“We believe it is Panavision’s obligation to seed the future of this industry,” says Bob Harvey, EVP Global Sales and Marketing, Panavision. One way they do this is by supporting Film Independent Fellows. Along with providing our Project Involve Fellows with cameras to create short films during the program, which will be screened at the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival, Panavision also enabled us to award a camera package to the filmmakers behind the narrative feature film Day Out of Days: producers Kate Roughan (Producing Lab Fellow) and Gina Kwon (Spirit Award Grant Winner, Fast Track Fellow and Producing Lab Mentor), and writer/director Zoe Cassavetes (Spirit Award Nominee, Directing Lab Mentor). We recently caught up with these exceptionally talented filmmakers as they wrapped production to find out how it went on the shoot and how the Panavision grant helped propel their project forward.
Tell us about Day Out of Days. What is the film about and why was it important to you to tell this story?
Day Out of Days is a female-driven narrative about a 40-year old actress who fights to find meaning in her life and career in an ever-youthful world. My intent was to create a well rounded profile about someone who is going through a moment of crisis and how they get out of it. I selected the career path of “actress” because I know this world well and I have so many friends who are actresses in this position. There comes a time in a woman’s life where you’ve amassed wisdom and become very vital with so much to give but suddenly it feels as though no one wants what you have to offer. I saw this opportunity to display the dark underbelly of this world while paying tribute to these immeasurably talented women.
Where did you shoot and for how many days?
We shot for 18 days (five-day weeks) around Los Angeles—mainly on the east side with a stint in West Hollywood and one day in the Valley. We shot Sunday through Thursday because many of our donated locations had time constraints attached to them necessitating a Sunday shoot.
What were the biggest challenges with making this film?
Where do we begin??? With a virtually unknown actress in the lead role, it makes traditional financing nearly impossible. After getting pass after pass we decided to take matters into our own hands and run a crowd-funding campaign, which would constitute our “first money in.” Crowd-funding campaigns have their own pre-production, production and post-production schedule. To spare you from the minute details, it’s a massive amount of work. We successfully launched the campaign, which encouraged other equity sources from personal contacts to step forward. After we tapped every available resource, we slashed our budget by 60%. The Panavision grant sealed the deal and we were able to green light ourselves. The grant literally made ALL the difference in the world. Then we set about locking in free locations and assembling a professional crew who could reach deep into their hearts and join our insane mission. We were incredibly fortunate to find such wonderful people.
What was the visual look and feel you were trying to achieve with this film and what camera did you shoot with?
Once we decided to reduce the budget heavily, I really watched a lot of French New Wave movies because those were great storytelling films with no budget. And thanks to Panavision, we got to use an Alexa camera, which to me is the best-looking digital camera. And there’s a lot of natural light and shadows. It has a kind of beautiful cinema verite feeling to it.
How have you built the support and financing for the film?
The crowd-funding campaign was a great opportunity to draw on support from family and friends. We worked very hard at spreading the word on social issue sites and placing interviews to gain exposure for the film. When it came time to put the financing together for the film, it was basically an extension of the work we started with our Fund Anything campaign, we raised private equity through a network of friends, including some of the same contributors to the Fund Anything campaign. Film Independent has been amazing with boosting our visibility as well.