Final films: Presentation

And here is the final stretch of my degree presented in the form of my two films that I have produced this year:

‘The Sea Room’ (2016): Experimental Documentary


SYNOPSIS: In this poetic documentary set by the shores of the Baltic Sea, Jonas and Aiste, a couple from Lithuania, share and explore their memories from the first day they met and fell in love, through a mixture of archival footage and on-location recordings.

Lived by: Aistė Jucytė and Jonas Urvakis;
Director & Editor: Jonas Urvakis;
Producer: Rita Santos;
Cinematography & Colourist: Sara Roque Peres;
Sound: Zilvinas Puras;
Score: Denis Mikhailov.

 

‘Bad Coffee’ (2016): Mental health drama

 

SYNOPSIS: Violet “Tuck” Tucker, a veteran in a Depression Alliance group, meets Ashley Conway, a troubled young woman, and together go on a journey of love, losing control and acceptance.

Producer: Rita Santos;
Director: Andrija Petkeviciute;
Director of Photography: Nathalie Pitters;
1st ACs: Jonas Urvakis, Filippo Locatelli;
Camera Operator: Katrina Ytteborg;
Sound recordist & Sound design: Peter Williams;
Music composer: Tom Kopca;
SFX Makeup Artist: Iulia Roman;
1st AD: Catarina Ribeiro;
Production Assistant: Amnah Pervaiz;
Set design: Rita Santos; Amnah Pervaiz;
Editor: Mariana Valente;
Ashley SFX: Lucia Gilibert;
Colourist: Dominika Besińska.

 

Evangeline Beaven as Violet “Tuck” Tucker
Roseanna Frascona as Ashley Conway
Simon Christian as Barry

BAD COFFEE: Post-production and colour grade

Our post-production, as was part of our production days, was filled with adversities thrown at us from various ways.

The first cut of the film took about two weeks to be done and that mixed with the score being composed at the same time, set us off to a good start.

But after the film was locked, for the 12 minute version, the problems with sound design started as our sound recordist, Peter, was nearly always busy with other projects to be able to fully commit to helping us with our sound. This was not his fault, but it meant we had to work around the clock to try and get the sound design worked through as quickly as possible.

After multiple sessions with Peter, we finally managed to get the final design done alongside the score of the film although there were still some technical aspects that we will work on for the longer version of the film, as that will be the one we will send off to festivals in the near future.

In regards to colour grade, our first option for a grader for our project was Jonas, who was our 1st AC on set, but due to last minute commitments he was unable to do it so I had to quickly find a new option. Thankfully, I found Dominika, who is from 2nd year in the BA Film course, and she was available and interested in the project which I was very glad about.

Her showreel proved that she was a good option and we soon started to discuss what we intended the colour grade to be like. The grade took another two weeks and Dominika was a great addition to the team and even though she came into the project late, she still embraced it as if she had been there from the start.

Overall, I had a lot more post-production issues with this film in comparison to “The Sea Room” but I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s been quite the ride and I am proud of it and of all the people that poured their love into it.

Namaste,

Rita

THE SEA ROOM: Post-production and colour grade

The post-production stage for this has been a long one. Ever since we came back from Lithuania, in January, myself and Jonas have been deep into working through the archival footage we wanted to incorporate into the film and how best to assemble the images together.

Jonas worked mostly through his computer at home but we would meet up, at firstly. weekly so that I could see the progress he’d done and give my feedback so that he could re-arrange something or simply erase a sequence altogether.

By April, we already had the basis of what our story was and what we wanted it to be: a love story. No matter how cheesy that might sound, it was what mattered to us the most, in a way. We wanted to be truthful and open about what our story was and who the people seen on screen were.

The scene that we kept going back and forth for 3 months was the bed scene where Aiste and Jonas relieve the day and subsequent moments where she tells him she suffered from bulimia. This scene is very raw, emotionally wise and very personal as Aiste is seen crying and choking up with emotion which obviously served a big motive for us to not want to capitalize on her vulnerability in the way we would edit that scene together.

For me, I knew there was a very fine line between showcasing Aiste as a vulnerable person, yes, but as someone another girl or man can relate to in one way or another; but it could also come across as if the Director was using her raw emotion as means to ake the film more successful whilst capitalizing on her openness.

But after speaking with Aiste, she expressed that she was comfortable for myself and Jonas to not only include it in the film but for us to cut the scene together as it seemed appropriate for us. Her vote of trust was something that made us much more comfortable once we were editing it and our mutual decision to include in the film, as the climax.

After the picture was locked, now we moved into the colour grading stage. Jonas and Sara, the DoP and colour grader, have grading the film for one week now and I am very happy with the results. I stayed with Jonas in the colour grading suite, on campus, for a few hours after Sara had left and I am very happy that the grade helped to elevate the visual aspects of the film that much higher.

Overall, the post-production has been a roller coaster of emotions, as the actual production days were, but that was easily overcome by the fact that myself and Jonas remained working very closely together because how we both care deeply about this film and about each other, not only as colleagues but as friends.

Namaste,

Rita

Dissertation project: Production documents

Hello!

In this blog post I have attached all of the productions documents that I have created and used throughout the entire length of pre-production all the way during the actual production days of both of my dissertation films.

Firstly I have attached links to my pitch alongside my dissertation proposal:

MDA 3400: Pitch presentation

MDA 3400: Project Proposal

 

All documentation for”Bad Coffee” (mental health drama):

BAD COFFEE (Production Schedule)

Ethics Board Committee (Bad Coffee)

Bad Coffee: Call Sheet (Day 1 of 4)

Bad Coffee: Call Sheet (Day 2 of 4)

Bad Coffee: Call Sheet (Day 3 of 4)

Bad Coffee: Call Sheet (Day 4 of 4)

Copyright waiver (Director of Photography)

Actors and Extras Agreement

Actors Agreement (cont.)

Bad Coffee (Budget sheet)

Risk Assessment (Sunny Hill Park)

Reel Film Locations – Permit

Filming permission (Room W142)

Audition Schedule (2nd March 2016)

Audition Schedule (4th March 2016)

Crew/Cast/Props/Catering List

 

All documentation for “The Sea Room” (experimental documentary):

THE SEA ROOM (Production Schedule)

Ethics Board Committee (The Sea Room)

Risk Assessment (Transporting equipment abroad)

THE SEA ROOM – Crew and Equipment list

Shooting Schedule: Day 1 of 4 (12th January 2016)

Shooting Schedule: Day 2 of 4 (13th January 2016) 

Shooting Schedule: Day 3 of 4 (13th January 2016) 

Shooting Schedule: Day 4 of 4 (15th January 2016) 

BAD COFFEE: Rough cut screening feedback

Today we finally presented the first 18 minutes cut of our film to the people in our degree, including the tutors. Our film was the last one of the day, which was slightly annoying since nobody ever wants to be last in anything in life, really.

But as soon as our film started playing the room went completely silent and I started to feel a mixture of proudness and anxiety for what was to come in the form of criticism.

For me it’s always hard to listen to people criticize a film I’ve done because it’s almost like they are criticizing my child and it’s hard to hear at times.

But alas, after the film was screened everyone clapped with made the anxiety dissipate as at least I knew that the worst part was over.

As the reviews started being said aloud, what most people agreed upon was that the cinematography was very good and that the choice in the actresses chosen for the roles was a good one, which made me very happy that the emotion came across as myself and Andrija wanted it to.

But the thing that was said the most was that, my peers, thought the story development happened at too fast of a pace and that the Tuck and Ashley fall in love too quickly and then break up too quickly, as well. Which, after hearing the same opinion by multiple other people, made me realise they they were right. It does happen too fast and no indication of what the characters’ relationship was like before they broke up is seen.

This made myself and Andrija have a discussion about how we intend to eventually do a new shoot day where we could film a montage sequence of different activities and places Tuck and Ashley have been as a couple as that will offer more depth to their tragic love story.

Alas, we will need to see when we’ll be able to shoot it as Andrija is soon leaving for Germany for one month and the actresses are both very busy with theatre plays, they are both participating in. So we will either shoot it before Andrija leaves or we will do so after our degree is complete and we will do so to add onto our film for the festivals we will send it to.

Namaste,

Rita

THE SEA ROOM: Rough cut screening feedback

A while ago, we finally showcase our film to our entire course and tutors and we were excited to showcase something that we have been carrying with us for months now.

The previous night, myself and Jonas were in the editing suite finalizing the English subtitles of our film which proved to be another interesting experience as Jonas had to translate it from Lithuanian to English and I had to make sure the English translation wasn’t too literal to the Lithuanian pronunciation and that the grammar and phrases made sense whilst still maintaining the depth they needed to possess.

We were both quite nervous/excited to see what people had to say but we knew that it would be a bit of a mixed reaction which is what proved to be. Luckily most of our course enjoyed it and felt the raw emotion on screen and how that poured out of the film towards the audience but the other side of our course felt it a bit too personal and intimate and struggled with the idea of the scene recreation in the bed and how Aiste is seen crying whilst a camera is clearly filming a close-up of her face.

Myself and Jonas knew people would have these doubts so we just soaked in as much of the constructive criticism we could so we could later look at it again to see if anything could be improved.

The best thing was that after the screening, I had a couple of people come up to me and say hoe much they enjoyed it and how it touched them and that made my heart leap out of my chest of how happy I was that at least some people understood this film and the meaning of love behind it.

TONY: Production Assistant

My secondary role consisted in production assisting my fellow producer and friend Amnah with her social realist film “Tony”.

My job consisted in organizing the call sheets of some of her production days and contacting pharmacies to see if they’d give permission to have part of the film shot in the premises.

The call sheets are presented below:

Amnah’s Call Sheet: Day 1

Amnah’s Call Sheet: Day 2

Amnah’s Call Sheet: Day 3

 

Overall it was a great experience working with Amnah once again but I only wished I could’ve been on set for the shoot, but I was unfortunately detained at work for most of it.