Tag: film

Beside Her: A Short Film That Defines The Human Connection

Carrie Carnevale. Remember the name, because Carrie’s directorial debut in the movie Beside Her is nothing short of incredible.

The short film, a love story and fictional portrayal of the true human condition, will next be screened on Saturday, September 22nd at the Healdsburg International Short Film Festival in Healdsburg, CA.

Watching the film, you quickly forget that the lovers you see on-screen are female and become more enthralled with the deep love and connection they both share with each other.

Along with the amazing talents of actors Ashley Watkins , Erika Flores and Owen Conway, Carrie delivers a film that contains all of the elements that make up a great story: there’s love, tension, drama, passion, suspense and even a twist in the end for good measure!

But Beside Her is much more than a love story between two women. It’s a beautiful film about the human condition and the deep connection we all share but are often oblivious to.

Beside Her tells the story of Dr. Rachel Moretti (Ashley Watkins) and Sofia Rios (Erika Flores) and how, in one brief moment in time, their love for each other is measured beyond the norms of their everyday lives.

I had the opportunity to speak with Carrie and the cast of “Beside Her”.

goJimmygo (gJg): Carrie, congratulations on directing your first short film and all of your success!

Carrie Carnevale (CC): Thank You. I was lucky enough to have an amazing team, full of extremely talented people. It was a wonderful collaborative experience.

gJg: Tell me a little bit about the film’s origin.

CC: I wanted to write a story about the human connection; about the ways in which human beings connect with each other. Whether it be someone you’re dating, someone you’re married to, family, friends or even strangers; we’re all connected all the time. The problem is we tend to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sometimes we forget that.

I wanted to concentrate this story on two people who are in a relationship because I think that type makes for a very complex and compelling situation. There’s an unspoken connection that two people in love share with each other that makes the connection a lot deeper.

gJg: Were you concerned at all about the content and subject matter of a love story between two women?

CC: No, not at all. Even when people initially read the script, they were glad to see that it was a story about love rather than a story about being gay. Showing that gay or not, love is love and we all have those same feelings of connectedness.

gJg: The musical score for the film is amazing. It perfectly complements the love scene and the ending as well.

CC: It really does. The song we chose for those scenes are an absolute match. Lyrically, it’s great and the mood it sets is just so powerful and amazing.

gJg: How did you get started in film making?

CC: I’ve always had a love for film making. I went to film school and spent time in the independent scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of those years of work, I was able to learn so much about day-to-day production. I learned what to do and what not to do.

Along the way, I met some fellow artists who would hire me to work on their pieces, which I was honored and proud to do. In the past couple of years I felt it was time to start telling my own stories and producing my own projects and Beside Her was my first and I could not be more proud.

Ashley Watkins (Dr. Rachel Moretti)

It’s a project where it was the right time and the right place. Everything about it just felt natural!

gJg: How would you describe Beside Her?

Ashley Watkins (AW): It’s a story about love and that intuitive connection we all have and listening to it. 

We all go about our lives every day not really paying attention to that “little turn in your stomach” or the “ring in your ear”. It’s instinct.

gJg: What attracted you to this role?

AW: I’m very supportive and totally believe in equality for everyone. As an actress, there are no limits to the types of roles that I’ll play as long as I’m portrayed respectfully, and/or not exploited. If I can play something that emphasizes the common good for people and it’s something that I believe in, I love to do it. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to do that with this project and Carrie just has so much passion for the film.

Erika Flores (Sofia Rios)

It’s a story about two people who have a strong connection and in the end, there’s a twist. You don’t expect the ending at all.

gJg: Were you concerned at all about the subject matter?

Erika Flores (EF): No, not at all. I like portraying raw, challenging characters. I loved the idea of being connected and really showing the relationship.

What was it like working with Carrie on her first short film?

EF: It honestly didn’t feel like it was her first film, because the entire process was professional and handled so well.

gJg: What did you like most about the experience of filming Beside Her?

EF: Challenging myself with this role was fun. I also loved the location in Malibu where we shot my scene. That was beautiful.

gJg: If you had to briefly describe the story of Beside Her, what would it be?

EF: It’s a slice of life between two people and the relationship that they share. How their connection is so powerful that they can actually feel each other.

Owen Conway (Jeffrey)

gJg: What attracted you most to the role?

OC:  It was  a role that I really wanted to play. Jeffrey is a heavy character with a lot of desperation. It’s not something that you get to play very often.

gJg: Tell me a little bit more about Jeffrey.

OC: Jeffrey is  a “street” person who definitely has some issues. But the thing that struck me the most about him was the fact that he’s so young. 

For him, it’s just about survival.

gJg: What was the experience of filming Beside Her like?

OC: The entire shoot was fantastic. I remember seeing the final product for the first time at a screening a few months ago and being really moved by it. The whole thing came together beautifully.

You can keep up with Beside Her on Facebook and by following 17 Films on Twitter

Article first published as Beside Her: A Short Film That Defines The Human Connection on Technorati.

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Movie Review: Ted

I proceeded with caution while making my way to the movie theater to see “Ted”, the new movie starring Mark Wahlberg about a teddy bear that comes to life.

The reason for my heightened awareness of the situation had nothing to do with physically getting to the local multiplex. Hardly.

No, the real reason for my hesitation was because I’ve been burned by Mark Wahlberg in the past. I still lament the hours of my life lost and the money I am out from enduring films like “Rock Star” and “The Happening”, the latter of which ranks #3 on my list of Worst Movies Of All Time.

But “Ted” is neither of those two bombs.

The story of “Ted” begins in 1985 when a friendless John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) makes a wish that his beloved Teddy bear (voiced by Seth McFarlane) could come to life. With the wish granted, Ted immediately becomes the talk of the nation, even appearing on The Tonight Show.

But soon, the novelty of Ted wears off on the public and John and Ted both “grow up”. As adults, they enjoy each others company (in between repeated viewings of the 1982 Flash Gordon movie and taking bong hits, of course). Mila Kunis plays Lori Collins, John’s girlfriend who wants him to give up living with Ted so that they can take their relationship to the next level.

What I Liked:

1. The humor. Quite a bit of it was laugh out loud funny. Particularly good was when Ted tries to get a job as a cashier at the local supermarket and meets a girl.

2. The “Guest Stars”. There are quite a few people you’ll recognize in this film that really add to the humor.

3. Mila Kunis. I mean, what’s not to love? She’s HOT!

4. It wasn’t “The Happening”.

What I didn’t like:

I have to admit, there really wasn’t much I didn’t like about Ted. Ok, if you want me to be nit picky: Mark Wahlberg’s arms looked a bit too big for his body. Perhaps a few less hammer curls in between takes would have helped.

Final Verdict: Go see it. Especially if you’re into crude jokes, sexual innuendos and watching a teddy bear engaging in recreational drug use.  I liked it.

Making Movies

The other day, while doing some “pre-spring” spring cleaning I stumbled upon a bunch of old 8mm film equipment and movies down in my basement. You know how you have some things in your possession that are, for all intents and purposes, useless but yet you still can’t bear to part with? Well, this equipment is one of those things for me. Something I should have thrown away long ago but still managed to find a place for every time we moved into a new apartment or house over the years.

I don’t really know why it never made it to the landfill but I would soon be glad it didn’t reach its final destination.

Even though the high tech gadgetry that’s available in today’s video equipment has sent my 8mm camera and film projector the way of the dinosaur, I was intrigued to see what kind of treasure was still being held on those old reels. So one night, I decided to go old school and set it all up.

There’s a certain odor that comes from things that have sat idle in a basement or attic for two dozen years. The smell of which seems to get stronger as you start un-boxing them from the places where they’ve sat in silence. Most especially when they’ve sat in an old attic with the extreme hot and cold seasonal temperature changes like these things did. It tattoos an odor on every piece that can best be described in one word: Old.

I suppose it was sometime in the fall of 1984 when my friend Mike and I made our first 8mm movie. I’m sure we would have liked to have made hundreds of them but we weren’t able to due to the high cost of film and processing. I’m sure a lot of it also had to do with the frustration that went along with making them. Unlike today, where you can take anything you can film and edit the video to death, with our 8mm camera you had only one chance to get it right. Every scene had to be done in one take. There was absolutely no going back.

The movies we made were nothing like the caliber of the Steven Spielberg/JJ Abrams blockbuster from last summer. Ours didn’t have zombies, train wrecks or even aliens. Heck, our movies didn’t even have sound at all. And where as the kids in that movie chose to go the romantic route and even include <GASP!> girls in theirs, we chose to go the manly route and make our movies about the greatest superhero of all… Spiderman.

I like to think that in some way the Spiderman movies we made gave inspiration to the three Tobey Mcguire films and the new Amazing Spiderman movie that’s coming out this summer. As you’ll see, considering the technology available to 15-year old boys, our budget and time constraints, I’d say we did a pretty good job. Especially for only getting one take to shoot each scene.

So let me set the scene for you: The setting for this clip is at my house. Spiderman (my friend Mike) has just returned from searching the city for Mime, the evil villain (played by yours truly). Mime is a Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type character that transforms from good to bad. He has issues (much like the guy who portrays him).

As Spidey is taking off his costume he gets blind-sided by Mime. Spidey quickly recovers and tries to capture Mime by spinning a web around him but Mime is able to escape and bull rush him.

Spidey uses his super jumping ability to leap onto the roof of a nearby house.

As Spidey makes his way across the roof top and back down to the ground Mime has transformed back to his normal self and makes his escape.

Academy Award of Golden Globe nominee? I think so. And now, without further adieu, I give you, Spiderman:

Some classic 1980’s references: My Quiet Riot t-shirt (told ya I was a metal head). Also, if you look at Mike’s sneakers after he jumps off the roof you’ll notice they are different colors. Remember when changing your shoe-laces was all the rage back in the 80’s?

I found myself laughing over and over watching this and remembering just how much fun it was to make. Mostly, I enjoyed the stunt of having Spiderman jump from the ground to the roof. This was actually a dummy that I had spent two hours making before filming. I tied jeans and the costume together with twine and stuffed the entire thing with crumbled up newspaper to fill it out. For only getting one take to film it turned out ok. It reminds me of something you’d see in an old Three Stooges short when they’d fall off a building.

In an age when anyone can post a You Tube video we sometimes take for granted all the technology that’s available to us. I  can, and have, video taped the world around me with HD cameras. I’ve recorded my daughter’s school and sporting events without batting an eye. The technology is even available on the cell phone I carry every day (just in case the moment strikes me). Back then, it was a whole process.

Our children can have a video of their entire lives if we so choose. A living, breathing memoir if you will. And yet, these half-dozen or so 8mm movies Mike and I made almost thirty years ago are the absolute only recorded things I have from my childhood that are not a still picture.

But thanks to that same modern technology, I’m able to extract these precious moments from the film and put them on to a digital DVD before the oxidation process completely destroys them.

It’s amazing to see just how I looked, moved and thought back in a time when the only responsibility I had was getting up for school every morning.