‘Reflection’ teeters the line between what is real and what isn’t with a patient in a mental ward of a hospital and an actress on stage during an acceptance speech. I purposely chose to use clichés in the story to widen the gap between “reality” and “fiction”. I have had many different reactions to the end of the film and I think everyone has a different takeaway and interpretation. For me, ‘Reflection’ is both a commentary and a response to the naysayers of artistic pursuits. I wanted to tell a short story as a visual response. If choosing an artistic life is insanity, I’d rather live in that madness than accept a bleak world where dreaming is just considered crazy.
When I first came up with the idea for this film I didn’t really know where start. I went to filmmaker meetings and I spoke up about my idea and a local cinematographer approached me, wanting to work with me on my project, but it was another 6 months before I would make the film. I had no idea where to begin, so everything took way longer than it should have. I didn’t know how to go about funding the project or finding the locations I would need and what I had tried didn’t seem to be working. I met with a friend of mine, a local director named Ashton Bracciodieta, to discuss a project he was working on and got on the subject of my short film and he offered to help me make it. His help and advice was a game changer and he put me on track with the project. It was wonderful to have that mentor guiding me. Even as a first-time filmmaker, I knew my limitations as a director and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew, so I decided the film should be less than five minutes, with credits. I wanted to keep the project simple and short and focus on good execution. The current run-time of the project is 3:01.
Christopher Valadares (DP), Ashton Bracciodieta (Producer, sound, and editor), and I met several times before production to discuss my vision for the project and what I was looking for. We wanted to pull the contrast to make the scenes feel as different as possible. Christopher had amazing ideas for achieving a 40s film style, with high saturation and a ‘glow’ for some of the scenes that really added to the fantasy in the patient’s head. We played with cliché visuals and contrast in the piece to show how shortsighted the stereotypes are, and show that they aren’t reality, they’re fiction.
Ashton and Christopher helped find a great crew for the project and I planned out the shot list, we set the film to shoot over a single 12- hour day and we arrived on set at the first location at 8am. We finished at the first location so quickly that we had 4 hours before we could get into the second location, so we all went and hung out at a local coffee shop. We talked about films that inspired us, stories we wanted to tell and why we all decided to be involved in film-making in the first place. We spent that part of the day just getting to know each other as artists and as friends. Most of the crew I hadn’t met before shooting, but we all got along so well and having that extra time helped bond us and made the whole shoot easier and more fun, it took out a lot of the awkwardness that comes with working with people you don’t know. This was my first time directing, and everyone was very warm and supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.
Right now it is out for selection to 12 festivals. I just found out today that we have been selected for the Queen Palm International Film Festival, and that is the first one to select this project. We are hopeful there will be many more.
Reflection is my first and last short film in Florida. I am moving to LA to attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and will be continuing to write and direct shorts while I am there. This is the first of many more projects.
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