Thursday, January 3, 2008

Remnants of the Lost

'Remnants' premiered at the 6th Annual Oakland International Film Festival (OIFF) on Friday night, October 19th 2007. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported the film...
Here is a small trailer for Remnants of the Lost :
*(caution the audio is slightly louder than it should be, turn your sound down just a smidge)

The festival (my hometown festival) was held at the amazing Grand Lake Theater by Lake Merritt in Oakland. * If you've been there, you know that it's a historic and beautiful theater and it is one of the few non-commercialized theaters left (not to mention that it is the theater I grew up in). If you haven't been there than you should go catch a movie there, it is worth it.

'Remnants of the Lost' is the story of a man struggling to find a reason to continue living after the loss of a loved one. The backdrop is an apocalyptic zombie world, but the movie is more in the style of classic 'Romero'. In brief: the movie is more of a character piece (showing physical, mental and emotional change) and it focuses on people reacting to extreme conditions.

The movie originated with a drawing done of the main character after an intense moment. I think I was able to capture in the characters eyes the exhaustion and pain, but there is a hidden optimism inside. The movie is 37 minutes long (which puts it in a weird position because it 's not quite short nor is it feature length). The original cut was 50 minutes but I spent a lot of time slowly cutting out this and that (from the comfort of my own editing dungeon). I think that no matter what, I wanted to make my movie and just MAKE IT. I didn't want to worry about any time issues if it would risk compromising the story. I was told by some people to make different versions of the film but ultimately I did this to prove to myself that I could tell an interesting story from start to finish.

The lead actor, Joseph Salazar, was great. I trusted him with the character, feeling very comfortable with him and his interpretation of the material. He has an ability to convey powerful things in the most subtle ways.
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In the supporting role was Adrian Fuentes (a talented young dude/practically my little brother). I wrote the role with him and his own personality in mind so what you see on screen is Adrian.
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Another supporting role was filled by Lisa Landi, a friend and zombie expert/fan. Her understanding of the material was essential. We grew up on the same zombie films and she knew from the start what I was going for and she really made it work.
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Steve Real, my uncle and long time actor, rounds up the main cast: He is charismatic and really gets into the character, which for me is always a fun thing.
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The zombies were various friends, volunteers and family members who were very patient and helpful (I appreciate their time and commitment).

Now it does have some cool FX and makeup (thanks to Phil for bringing them to life: checkout and there are moments of terror but these events are meant to serve the story, not the other way around.

I had an amazing crew that worked hard and believed in the project. The budget was very, very low: mainly food and FX. And we shot very fast: With one SD ENG camera we shot over two weekends (4 full Days) in Oct. of 2006, ending up with about 6 hours of usable footage. After that we still needed to nab some FX shots which we did randomly over the span of about 2 days. But that's the good thing about owning your own round-up of rag tag equipment: you can shoot pickups or small re-shoots when you have time. We had some solid gear and at any given time a crew of about 6 people. Everything else was generously borrowed or given to us (even locations). In short I was lucky to get it made but again, I stress that I was surrounded by good people.

Overall it was an incredible experience. I am truly grateful to everyone who encouraged and assisted with the life of this project. I am still slightly tweaking the film to this day: There was a particular scene that I wanted to get two different shots on and I finally got them.