Love At First Heist is a short film made of still images by director Elizabeth Anweis (Hung, Southland) and shot by Bryan Koss (Discovery Channel, Director of Photography)
The interview below was submitted by Guy Birtwhistle, producer of the film.
We tracked down actress, Elizabeth Anweis in Los Angeles to ask her about her new short film, ‘Love At First Heist’, which uses a blend of still photography and live footage.
You’re a working actress in Hollywood, where the heck did you learn how to edit?
A book. Books are amazing.
For our techie reeaders what did you shoot and edit on?
I think Bryan [Bryan Koss, Director of Photography] used the 5d and 7d. The video footage of the stabbing being shot on the 5d. Post consisted of PS 5 and FCP 7.
We associate LA with sunshine and palm trees, yet you chose to show us rain and downtown, can you talk about your reasoning behind this?
Downtown LA was written into the script almost as it’s own character. As for the rain, we were lucky with it.
How many photos did you shoot?
Roughly 2600 photos. We were attempting to capture a lot in one day and moving quickly. It was incredible of Bryan to get all the coverage we needed in addition to the stylized experiments I wanted, most of which didn’t make the cut in the end.
What was the shooting photo count to editing photo count ratio?
2600 photos were shot of which 500 were then processed. I’m not sure how many ended up in the film as there were two different edits. The final one being scaled back and more simple.
Please talk about the process of editing all those photos, what was your criteria for selecting the photos in the video?
Pretty basic. The first pass involved separating out my favorites which were then edited in Photoshop to inspire the look and feel. Next came forming the skeleton of the story and then it was a matter of filling it in with the music in mind.
There is minimal sound design, no voiceover, can you talk about your decisions with respect to sound?
It’s good to hear that it sounds minimal as it’s not meant to stand out much and there’s actually quite a bit going on. I think the music acted as more powerful an agent than any true dialogue or voiceover could have in 3 min. It also, I think, allows a more individualized experience for a viewer to fill in who the characters are.
Why did you chose black and white?
It’s less distracting and offers more control over the focus of an image. I didn’t want the difference between all the lighting situations to stand out and detract from the short story. Within the three minute time frame I think the black and white images provided a stronger and faster emotional impact.
Can you talk about the challenges of shooting on the street, were you hampered by weather, light, police?
We weren’t stopped or questioned at any point which was surprising to me. Security guards watched us but never said anything. At one point we were even standing in front of a jewelry store as I was pulling a knife from my bag while masked, and nothing. The weather was the biggest challenge for me. On the one hand it was great for lighting because it was overcast all day but on the other it was freezing with the added rain. Some burly men (ahem, Bryan and Guy [Guy Birtwhistle, actor/ writer/ producer]) might disagree but as the day progressed my limbs and hair froze with icicles, I was shaking uncontrollably and by the end I could barely communicate. The words were stumbling off my tongue and tripping over my lips. Thank god Guy and Bryan are both proficient mind readers.
Learn more about the film at Guy Birtwhistle‘s website