50 Kisses

50 Kisses is an initiative to showcase talent from new screenwriters, filmmakers and allied creatives. Over a year and a half ago, a group of Scottish filmmakers (including myself - the token Englishman) produced and entered a short film into the competition.

You can view our entry here - Close Encounters

It all started back in late 2012, when a fellow Edinburgh filmmaker asked if I'd like to get involved with co-directing a short film for a little project called 50 Kisses. It involved hundreds of scripts being submitted from writers all over the world. From these, 50 were chosen for filmmakers like ourselves to produce. After submitting our entry, 50 shorts would then go on to be featured in the final film.

We chose the script 'Close Encounters' by American writer Phil Berard. The story depicts the awkward reunion of a parted couple in a grocery store described in the story. Our producer and lead actor, Simon McCay held the reins of the project. Even before I had come on board to Co-Direct & DoP with Douglas Caldow, Simon had cast the roles and had a location in mind for the grocery store.

After a little rescripting (which our writer kindly agreed to) we had a few hours of rehearsal and blocking with our two actors. Within no time, it was time to get shooting. I left work at 4pm and we drove to Glasgow from Edinburgh with the aim to shoot the whole thing in a single evening.

We opted to shoot using the Canon 550D with Magic Lantern firmware. Luckily, aside from a couple of exteriors, we were only filming in one interior location, so once the scene was lit, we had a fair amount of freedom to move within the scene and set up shots quickly. This was important as our friends at the deli we were using for the location were kind enough to stay open until some ungodly hour for us (for free). It was a long slog, but after 8 hours; the weary crew well and truly ready for bed, we wrapped and headed home.

In the preceding weeks, the film was cut, graded and sound design and voiceover added, then finally submitted for the 50 Kisses panel to judge.

After many, many months and a few mix ups, we were told WE GOT IN TO THE MAIN FILM. And were invited to come down to see the world premiere in London.

Marc (Co-DP & Director), Douglas (Co-DP & Director) and Simon (Actor & Producer)

Simon, Douglas and I went down to the Genesis Cinema on Mile End to witness our hard work projected up on the big-screen. It was a gut-wrenching yet exhilarating experience, and quite a feat from Chris Jones and the 50 Kisses team to produce such a film.

Have a look at some of the other entries here, some amazing work. Smasharoo was certainly my favourite.