Attention of Men | Mystery Drama Short Film | Cambridge/Toronto, ON

What was the inspiration for your film?

The film was inspired by the time I met a man who took me in with open arms. He was a religious figure and I was a broke college student. I didn’t want to live at home anymore so I accepted the offer to live with him. He became my mentor. He had a lot of quirks about him but I didn’t give it too much attention. He convinced me that being gay is a sin and just a phase. Every night he would invite me to his bedroom and we would spend hours talking, praying, ridding me of my demons. It became a ritual which lead to a dark path I wasn’t really prepared for. Eventually, he would force himself on me to the point of physically hurting me.

What was the process of getting the film made?

I believe in the saying “write what you know” and so I did. I turned to social media and my network of people in the film industry to assemble the team. I have a lot of creative friends–so I turned to them to get this film off the ground. My DOP Sasha Moric has been involved in the conception. He expressed interest in working with me on my past works, so it really helped the process having a DOP who believed in the project push it along. With the help of my partner, cinematographer Jeremy Benning csc, whose most recent work can be seen in SyFy’s The Expanse, helped executive produce the film. Originally, I had Charlie David attached to play the role of Ely. We talked about the project extensively until he got booked to be on another film–which was a huge blow as I was looking forward to working with someone who is a gay icon. But with every loss comes a surprise gain as I was told through my network of people to approach actor Adam Kenneth Wilson — who played Charles Manson in the television docu-drama “Manson”. Thankfully he liked my script and said yes to do it. Having gone through the experience, I can’t imagine having any other actor play the role of Ely. Evan Spergel plays the role of Colt. I met Evan at an audition for my 2015 short film “Wolf”, I cast him for the lead role until I had an epiphany. Deep down I knew it wasn’t meant for him. So
I did the unthinkable of re-casting him. I kept bumping into him at parties (as we have mutual friends) so I eventually confronted the awkwardness and told him that I plan on working with him in the future. I kept my word.

How long was the shoot, where did you shoot?

It was a two-day shoot in Cambridge Ontario Canada, shot at Jeremy’s cousin’s mansion. Every single family Christmas dinner, I would look at the house in complete awe–thinking to myself it would be a great film set. Thankfully Danielle and Martin were totally cool with it. We shot the forest scene at Brickworks Toronto.

What were some of the challenges of the shoot?

Shooting in the middle of summer in a giant mansion with air conditioning that only worked on the main floor was tough. The cast and crew were up and down the stairs from the basement to the top 3rd floor in intense heat. It was a challenge trying to manage everything while being the cheerleader knowing that the heat waned everyone down. I had to juggle our small budget while still trying to get the best equipment and people to get the job done. All that said, I welcome the challenge. I love what I do.

What do you think the essence of the film and it’s characters are about?

While the film touches on religion, abuse, and power–it all boils down to loneliness and the yearning for companionship.

Website: https://francisluta.wixsite.com/attentionofmen

Film: https://bit.ly/2qvG1gM

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