Creating “Family Dystopia” was a whirlwind adventure, and I’m excited to share the incredible journey of making this short film. It all happened during a Kino Kabaret event hosted by ARKAOS in Switzerland. The catch? We had to produce the entire film in just 72 hours. The result was nothing short of amazing.

Let me take you through the rollercoaster ride of bringing “Family Dystopia” to life.

Chapter 1: The Kino Kabaret Kickoff

A Kino Kabaret is like a boot camp for filmmakers. It combines the excitement of a camp with the intensity of collective shooting. Picture this: 30 of us spent four days together, sleeping in a bunker, adhering to specific shooting locations, and working with limited time and resources – a true test of our creativity.

As someone passionate about cinema, I was thrilled to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. I had the concept for “Family Dystopia” brewing in my mind for weeks. It revolved around the theme of freedom of speech, set within the thriller genre. However, I wasn’t planning on directing it at the Kino Kabaret. The idea was still evolving, and it required substantial resources – actors, a full technical crew, specialized lighting equipment, and the perfect location.

That all changed when the organisers approached the six directors (I was one of them) an hour after our arrival. We were given one hour to present our film concepts to everyone. Caught off guard, I found myself pitching “Family Dystopia,” as I had an early draft of the story. The idea resonated with the group, and we had access to the right location and actors.

Chapter 2: The 72-Hour Frenzy

72 hours may sound like a decent amount of time, but when you’re making a film, it’s a blink of an eye. Our team faced a whirlwind of activities: rehearsing, adapting the story to fit location constraints, scouting the spot, and rushing to the store for last-minute accessories. The first day of the event happened to be a public holiday, which complicated matters since we had to shop for essentials on a day when we should have been shooting.

Our location presented its own set of challenges. I had initially planned for two bedrooms, but we only had access to one. So, we had to get creative and create the illusion of a second one. The technical side was equally demanding. I ended up wearing multiple hats – producer, writer, director, and director of photography. Thankfully, I had the support of Rayan Dini, who juggled multiple roles as well, including first assistant director, first assistant camera, lighting technician, and even sound engineer when needed. Jessica Morin also helped me a bunch, being one of the first assistant camera, splendid work!

During the shoot, sound became a musical chairs game, with four different sound operators, all of whom I had to instruct in the art of booming. It was a demanding and highly restrictive environment.

The post-production phase was equally intense. The clock was ticking, and we had just one week to bring the short film together. I was fortunate to have friends who lent their support. Special mention goes to my friend Yvan Brunner, who undertook the audio mixing with remarkable speed and precision, thank you!

Chapter 3: Crafting the Atmosphere

Creating “Family Dystopia” was a unique challenge in storytelling. We aimed to craft a psychological thriller that would immerse the audience in a moody and tense atmosphere. To achieve this, we made bold choices, and one of the most significant was opting for anamorphic lenses with a 1.8x squeeze.

The anamorphic format has a distinct cinematic quality, with its characteristic lens flares and stretched bokeh. These visual elements added depth to our frames, helping to create a captivating ambiance. We deliberately emphasised high contrast and shadows to intensify the mood and suspense of the story. Every scene was carefully designed to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, and the anamorphic lenses played a pivotal role in achieving this.

Chapter 4: Theatrical Premiere & Film Festivals

The real highlight of this journey was when “Family Dystopia” was selected for its theatrical premiere at the Nuit du Court métrage in Sierre. It was a dream come true, and the experience exceeded all expectations.

The moment I walked into the theater and saw my creation on the big screen was indescribable. The buzz of excitement in the audience, the shared anticipation, and the collective reactions to the film’s twists and turns created an atmosphere of pure cinematic magic. It was heartwarming to have my family and friends there, supporting my work and sharing in my achievement.

Throughout the 12 minutes and 43 seconds of the short film, I was grinning from ear to ear. It was a testament to the power of storytelling and the unifying force of cinema. The premiere was a moment of deep satisfaction, reminding me of the profound impact that film can have on both the creator and the audience.

Moreover, “Family Dystopia” received notable recognition and acclaim at various film festivals. It achieved an official selection and earned the Best Drama of the Month award at the Paradise Film Festival. Additionally, it garnered accolades at the Festival La Fine Équipe Villars-Gryon, securing an official selection along with 2nd place (audience) and 3rd place (jury) for Best Short Film. The film was also honored with an official selection at the Lift-Off First-Time Filmmaker Session, further emphasising its resonance with diverse audiences and esteemed juries across different platforms.

Conclusion: A Pilot for the Future

The whirlwind journey of crafting “Family Dystopia” during the Kino Kabaret was a defining chapter in my filmmaking career. It pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in a limited timeframe, and it revealed the untapped potential of the story I had envisioned.

While the Kino Kabaret was an incredible launchpad, this is just the beginning of the “Family Dystopia” story. The experience reinforced my commitment to expanding this gripping narrative into a feature film, allowing it to reach its full potential.

The process was a rollercoaster of creativity, resourcefulness, and collaboration, and I’m excited to see where the next chapter of this journey will take us. This project is proof that when filmmakers unite to tell a compelling story, the possibilities are endless, and the results are nothing short of extraordinary.

Watch the result
Watch the result
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