Thursday, April 12, 2012 , Updated 12:00 a.m., April 17, 2012
Former short film Gayby goes long at Dallas International Film Festival
Another former short film, The Pact, will debut its feature length version at DIFF, too.
In 2010, The Dallas International Film Festival brought the short film Gayby to its audiences, and it proved to be one of the biggest comedic hits of the Fest. This year, Gayby got back to DIFF in 2012, but in long form (as does Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact -- playing on April 13 and 14 at Angelika Dallas -- the short version of which screened here last year).
“It was just an idea first without a length attached to it,” said Gayby writer-director Jonathan Lisecki. “I think I envisioned a feature but wasn’t ready to make one. So I made the short not knowing if the idea would still interest me after I was done.
“People loved the short and always asked for more, so it just seemed like the best thing for me to do as my first feature.”
One of the first choices a filmmaker makes is whether to craft a short film or a feature-length film. While a short has its advantages, especially for emerging directors such as Lisecki (it’s quicker and cheaper), the feature allows for more time and footage to develop the plot, characters, visual style, and more.
Lisecki treated the feature version like another completely separate project, though he found them equally fun to shoot. “The short was only a few hours of set time, and the feature was a few weeks,” he said. “We also had more people on the set of the feature, and that makes everything more lively.”
Lisecki was able to translate his short script into a feature length script quickly and with material to spare, too. “Nothing about continuing on with these characters was hard to write,” he said. “In fact, I wound up with way too much material and had to cut quite a bit.”
But knowing who to cast, especially with so many additional characters in the feature, is frequently the biggest challenge with expanding a short to a feature. Lisecki was fortunate because of his connections.
“It’s never difficult to cast if you know amazing actors,” he said. “I have a lot of friends in New York who mostly do theater who are incredibly talented. Many of the cast are people I know that way. The rest are people I’ve met travelling the film festival circuit with my two shorts (Gayby and 2008’s Woman in Burka).
“I’ve been very lucky to meet really creative, wonderful people who I got to work with, including [director of photography] Clay Liford, who lived in Dallas when I met him.”
With all of that “extra” material, was there anything that he wished he’d left in the final cut?
“There is a very fun, very over-the-top dream sequence that we cut,” Lisecki said. “I think it was the right choice for it to go, but I am excited to put it on the DVD.”
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