Comments Made During the Contest
Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)
First thing I noticed was the art direction was absolutely sublime! I'll leave out the details, but compositions, use of color/black-white, staging and lighting were all done to perfection and would be hard to improve upon. It was all very beautiful, from the actors to the scenery.The music score supported the story wonderfully also. The calmness that I felt due to the still camera shots, still actors, calm piano sounds that turned into horror only in the end, contrasted very much with the horrific content.Story-wise; I obviously didn't root for the character from the start. He was miserable and passive, and when a love interest came close he ended up pulling her teeth. The fact that a lot of information was delivered as exposition also caused there to not be an emotional connect with the character (I feel.)Nice drawing, good draftsmanship.All the art direction, staging, framing lighting and composition was handled just beautifully. The beautifully chosen still frames with piano score worked really well.One thing, not sure, but the voice over, to me, sounded like it was recorded in a small room, a toilet or so... It had that feel about it and I felt that contrasted with the polished feel of the visuals. The production values felt different. The voice did match the character well though, it is just that I felt that its "sound" didn't match with the polished visuals...This film was very much about mood and it delivered that in spades. A very stylish and classy production which I enjoyed watching. I can see this one doing well at film festivals. An absolutely beautiful experience!
Bill Clar (Level 5)
Script: It's difficult to pinpoint Allan's struggle. He has ADD, but what is his goal?Acting: Allan does a good job. Niesha's believable.Editing: No problems.Cinematography: I love the opening shot on the river. Great use of B&W with bits of color.Great use of depth of field.I would've preferred to remain in B&W, but the rich colors of the leaves persuaded me otherwise.Fantastic shot of the trees and Allan at 3:14. Sound: Allan's voice is soft during the voice over. It's a bit hard to hear.Score: Ominous and subtle. Direction: The leave throwing scene runs a bit long. The constant voice over loses its luster after a few minutes. I'd like to hear Niesha's voice. Or any other actor for that matter.It's a beautiful film but the plot is lost on me. Maybe it's too highbrow for my mental faculties.
Bill Sarre (Level 5)
Was the title Berenice or Focus? did i miss something.(EDIT - i think i get it. The script was Berenice but the film is focus!)Well that was a class production. The acting was superb, especially the man who gave an intense performance.Lots of camera effects used, slow motion, fast forward (whatever thats called), change of colour, large use of B&W, moody sound.Overall it gave a decent insight into the mind of a man with a mental health problem and how a chance event/relationship causes him to lose control of his ability to operate in a civilised world.well done.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
Way too much of them playing in the leaves. It got corny after 3-4 seconds.The score was appropriate. All the audio seemed level.The black and white with shades of color worked well and gave the film a very classy look. Some of the shots were really nice. The time lapse of the traffic was cool too and looke extremely professional.The acting was fine by both. Nothing award winning, but perfectly acceptable. Overall, I felt like this one could have been tightened up a bit. The story's not bad, but I didn't feel like the lead actor was believable in the twist. He should have seemed more mental, possibly on a downward spiral throughout the film, for the ending to seem plausible. Nice work.
Bryony Quigly (Level 3)
I liked this. The theme of focus really worked with how you integrated the red into the black and white and flipped to coloured shots. It was well done. The leaves tumbling over his head was probably the best example of this.Some of the black and white shots were dark and I feel the film would benefit from better lighting.I loved the use of colour, particularly the foreshadowing of the red leading up to the shot of him dropping the box of teeth of the table. That shot is beautiful.The acting was good. The lead actor was good throughout except at the end where his dialogue sounded unrealistic.I think where this film falls down is on the lighting. There's some great visual imagery in here and a great score too. Good job.
Byron Matthews (Level 4)
*APPLAUD* I really enjoyed this script from start to finish. The switch back from black and white to color was cool. There's a lot talent in that short.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Great opening sequence and quality of filming and imagery - LOVE IT!Fantastic the way the STOP sign changes to colour...and the berries. Your use of colour is exceptionally good.Drawing sequence great.I'm not usually a fan of VO but THIS WORKED (great voice, apart from anything else)I'm glad the teeth play a part.(I had forgotten the story) I was distracted by Misha's...This was definitely my favourite film. Fantastic job. Would you do one of mine??!!
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
I remember seeing this before. I really don't like VO. The visuals here are really good. I'm not sure why the ending doesn't really hit me like I would expect it to. My first VG of this month!
Chris Messineo (Founder)
SCRIPT: I really dug the original script and the rewrite is even stronger.PERFORMANCES: I thought the actors were both great. I liked the chemistry and the intensity in his eyes.CINEMATOGRAPHY: I loved the look of this. Black and white with bursts of color is an excellent choice. I also really loved the use of the color red throughout. Even the slow motion worked perfectly.SOUND: This is essentially a silent film. There are never any ambient sounds and I wish there were at times. Just like the color comes alive it would be cool if the sounds of the world did too.EDITING: Overall, I thought it was good, maybe a tiny bit slow at times. But the selection and variety of shots was very good. Also, I loved the opening credit shots.SCORE: I liked the music here a lot. It captured the mood perfectly, enhanced the story, and never distracted.DIRECTION: The direction was very strong. The director had a clear style and vision and executed it perfectly.OVERALL: I really thought this was great. A wonderful dark moody adaptation of a story by Poe. Very well done.
Chris Setten (Level 4)
A creepy story that travelled along a road filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing and kept me watching. The acting was quite good for the most part with a few soft patches (being picky here), although I did get a bit fatigued by the length of voice-overs and then (as if the director or writer sensed such) the actor spoke. The cinematography was excellent with a really fine touch in the use of color and contrast. Sound, direction, editing were all professional although I felt the score caused some drag. A fine effort.
Chris Westfield (Level 3)
Although not my favorite style, I find a running voice over narration over moving video rather interesting. I find it absolutely difficult to pull off as in I don't believe I could do it well. The fast and slow frame rate helps the a lot with emotion. Interesting use of black and white versus color, I think it works here...nice editing, composition, focus pulls, quick cuts. From a technical standpoint everything works.I don't exactly understand the main characters overall motivation for doing what he did. I'll have to watch this one again.
Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)
Well filmed first and foremost. Contains some really nice and interesting shots. The transitions between and combinations of black and white and colouring are marvellous. The berries were a great way of displaying his condition, how he is captured by the details. The emergence of color when she throws leaves at him was both telling and moving. I was curious about the scrambled sound, in particular his voice over. Was that deliberate? I also felt the tone of the movie could have used more of a shift. It keeps the same gear throughout, and as a result his "episode" seems to come out of nowhere. A few signs of sneaking malice, I think, would have made the story richer and more suspenseful.
David M Troop (Level 5)
FocusBerenice, written by fellow PA writer Pete Barry, won Honorable Mention in May 2008.It was based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe (as per the contest).This year it was turned into a film by Martin Lancaster called Focus.What an awesome achievement.THE SCRIPT by Pete Barry is dark and moody. Then romantic. Then menacing before turning grim. Fabulous writing. Haunting dialogue. Wonderful images. Tragic (yet believable) ending.THE ACTING by Megan Barrios and Niko Kuhnel is brilliant. The two leads tell the story without a single word. Barrios is beautiful and sweet. Kuhnel is dark, distant, and mysterious. They are amazing to watch. The voice over was perfect.THE SCORE by Gregory Bakay is excellent. A beautifully haunting piano piece with strings.THE SOUND by Alan Chang was very good. The voice over was clear and not overpowered by the music. THE DIRECTION and EDITING by the great Martin Lancaster was absolutely astonishing.Lancaster has a brilliant artistic eye for direction. Every shot is a masterpiece within a masterpiece. He is also a very technical director. Mixing black and white and color within the same shot. Time lapse photography. Then editing it all together so seamlessly. OVERALL an EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCELLENT job by everyone involved.
David Patterson (Level 3)
nice tone and mood. Beautifully shot. Where is this? Anyway...loved the technique with the color/ black and white. Very suspenseful. very moody and poetic. My only problem: I knew it would end in violence. I'm a bad judge of film I guess because vilonce is such a popular theme. I would have preferred a more Woody Allen'esque ending...something more heart breaking and not so much like Dexter. But...great film work.
David Serra (Level 4)
Whoa, very stylish, moving, and frightening. A lot of thought and hard work was put into the movie and script. I really loved this film. you and eveyone involved with this project should be proud.Excellent
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
I am giving this an excellent because it sets a mood and sticks with it. Up until the end, the acting and emotion were intense and spot on, then after he opens the box with the teeth, I just didn't see the surprise and emotion one would expect.But at the beginning, this actor really picked up and delivered the character in more ways then facial expressions, his whole body language and demeaner were perfect.I like the music and the filming, the black and white with bits of color is effective.Excellent on many levels. Congrats!
Debra Johnson (Level 3)
I didn't know what to expect and certainly did not expect the ending. It was so good! This is an excellent movie! I love how it's in black and white and only his obsession becomes colored. I actually thought the girl would break him out of his problem, but of course that didn't happen. Excellent work!
Denise Jewell (Level 4)
This is so good. This is a great example of a director taking the origingal wonderful script and making something even more wonderful. The filming is perfect. The actors are perfect. The story unfolds perfectly. I can't really find any faults at this point. Just - wow.Excellent.
Donnetta Williams (Level 3)
The film contains some good affects. I love the color mixed in with the black and white contrast throughout the film. The characters were well portrayed. Overall great job.
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
A very slick, professionally done, high quality film, I wish I had such a camera. I really enjoyed this film despite the voice over, we need to be inside the character's head for this, and despite some time before the action/intrigue, I finally got a good laugh. Hope that's what you were going for.The actor's voice over work was full of emotion, and rang true, excellent. Acting, excellent.Cinematography, what can I say that I didn't say above, I want that camera!The score was perfect. Love all the graphics and time lapse, oh, and the color from black and white, the racking focus(?) man, man, excellent.Final mark - EXCELLENT
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
The photography was excellent. I like the transitions from black and white to color and these transitions were original and professional. I like the musical mix. Unusual story. I grade this excellent!
Felipe D. Machado (Level 4)
This is the best film I've seen here this month. It all made sense. There was a payoff at the end to things that were hinted at in the beginning. I'm not really a big fan of narration but it worked well enough here that I could look past it.I really liked the way you portrayed the character's ability to focus on things. Using color was a brilliant way to do that.
Gary Rademan (Level 5)
First, congrats to Pete Barry for such a moody. dark script. Martin's rewrite is just as moody and dark.The things that stuck out:B&W with color was effective - Never get tired of that technique.The VO was paced and enunuciatedThe leaf throwing scene was funThe actor's reaction to the kiss was nuancedThe time lapse was well integratedThe scene on the tracks represented mood perfectlyThe portrait of the girl was exceptionalThe explanation of his problem with the girl was not clear "blah, blah, avoid her" was all I heard.The ending wasn't cohesive with the body. No wait. I just figured out the significance of the crushed berries. Nice foreshadowing,I was squirming in my seat for it to end. Not because it was bad but because I reached my tolerance of dark and moody.EXCELLENT!
Greg Tonnon (Level 5)
I really liked the cinematography. Your use of slow motion, time lapse, black & white and color were very good. The acting, sound and music were all very good as well. From a continuity standpoint, at about 2:30 she only has one leaf in her hair and at 2:40 she has several without him throwing any more. Not a big deal. Showing her teeth the way you did was very effective as I thought to myself "what's up with her teeth?" before he even mentioned it. The blood on the teeth was too red. It wasn't so fresh that it would have been that red. A little drier and reddish brown would have look more realistic. Overall, this is very good.
Hassan Saddiq (Level 1)
Wow, this was good. Great post production, and the credits at the beginning are beautiful in b&WThe score complemented the story and mood well with the piano pieces conveying his depression and mental instability pretty clearly. This was complemented well with the sfx used in the moments where he loses his grip on his illness.Some things I would change would be the girl's smile at 5:21. The smile was held for too long and was too "stiff" of a smile to seem natural. It didn't make her seem like she was giving a casual, flirtatious smile to win him back, it made her seem a bit crazy. Other than that I like that whole scene, it felt a bit "hitchcock-ian"!Very good short film, I don't have any real criticisms of it because I thought it was very well done all around!Ps. I just noticed at 6:13 it looks like it's just a floating head talking
Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)
Complicated story but loved reading and watching it anyway. Why Berenice??? That's my only misunderstanding beside that there was clarity in diction, characters and plot of the script.Well done!
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Beautifully artistic! Love the choices of where to add color and the richness after some superior color correction. Great camera work. Nice adaptation of Poe. Very good acting.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
I kind of liked it the first time around, and then I LOVED it the second. AUDIO: Perfect. I could hear everything crystal clear. You synced the sound effects to the the actions perfectly. Especially like the creaking door open. Cool.DIALOGUE: Was almost the best part of the film. The dialogue was absolutely amazing. MUSIC: Hm... sometimes I thought it was a bit of an overkill, but I'm the "no music" kind of guy, so that's just an opinion. I did enjoy the soundtrack though. DIRECTING: I didn't understand who the man that opened the door was. Was he police? I wish it was more clear. I also thought you could have cut faster from a few scenes. I did think their leaves scenes, which was beautiful by the way, was a little too long. I understand you wanted to show as much of that amazing looking scene as possible, but it dragged a bit. But... the directing was the best thing of the film. wow, wow, wow. Of course I liked the B/W to color thing, but even if you didn't add that cool element, this film would still pop because of it's unique style. It reminded me of the old french films. That really artsy directing.ACTING: Great. No complaints. OVERALL: Great film. My first excellent.
John Padgett (Level 2)
I really enjoyed your use of color in this film. The reds and the black and white. The acting was decent.Direction seemed fairly well.Cinematography was decent as well. Nothing special.The story tied everything together.OVERALL: Very Good. Good job!
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
Poor Nisha:)You did a great job on your movie. Every shot, music, sound, visual effects. The lights, the red stuff...If I were to note one thing that struck me the most - it would be its pacing - it is beautifully paced. I was afraid that the look of teeth would make me laugh at the end (somehow the fact that he killed her for her teeth is funny to me) but the pacing did the trick. You moved so slowly from the moment he realizes that Nisha is gone to the end that I let the thought sink in. I really liked the fact that you included the shots when said "I tried to avoid her. At least to ignore her"It's a smart thing to do - I'll use that thought when working on the remake of mine.Anyway, Excellent for your excellent movie, Martin. Thanks for the great entertainment!
Kirk White (Level 5)
love the new title. a very sharp and technically precise film. nice use of color. I must admit I like the original script better...then it captured more of the surreal quality of his pov...I think the edit could have been tightened to build momentum but overall it's a solid film.good job...
Kisha King (Level 4)
Everything seems to be so good in this story. The story and the acting is superb. I wish that the story was one minute longer just so I could find out how the guy got to the room and why is the teeth in a small locked box. CLIFFHANGERalways have you wanting more and more and more.I think everyone did a great job on this film. KUDOSNow I'm going to read Edgar Allen Poe - Bernice... this is a GREAT JOB of turning this into a short script and a short film.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Impressive cinematography. The bright and beautiful color contrasts perfectly with the stark black and white. Two distinct moods presented visually.Wonderful variety of shooting techniques. At the start, the fast-forward of people zipping about and around Allan, the stop sign and berries turning red, the slow-motion of all those colorful floating leaves -- wonder how many takes it took to capture that leaf in Niesha's hair? -- the speed-drawing of Niesha's picture (a talented artist), the bloody teeth spilling onto the floor. Amazing camera work.The actors did a terrific job, especially considering the movie is almost dialogue-free. A pretty Niesha (Megan) coupled with a handsome Allan (Niko), both of whom can act, goes a long way to perpetuating the story. The music is a great fit; it's got a haunting quality, but doesn't give away that there's a heinous crime coming.Excellent submission.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
Mesmerizing.Such a good film. So many wonderful things communicated without the need for excess dialogue. A great example of properly used voice over. Fantastic cinematography. Excellent use of black/white/color.The suddenness of the teeth shot was almost too abrupt, though. Although properly jarring, it didn't seem to fit with the well-executed edits of the rest of the film.Overall, Excellent.
Lee Lyons (Level 2)
I really liked this. Well made, well shot stuff. I think it works really well as a short. And although I realize it was probably a stylistic choice to show the teeth as boldly as you did I think it would have been more effective to lose the straight on shot and just show the shot of the teeth scattering on the ground. Kind of like Seven and the severed head shot to a certain extent. But overall I really enjoyed it. Probably my favorite of the shorts that I've watched so far.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I love this!!! I love the split screen opening and the use of time lapse... and the crow! Very Poe-ish.I asked a question about using stock footage in one of the threads and was relieved when the answer was positive. This film is a wonderful example of how to make use of the excellent footage that's out there. I especially liked that it's combined with the director's own time lapse scenes. I'm very aware of the work it involves, and I admire the filmmaker's dedication.Great acting. The lead actor genuinely looks like he's mentally "going away" when he's required to. I liked that the female lead was someone who was very pretty in an ordinary way... Does that make sense? There's nothing really striking about her... She's beautiful, but it's a quiet, unspecific beauty... Does any of that make sense? Let me know if you need some clarification. I'll give it a go. Anyway... For me, it emphasized the fact that ordinary things can capture his undivided attention. His absolute focus... Very good job of casting.The combination of black and white, focused colors and the wash of color when she hits him with the leaves is brilliant. Very nice use of follow focus, too.The music, the voice, the editing, the pacing... everything adds to the darkening of the mood throughout. Loved the mashed berries he finds in his pocket. His look of bewilderment and subsequent understanding was perfect.Huge kudos to everyone who worked on this.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
Awesome. So very well done. You had my attention the whole time not only with the story but with the way it was shot. I don't have any criticism. EXCELLENT work!!!!!
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
The black and white time lapse photography looks great. I like how the colour slowly comes into the film. It has been used a lot, as has slow motion, but I think it really works here. The only shot where it doesn't look as great is when he pulls out the crushed berries from his pocket. Some of his skin tone has been included in the colour when it could have been cropped out. 30 seconds opening titles is a bit much for a film under 10 minutes, especially as the same shot is used at the start of the film. The reveal was great. Maybe the crash of the box was slightly too loud. The acting and music was good. Excellent.
Michael Hughes (Level 4)
I thought the film did a nice job of holding an eerie / somber mood. The music worked well but the electronic "zap" element (not sure how to describe it) might have been just a bit too jarring for the mysterious mood being set by the rest. Not a problem, it just stood out a little.I thought the story was very good (I had not read the script prior to watching.) It caught me off guard that the main character was going off the deep end. It was interesting that the film had a more disjointed editing style which worked nicely with the character's pychological condition. I also liked the use of color to help show the character's obsessive focus. Not sure why the scene in the leaves was completely in color though, that seemed to run counter to how color was being used in the rest of the film, unless his connection with the girl was pulling him out of his disfunction.The voice over worked well, it helped isolate the character. I wonder if it would have been possible to register his understanding of what he had done without him actually speaking at the end. It seemed less dreamlike than the rest of the film when he was speaking directly to someone.Nice job, congratulations.
Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)
Script: This is a toss up between the original and rewrite. There are a few things that I like better about the original, e.g. I like the broken watch better than the berries as a symbol for possession, and I liked the doctor, the humming vase, the ice cream, and the unintelligable speech.But both were expertly written retales of one of my favorite Poe shorts.Performances:Excellent. These actors were perfectly cast.Cinematography:Excellent. Some of the shots were spectacular. The opening credits were great. The "leave color" effect is getting a bit old, but works well here because it fits into the story. The black and white is ok, but looks like a color correction to DV as opposed to 16mm or 24p, which I think would have looked even better - but this is just a nit-pick.Another nit-pick is to see the contrast between the soft focus b/w things and sharp on color, e.g. the stop sign.The shot where the leaves turn to color as he is brought back into the "normal" world is really nice.Sound:The noise gate on the VO was a bit harsh which distracted me now and again, but other than that, it was fine.Editing:It was not clear to me on first viewing that he was looking at the red berries or the stop sign. A shot with them together would have made this more clear, but maybe it's just me.Score:Brilliant. Absolutely perfect.Direction:Even though I am nit-picking above, I just don't have room to mention all the things that I liked about it. Actually, I loved almost everything about this. I have learned a lot by studying it. Thanks.
Moldovan Alexandru (Level 3)
I enjoyed this short,the image quality is awesome,the actors played very well.I liked the ending,a bit scary,my congratulations to the director.I'll give it an Excellent because it has all the elements for a fully accomplished short film.
Olga Tremaine (Level 4)
Creepy!I like the choice to make it in black and white, with some accents in red.The story -- I didn't understand the ending. Did he kill her or just pulled out her teeth? Did he do it because he hated or loved her teeth so much? A bit ambiguous.Acting -- pretty good.Directing -- nice, a few shots were too long, but maybe it's just me. Good job.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
My preamble: For the first time, I produced and directed a short-film this year, so now I approach the reviewing process with a new perspective. I never thought it was easy, but now I know it's not.This was my last film to review and one of the best. Simply beautiful. I love the avant-garde feel to it. Awesome shots and use of color (and lack of color) throughout.Fantastic editing.Excellent.
Peter Tolosa (Level 3)
Excellent. Absolutely perfect. I loved it. The color at the end was the icing on an already awesome cake, very happy I watched your short film. Nuff said.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is beautifully filmed, the sound is great, performances good, and the story works well for me.Being fussy, I'd say the reliance on voiceover is a little heavy, but in this case it works well and I know it is an effect method for short films in particular.
Pia Cook (Level 5)
EXCELLENT!!!Awesome photography! Really really great looking film. Great editing! Loved how you played with the colors and black and white. The actors didn't talk much, but acted well.I have seen this one before and it seemed just a tad tighter this time? Also the sound was a lot improved. Maybe the sound was mainly my new laptop or did you work on the quality some more?Fantastic! You should be very proud!!...now go make Open Your Mind!! :D
Reginald McGhee (Level 0)
The screenplay Berenice was good from the beginning, until it became horror. I feel that something is missing in the screenplay but I can’t figure it out. Allan, Niesha, and the mysterious woman all performed well. I liked how the filmmaker shadowed the mysterious roommate. I’m assuming that the roommate killed Niesha. That adds special foreshadowing to the film. Berenice’s dialogue is a little bit silted from the beginning. His dialogue became better at the end. The camera shots were right on point. However, the dissolves to the black were long. You could shorten the dissolve shots by 1 second. No other camera shot errors are detected. At the beginning, the sound was silent. I wasn’t sure if it was an error or if it was meant to be silent. The volume was not clear enough. In other words, the sound was low and then increased at the beginning. The sound effect (where the Bereince reveals his teeth) struck me a little bit. The overall sound was low, but the sound effect was too loud for the low volume. That’s why the SFX was a little bit off. The direction is excellent. I will rate the film as good. The volume is the main distraction to the film.
Rich Keel (Level 4)
This just looked amazing! Everything was very well done. Everything, the story, the acting, the look - everything!!! Some shots I thought were a little artsy but overall it was very good! Nice work all around.Nice work Director...your camera work was flawless!EXCELLENT!
Richard Buckley (Level 4)
Congratulations on your completed film,Some parts of this were very well done, such as the colour grading, with the leaves and the teeth at the end. The story was so-so for me, it made sense, but I didn't get any real emotion from it. It dragged a little for me also, partly down to the soundtrack which was a little too monotonous for seven minutes.Anyway you can be proud of your efforts, on the whole, an accomplished film.
Robert L McBride (Level 2)
This was a jaw dropper. The camera work, the shots, the script, the acting, concepts, i could go on and on. I loved this. The opening scenes reminded me of "The Departed". I enjoyed how this flowed. It kept my interest the entire time. Be sure to submit this to some festivals.
Robert Newcomer (Level 4)
Martin, I actually got all tingly when this one came up. I remember early discussions of this film, but had lost track of its progress. What a surprise treat to find it ready-to-watch.I will just come out and say this could be nothing less than excellent, and your attention to craft is clear. While I am not a big tech guy, I could find none of the common flaws in lighting or sound or editing that jump out to my untrained eye.The experimental techniques in motion and color were executed with aplomb -- my favorite being the stop sign, where the red coincides perfectly with its small musical cue to appear.In terms of story, there are just a few comments. I think the leaf fight segment went on a bit long. And for a stupid, random point, I found the Under Armour logo at the guy's neck during this scene oddly distracting. Something to watch out for in the future.I also found it odd at the end, where you introduce a fresh, new character for a single shot and give them no dialogue. I mean, who is that supposed to be, anyway? And then you give the main guy spoken dialogue for the first and only time. It all plays out a bit strange to me, in terms of the tone that went before; I mean, the speaking part specifically.For the climactic scene, perhaps there should have been banging at the door while the guy considers the box. When your stranger bursts in, let it be the silhouette of a policeman instead of some anonymous figure. Then you can have the guy spill the box, revealing its contents to the audience and himself --without the one patch of (really unnecessary) dialogue -- and the whole story feels more completely told in silence.I realize it is silly to rewrite the final scene once the film is complete. I am just saying, and sharing my thoughts. But a really exceptional piece taken on the whole, Martin. You and the others involved have something you can really be proud of.
Rustom Irani (Moderator)
Not only is this one of the best shorts at MP I've seen, this is one of the most meticulous and well thought out short film I've seen. Period!If this doesn't deserve first place don't know what does.A lot of effort went into this, including lots of time getting those time lapse shots.Bravo!
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
This was beautifully shot. The photography and cinematography is stunning. Your lead actors are great. Lighting, music, really strong. Outstanding work.I haven't read the story by Poe, but I assume the film is accurate to the story.It was really well done and I felt like the film really measured up to the script. It was a shocking ending, that I didn't understand fully. (That's why I'm going to read the story when I get chance) But the professionalism and attention to detail with the filming made this stand out.Well done! and Kudos
Van Atanasov (Level 2)
WOW, this one blew me away. Great usage of switching between black&white and color (reminds me of Lars von trier's Europa). I really liked how the twist seemed plausible after what we had seen him do. One thing that bothered me was the reverb effect on the voice over - didn't sound very convincing but this is just nitpicking.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
Superb. Poetry on screen. Excellent.
William D. Prystauk (Level 5)
Beautifully shot! The black and white is perfect for atmosphere and tonality, and the use of color is extremely poignant. Excellent angles and lighting.Well written with a perfect pace that helped showcase the psychological element - along with the music.Thank you for sharing this!Well done!
Zach Jansen (Level 4)
Beautiful looking film -- a strong artistic vision throughout.The emphasis of red reminds me of "Schindler's List."The teeth at the end kind of pulled me out of it -- they didn't look convincing and I had to chuckle at them.The voice-over seemed redundant at times -- the imagery is more than strong enough to convey the story. It works on the page, of course, but I think dropping some of it for the film would have been a better choice. But, honestly, this could work very well as a completely dialogue-free film.Still, a great looking film with a haunting score, inventive shots, and an strong vision.
Comments Made After the Contest
Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 1/1/2012 12:09 AM
Congratulations on this film and getting first place. I enjoyed the movie.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2012 12:12 AM
Congratulations on winning first place! This is a great film.
Pia Cook (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 12:58 AM
My first pick too!! Awesome!!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 1:45 AM
Congratulations! Well done!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/1/2012 2:07 AM
One of two Excellents for me and my choice for 1st place. Well done and congratulations... as I stated above, poetry on the screen. Loved it.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 1/1/2012 2:19 AM
Told ya so! Fantastic!
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 3:57 AM
That's such a great movie, Martin. And you said it's your first (right?) - unbelievable...
Rustom Irani (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2012 5:01 AM
I would LOVE to see and hear about the making of process for this film. I know you spent ages for the right locations and to get the look and edits in tune. Do let us know if you can.Splendid stuff!
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 1/1/2012 7:46 AM
Wow, this is a nice surprise. I really didn't know how the film would be received since so few people have seen it outside of cast and crew. This gives me hope of getting accepted into a festival or two.Now I'm itching to get out there and shoot another film.I'll post some info about the making of process when I have a bit of time. For now, I need to feed my hangover :)Thanks a lot for all your feedback. And thanks to Pete for letting me use his script, and for keeping me sane throughout the process. Without his encouragement I may have abandoned this in the editing room.
David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 8:38 AM
Congrats on winning first place! As I mentioned, the films were very strong this year.It was a toss up between Focus and Thick Window IMO. Amazing, amazing, amazing work.This was one of my favorites. Hope to work with you one day (as does everyone, I'm sure.)
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 10:31 AM
This looked awesome, Martin. Well done. And congrats to Pete as well.
Pete Barry (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 3:52 PM
Holy cow, happy New Year to us, Martin.Thank you, everyone, for the comments and feedback. I'm glad so many of you enjoyed it.And huge thanks to Martin for bringing this to life - I've wanted badly to see this on the screen for a long time, and he did an amazing job over the course of this year. It was a pleasure to work with him. Watch out for this guy - he's going places.
Reginald McGhee (Level 0) ~ 1/1/2012 6:39 PM
I meant to rate this as Very Good after watching the film. I was being harsh on the sound, and everything else was excellent, except fo the sound.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2012 8:43 PM
Congratulations!!! well deserved, Martin and Pete.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 1/2/2012 9:20 AM
One of my three top picks. Excellent work all around. Beautiful visuals. Congratulations!
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 1/2/2012 7:22 PM
Congrats! This was my pick to win. This film was a proper film: story, talent, art. In short, it was a privilege to watch.
William D. Prystauk (Level 5) ~ 1/3/2012 9:19 PM
Congratulations! Wonderful work.
David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 1/7/2012 8:09 AM
Is this now the highest rated contest entry in MP history?Or do films count?
Martin Lancaster (Level 4) ~ 1/7/2012 8:37 AM
I hope so :)By the way, the password is the title of the film.
David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 1/7/2012 9:28 AM
Martin, thanks for the password. Brilliant work by BTW. I hope one day I write something that gets your attention.