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A deep dive

By Diogo Brüggemann

Welcome to a new episode of Make It Short, where we invite film-industry pros to discuss the filmmaking process and share their opinions about a featured short film - always aiming to give constructive feedback and learn from each other's experiences. 

Joining me for this episode have CenterFrame co-founder and filmmaker Bernhard Pucher, CenterFrame’s Script Club host and screenwriter Luke Foster, and, for his second appearance in our London studio, Mexican writer-director Rodrigo Fiallega!

Continuing our deep dive sessions in which we analyse a single short film, we’ve selected a very complex mystery short amongst the films submitted to us called Abstraction. 

Written and directed by Samuel H. Evans, the film tells the story of a man who, upon discovering his wife has been having an affair, decides to take matters into his own hands by confronting her and her new partner. The film relates this in a very enigmatic way, withholding a lot of information and playing with time and perspective. So while it can be very challenging to grasp everything Abstraction has to say on a first watch, the film is still able to deliver some quality moments and an instigating idea.

Having Samuel himself with us gave us an amazing opportunity to understand some of his creative choices in making his very first short film. Luke asked Samuel how much he wanted the audience to guess and how much information he wanted to share - as this is a very difficult balance to tread: keeping the mystery while not getting the audience too confused. Crafting a compelling and complex plot which keeps the audience engaged from start to finish can be a daunting task, even in a short film, and when it comes to mysteries, this can be doubly challenging.

Rodrigo asked Samuel about his influences when writing the script and directing Abstraction. A fan of mystery movies, Samuel mentions Christopher Nolan’s 2000 classic Memento as a main inspiration, as well as names like Hitchcock and films like Peeping Tom.

We can see some of those influenced in Samuel’s decisions on how to tell the story, including the development of the plot and the distinct chronological order he chose to use.

One of my questions was about the Mystery Man, a character in the film whose intentions and background were not very clear. Samuel explained he wanted to create a puzzle and leave a lot of it open for the audience’s interpretation. 

After the interview, we continued talking about the issues in the film and how some specific moments in the script and film were affected by his lack of experience - very understandable in one’s first short film. We discussed several ways to avoid pitfalls and how to make sure your mystery film can be fully appreciated by your audience.

So, now that you know a little bit more about this complex and mysterious short film, do please dive in and watch the entire conversation. Take advantage of our panels' feedback and insights about filmmaking and on how to craft your first short film. 
And if you are a filmmaker yourself or have worked in the production of a short film as a director, writer, editor, cinematographer, sound editor, or any member of crew, please get in touch and submit your film to us.

Grab the chance to feature in our show to share your experience and hear from cinema experts from all over the world!

How about sending us your Short film?

You can submit shorts from anywhere. Please make sure English subtitles are available if that's not the original language of your production.

We'll try to feature as many shorts as possible in the upcoming episodes of the show, but please be aware that it might not be possible to do so if we receive an overwhelming number of films.