Monday, February 20, 2017

DEAR BROTHER Official Release

Almost two years ago, I walked into a bar to meet up with a good friend I hadn't seen in years.  We reconnected as if no time had past.  He's a fantastic and passionate actor, and we both have a lot of overlapping views about the world.  Suffice it to say, I just greatly respect him and his work, and we kind of feed off of eachother's energy when we're together.

While we're catching up, he tells me his buddy who he hasn't seen since college, is down the street and asks if it's okay if he joins us.  I tell him sure!  So come to find out, he's also an actor as well and his show had just finished up at the theater down the street.  So he shows up and we all start talking.  The two of them carry this rapport with one another and as I was sitting there listening to them talk, it became one of those conversations you just wish you could crawl deeper into what they're talking about. 

Rufus Burns and Tosin Morohunfola star in Dear Brother
We all started talking about working together on something— that we should collaborate on a short film.  And without missing a beat, the two of them stand up and start riffing off of one another as if it was an acting exercise.  They set up this fact: a brother has died.  The two of them are arguing about the brother's character.  I throw out a what if: what if it is minutes before the brother's funeral service, and with their wildly different views of the brother's character, they have to decide who is going to read their prepared eulogy.

It was a spark.  They played the scene out and it was magic.  In that instance, they had completely removed me from the bar full of people into a quiet side room of a funeral home.  As the two stood there, crying and hugging one another after this exercise, I kind of snapped back out of the trance and realized where we were again.

I furiously began taking notes about the story and the pieces I really latched on to.  The next day I drafted up an initial script that I shared with the two of them and all but begged them to agree to let me direct this as a short film.

Over the course of the next six months or so, we rehearsed a few times.  Each time, I had a whole docket of games, exercises, as-if's, and angles for them to play but for the most part we just kind of ran an open forum as creators to explore the material.  It was truly rewarding.

In the background, I continued to refine the script and when I felt like it was ready, I presented it to them and we scheduled the shoot after buddies Will and Alejandro agreed to help make the project happen.

I've talked a bit about this project in passing previously on the blog here, but I want to say this again.  This was one of the single most rewarding projects I've worked on to date.  It was like an aerobic workout for our craft and I think we all walked away from the shoot feeling like we lassoed the moon.

After some post production issues with the sound, the release was months delayed.  Once we finally completed it, we pushed it off to a hand full of festivals.  It garnered a few awards and it looks like we may be an official selection for the last festival we entered it into, but until we know that officially I won't say any more about that.

A couple weeks ago, I quietly released the film online just to add to my personal collection of public films on my Vimeo page.  I admit it's not a perfect film, but for the experience I got out of it, it sure is something I am proud to have gone through with the actors and crew, and I cannot wait for the next chance I get to work with these two actors.  For your viewing pleasure, I share with you Dear Brother:

DEAR BROTHER— A Film by Daniel Skubal from Daniel Skubal on Vimeo.

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