The Federal Film Reserve, LLC is thrilled to release the trailer for our 2013 short film, Among The Innocent, written & directed by Louis Mansfield!
A huge thank you to all involved! Christine McDermott, Geoff Morris, Jason Melcher, Steve Saturn, Judith Redding, Ben Wong, Bill Brown Music, Joseph Nasto, Larry DeMark, Josh Friedman, Mike Wohlberg & tFk! Illustration, Jennifer Butler, & Mercedes Legget
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and share the video everywhere!
Drawing Conclusions - Creating an Animated Short for Live Action Feature Film
I’ve directed different types of film projects in an effort to gain experience and I have to admit, it’s all very exciting. As I’ve mentioned previously, my team and I have recently finished a short film with a good amount of VFX (CGI) titled, Among the Innocent. That short is in the hands of film festival programmers as I write this entry. What we’re currently working on though is something completely out of my comfort zone and it’s refreshing. After several years of telling violent stories with severe endings I’m starting to move into an area of storytelling that has a lot more depth. That’s not to say violent stories don’t or can’t have depth but I’m more interested in using violence as an ingredient rather than the crux of a story like I have in the past. Not to mention I would like to make people laugh.
The film we’re in production for is titled Wine, Women, and Cognac which is an animated short film made for our live action feature film, Old Man in France, currently in development. The illustration was completed by Michael Wohlberg and is being animated by Jason Melcher and Geoff Morris. So far the progress has been steady and the results are definitely impressive. I’ve never directed a short film in this medium before so I have to take some time to gather my thoughts before making decisions which in itself is a lot of fun. Thinking about where a viewer’s eyes will follow, making sure the action isn’t cluttered, maintaining a sense of naturalism, and keeping the charm of the characters right now are my highest priorities. I hope to make an audience laugh with this film as they watch a young man travel through Europe, have a sense of regret as they understand his life wasn’t as glamorous as he implied, and finally with hope as well as optimism in the final frames as they realize there’s plenty more of his life to live.
After the animation is complete our next move will be to finish sound design, procure a score, and also cast and record voice over actors. I wish these things were as simple as it was to write that sentence but it’s unfortunately not. I’ve been fairly picky when it comes to musical scores recently and it’s done me a world of good. Since that’s the trend I tend to keep up, I’ll be listening to a lot of pieces of music to choose from and then my producer, Christine McDermott, will secure the licensing. We’ve posted an ad for voice over actors with many replies but no results. I honestly hate the process of casting because that’s usually when you witness someone butcher what you’ve created but it does eventually lead to the right person, so obviously it’s all worth it.
When completed our intention is to use the short film to promote our feature film. We’ll be not only submitting to film festivals like we always have but also release it online to gain the maximum amount of exposure. We hope to capture the essence of Old Man in France in the short and have that carry over into interest for funding it. This is also new to me as I’ve never made a short for feature film before so hopefully the plan works. Either way I’m extremely excited about Old Man in France and to be bringing those characters to life in Wine, Women, and Cognac. It’s a strange yet fulfilling thing to write a story, live with it for so long, and then to see it all playing out before you. I’m crossing my fingers that this short film leaves the viewer with a smile on their face (I think it will). So far looking for feature funding has been an uphill battle but our game plan is to cover as many bases as we can while maintaining the level of quality that all of those aspects require.
Right now feels like the perfect time to take our filmmaking to the next level and focus on a project that we’re very passionate about. In doing so we’re creating Wine, Woman, and Cognac and expanding our experience into animation which I couldn’t feel better about. I hope taking this leap we will win over hearts and minds well enough to be able to create Old Man in France as a live action feature film. I don’t think I’ve ever written something that I’ve felt so passionately about. I think one of the reasons is that I’ve never done anything that has comprised such a range of human emotion. I’m proud of this script and I’m extremely excited for Wine, Women, and Cognac to give a window to the world of Old Man in France.
Among the Innocent (2013) Short Film - Poster, Credits, and Behind the Scenes
IMDb | FACEBOOK
A little girl is confronted with total annihilation by a world beyond her understanding.
Holden Sherman…Little Boy
Louis Mansfield…executive producer
Josh Friedman…boom operator / sound mixer
Benjamin S.L. Wong…sound
Geoff Morris…digital effects
Jason Melcher…digital effects
Larry Demark…dolly grip / gaffer
Jason Melcher…dolly grip
Joseph Nasto…assistant camera
Judith Redding…best boy / key grip
Steve Saturn…production assistant
Federal Film Reserve, LLC
Mike Wohlberg, tFk! Illustration
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Behind the Scenes
Kindly Enjoy These Short Films #10
Someday, You’ll Remember Today
The Origins of Creatures
Missing in the Mansion
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Teacher of the Year
Fred et Marie
We are excited to announce that Whom God Helps is an Official Selection of the 2013 Festival Penumbra and will be screened in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México November 7th - 11th!
Cast: Kate Boyer, Brandon Ruckdashel, Jason Vail
Written and Directed By: Louis Mansfield
Produced by: Chrissy McDermott
A Federal Film Reserve, LLC Production
Behind the Scenes:
Kindly Enjoy These Short Films #9 via louismansfield.tumblr.com
One Man’s Loss
Glenn Owen Dodds
From One Second to the Next
If I had a Heart
The Replacement Child
My Mom Smokes Weed
Doubles with Slight Pepper
Six Dollar Fifty Man
Division of Gravity
Ten for Grandpa
From the Future with Love
The 3rd Letter
The Silent City
Kindly Enjoy These Films #8 by Louis Mansfield
Among the Innocent (Short Film) "There are no innocent bystanders in Hell." New blog post by http://louismansfield.tumblr.com/
My dad was in the Air force when I was a kid so growing up I lived on several military bases throughout the country and one in Germany. One of those bases was March Air Force Base (now called March Air Reserve Base) in Riverside, CA and I went to Arnold Heights Elementary School which was located on the base. I remember it all so vividly, if I rode my bike about a mile down to the end of the street there was a baseball field where I played first base for the Padres in little league. We had a base swimming pool where I spent most of my summers and there was one particular field near my friend’s house where we played football. I remember having a huge front and back yard and after dinner I would sometimes go out and throw a baseball up in the air and catch it until the sun went down. I also learned how to ride a bike at March Air Force Base, I remember realizing that my mom’s hand wasn’t holding my seat any longer and that I was riding on my own. I really liked March Air Force Base a lot. We didn’t have a huge house but I didn’t know the difference. It was nice all of the time and I was a kid.
It was at this time that Operation Desert Storm was happening and I was afraid that my dad would have to leave. The kids in my class were worried for their fathers as well. I thought it was clever to say “Saddam Insane” and I would play with my toys while the news covered the events. My parents assured me that my dad wasn’t going anywhere because he was in the Military Police (MP) and that his job was to protect the base. I thought that was cool but I don’t think I fully understood. I didn’t realize that the fighting would stay in Iraq. We had attacked them so it was only natural that they would retaliate and my dad was here to protect us. My parents reassured me that I was safe and that we had nothing to worry about. Even still I think about staring out my bedroom window looking out to the sky imagining about what I saw on the news happening in my own backyard. Jets and tanks were cool to me and we were the good guys. My parents said everything was going to be okay so it all felt like a movie or a video game. I think about a particular moment in time where I have a memory of being in my room, looking out the widow, and thinking…what if it isn’t okay?
Last year I saw the films Melancholia and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas around the same time and they got me thinking. I thought about the end of the world caused by military action and being a little boy during it all. I thought about being on March Air Force Base in Riverside CA, Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS, McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County, NJ, and even Ramstein Air Force Base in Kaiserslatern, Germany. I thought about that little boy who believed his parents that everything will be okay and that we were the good guys. A little boy that thought jets, missiles, and tanks were cool so it was all like the movies. But what if it wasn’t okay? What if something horrible happened? What if the fight had come to my home? The older we get the more aware of what’s happening in the world around us. Some things we agree with and some things we don’t. We trust that we’re the good guys but it’s only logical to think that our enemy thinks that they’re the good guys as well. What if there was a little boy in Iraq that thought that they were the good guys but everything wasn’t okay for him? He didn’t have anything to do with Operation Desert Storm and neither did I. He didn’t invade Kuwait; we were just kids trying to figure out what is happening around us. We wanted to play with friends and learn to ride bicycles. We didn’t have any influence on anything happening yet we were directly affected by it. I was on the side that didn’t have any bombs dropped on it but what if I had been? And even still, what about the innocent children on the other side?
These ideas and memories have materialized in a short film that I wrote and directed titled Among the Innocent. Instead of a little boy though the main character is a little girl and instead of everything being okay, the situation is the worst case scenario. Chaos disrupts a city caught in the middle of an ambiguous military conflict and panic consumes the population. A mother attempts to hold her family together and while preparing for the worst her children play. Her daughter, Bella, has her dolls dance to a tune of a music box she received as a gift from her father who is away serving his country. As the situation worsens Bella, along with her mother and brother, are confronted with total annihilation. Just as I imagined that I could have been a casualty of war in the unlikely chance that the fighting had come to March Air Force Base, the reality is that there have been innocent children who have lost their lives as a result of military conflict around the world. I understand that war is a complicated issue but no matter how involved, I feel that children should never be collateral damage. I’ve thought about this intently and at length because for a brief moment in my naive childhood understanding, before my parents could reassure me, I thought that I was in danger. And to think that someone just like me, only in a different country, was in very real danger, well, it saddened me as well as inspired me to tell a story from the perspective of a vulnerable child who has nothing to do with war but is confronted by it anyway.
NOTE: Among the Innocent
Another collection of excellent short films via Louis Mansfield:
The Rules of the Game
The Perfect Human
Consequences of the Kill
The Final Moments of Karl Brant
Vestel - Somalia
Cut | Paste
Alive in Joburg
Reign of Death
"My purpose is to make films that will help people to live, even if they sometimes cause unhappiness." - Sharing Short Films
I watch a lot of short films and some of you might have noticed that I’ve been putting together lists of short films that I’ve seen. These films come from Vimeo’s Staff Picks,Short of the Week, clicking around on the internet, and from friends who send me cool shorts to watch. Mostly I watch shorts because I make them and I want to know what other people are doing. Some films are good to OK and some are just incredible. When I say incredible I mean mind blowing top quality high production value just as good as features amazing cinema. Even if the story isn’t completely there the look and feel of most of these shorts raises the bar of what filmmakers should and need to be accomplishing.
Not many people watch short films and I’m not really sure of why. I don’t know if they think they won’t be watching something worth their time but to be honest I don’t even know what the means when there’s so much crap being watched on TV. If anything I think shorts are more engaging and thought provoking than reality TV or sitcoms but then again thought provoking might not be what those viewers want. I don’t really know. Either way I’m convinced there is an audience that might not know shorts are something they would really be into. This is one of the reasons I’ve been putting some short films together to see if anyone is interested with the hope that people might get turned onto something they like. With all of the borderline animosity towards feature films and blatant cynicism, short films might be a remedy for those apprehensive about “wasting” an hour and a half on a film they didn’t like.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be making feature films but they cost a lot of money and time. A lot of feature films take years of development before heading into pre-production. Let’s say for the sake of argument that a film took three years of development and then after that time found the budget they needed to shoot. Since 3.5 million is still a low budget film we’ll go with that number. So three years of development for a film now worth millions of dollars to make, the project goes into production and through post. Now the film needs to make that money back obviously so it needs to appeal to an audience that will go and see it. Well, that doesn’t always happen so after years of hard work for a film worth money in the millions it’s performance can be determined in a couple of months after it’s released. Critics fire off there reviews influencing people to either watch or steer clear, so something that took so much to make can be easily dismissed in a blink of an eye. To me, that’s a very shitty position to have to be in but at the same time that’s how things work. So short films do make a lot of sense artistically but they don’t make much money if any at all.
Currently I think I have a couple more short films in me that I’m working on finishing along with my partners and I definitely think that watching as many shorts as I have has been inspiring. I hope other people watch the films that I’ve posted and start to scratch the surface of what the medium has to offer. For me, I’d rather watch a short that a re-run of a TV show and I think other people would as well, even if they don’t know it yet. So if you’re curious to what I’m talking about please refer to my Kindly Enjoy These Short Films #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5 posts. I really hope you like what you see. :)
Each Moment is the Universe
The Youth in Us
Ten Thousand Days
And She Stares Longingly at What She Has Lost
Closed to the Public
Blessing in Disguise
Watch our Black Tie Affair trailer at indytrailers.com
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A Film Journal: Destroy Erase Improve - Script Revision
I don’t like to talk about writing very much; I don’t like to talk about unfinished ideas in general. Too many times does the situation come up where I might have an idea that I start to flesh out but it hits a certain point that I feel like I need to put it to the side and work on something…
2013 Festival News!!
Our music video “Monster Party” directed by Iouis MansfieId has been selected for the HollyShorts Film Festival, screening 8/20/13 at 9:30pm at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.
We had a blast making the video and couldn’t be happier to be included in this year’s festival.
Thanks so much to everyone involved! DJ Royale Michael Wohlberg Steve Saturn Geoff Morris Nicholas Micros Jason Melcher Judith Redding Dan Dilemma Thomas Tita Wong Jesse Kennedy Eric Bogacz Stephanie Swander Ashley Hietzman Joanna Revelle GS Effects - Brian Spears & Pete Gerner
A Film Journal: FFR UPDATE: “All that I say is true at the time when I say it…”
Among the Innocent (short): We’ll be finishing up the VFX, sound, and color in the upcoming weeks. Everything is coming together steadily as we plan out our festival season for 2014. Of course there’s a few hiccups along the way but the end result is always better than we expected. In August we…