MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from?
Birthday Girl is a scene from a feature screenplay titled Bronco. As I was developing the feature script, I found that the first meeting between the lead and her strange uncle would make for a good short film.
MIFS: How much did the concept change when going to final edit?
One scene at the end of the film was cut, due to the need to continue the rhythm and connection with the flashback scene. Beyond that, little changed, due to this story being told chronologically.
MIFS: Were there any challenges during production?
The biggest was losing our producer for most of the production due to strep throat. That led me to fully appreciate the role of the producer on set, and how much I relied on her being there to give me the confidence and freedom to do my job, but the students who filled in for her did an amazing job of keeping the production end together and moving forward. We also were almost shut down by the local police when we were filming on the main street, but, luckily, the purchase of traffic cones allowed us to continue.
MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
The professional experience that the students gained on the production is very rewarding. The fact that we are able to provide an environment with professionals, cutting edge equipment, and a pro work rhythm and attitude is something that we know has and will continue to have a huge impact on the students. Finishing the film and seeing it screened is also a great reward, especially after the difficult production and post production that we ran into. The lengthy process, increased expenses, and overall sacrifice pays off by having a completed film.
Birthday Girl screens Saturday Nov 5th at 4:30pm, at the Lubar Auditorium in the Milwaukee Art Museum.