TAEM- All films start somewhere and The Arts and Entertainment would like to introduce to our readers, who are Students of The Arts, the beginning and making of all films. Anthony Faust is a director of the film ‘A Rock and a Hard Place’ and we would like to probe this film with him to show everyone how this process works. Anthony, we met you recently at the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, D.C. where your film appeared. Tell us how you first started in making films and what drew your interest in this career.
AF- My first foray into making films came in 2002 when I joined a 48 hour film project team in Washington, D.C and served as a Grip on set. I built on this experience by making a film called “Hunter’s Quandary” on a shoestring budget later that year.
TAEM- What is the theme behind this film, and what genre is it in ?
AF- The genre of this film is drama, but it is a unique film because it is ten minutes long and contains no dialogue. The story centers around a jailed man who hatches a clever (and sinister) plan to rid the massive rock in his father’s backyard.
The theme of the film is power. We see a man behind bars, powerless, alone, and bloodied by powerful prison guards. When he sets his plan in motion, he gets his revenge. In the closing moments of the film, we realize the ones who are really behind the bars are the outwitted prison guards.
TAEM- We understand that directing the film was not the only hat you wore for it. Tell us what other aspects of the film that you were responsible for.
AF- I was responsible for producing the film, as well as editing the film. I played key roles in pre-production, filming, and post-production.
TAEM- How did you first go about in putting the film together and what equipment did you need to accomplish it?
AF- I sat down and wrote the four page screenplay in three days in 2007. As far as equipment goes, we filmed this movie on 35mm film so we needed an Arriflex film camera. The first shot of the film is a bird’s POV, often known as the God angle, of the rock in the film.
I chose this perspective for the opening shot because I wanted to show the entire rock centered in the frame. This served as an appropriate metaphor since the rock itself was the center of the plot in the film. As such, we needed a 15 foot jib arm to accomplish this shot.
TAEM- How did you assemble the crew to film it, and what qualifications did you set forth to guide you ?
AF- The Director of Photography was responsible for assembling the crew needed for the camera department. I found other crew members to assist me by posting ads on Craigslist.
To determine qualifications, I looked for people who had worked with 35mm film before since that would ensure they would be able to work with the format quickly and efficiently.
AF- Since there was no dialogue in the film, the criteria I used to select the actors was distinctive looks. I wanted the prison guard to be look burly and fierce. I wanted the father to look like a doddering, feeble old man.
I held two auditions to find the actors for the film. Using my instincts, I didn’t choose the best actors I met, I chose the right actors for the right roles. For example, the man who played the father in the film was not an actor, but his look conveyed so much about the character I had written.
TAEM- What qualities did each of them possess and how did you direct their roles in the film ?
AF- As I mentioned in my answer to the previous question, I was looking for distinctive looks in my actors. Since the man who played the father was not an actor, I made the directorial decision to limit his presence in the film.
Several of his close ups ended up on the cutting room floor so that the man appears to be the pivot from which all the action in the film revolves. Circumstances like these show how a director may end up shaping the vision of a film into something he didn’t originally plan.
TAEM- We were present when the awards were handed out at the Washington Film Festival. Please tell our readers about this and how you faired with your film.
AF- The World Music and Independent Film Festival was a great experience. My film was nominated for two awards; Best Original Sound and Best Screenplay. My film won the award for Best Screenplay.
TAEM- Where does the film go from here, and what other Independent Film Festivals are you placing it in ?
AF- “A Rock and a Hard Place” has finished its festival run. I am currently negotiating with Shorts International for an exclusive distribution deal for the film. If I am unable to secure a deal for the film, then I will release it myself as an app available on the iTunes store.
TAEM- Film Festivals are a very important agenda for any film, and the awards earned go a long way to gaining recognition with major studios and backers. What are the next steps in this process for you, and the film.
AF- The next step for me is to make my second film, “Make Her Smile”. Momentum is very important for filmmakers. Building on my success at the World Music and Independent Film Festival, I will start shooting my second film in November. For “A Rock and a Hard Place”, my goal is distribution to a global audience.
TAEM- Anthony, the World Music and Independent Film Festival was very exciting as you must agree, and we look forward to hearing more about your film ‘A Rock and a Hard Place’. We want to thank you for your interview with The Arts and Entertainment Magazine, and hope that you keep us abreast of your progress.