With BTV’s spring slate of shorts ready to premiere tonight, BlogDH sat down with Yotam Tubul ’14, the director of Afterlife Sentence, the longest of the four films. He had plenty to say about life, love, and movies (minus life and love).
BlogDH: Tell me about the BTV Premiere and why people should go.
Yotam: It’s Monday night in Salomon, which is really cool because it’s the biggest venue we’ve had for it and it’s a big screen and it’s right on campus. [Then he talked a lot about BTV logistics, info you can probably find somewhere on this website.] It’s a lot of people’s work over the course of a semester gone into one night, four short films. It’s a testament to really cool group efforts and hopefully really good filmmaking.
BlogDH: Is this your first film with BTV?
Yotam: No, two semesters ago I interviewed with BTV for the first time and I was placed as producer on another short comedy script, called Roomies, directed by Drew Dickerson. It was a really fun time–I produced, so it was more logistics and organization.
BlogDH: Was that your first experience with movies or are they something you’ve been interested in?
Yotam: Something I’m interested in. I want to go into TV production after college, in New York, hopefully. I like writing, I like producing, I like directing. This was my first time directing, which was really fun. I think what I want to do, though, is go into producing and then branch over into writing.
BlogDH: Is this your script, too, or are you just directing?
Yotam: No, Bryan Smith, who’s a sophomore Literary Arts concentrator, wrote it. It’s a little bit different in that it’s a half-hour long; he wrote a 30-page script and BTV accepted it. It’s a really great script, definitely took more work to make, but it was worth it. He’s our writer, and he’s also the editor, so it’s cool that he got to do the beginning and the end of the process.
BlogDH: What’s Afterlife Sentence about?
Yotam: It’s about Frank, who’s a goofy dude with not a lot going on, and an angel and devil come down one day to judge him in his last days before the grave (or not, find out).
BlogDH: Alright… what else can we talk about? [I’m great at interviews.] You had a movie in the Ivy Film Festival, correct?
Yotam: Yeah. Last semester I was abroad in Prague to study film production. It’s like a program where you make a film over the course of a semester on film [hand gesture to indicate film strips]. We made it, it was a short comedy script. I wrote it and produced it, those were my primary roles. It was a really good program that allows for high production value because they give you a lot of resources. Came back to the states, submitted to Ivy Film Festival, got in…and it actually won the audience choice award at the end of the festival, which was a big surprise. Probably just comes from packing the audience with friends, because that’s the one you vote for. But I’ll take it, I’ll certainly take it. So that was fun.
BlogDH: Cool. So what do you hope to get out of this experience?
Yotam: What am I getting out of this experience? Well, I think I got a lot more experience [laughs]. Learning how to filmmake–I’d never directed before so I learned how you work with actors and how you run a film set. BTV is different because it’s a film organization but it’s also a learning organization, so you can teach people as you go. At a normal film shoot, the director might not explain to people how to set up lighting, but I knew it, so like why not? It was fun to be able to teach also.
BlogDH: Do you expect to work on a BTV short next semester?
Yotam: Ooh. That’s tricky. I want to, but this one took so much goddamn time, I might have to take a break next semester and come back to it senior spring. I’d like to do one more before I graduate because there’s no other time in your life you’re going to have the opportunity to make a film, for free, with a script someone just gave to you and actors you don’t have to pay. Like, that’s not going to happen again after college, so it’s not worth missing the opportunity.
BlogDH: Have you seen any of the other movies that are premiering?
Yotam: [Thursday] night was the test screening in upper Salomon, where we screened them all to make sure they weren’t too orange, and they were too orange. I missed the other films, but I heard they were all awesome. They’re all really good. There’s The Words of Trust, which is this psychological drama of sorts and was written by my team’s producer; Cover of Silence, which is crazy–it’s more of a metaphorical movement piece from what I’ve heard and it’s about people in a dystopian place hiding from oppressive forces–it might be some kind of metaphor for the Holocaust, but I’m not sure yet; and then there’s Coffee and Tuna, which is the other comedy script and it’s a Jewish boy’s coming-of-age story, finding love and meeting–maybe there’s a sorority girl, I think. They run the gamut from 10 minutes long to 30 minutes long.
BlogDH: Alright. If there’s one thing you want to say about Afterlife Sentence, what would it be?
Yotam: Our camera person, Pom, on one day of shooting, her camera got hit by a car. That was our biggest obstacle. We picked up the camera, and one of our actors jammed a piece of metal into a hole and forced the camera to work for the rest of the shoot, and then we used a different camera for the rest of the shoot. We’re all pitching in money to buy her a new camera. Donations are welcome.
Catch Yotam’s movie, Afterlife Sentence, plus The Words of Trust, Cover of Silence, and Coffee and Tuna tonight at 7 p.m. in upper Salomon. Tickets are $7 at the door.