Playing as part of Show Me Shorts in the section Love and Other Catastrophes, we talk to Storm director Will Kindrick (who flew all the way from America to Aotearoa for the festival) about the torment and eventual joy of seeing his story come to life.
FLICKS: Describe your film in EXACTLY eight words.
WILL KINDRICK: Government enforced dating app malfunctions resulting in chaos!
Were you looking to make a short film before you came up with the idea or did the idea drive you to make a short film?
The idea came first! I direct a lot of music videos so I thought it might be a cool concept if the right song came along. The deeper I dove into the story, the more I realized this story was taking on its own life and deserved to be its own thing.
There were a few artists who were interested, but I started getting notes from the record label and realized I needed to protect the integrity of the story. I’m so glad I did.
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I hear your lead actor broke both their arms. How in the world did that happen and how far into the shoot were you?
It’s true! We had scheduled a seven-day shoot with four days for principal photography at the beginning and additional scenes scheduled for a few months later. Short films don’t have the biggest budgets so I had to cash in every favour I could and work around everyone’s schedules.
During the hiatus, my lead actor John Bubniak went snowboarding and that’s when the accident happened! I wasn’t there, but I like to imagine him going off an insane jump while trying to land a triple backflip nose dive whammy pivot (I don’t know snowboarding terms). He posted an Instagram photo from the hospital with both his arms in casts. I was hoping it was wardrobe for a role, but fate had other plans for us!
Once your lead healed, was it tough getting the production back up to speed?
Production went on hiatus for nine months while we waited for John to heal.
I was busy on other projects, but Storm was my passion project so I would spend as much time as possible editing and storyboarding out the sequences we hadn’t shot yet. I knew exactly what we needed and how to plug it into our edit. So when we finally went back with our skeleton crew to shoot it, everything went smoothly.
Were you ever tempted to throw the entire project in the bin?
Making films is hard, especially on an indie level like this when you’re spending your own money. You just have to trust your vision and keep moving through all the hurdles and setbacks.
During one of our more ambitious setups, we brought in water trucks, rain machines and a water dump rigged system for our flash flood scene. When we got to the studio alleyway we had reserved, there were big diesel trucks blocking the entrance. They were parked for the weekend and we weren’t able to get any of our equipment to the location. That was one of those heartbreaking days for me.
What kept you going?
When I have an idea and get my mind set on it, there’s really no turning back for me. I also have to credit a lot of the success of this film to my amazing DP David Vollrath. He was my partner in crime throughout this entire production and his enthusiasm constantly energized and kept me going. You really have to align yourself with people who understand you and your vision and will fight for it as hard as you.
Could you share a moment during filmmaking that felt euphoric? A shot you nailed? A problem that got solved?
Throughout the film, our lead actor is teleporting through multiple water-based splash portals. For me, the moment John bursts up out of the ocean wearing his suit and tie was when I knew we had something special and it was working!
The edit required a lot of precise kinetic transitions so I had done an animated previs on post-it notes so I knew exactly what we needed. It was awesome to see it all coming together, especially in the editing room.
But really, the most euphoric moment for me has been taking this film all over the world and seeing audience reacting and resonating with it.
If you could meet yourself before starting the production, what piece of advice would you give?
Don’t let anyone break any arms, don’t let any diesel trucks get in the way, and keep going, because it will all be worth it.