I had the pleasure to meet with the director and one of the producers of a feature film that is currently in production in Brooklyn. Puerto Rican born Alfred Padilla has been working in the film industry for the last 20 years since he moved to the US. He has directed various shorts such as a documentary about the day in the life of a Cuban taxi driver. His latest project, “Best Man in the Dark” is Alfred’s first feature film. He had this to say about the project:
“Best Man in the Dark is about a washed up blind musician who is trying to prevent his best friend, who is also his music agent, from getting married. He throws him a bachelor party one night to try to convince him to not get married. Because he wants to steer his friend’s attention back into his career. So the night of the bachelor party he presents him with ex-girlfriends and crazy bachelor party antics in order to steer him away from the wedding. It’s kind of a dark comedy which was inspired by a real life character. I used to have a roommate ho was blind and happened to be a musician I wrote the story out of his inspiration.”
Adam Benlifer, who is co-producer with Jason Short on Best Man in the Dark, has worked with Alfred for 4 years in lighting for film and got together to work on something new. “Al worked on the short film that was actually the seed for this feature in 2008. Al was very humbled that it was selected for Cannes and the Rome International Film Festival and it got some amount of recognition and he was proud of it. I knew he was looking to extend it to a full feature. I was working on a short film and a spec pilot for a television show. So he knew I was doing some production and I knew he was writing a script, so it became time to actually do this, it’s time. I told him, ‘I’m here to help, let’s do this.’”
“And he’s been a lot of help.” Alfred added, “You know, you hear it a lot and it sounds cheesy but it really is a collaborative effort. I don’t see how one person can do it. It’s proven to be true. It’s really a group effort.” They’ve been working with camera operator Devin Ladd who has added an amazing fluidity with his steadicam work. When I met them on Wednesday in Greenpoint they had just finished a shot in a local club called SRB Brooklyn where Devin used his skills to get a long single shot from the entrance of the club to the VIP room.
They have managed to keep all the locations in Brooklyn in order to give the film a New York flavor. A majority of the shooting will be done in Greenpoint with their final week of shooting taking place in a studio in Greenpoint. This is Al’s first time working with the RED Epic and RED prime lenses. Worried it was going to look like a home movie since he has always worked with film.
“Working digitally it’s a lot more efficient than with film. Film is kind of archaic you had to wait for the rushes to come in to watch the dailies. And then you look them a day or two later, so sometimes if you made a mistake you would have to reschedule a whole reshoot for another day. Another thing about digital technology that is very accessible and democratic because with film, to buy and develop it you’re spending at least $100,000 on your budget just dealing with the film. With digital you don’t have to deal with that. And in this day and age even if you do use film you still have to digitize it, in order to edit it so it’s a lot more efficient.”
They wanted to keep the film New York centric. Alfred explains, “New York has proven to be a great place to film over the years. Years ago people thought if you wanted to make it in the film industry or you wanted to get anything done you have to move to LA but that’s proven to not be the case now that there are so many studios and rental houses that support the independent film industry here in New York.”
Alfred and Adam have an indiegogo campaign going on right now with great prizes for contributors like a signed DVD from Alfred Padilla, T-shirts and even a spot as an extra in the film or dinner with the director. Please check out their campaign and help this great project in the making. There are only 4 days left. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where you’ll see their day to day production images as they happen.