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Jeff Prugh and Jason Thompson: Writer/Director team for LEAVE OF ABSENCE

February 24, 2013
Jeff Prugh

Jeff Prugh

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of LEAVE OF ABSENCE, from concept to financing.

The origins of LEAVE OF ABSENCE fall under the category of art imitating life. You see, late one Friday night, Jason called Jeff to ask, “Are you around? I’m in the neighborhood.” A few minutes later, Jeff was surprised to hear that Jason’s doctor has granted him a one-month leave of absence, due to a nagging back injury. With Jeff having been loaned his friend’s Canon 5D Mark II camera, it quickly became a no-brainer that shooting a grueling one-month film with no script, no money, and the limitation of a four-week production was the best option of how to spend our time. While that sounds like a joke, it really wasn’t. Jason’s leave of absence came at a time when both of us were frustrated by a couple “near misses” and were thus hungry to work and to create. Three days later, we had a treatment, a bunch of locations in mind, a few actor friends on board, and we figured the money would simply come to us. And it did! Well, not in buckets, but enough to at least shoot for a few weeks

2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of LEAVE OF ABSENCE. Explain to the audience how you feel about bringing this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

We can honestly say that we have no idea how the Cinequest audience will react to our film. Is it serious? Is it funny? Is it seriously funny? Throughout the editing phase, we deliberated on whether or not this film is a comedy-infused drama, or a drama-filled comedy. So, needless to say, it will be interesting and extremely exciting to see if the three separate audiences share a common reaction. Many thanks to Cinequest for World-Premiering and screening LEAVE OF ABSENCE three times!

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making LEAVE OF ABSENCE?

The best experience of filming LEAVE OF ABSENCE would have to be the creative freedom we felt throughout the shoot. It was, in some ways, like a documentary. Little money. Next-to-no crew. Flexible schedule. Actors who are friends. Perhaps the most challenges came in the editing room. Syncing sound posed a huge problem initially, which was followed by a few solid months of whittling down from tons of footage. Once the picture was locked, however, finishing the sound, hiring a composer and a colorist, and securing music was a most enjoyable process.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

People should see LEAVE OF ABSENCE for three reasons. One, there is a real heart to Jason’s character that anyone who has ever wondered what to make of their life can identify with. Two, if you want to see a film made on a shoestring budget with not much more than an idea, a camera, some talent, and a strong passion for filmmaking, then this is the film for you. And three, we believe that the performances are exceptionally strong throughout the film. Thank you in advance to anyone who joins us on March 1st, 3rd, and/or 5th.

5Q: The current market for independent films is fractured, to put it lightly, and existing distribution models grow more ineffective with each passing moment. What are your hopes or plans for distribution?

Online distribution would be fantastic for our film. We feel that there is definitely a market for LEAVE OF ABSENCE, and have already been contacted by a few distributors, but are also exploring other options, including self-distribution.

Watch the trailer!

Buy tickets to see LEAVE OF ABSENCE at Cinequest!

From → Interviews

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