27 Nov BEARZ Process
BEARZ is a short film that digs into America’s racial issues through the eyes of a young boy. The process of producing this piece certainly proved to be a challenge from beginning to end. From casting, to locations, to licensing protest footage, this film tested my patience and desire to make the film.
Finding the right actors was key for this piece, not only based on appearance, but personality. We needed an adventurous spirit for the lead role, perhaps rebellious at times. Initially we explored the traditional way through talent agencies, but wasn’t finding what I was looking for. During production on an unrelated project in Denver, I started talking to one of our models about her kids. From her photos and stories, it was a perfect fit. Regardless of acting experience, it felt like the right move. I trusted my gut and went with it. He was incredible. This just goes to show that rules are meant to be broken in the filmmaking process.
Another challenging component of the process was finding the right locations. Although we live in a beautiful state, it seems everyone else in America has figured that out. We needed that feeling of isolation when the young cub is exploring through the wild. We filmed on a busy Sunday. Parking lots were full. Trails were high traffic. Initially this was negative news, but because of the limitations it helped shape the setting. Some of my favorite moments are in that scene. Limitations are a beautiful thing!
The last challenge came down to finding archive footage of protests. The tricky part here is that we need to be sensitive to the identity of others. This footage was real, so avoiding shots with recognizable faces was key. It didn’t help that all the major stock footage sites won’t license a fictional film. After so many failed discoveries and conversations, we finally found someone with footage that would work. Ultimately it was just persistence that led us to resolution.
With all this said, we had so many amazing things happen during production. I’m forever grateful for the little cast and crew who made this happen, along with a beautiful song from Tom Rosenthal to compliment the film. Mother Nature treated us with nice weather. No technical difficulties arose. Regardless of this film’s success, I’m immensely glad it exists.