On Wednesday we (Finn, Lucy and I) had a wonderful opportunity drop into our lap. A friend of ours was visiting Deitch Projects, a gallery in SoHo (who knew there were any left?) to see an installation by the film director Michel Gondry. He is known for films such as The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, among others. His installation coincides with his latest movie titled Be Kind, Rewind. In the gallery he has set up about 10 various little movie sets, a props department, costumes and two stations for developing storylines for short films. Visitors to the gallery are invited to sign up for a time slot, which allows them about 2.5 hours of time to develop and shoot a short film. No editing allowed--all shots are final shots. Then, there is a little viewing area where you can see your film, along with others that have been made during the exhibition.
Our friend and his two sons were having a great time looking around and messing with the sets, etc., when Michel noticed them and invited them to make a movie. He went so far as to have the gallery open early so that they could get a time slot since all the others were booked up. But he told them that they needed to invite more people since the project worked best with groups of 6-15 people. And so it was that we were making a short film at 10 am on a Wednesday morning.
Our group consisted of six children, ages 3-11, one teenager, and three adults. In the end, it took us more like four hours to complete the process but it was an amazing experience, especially for the children who lead the process of story development, made the costume decisions, and were just incredible as writers, actors, collaborators. The only downside was that we did not get a copy of our film--everything we produced: our storyboards, title cards, etc., are being kept by Gondry.
We titled our film, Movie: The Movie. A synopsis of the plot would be along the lines of "a group of children break into a movie studio to make a movie about a gang of robbers but along the way they get distracted by a television. They click through several channels and watch: a cooking show, a show called "Hard Wood Floors," the 10 o'clock movie called "Fairies Dancing In the Woods" and a bit of a newscast where they learn that a band of real robbers are on the loose. At that moment, the real robbers break into the movie studio and also get distracted by the TV, which is showing pictures of them as wanted criminals. The gang of children notice the robbers and tie them up and bring them to the police station."
Sundance, here we come!