Independent filmmaker Kat Candler turned her coming-of-age short film “Hellion” into a feature-length movie of the same name with a very short turnaround. The whole thing was cast, shot, edited and distributed in just a little over year.
The filmmaker talks to Moveable Fest about her process, including why she continues to make short films. “For me, it’s a way to get back onto the playground and not having to spend a ton of money,” she says. “It also hones your craft and allows you to try something different. I hope the shorts that I’ve made over the last couple of years, one is very different from the next, and it’s kind of stretching my filmmaking muscles a little bit.”
Candler cast non-actors in the crucial roles of the children in her film. “With the boys, I made all of them their own histories of their relationships and their friendships and what happened a week ago or how did they meet a year ago,” she says. “I think that helps them dive into their characters even more, because for somebody that has never acted before, it gave them perspective on who they were and what kind of friendship that they have together.”
The film’s amber-tinged cinematography was inspired by films like Tender Mercies. “I had a image from that film hanging on my wall throughout the entire process writing the movie and I definitely wanted to hearken back to the late ’70s, early ’80s, with that kind of summer, warm feeling with lens flares when these boys are out on their own doing dumb stuff, but yet there’s a darker atmosphere and tone when we’re inside their house with the weight of this loss,” Candler says. “Bringing on Brett [Pawlak, the cinematographer], who shot ‘Short Term 12,’ he was just full of ideas and we had to move really quickly because we were shooting so few days and with kids, we were going at lightning speed to get everything done. Luckily, with the camera we were shooting with, we were able to use a lot available light, which very much accented what we were going for along the way with the naturalistic feel.”
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