Lately, indie filmmaking is starting to seem like a dying art. If the recession has been tough on traditional investments like real estate and banks, it’s completely deserted the onetime vibrant circles of up-and-coming cinematic auteurs.
Next Friday, though, a big preview of a little film called Burial might help buck this trend. Karl Ford, who attended UCSB as a film studies student—and got some serious real-world training working at Montecito Picture Company over the course of the last decade—is the man behind Burial. And its screening, which takes place this Saturday in UCSB’s Pollock Theater, is sure to incite some chatter. In true indie fashion, Burial was made against financial odds, with unorthodox financing from bartering art works (Ford’s also a painter) in exchange for professional cinematography and lighting gurus, and thanks to the aid of countless friends. “The biggest help came from reconnecting with Noot,” Ford said, referring to Canadian supermodel and actress Noot Seear, whom he met in his movie-biz days, (she plays Heidi in The Twilight Saga: New Moon). At the time, Seear had been complaining about the dearth of meaty roles available to her. “She asked me what I was doing, and I told her about this crazy idea for a script I had. She asked how long it would take me to write it, and I said two weeks. And she said, ‘You’re full of shit.’ So I did it, and I showed it to her, and she loved it.” Turned out her manager loved it, too. With the star power added, Ford found a number of fence-sitters willing to take the leap.
They filmed fast, guerilla-style at times, though much of the 20-minute film was shot on nearby ranches. They took advantage of some surprising new digital camera technology, like the Sony F3 camera, which allowed them to use all available lenses and to shoot with astonishing available light. “It saved us a lot of money, and [the images are] beautiful,” said Ford.
He was also able to exploit other willing connections, from UCSB hookups, who were willing to furnish the new Pollock Theater for the free lavish premiere, to Montecito Picture Company friends like Ford’s former boss and mentor, producer Joe Medjuck, who gave him advice and timely pushes toward his path of bliss, demystifying the filmmaking process. Ford thinks of Burial as a character-driven experiment, while others consider it an edgy indie action film. Meanwhile, investors have expressed interest in funding its expansion to feature-length. “People are actually talking about investing in films again. Wouldn’t that be great?”
Karl Ford’s Burial premieres at UCSB’s Pollock Theater this Saturday, July 30, at 8 p.m. The film will be followed by a Q&A and celebration. Admission is free. Call (310) 617-2575 or visit burialfilm.com for more info.