Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Short Film Series at American Cinematheque This Thursday and Q&A with short film In Confidence director Mitch Levine

A friend told me about a short film series at the American Cinematheque this Thursday. I didn't know about it. It looks like a great opportunity to screen your film in Los Angeles. I'll have to check it out.

This Thursday, In Confidence is playing during the program. Looks like a great way to spend a Thursday night!

Enjoy a Q&A with Mitch Levine, director of In Confidence:
  • What made you decide to become a filmmaker? 
I’d had a career as a director and designer of theatre, opera and dance and started thinking about expanding my visual storytelling pallet to film, an art form I loved as a spectator, but had never engaged as an artist. I was offered a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute, although neither I nor they knew if I could tell a story with a camera. My first day on set, as I called “action” for the first time, I knew I was home.
  • Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?
I’m a directing member of the Actors Studio, an extraordinary place that’s home to many of the finest actors, writers and directors in the world. There, I saw a reading of a short play by Deborah Pearl. It was the story of a woman who finds herself in an unusual circumstance and makes a provocative choice – and the consequences that choice has on the rest of her life. That play and its depiction ignited something in me. The play’s themes and the central character’s journey were powerful, poignant and evocative. The performance by its lead actress, Beege Barkette, was extraordinary. And so as soon as the reading concluded, I rushed to the writer and to the actress and asked if they’d be interested in transforming their stage play into cinema – and they both immediately agreed. Together, we re-imagined the play as a film. And less than two months later, we were in production.
  • What do you love about your film?
The incredible esprit de corps that informed every moment of its pre-production, production and post and that continues to this day. I am blessed with an amazing team: We had an angel investor, J.R.A. Maduro, who fully supported our undertaking. And after Beege (our lead) and Deborah (our screenwriter), my amazing producer, Mary-Lyn Chambers was quick to sign on, followed by the remarkable Svetlana Cvetko (our cinematographer and the DP on the Oscar-winning INSIDE JOB, amongst other terrific films), James Kent, our Production Designer (fresh off numerous projects with Michael Mann), costumer Kate Bergh and stylist Kathy Bayley. And then, as we entered post, we were joined by our amazing editor, Nahall Esteghamat, award-winning composer Penka Kouneva (who scored my first film), Geoff Green, our sound designer and Damian McDonnell, our phenomenal colorist from Technicolor. And there were many other artists and others who gave of themselves, including Craig Barnes and Donovan Kosters at Visionary Forces, who donated a complete Alexa camera package and then provided our final mastering and DCP. That was my greatest love, the extraordinary people who supported my vision and the creation of this film.
  • How long did it take you to make your film?
Incredibly, we shot the whole thing in a single day, due to the very limited availability of our principal collaborators. And post production took about seven months.
  • What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge was our very production concept: Beege Barkette gives a remarkable performance – and Molly, the character she portrays – is the only character in the drama. She speaks directly to camera for the entire film – which then intercuts between her conscious and sub-conscious lives. It was incredibly difficult for her to act with a camera lens as her only scene partner – and to make the audience feel as if they are the ones engaged in the conversation. In shooting the “sub-conscious” scenes, Beege had to re-create the emotional foundation and essence of the conscious-state ones. It was an incredibly difficult character journey to direct, but Beege – and the entire team – trusted and believed. And the result is now on screen.
  • Tell us about your experience getting into this shorts program. 
I love the American Cinematheque and what it represents: sharing the best cinema with an engaged and appreciative audience in one of the finest theatres – the Egyptian – anywhere. I was honored to have my first film, Shadows, presented there and feel thrilled and privileged to have In Confidence screening there now. And I’m very grateful to their shorts programmer, Andrew Crane, who’s been an amazing supporter of my films and of so much undiscovered cinema. We’re honored to be a part of this amazing program.
  • If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?
I don’t think I would. This film and its production were blessed.
  • What’s next for your film? When and how can people see it? 
We’re still doing a few fests, but will be distributing it online and through multiple platforms in the very near future. People should stay tuned for news on our website ( and Facebook page (
  • Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made? 
Believe in your vision, surround yourself with the very best people – and embrace their artistry and creativity in helping you realize it.

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