Lost Face is a classic story by legendary writer Jack London about a man out of place and out of time. In mid-1800’s Russian America, Subienkow finds himself the second-to-last survivor of a group of Russian fur-thieves who have just been defeated by liberators from the local tribe they have enslaved as forced labour. Now Subienkow faces a long, protracted and painful death unless he can come up with a plan for escape.
Subienkow calls over the tribe’s chief, Makamuk and he begins to barter...
Produced by: Sam McGarry
Cast: Martin Dubreuil, Gerald Auger, Morris Birdyellowhead
7 questions with Lost Face director, Sean Meehan at the half-way mark.
Monday, February 20th, 2017
1Hey Sean! Congrats on your wonderful film. I'm a huge fan of Jack London as well and I'd love to hear what you like about his writing. Jack London has an ability to instantly create a vivid, almost tangible sense of mood and atmosphere with his writing. There's a humanity and an intimacy that makes you feel like you're right there, alongside the characters, as they suffer through whatever torments he concocts for them. He actually writes very simply, but his word selection and sentence structure are so expertly selected and balanced that he manages to impart so much beyond what is on the page - yet despite that, you never get the feeling that he laboured over any of it, there's an effortlessness that is magnetic. I find him a really exciting author to read.
2This film is the first film you've directed. What experience have you had before this which led up to this impressive debut? I began my career in the camera department before moving into directingTV commercials , which is something I've been doing for around fifteen years now. I feel very comfortable and relaxed on set. Sometimes more than I do in my regular life.
3Jack London wrote so many wonderful short stories. I'm curious what was it about this specific story that made you want to adapt it and turn it into a film? For me, it was all about the shifting balance of power. Obviously, the riddle at the heart of the story is very compelling - is this medicine legit or not - but beyond that, there's this fascinating power play going on between Subienkow, Makamuk and Yakaga that I wanted to explore. I thought the three actors really understood their characters and their individual motivations and were very subtle in their portrayal of the shifting power structure. It was a pleasure for me watching them work.
4You're also the cinematographer for this film. How difficult was it for you to direct and shoot at the same time? To be honest it wasn't difficult at all. I've been shooting and directing TV commercials for such a long time now I think I'd feel a little awkward and lost if I wasn't shooting and directing. On this film though, I did step back from camera operating on the first two shoot days so I could really concentrate on the performances. On the third day we were running behind and we had to bring in a second camera, so I jumped onto that.
5The production design, the cinematography and the acting are all incredible in this film. How much time did you have to shoot and what was the biggest challenge you faced? We actually had very little time to shoot. Three days. And it was close to the winter solstice so the days were short. I think it was around seven hours of daylight per day, minus meal breaks (which were essential given the cold) - so less than 21 hours all told. The biggest problem though, was that we were Chinooked two days before we were due to shoot. A Chinook is a hot wind that blows over the rockies. All the way through prep we had two feet of snow, then the day before we had mud. Then frozen mud. We actually had to bring in truckloads of snow and scatter it around as best we could. We lost a lot of shooting time just spraying snow around. Luckily, John Frosst, our effects guy, had done loads of this type of thing and he made it look seamless and natural. If not for him and Amy Brewster, our Production Designer, our film would have looked very mediocre.
6This film does a beautiful job of leading down a path where you think you know where it's going but actually you don't. What was the most difficult part of walking that line? My greatest fear all the way through prep, the shoot and the edit was that we wouldn't walk that line skilfully enough. It wasn't until people started seeing the film that I was able to relax because people were telling us the reveal was working. Hearing that first person say that they didn't know which way the story was going to go until the end was such a monumental relief.
7What's next? As a result of the short I was able to get a manager and we're about to send a feature script I've been working on out into the world.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
The film with the most fans wins $1,000
For 2017 we are moving on from screening feature films and will be showcasing shorts.
For our Winter 2017 Festival, we are giving away $2,000 in prizes to the top three films.
The film with the most fans.
The film with the most views.
Our favorite film.
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