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CS Interview: Conrad Faraj on 1917 Challenge Winner, Wedding Runner

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CS Interview: Conrad Faraj on 1917 One-Shot Challenge Winner, Wedding Runner

CS Interview: Conrad Faraj in Winner of 1917 Shooting Challenge, Wedding Runner

While Sam Mendes's epic 1917 war drama enjoys great criticism from critics and audiences alike, the co-writer / director has teamed up with Universal Pictures for a challenge in which filmmakers would make a two-minute short story that tells a story. complete and important, and showcase your technical skills. After dozens of submissions from around the country, Mendes chose “Wedding Runner” from Ohio-born filmmaker Conrad Faraj, which can be seen on the player below, and ComingSoon.net had the opportunity to talk to him about how to make the short film. defeat other challengers.

RELATED: Final Trailer of 1917 Starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman

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With many different genre entries coming in, Faraj describes the fact that Mendes has chosen his short film as "surreal" and that while he loves winning the competition, the real joy of these events is "the challenge."

"You just want to compete, you just want to be considered," said Faraj. “I hardly realized honestly that I would really be chosen. Actually, I was watching all my other competitors, I was watching all these other amazing movies and I said, "There's no way that happens." So when I learned that Mendes had chosen my movie, it was just like this incredible feeling, I was very impressed. "

The challenge had some rules for filmmakers, including keeping it with two main characters, a two-minute runtime and featuring a plot that conveys an urgent message on an original idea, and at the same time in 1917 as “this emotional drama. , action piece, ”Faraj had to ponder what he wanted to explore with the movie. The short follows a man who is pushed by his friend to ruin a marriage and reveal his feelings, with the twist revealing that he is professing his love for the groom.

"I wanted to do something that I thought would be different from 1917," said Faraj. “So my team and I discussed different ideas and started sharing stories. I heard a particular story from a friend of mine whose husband left her at the altar for this other man. I thought it would be a great thing to do as our short, that we could make it really quirky, we could make it kind of comical and play with that kind of crazy modern themes. I want him to stand out and I feel like I wanted to play with people's expectations, because I think that's the brilliance of the short film is that you have such a limited time to tell a story and I wanted my particular movie to go a little further. . "

By getting the church to film the short film in its chapel and be on time for the challenge, the team had only four attempts to get it right and church integration was one of the biggest challenges for production.

"We spent a whole week trying to get a church anywhere in Cleveland, which is where we filmed the movie and each person kept telling us no," said Faraj. "Originally, the movie would be set in a cafeteria, and from the cafeteria, the guy would rush to the church, but we couldn't just have local logistics. So finally one particular church said, 'Yes, we have between this period and this period, can you do it? ”I said yes, I can do it absolutely and then we spent about two and a half to three hours just rehearsing and rehearsing and choreographing. everything, so I was really chasing the camera crew with a timer and if the first dialogue lasted more than 35 seconds we would have to restart. So we had three colored smoke grenades for the movie which means we only had three real shots so we did one as a rehearsal and then we did our three real shots. The first one was fine, but we spent the time in two seconds, then in the second the smoke grenade went off and the camera kind of fell off the Steadicam and there was a horrible scene. So we just had one final shot to make everything right and luckily we did it. "

RELATED: CS Interview: Jerry Bruckeimer on Gemini Man

Having finally stuck his finger in the unique effort of filming, Faraj definitely envisions using the technique again in future endeavors, calling it “a great exercise” and “makes you a better director, because you need to be so aware of all camera movements, the actors of sound lighting ”and that“ every director should at least try to do it once in a lifetime. With many films using the impressive technique over the years, he finds his favorite example being François Truffaut's 1959 classic The 400 Blows.

“What always comes to mind is the final scene, which I think is just one of the most beautiful scenes in the cinema, where the main character is kind of running slowly along the beach and he's feeling so lonely and the camera keeps sweeping the beach until it kinda falls into the water and it just stays there in that kind of vast picture, ”said Faraj. "He's just looking lost, so I've always thought this was one of the most amazing photos I've ever seen."

Although the technique is typically reserved for short action sequences or experimental dramas, Faraj would love to see the science fiction genre explore the possibility of unique efforts, as it would be "interesting" and "challenging" as the genre itself is. It's challenging, and adding the technique would take filmmakers a step further.

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