on the latter.

When Jim is scorned by Natalia in a comedy club, he strikes a dangerous deal to win her back. Please find Team F-Stop Fitzgerald’s entry below, entitled UPSTAGED.