We will be showing a public screening of "Projection" at the annual University of Michigan Lightworks Film Festival!
Here are the details:
Time: 10:00 PM, Friday April 26, 2013
Location: Natural Science Auditorium, 830 North University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
The festival usually gives out free popcorn. We hope to see you all there and thanks again for all your donations. Once May starts, we will begin mailing the Kickstarter rewards as promised.
"Projection" Short Film
After a week of hiatus, I'm back to fill you in on another "Projection" report. Today, we will discuss the production design and costume design of the film. This differs from the schedule released at the start of November, but I think it will feel more coherent this way. On we go!
Also, before we begin, I'd like to state that I'm going to refrain from releasing pictures because I don't want to give away too much. There will be a trailer released within the next few months, so be prepared for a real good look then.
While "Projection" takes place in the present-day, I wanted to give the film a 1940s feel for two important reasons:
1. The Civic Theater in Farmington was our main location and had strong art-deco influences. Because of this, Anna Baumgarten and I decided to dress every location with that visual style in mind. It gives the film a visual coherence and consistent tone.
2. Since the film has strong homages to classic Hitchcock films of the 1940s/50s, both narratively and cinematographically, we chose to use his work as a primary inspiration for the production design.
Before stating more about the production, it's important to point this out: the middle section of the film exists within our main character's subconscious. To most audience members, the "reality" and "subconscious" segments will look very similar. That was our intent. However, there are dozens of subtle differences between the two, especially in production design.
In the "reality" segments of the film, there is a glass display on the second floor of the Civic Theater that contains multiple movie posters. However, in the "subconscious" segment, we replaced a majority of the contents in the glass display with symbolic images/posters of items that have haunted Abigail Cooper. Subtle tricks like this were executed throughout the film in order to make the "subconscious" world off kilter and subjective to Abbie's fears.
In keeping with the production design, the costuming of the film was strictly retro. Our costume designer Leslie Bates put Abigail Cooper in a lovely navy dress that was paired with a blood red cardigan. We stuck with these colors to maintain the jewel tone palette that was established. There were also some symbolic meanings to items of clothing:
Abigail's white gloves: As you have probably seen on the Kickstarter page, a prominent image in the film is Abbie's white gloves. They are a crucial part of the narrative since they conceal physical evidence of her violent past as well as symbolize her concealment of these traumas.
Abigail's green purse with butterfly embroidery: Butterflies commonly symbolize metamorphosis, and Abigail's purse is indirectly responsible for her transformation into a stronger individual. The purse's true narrative function is revealed at the midpoint of the film, when Abbie begins to stand up for herself.
Stay tuned next week for our segment on the special effects in the film!
Kevin Birou, Writer/Director, "Projection"
There is one more announcement we would like to make this week. In correspondence with the crew and cast, we have set a world premiere date of:
Friday, March 1, 2012
The exact time and location are to be determined (although it will be in the Southeast Michigan area). We just wanted to inform everyone of when the film will be released. More details will become available as they are ironed out.
Thanks and see you next week for another update!
This post is dedicated to the cinematography of "Projection". I will preview six shots from the film and explain the narrative reasons behind why it's shot and lit in a particular way.
Before I delve in, I want to state that we finally finished a rough cut of the film and are already hard at work on the second. We hope to make the film leaner and meaner, especially considering the rough cut is just over 35 minutes long (without titles and credits).
*Note: These shots are raw. They have not been color corrected or finalized yet.
To say that loneliness is an important theme of "Projection" would be an understatement. The entire film is about Abbie's journey to communicate the deep-seeded demons bottomed up inside. With this shot, we hope to communicate how alone Abbie feels. By putting her on the extreme right side of the frame in a long shot, with the blackness of the courtyard in the middle and no people in sight, Abbie's internal struggle has been externalized.
Enough is enough
This shot appears exactly halfway through the film. It's the breaking point for Abbie, in which she decides to take matters into her own hands. For the first half, Abbie is shot in a style that gives her a sense of vulnerability (1. Close-up/shallow angles 2. Long/lonely angles 3. High angles). At this point in the narrative, with her new-found sense of self, Abbie bravely steps into the face of danger. We present this moment in a low-angle, medium long shot. These types of shot communicate strength. Also, the added back light from the bulbs makes her appear slightly intimidating, which adds to that strength.
The definition of projection is: the attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt. Visually, we decided to convey this concept through the use of reflections. Throughout the film, reflections appear as important indicators of Abigail's past. In the film, the movie screen is one giant mirror on Abbie's life. Both past and present.
To Hitchcock, the size of an object in the frame should be directly related to its importance in the story at that moment. We heavily followed this rule while making "Projection", especially considering the narrative is so visually dependent. At this moment, the key serves two roles. It crucial to the plot of the film, as well as symbolizes the main relationship (Abbie and her long-term boyfriend, Tony Dominic).
From page to screen, one thing Walter Lin and I were always conscious of is that we needed to create a visual connection between Abbie and Frank Lambert, another main character in the film. Without giving away too much of the plot, Frank and Abbie share many parallels (a sense of loneliness and being looked down upon). In this scene in particular, we employed a special dual-focus lens to keep both characters in focus. By filming them in similar ways, their connection seems inevitable.
Behind bars (literally)
Abbie's relationship with her roommate, Kate, is slowly being torn apart by her boyfriend. To visualize their connection is being severed, we had them communicate through a courtyard banister. It's also a nice way to symbolize that Tony is putting Abbie in a cage; one that she is slowly suffocating in.
Well, there you have it! Stay tuned next week for our costume design segment.
Kevin Birou, Writer/Director, "Projection"
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