EXPRESSION, 2min., USA, Drama
Directed by Kyle Briot
A young woman talks to a professional about her past, but all is not as it seems.
I have had the idea for this short film for a long time - a misdirection movie. At first, we appear to be watching a young woman talk to a professional about her past. But I wanted to play with audiences' expectations and make them question what they just saw - even in a film that's barely two minutes long. I hope I succeeded in making a film that is surprising, unexpected and as engaging as it is visually interesting.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I've been making films consistently since I graduated college in 2016 both as a director and a crew member on my friends' films but after COVID hit we took a long break, obviously. So my brother Kevin used the quarantine time to write a feature film called Losers of Eden that we shot in the summer of 2021. And we had such a blast doing it that I didn't want to keep waiting to do another one, so I started pre-production on Expression while Losers of Eden was in post.
Losers starred Matthew Intil who plays the professional in Expression and I thought his performance in that feature was so impressive - I was really eager to work with him as a director on Expression and I loved what he was able to do.
Beyond that, I love playing with audiences' expectations and I think this film is a fantastic vehicle for surprising the viewer with a twist in such a short amount of time.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
This one happened real quick. I started writing in February of this year and it was on YouTube by the end of April. I want to give a quick shout-out here to Mila, the actor who played the young woman in this film. This was, believe it or not, her first on-screen performance and you can tell by the reaction video you sent me that she just knocked it out of the park. I asked her if she was interested in acting and this movie was done a few months later.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Getting a location was hard. I had written it to take place in a living room but didn't really have access to the right kind of living room. I eventually found a beautiful room online called The Sunlight Space which I was able to rent for a few hours so we could shoot. The owner, Emily, was great, letting us move the furniture around however we wanted to get the room set up just right. The other issue I had was time. I only had the location for an afternoon and I felt a little rushed to get all the shots done before our time was up. As a director you certainly don't want to be rushed but I'm really happy with the finished product.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I loved the video. What a great concept for a festival. It made me feel like all the effort the cast and crew put into the film was worth it. I loved how the audience members are part of the industry too, because the actors can appreciate the work my actors were doing.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
My brother and our best friend made our first little video when I was seven and we haven't stopped since then. So it's been a dream of mine since childhood and I've had a great twenty plus years working with them. That friend I mentioned is Layne Thomas, who was the director of photography and music composer for Expression. Layne is truly the jack of all trades and is the secret weapon on all my films.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Apparently when I was a very young kid I could practically recite Toy Story from beginning to end so probably that one.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I'm not sure if there is much you need to do. This festival lives in a unique space in the circuit and I think it provides really useful feedback that other festivals don't.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway has been awesome. I love how easy it is to use and how easy it is for festivals to communicate with filmmakers and vice versa.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I could eat sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact I was working at a sandwich place when I made this film and that's also where I met Mila as well as a young filmmaker named Ethan who did the sound for us.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'm not working on anything at the moment - I wait for ideas to come to me rather than force them, otherwise I don't think I'd be able to make the film with the same amount of passion I put into Expression. I made another short film after Expression this year called Outsider, about a girl who shows up to a man's apartment and claims she is his daughter. It was another fun one because I got to continue playing with the audiences' expectations - it's available to watch on my YouTube channel or kylebriot.com.