Ben Kitnick

Pura Vida

This post is in partnership with Cadillac Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenges producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants will make a short film over a single weekend in late June, and the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. Your eyes are bright, your heart is full, and your optimism is high. You want to attempt to join the ranks of those creators who’ve gain notice by crafting a sensational short film. Maybe you’ve got a thousand ideas swarming your mind, or maybe you’re quietly panicking while waiting for inspiration to strike. Maybe you’ve got the camera but no crew, or the crew but no camera. Maybe your credit card is going to ache in the morning. No matter what situation you’re in, making your short film is going to have challenges — both technical and creative — and it always helps to hear from those who have come before you. Here are three producers who have all crafted uniquely excellent short films describing the biggest filmmaking problem they faced and the way they faced it.

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Pure X Heaven

Why Watch? This short film from Ben Kitnick has the look and feel of a standard music video, but instead of the next Abercrombie model in line for the job, they’ve chosen to follow around Corey Busboom — a man known for his hook suspension work. And, yes, there are images of hook suspension among the blissful images of carnival rides and demolition derbies. Tonally, Heaven is a lost summer. It’s childlike in its wonder, particularly because of the juxtaposition of amusement park antics and the free-wheeling spirit of soft focus, but Busboom brings a severity to it. He’s grizzled and tanned, and his final suspension act is poignant despite the easy ebb of the music. On that front, Pure X’s sound evokes a chillwave feel with Ben Kweller-like vocals and a sunny guitar strum (adding to the lost summer tonality). A smiling aural tranquilizer. The gimmick of blending real life and a music video isn’t taken to its full endpoint, and there have been others before it that tell a true story, but fortunately this pleasing, thoughtful short goes beyond the hook.

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The Photo Man Short Film

Why Watch? There is real found footage out there, and Mark Kologi collects it. He also sells it, and he’s sold a lot — making a living from images of strangers that might otherwise end up in the garbage. It’s a way of making the intimate public before making it intimate again. Fortunately, Kologi has a few things to say about his unique job, and filmmakers Ben Kitnick and Saxon Richardson gave him the opportunity to wax philosophical about a worldview that peers above a two-dimensional boundary to occasionally see a vibrant world beyond. Simple and pristine in its understatement, this short documentary is worth your time.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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