Award Winnng Hollywood Film Editor Melissa Kents directorial debut Bernie and Rebecca selected for Oscar-qualifying festival, LA Shorts Fest. The review and interview with Melissa Kent.
September 6, 2016
Bernie and Rebecca has its Los Angeles premiere at LA Shorts Fest on September 7th at 1pm.
Check out the trailer here:
After a blind date, Bernie and Rebecca imagine a future life together, but it’s not the perfect marriage with angelic kids, a big house and white picket fence…
The story begins at what looks like the end of an unsuccessful blind date. It is at this point that Bernie saves the date by explaining that he does not go by the name Bernard, intrigued by this Rebecca invites him in, and thus begins the real story. This blind date then goes on into the what will be or what if, of the shape Bernie and Rebeccas life will take together. The dialogue continues encompassing comedic elements, love, family, betrayal and ultimately growing old together.
Director Melissa Kent is well known in the industry as a highly respected film editor. Her previous editing credits include The Vow, Four Christmases, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Just Wright, Something New, A Raisin in the Sun, and crazy/beautiful. The film recently won an Award of Excellence: Special Mention at the 2016 IndieFest Film Awards, and has now been selected at the prestigious and Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts Fest.
The film stars Kyle Davis (Dexter/Enlisted as Bernie and Brianna Barnes (A Midsummer Nights Dream) as Rebecca. Both of their performances were nominated at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema in Berlin. The music was composed by David Carbonara (Mad Men), cinematography is by Nicole Whitaker (Homeland) and the sound was designed by Christopher S. Aud (Mad Max: Fury Road, Neighbors). Kent produced alongside Mary Pat Bentel (Animals, Goodbye World).
A lot of very good story telling takes place in a very short time. I highly recommend seeing this movie.
Interview with Melissa Kent:
1. What was the inspiration behind Bernie and Rebecca?
MELISSA KENT: We all wish we could see into the future, to control the future. If you knew that your big life choiceswhom to marry, whether to have children, whether to change careerswould bring love and happiness but also pain and heartbreak, would you do it anyway?
2. How was the transition from editing to directing? What did you find easy and what did you find difficult about directing?
MK: I loved the opportunity to take part in pre-production, making decisions from casting to design to the shot list, and my experience as an editor helped make the shot selection very efficient. It was a lot of fun to work with the actors on a complete performance; I often dont meet them until they come to ADR (additional dialogue recording) near the end of the process. Probably the most difficult thing was finding the script in the first place, and I am so grateful to John F. Harris for writing this story and submitting it to the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition, which is how I first came across it.
3. Is this a story more about what-if or more about what will be?
MK: Maybe the future as depicted in this short is only in Bernie and Rebeccas imagination. Maybe the visuals indicate a future as it actually unfolds. And some audience members believe this is all a memory of a life gone by…thanks to a nice little twist. I think it is all right for filmmakers to leave some ambiguity for the audience to discuss.
4. This is the story of a lifetime together, but it all starts with that opening scene. How did that come about where rather than getting shot down at the door, it turns into a date to remember?
MK: The actors and I imagined that Bernie and Rebeccas blind datethe moment before the film startsdidnt go so hot. As he drops her off, Bernie makes a last-ditch effort to show his real self, make some honest observations about Rebecca, and intrigue her just enough to want to get to know this guy a little bit better.
5. How did you decide to make their life imagining to be so realistic, rather than just make all their talk perfect and happily ever after?
MK: Good storytelling is about conflict; every scene needs it. As my favorite fortune cookie once said, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Even in a world of heartache, betrayal, or just plain bad luck, personal connections and love win in the end…at least I hope they do.
6. Did the collaborations that you’ve done in your successful previous work influence your work on Bernie and Rebecca?
MK: Absolutely. Having edited more than 20 films, Ive worked in every genre and tone, from broad comedy to heartbreaking tragedy, from brutal violence to joyous dance. What attracted me to this story was the opportunity to showcase a lifetime of emotions in just 14 minutes while keeping the tone realistic and consistent throughout.
7. What are the advantages and challenges of working on a short film?
MK: The advantage of short film was that the shoot lasted only 3 days, unlike the 30-50 day marathon of shooting a feature. The challenge was making every line, every moment meaningful, for there is not even one second to waste. In a feature you get roughly 10 minutes to set up the story, establish the main character(s) and his/her challenges. For this short I allowed 1 minute to do the same.
8. Do you see yourself eventually moving to directing in feature-length films?
MK: Feature films would be a natural progression and directing this short film was great preparation.
9. Are there any other mediums you’d like to work in, such as documentaries, animated, TV, webisodes?
MK: I am open to it all. Storytelling is storytelling.
10. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to let us know about?
MK: I am very proud of a feature film I recently edited, American Pastoral. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Philip Roth, it is Ewan McGregors directorial debut and he stars with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. I hope everyone will check it out when it hits theaters October 21.
Fo more information check out my the movies website: www.bernieandrebecca.com/