Some of our media coverage:
You’ve completed three shorts since your debut feature Other Months screened at SXSW 2014. What brought you back to the shorts arena and how do you feel shorts differ from features as a means of expression?
The straightforward answer is that I started graduate school after finishing Other Months and I wasn’t able to continue to make features. The more nuanced answer is that features and shorts are entirely different mediums, with very different goals, that demand different narratives. Perhaps another way of saying this is: some ideas are appropriate for shorts, others for features — just like some ideas are for poems, others for short stories, and others for novels. They probably shouldn’t be interchangeable.
For Bite, I never considered the idea feature-length. It was always my intention to make something that felt light, like a memory. The film has a certain quality, as if it were a tiny, polished whisper. Because shorts demand less of an audience, they can be more experimental in their approach, formally and narratively. I don’t think a feature could, or should, for instance, sustain a quality like this.
What was the initial inspiration for Bite and how did the story develop across it’s various drafts?
When I was about 3, I was bitten on the cheek by a dog near the house where I grew up. I only vaguely remember the experience, but my face was badly injured, and I still have a small scar. I guess I’ve been frightened and fascinated by dogs to some extent ever since. The first draft of the film was quite different. Looking back, I can recognize that it started as perhaps a kind of twisted revenge fantasy.
A beautiful short about a girl and a dog by New York-based filmmaker Nick Singer (of Geryon films). While originally conceived as a gory revenge tale involving a father brutally killing a neighbor’s dog after it attacks his daughter, this final version is filled with a series of quiet moments as Singer focuses less on the explicit acts of violence and more on the subtleties of the girl’s relationship with her dog, and her father.
The film itself is also deeply personal. Singer was bitten by a dog when he was 3, leaving him with a scar and both a fear and fascination with dogs. As he described the project to us, it was always his intention to create something “that felt like a memory… a tiny, polished whisper.” Check out “Bite” above as well as some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot below!
“A three-part journey into a moody post college grad’s head space. Each part represents a different tone and employs a different visual style. Although at times it’s dragged down by a compulsive verbosity, this is an excellent first film in which both character and plot are explored through evocative compositions, lighting, and editing. This is what I mean about filmmakers having the courage to venture forth into unknown narrative waters without clinging to the life preservers of contrived plot twists and quirky dialogue. Other Months is the type of film that makes SXSW special in that such an exploratory film without stars is programmed in a very selective category. If only there were more such courageous young filmmakers as well as more festival programmers who were as equally bold. I can’t wait to see Singer’s next film.”
-Mike S. Ryan, Hammer to Nail
“Other Months works as a poetic character study that visualizes Nash’s prolonged existential quagmire…The title of Singer’s debut feature is incredibly fitting, as he chooses random moments (the “other months”) in Nash’s life, while purposefully avoiding what we might expect to be the milestone dramatic moments.
-Don Simpson, Smells Like Screen Spirit
“There’s a naturalism to the direction that makes it all seem real…It’s a noble first effort from Singer, who brings out a solid performance from Bonewitz, who shows a great deal of promise. He takes his role and puts everything he has into it. I was impressed.
-Will Oliver, Monday Morning Matinee
“One [sequence] in particular stands out, referred to by the film’s composer as ‘a symphony of urban isolation.’ Bonewitz’s bravery here recalls the meltdown Martin Sheen underwent for the opening of Apocalypse Now…The possibilities are practically endless for the exhilaratingly talented [cinematographer] Zweifach.”
-David Hudson, Fandor
“This short film, screened with The Sound of Small Things, is a lone wolf story presented in a series of cinematic sketches illustrating a day in the life of a young plumber. Opening with a dark and surreal sex scene, we follow the main character’s search for human connection on the most basic level. Sex permeates the 11-minute film, from the thumping sounds our character hears above the basement floor while fixing a pipe, to the blowjob he receives in an alley outside of a booming nightclub. The highlight of the short is the beautifully-shot nightclub scene, reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, featuring a song by electro giant Deadmau5—the divide between character and audience disappears as both are enveloped in sound and color. The final scene ends with a real “WTF” moment involving a dripping-wet dead rabbit, wrapping up a skillfully-crafted film that speaks to the animalistic side in all of us. February is the first part of Singer’s Other Months series—keep an eye out for July and November.
5 of 5 stars.”
-Cody Kirkland, SLUGmag