One of the most inspiring things about filmmaking is that alongside the projects which you obsess over and nurture for years, sometimes come films which appear to blossom from nowhere and demand, seemingly of their own volition, to be made. Born as a narrative experiment exploring the burgeoning strengths in his work, Alex Bohs’ short MUM, examines the importance of human connection, a process often only possible once you’ve found yourself able to silence the incapacitating insecurities which hide deep within us all. Alex joins us to discuss how he moved from experimentation to execution:
MUM first started as a therapeutic writing exercise during a very exhaustive year in film school (at Columbia College Chicago). Creatively I craved to experiment narratively while also playing to the silent strengths that were starting to show up in my work. It actually wasn’t initially meant to be made but once I neared the end of post-production with my film, ‘Finding Franklin‘, and began mapping out the next endeavor with my main collaborator (and tremendously gifted designer) Amanda Brinton, MUM went from merely an intriguing concept to an actual tangible feat.
For those unfamiliar with Chicago’s filmmaking scene, there is absolutely no shortage of creators (and supporters) who truly cherish independent moviemaking, so, once the script took shape, it was vital we connected with other like-minded, passionate storytellers to flesh out our core: Ben McBurnett (DP) and Jason Knade (Producer).
Like every production prior, the most vital and nerve-wracking aspect of pre-production was assembling our little MUM machine. Like most collaborative processes, chemistry is key and when it came time to cast, David Thomases (William), Jake Cohen (Thomas), Eve Rydberg (Jane) and Nic Collins (Dan) were no-brainers. Each individual brought something fresh to their part of the story and I truly couldn’t be more thankful with how trusting they all were with such a bare-bones script and linear story.
As far as funding goes, we decided to go the Kickstarter route, intertwining social media interest by posting test shoot teases and anything really with the hope it would all be enough to prove to donors and our peers that we would make this story come to life if given the opportunity.
98 ladies and gents granted us that wish and just like that the little story that started as an intriguing idea became a reality.
Over the course of five absolutely frigid Chicago days, and with the hard work of an incredibly inspiring crew, solid RED cameras, wicked underwater gear and some insanely entrusting locations, MUM was in the can where I then let it permeate amongst a plethora of backed up hard drives before editing.
One of the best things I did for this film in particular was to create distance from the visceral footage (after making a couple cuts in Spring). I know that sounds counter-intuitive but it honestly allowed MUM to mature alongside myself during the most transitional period of my life thus far: one in which I have quite frankly changed the most as an individual.
In short, and just like it was from the get go, MUM was very much my therapy this past year: a beautiful little journey. I only hope I have the opportunity to concoct and create as naturally in the future.
Viva la independent cinema!
MarBelle has a strange compulsion to watch as many films as he can get his hands on and find jobs that give him a legitimate excuse to drill filmmakers about their work. Directors Notes is the latest incarnation of this disorder and so much cheaper than film school. Twitter: @MarBelle