Jeremy Lutter Interview
Jeremy Lutter is a director who directed an amazing short film called Reset. When I read the premise of the film I knew I had to know more about the film. Luckily he agreed to answer my questions and the short film is amazing with an incredible performance by Emily Tennant. When it becomes available to watch it, please do so.
1. What was the inspiration behind the film?
This project started at the award ceremony of a film festival. A writer, Ryan Bright, approached me and pitched this film called Reset. I read the script and like any great story it raised a bunch thought provoking questions. Reset is a vision of a possible future and a look at love and objectification. It was also the exact opposite of anything I had ever done before. I loved it. I have a background in shooting family friendly, short films – Joanna Makes a Friend, Gords’ Brother. I wanted to expand my directing repertoire.
2. How were the actors chosen for the film?
The first time I read the script, I pictured an Canadian actress named Emily Tennant as the lead. I had considered her for a part in a previous short film – Floodplain. She is a phenomenal actor. I asked her and she was interested. The rest of the cast we drew on other local talents, Michael Karl Richards, Jessica Harmon and David Nykl. I had two amazing casting directors, Kara Eide & Kris Woznesensky, working with me to help put the cast together.
3. How long did the film take to shoot?
We shot for 3 long days.
4. Did you have any problems when making the film?
One of the most challenging aspects of the film was shooting with flowers. Tulips were used as a symbol of love and over the course of the story the tulips were supposed to age and wilt. The problem was you don’t shoot a film in chronological order and we needed to have a huge collection of tulips on stand by at different stages of decomposition. The logistics of this were much harder than I first thought. Tulips were not in season and hard to find. We kept running out of them and needing to find more but no flower shop wants to sell you anything but prime flowers – so we ended up trying to fast age them with blow driers. By the time we got around to shooting the final scene we had run out of flowers completely but we needed one prop flower. There was nothing but a pile of flower petals. Our clever production designer, Moe Curtin, had an idea and made a flower by gluing flower petals together. It actually looked pretty awesome and that glued flower is in the final cut of the film.
5. What cameras did you use to achieve what the film looks like?
We shot Reset on a brand new (at the time) camera called Red Dragon. Our two brilliant cinematographers, Graham & Nelson Talbot (who are identical twins) had just received the camera and this was the first project shot with the upgrade.
6. The film is beautifully shot and lit how did you go about achieving this?
The credit goes to our DOP twins Graham and Nelson Talbot. They are best known for a doritos commercial they made for the super bowl contest. They were short listed and ended up almost winning 1 millions dollars. Instead they got runners up prize (second place) and that included their commercial playing during the super bowl. Anyway, about the beautiful cinematography – we achieved that with careful planning, story boarding and a great lighting team. Seriously, those guys nailed it. It was a cold and futuristic look. And it helped that we had an awesome colourist work with us in post- Rob Neilson of Etch Media – I really wanted the film to have a distinct look.
7. When it came to editing the film, was their much that you filmed that didn’t make the final cut?
This film was very planned out with storyboards and all of the scenes made it into the final cut – losing only a couple of lines here and there for timing. It’s easier with a short film to make a careful plan. I used to shoot music videos the same way, every shot is planned out.
8. How long did it take to have the script ready in a draft ready to film?
The writer, Ryan Bright, wrote a few drafts before he pitched it to me. It took him about a month to get it into solid shape. We were both happy with it leading up to the shoot, but we always agreed there was something a little underdeveloped about the secondary character, Natalie, played by Jessica Harmon. At the very last minute (about a week before the shoot) Ryan wrote a new scene, where Sidney and Natalie interact alone. The scene definitely added something, but also required a glass breaking and an extra page to shoot with little time to make the adjustments. Ultimately we shot the new scene and the movie is better for it. Ryan promises he’ll give me more than a week notice next time.
9. What do you hope people will take away after seeing the film?
I hope that the film leads people to ask questions. Questions about our relationship to technology and our relationships with each other. What does it mean to be human? Can we create a new life and how do we treat people in our life now? There is a theme of objectification that runs throughout the story Do we treat people as objects? What does love mean?
10. What do you hope the short film will do for you career?
I actually shot my first feature film called, The Hollow Ones, right after production on Reset ended – I used Reset as a testing ground for my feature – to explore darker themes, and more adult subject matter. I also took most of the crew from the short and made the feature.
12. The use of music in the film was well used, how do you know when the music isn’t right or too overpowering for a scene?
Music is much like picture editing – it’s all about feeling. You know it’s right when it feels right. I was lucky to have a great composer on board with the project – Terry Fewer who I have worked with many times before.
13. Any thing you wouldn’t do next time regards to making of the film?
This question reminds me of a previous short film I made called Floodplain, which took place on a raft. The entire film was set on, around and under the water. After shooting Floodplain–- people always asked me what I learned about shooting a film around the water. I always tell them I learned one thing – not to do it. It was just very hard. The film turned out and I am glad I did it, but it was a painfully hard journey.
Reset, on the other hand, is a short film with no regrets. I had an amazing team on Reset and two producers Jocelyn Russell and Arnold Lim and things ran fairly smoothly.
14. Was the way Emily’s character was dressed, did it have a huge part in the overall sense of the film?
The actress Emily Tennant played Sidney the lead in the film. It took a long time to get the costumes right – it was hard to give the film a futuristic look, fit the colour palette and give the costumes an arc. Our costumer designer, Kelly Allyn-Gardner, and I worked really hard to define the world and the character. It was written that Sidney wore yellow in the script – but in reality yellow was a bit too strong of a colour and we went a different direction. The most important thing for me was that the costumes changed as the film progressed to add to Sidney’s emotional journey.
15. What is next for yourself?
As I mentioned earlier – I am finishing post right now on a feature film called The Hollow Ones. It’s about evil fairies – hopefully to hit film festivals in 2016 / 17.
Check out the feature:
Reset the short will be available on the BravoFACT website – around Oct this year on their website – check for updates on here: