JUST SHORT OF REALITY, 37min., Canada
Directed by Matt Alfano, Chad McFadden
Just Short of Reality is a series of shorts that are told through the genres of surrealism, silent film and dance. Co-existing in one neighbourhood, seven individuals are presented with adversity and choice in this allegorical tale.
Get to know the filmmakers:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
The Golden Era, vaudeville, silent film and movement-based storytelling have always inspired both of us from when we were aspiring artists and continues to throughout our professional careers. Dance is a universal language that can be shared by everyone.
Physical narrative is a genre that we intend to modernize and reintroduce. It’s such an effective, unique and beautiful way to create. We were trusted with the opportunity to develop our series of shorts for the new digital department at the Stratford Festival,
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Just Short of Reality took approximately two and a half years to create from start to finish. Being fairly new to filmmaking, there was often a learning curve for the both of us at times. The pandemic halted production a few times but we continued to work, edit and flush out ideas. Through the guidance of our producers at the Stratford Festival, we were able to tackle the obstacles and bring the vision to fruition.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Condition- Referring to the human condition, adversity and challenges we all face in some regard.
Choice- All individuals in our community face some form of inner torment or longing. Each of them is presented with an opportunity to see and walk a different path. Do they choose to change? Where we place our thoughts, can dictate how we live our reality.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
As mentioned earlier, the pandemic slowed us down significantly. Not being able to operate or get artists together in a room, was extremely difficult. In the end, we consider this a blessing. We gained extra time for insight and logistics.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
We were so impressed with the feedback video. It’s incredible to hear what themes and nuances the audience grasped. It’s difficult to know what intended material will reach viewers until you hear from them directly. They spoke of colour palate, physical narrative, shadow representation, human adversity, time and enlightenment amongst other themes. We are proud to see what successfully translated from the vision.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Chad- I’ve always enjoyed film. As a child I used to make movies with friends on an old VHS Camcorder. Genres of action or illusion were usually the content at the time. As a professional performer, I’ve been in my fair share of movies and film projects. On set I’ve always found it extremely fascinating how shots are accomplished, the techniques used and the art form of film in general. Just Short of Reality was our first professional film and has opened my eyes to the possibilities we could achieve and the ideas that could be shared.
Matt- Growing up dancing and performing from a young age I was introduced early to such performers as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, just to name a few of many. Seeing them all dance how they did AND in films, telling stories with dance and physicality added so many more layers than any spoken word alone could for me. It inspired me and shaped me into who I am and continue to evolve to as an artist. Although much of my career thus far has been in live theatre performance, I have always deeply felt a calling to create this type of work further through a film lens. I have been a part of creating, writing and producing two other very small (no) budget short films of this storytelling genre prior to JSOR. These projects are what sparked a light bulb moment for myself to launch From Ashes Productions to further support this type of work. I then chose to take a conscious step away from theatre for a little time, it was a year before the pandemic, to allow space and room for further growth as an artist in a same vein. I took an online course, read and researched to dive further into understanding cinematography and film making techniques that helped me grow the knowledge and language necessary to help in this area of creative collaboration and production with others. To answer this question, I suppose it was never really a realization but felt more like a purpose to fulfill, an aim to do so from all I have spent my life learning and being so far, to now the present. I am extremely grateful every day I have been presented the opportunity to create and share stories in this way and intend to continue exploring and expanding that.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Chad- This is a hard question, but one of my favourite films is ‘Interstellar.’ The cinematography is epic, the minimalistic music is so effective, the acting is world-class and I tend to gravitate to otherworldly content that’s bigger than ourselves. I’m a fan of many projects directed by Christopher Nolan.
Matt- Yeah, very hard question to narrow down to one. I tend to go back on several films for varied reasons; at times I’m drawn to them for acting/character, writing style and filmmaking inspo, other times for the pure enjoyment and fact I think they are all fantastic one of a kind pieces of cinema to watch. I would say Singin’ in the Rain Birdman, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Inception, Modern Times, Vertigo all fall into the same space for me as being watched/analyzed many times. All of these films have influenced moments in JSOR also, blending and emulating to pay homage to these classic styles. Outside of these individual films, more so, the techniques and range of the filmmakers who created them and their unique skills inspire me.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Being new to the film festival experience, we don’t have much to comment on here. The communication and response we have received has been great. We have even been approached by other festivals we did not submit for based on the exposure and recognition we have received from submitted festivals.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
We really enjoy FilmFreeway, it is so easy to navigate and there are so many great festivals to choose from. It’s such a unique and insightful way to share content. To be able to get exposure on such an international scope is desirable. We appreciate the platform greatly.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Chad- Steak, corn, asparagus and roasted potatoes on the BBQ, with a glass of red wine. Or Sushi. Can’t decide. ☺.
Matt- Pizza, I guess. My go to toppings are pepperoni, mushroom, green peppers and black olives. But I will eat any kind of pizza really. Not super picky in the food dept. I also love Sushi too. Or Breakfast anytime of day. Haha.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Another film!! Currently writing it.