Synopsis: A mother tries to avoid two U.S. Army officers ready to deliver the worst news of her life.
Where did the idea come from? What inspired you to tackle this subject?
The idea originated from a single image my co-writer Eric Fallen had of a woman getting into her building elevator with two Notification Officers that she immediately realizes are going to her apartment to tell her that her son had been killed in "The War." It was this original image and premise that inspired me to tackle developing the script further and eventually directing into the short film it is now.
Did you reference any films/filmmakers while prepping for the shoot?
None in particular. But my Director of Photography and I began with a color scheme based on the environments we found in our location scouts of New York City housing projects (yellows, oranges and greens), as well as a mutual love for dense, shadowy photographs.
How long did you spend on casting this film?
It originally took us three days to cast in New York City with the help of my usual casting director, Liz Ortiz-Mackes. After that, however, we had to fire the actor we originally hired to play Chaplain Lieutenant Torres due to payment and scheduling disputes. Luckily, within a week -- and mere days before rehearsal -- we found Carlo Alban through friends at New York's Labyrinth Theater, where he was a member of their repertoire company. The interesting thing was that Carlo turned out to be better than the original Torres we cast.
What made you decide on an urban setting?
I am from an "urban setting," so it tends to be natural for me to set my films in places like this. Also, I feel that the noble humanity of day-to-day, working-class urban life should have cinematic champions.
Did the performances surprise you?
Yes, the performances did surprise me, but mostly in the way that all great performances surprise me. I am simply astonished when actors can pull "dead" words off a page and make them live and breathe with such convincing authenticity.
What did you learn from the actors and what do you think they learned from you after doing this film?
I'm not sure if I learned anything new from my actors this time so much as I had certain elements of previous knowledge reinforced, the most important of which is that creating an environment of safety, trust and freedom with talented thespians yields some pretty excellent results.
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?
I don't presume to teach the audience anything with this short, so I don't want them to "take away" anything so much as maybe feel something intense in the moment. I guess you could say I want the audience to "take away" a sense of being moved emotionally. And since I am attempting my usual blend of comedy and tragedy, I hope I can make many of them laugh a little, many of them cry a little, and some them do a little of both.
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