UCA short film “Elysian Equation” is among 20 chosen as finalists for the Second Annual Louisiana Film Prize 2013.
Digital film graduate student Jarrod Beck and recent UCA graduate Eric White directed the film project.
“Elysian Equation” tells the story of an obsessed scientist working to activate a mysterious machine.
“We aren’t trying to change the world or anything,” Beck said. “We really just wanted to create and tell a good story with the camera, but the themes of how one deals with the loss of a loved one is something we thought anybody could relate to. Just our hero deals with it in an extraordinary way.”
According to its official website, the Louisiana Film Prize is dedicated to showcasing the best in short narrative film as well as supporting the film community in Louisiana.
To enter the film competition, Beck and White were required to film “Elysian Equation” in northwest Louisiana.
Shorts International, an iTunes production company, will distribute the top five films. Each of the top-finishing filmmakers will receive $15,000 in filmmaking grants and the grand prize winner will receive $50,000.
Each film will be screened during the Louisiana Film Prize Festival Weekend on Oct. 4-6 in Shreveport, La.
“Elysian Equation” is a sci-fi film that focuses on dealing with losing a loved one.
Beck and White said they started brainstorming ideas for the film in early 2013, with production beginning in May.
“We have worked with each other on quite a few projects and we work well together, so as far putting a team together, it was more about us simply coming together than being put together,” Beck said.
He said they brought in their friend Ben Ellis to help with sound during production in Louisiana.
Trenton Mynatt wrote the script and was the cinematographer, Rachel McGee was the production designer and Robin Sparks produced the film.
“Once we got started, we really only had a small window of time to prepare for the shoot, two-three weeks maybe, very short time frame,” Beck said. “We couldn’t have made it happen without friends and family who lived in the Shreveport area. We had to rely heavily on them to help us find locations, particularly.”
He said the shooting process can be challenging.
“The most difficult was probably the short production window of two days combined with the really small crew,” he said. “Everyone was pulling double and triple duty just to get through setups. We as a crew, were utterly exhausted. It was a hard shoot, but we knew what we were getting into. Part of the reason we decided to compete was for the challenge.”
Beck said actors Jason Willey and Kenn Woodard stuck out to him.
“As with the crew, we also had a previous working relationship with these guys, but it was the first time I was able to work with them as a director and I am definitely better for it,” he said. “I learned a lot working with those guys and I am sure Eric would agree.”
Beck said the Louisiana Film Prize is a great competition and that having “Elysian Equation” ranked in the top 20 brings much-needed recognition to Arkansas.
“It also established a great platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their abilities and hone them at the same time,” he said. “We plan to compete again next year if possible. Shreveport/Bossier is a great place to shoot as well, which also adds to the excitement.”