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DN LFF2014: Peter Sattler Explores Friendship Between Enemies & the Uncertainty of Guilt & Innocence in ‘Camp X-Ray’

We sat down with director Petter Sattler at the London Film Festival to discuss his exploration of the uncertainty of guilt and innocence within the walls of Guantanamo Bay in his debut feature 'Camp X-Ray'. how his background in numerous below the line roles prepared him for the jump to the director’s chair and the tricky conundrum of maintaining an audience’s interest in a movie which at its core is about monotony.


  • Awarded an 'Honorable Mention' accolade at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Jim Owen's comedy short Can We Talk? serves up some hilarious and slightly uncomfortable break-up advice from his misguided protagonist Vince. Vince gets more than he bargained for when he dumps his girlfriend, again. #
  • Possibly one of the greatest things to hit the internet in recent times, welcome to the ridiculously infectious world of Lesley the Pony. Taking us on a journey through comely maids and strapping lads, Christian Larrave's short Lesley the Pony Has an A+ Day! not only won the Best Undergraduate Animation award at this year's Ottawa International Animation Festival, but also won best video about a prancing pony on the whole internet award [voted by ME]. Lesley the Pony goes on a fun-filled adventure through the town of Merryville while making lasting memories with his friend, The Duke. #
  • With a fascinating concept at its core, Russian CG enthusiast Dima Fedotof transports us to a universe where automated systems continue to fight a war which has already claimed mankind as a victim. Showcasing some stunning VFX work, this animated parable follows one of the last bombers of the war as it continues on its missions despite its creators and controllers dying some time ago. #
  • Writing a synopsis for a short film can often be a difficult thing...with the work of Directors Notes favourite Peter Millard it often feels impossible. Returning with his latest unmistakable slice of animation Fruit Fruit, I can only think of one word to describe it......CUCUMBER!!!! Lemon cranberry apple banana cucumber orange lime are a selection of fruit fruit. Like what you see? Check out more of Peter's work in our archives. #
  • If watching a man run around in his pants battling a monocled villain doesn't sound like your idea of fun, then Kevin Van Witt and Michael Cavanaugh's epic short !!RENEGADE!! might not be your cup-of-tea. If you are looking for 4-minutes of action-packed, scantily-clad fun...you're in for a treat. ACTION, ADVENTURE, ROMANCE all here for you in 3 minutes! Join Renegade as he Battles the Evil Dr. Monocle to save his Love Gwenyvier. Renegade is an homage to the 1940's American pulp magazines, like Thrilling Wonder Stories, Terror Tales and Thrilling Mysterys. These magazines featured cover art by artist like Rudolph Belarski, Tom Blame and Earle Bergey who often drew thinly clothed heros and heroines fighting off mad scientist, druids, henchmen and goblins. Renegade is Pulp comic fun, with classic arch characters, romance and adventure. We referenced a lot of old American Pulp Comics from the 1940s that had these covers with mad scientist cornering girls with poisonous needles and heroic men in bathing suits fighting sea monsters, all these B movie story types of ideas that made us laugh and we wanted to see them all in one movie, so we started mashing genres together. Eager to find out how they got the balance between comedy and action just right, we spoke to writer/star Michael Cavanaugh about the film's tone and condensing an epic narrative to just over 4-minutes. I think that most action movies are inherently funny and by simply acknowledging that, you can really bring out the humor. But we did put a lot of emphasis on the balance. We spent a lot of time developing the look which has a comic book graphic way about it but also keeps things wide and clean and funny. I like seeing people running and moving and fighting in movies and you can enjoy that on one level but having it punctuated with a funny line or a silly situation as to why they are fighting can bring another level of enjoyment that I always like to see while watching action. There are a few shots and ideas that we ended up cutting out for pacing that I really liked but it doesn't hurt the story at all. Of course you always want more, I wish we made it so you balled your eyes out when Renegade dies or there was true horror in your heart when The Princess is kidnapped, but the faster pace serves this short much better, and those are moments for a different movie. We ended up going with 3 minutes because thats how long it ended up needing to be. I feel like with this kind of short, once you "get it" you move on to the next idea, keep the good times coming and end with a bang. We had a few versions that were 8 and 9 minutes but that length can be a drag when your making action based jokes. #

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Directors Notes is a blog and interview & video podcast dedicated to independent filmmaking in all its wondrous forms, lengths and styles.