Director Raphael Roger’s new short film Beyond appeared online on sometime yesterday. Featuring just a single character on screen for its entire duration the film brings to mind the mood and quality of Oblivion–the Tom Cruise-starrer that popped up at megaplexes around the world earlier this year.
But Mr. Rogers was not operating with a mega budget and he has still managed to produce a piece of work that has already received raves from DP/filmmaker Philip Bloom in the comments accompanying the video.
Check out the film below, and scroll downwards to read my interview with the filmmaker.
How did Beyond come into being, what was the genesis of this film?
Beyond came into being when I decided I needed to make something that showcased a bit of everything I can do. My goal was to do a short that made people ask how it was possible to do with no money.
How long did it take for this project to come together? Were you working full time on this? Or do you have a day job?
I’m a freelance director and editor in LA. So I’ve been working on it in between other things like music videos and such. We shot in March. I finished the night I released it.
Tell us about shooting with the C100 camera.
The Canon C100 was awesome. I was originally scheduled to shoot with a Red Epic. But the Epic I was going to use got booked to shoot Macklemore’s amazing music video ‘Can’t Hold Us’ the day before I was going to shoot.
So the day before I was in panic mode and found the C100 on lens rentals and borrowed my dad’s credit card to rent it. I own a canon 5d, so I already had the lenses. But I’m glad it worked out that way. The C100 was awesome in low light and great for a one-person shooter. I used the Ninja to record 4:2:2 on the scenes after the apartment, because I couldn’t figure it out during the apartment scene.
Where did you film the various ‘worlds’ that Arya travels to?
We filmed all in California. The apartment was downtown. Then we drove up to the Mojave desert and found some salt flats and then over to Big Bear for snow and then back to Malibu for the beach.
Tell us a little about including matte paintings in the film. How did you make a connection with the various artists?
There are only about 4 matte paintings that I got from others. Many of them I created myself. Deviant Art has some amazing artists, so I just found what I liked and asked them if it was cool. I changed them all in photoshop. Most were really great about it.
This film is a good example of telling an entire story with just one character. Was it always intended this way?
Yes, Bianca [Malinowski – the lead actress] is someone I’ve worked with on a lot of projects. So I knew I wanted to work with her and keep it simple. She has an amazing eye herself and was killer as my co-producer. I asked her opinion many times on edits. The story evolved as I edited.
How much did you spend on this project, and how did you raise the money?
There was basically no budget. We got the costume at the thrift store. The only money I spent was renting the camera, which was like $500. The rest was just gas and food for the three days we shot. So maybe $1000 total. Man-hours was where the real budget was. I spent a lot of hours editing and tweaking.
Was this short always intended for immediate online distribution? What is your view on film festivals for getting a broader audience to seek out your work?
I debated that for awhile. But I know a few others that have done the online thing so I thought I’d give it a shot. Plus, I didn’t want to wait.
While I was watching I could totally see this being part of a larger narrative. Is that the point? Will we see a feature-length expansion of this story at some point?
Oh yes. More to come at some point.
What was your hope when you made Beyond?
I’m hoping that it attracts the right attention so that I can swim in some bigger circles and have a budget larger than a $1000 to make something truly awesome.
What’s next for you?
Next is seeing how people respond. In the meantime I’m working on a couple of feature scripts I have, including this one, and getting the itch to shoot again . Funding is the next challenge.