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Todd Jacobs, Director: SUTURE

July 6, 2014

I met Todd Jacobs a few years ago through his writing and our love of great Korean horror films, and have had the pleasure of reading many of his in-progress scripts.  He has recently had the opportunity to put some of his scripts together on film and I’m happy to introduce this new filmmaker to you in anticipation of getting the films before an audience.  His first completed film is SUTURE, a short film that could easily fall into either the horror or romance genres.  Maybe Rom-Hor?  We might need a new category for this one.

SUTURE opens with a man and woman hobbling through the woods to the safety of a house, the woman with an unexplained gash on her arm.  Then we see them semi collapsed on the floor of the house, drinking heavily and talking of their love for each other.  But something terrible has happened, is still happening, and something even worse is to come.  SUTURE examines the depths we must sometimes plunge in life and in love, and leaves the viewer to think about our capacity to make those decisions and how far our courage could take us if we love enough.  The “monster” in SUTURE is real, and can take many forms in our lives, but the agony of how much our love can ask of us is the most terrifying.

Mr. Jacobs has found a couple of great actors whose chemistry is real and believable, and paired them with an extremely creepy musical score that seamlessly merges back and forth between terror and hope and back again.  With his great eye for color, mood and movement Jacobs has put together a first film that explores the fine lines between love, terror and hope, and the different forms that evil can take.

 

Todd Jacobs

Todd Jacobs

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

I had written features, but I realized if I wanted to realistically get something made, it would have to be a short. Suture, I feel, at its heart, is a love story. The horror element, for the purpose of this story, is a metaphor for all the distractions and bullshit in a relationship being stripped away. What if you and the person you love were just that? Two people faced with dealing with each other with nothing else standing in the way except yourselves. We as humans are sometimes afraid to do that, whether it be from past relationships or issues from our childhoods, so I wanted to put these characters in a situation where they had no other choice. And in the end, love always finds a way, regardless of how your story ends. As far as financing goes, I was either lucky or the universe knew I needed to make this film. I moved to Atlanta in March of this year and randomly met the producer in line at the Atlanta Film Festival a week later. We exchanged info, I sent her my stuff, and she was on board immediately. We started preproduction that day. I met my DP, Tanner Thompson, through an ad on Craigslist, and he recommended some actresses. Jordan Blair Brown was the first one to show interest, so I casted her without an audition. She then told me her boyfriend, Kenneth Forrester, was an actor, so I gave him the part without meeting him, since I figured they would have built in chemistry that we wouldn’t have to work to find on set. It worked out great, and now I couldn’t imagine the film without them. Maybe that’s not the way to do things, but I’ve never really done things that made sense. Sorry, mom.

2Q: Although this is your first film, SUTURE is not your first script. You appear to love the horror genre. Why horror, and who are your greatest influences?

That’s a good question. I honestly don’t know. My day job is writing comedy (I use that term loosely), so I’ve always been drawn to the other end of the spectrum. I’ve always been a horror fan growing up, so maybe it’s something concretized in my psyche.  My scripts can technically be labeled as horror, but I try very hard to add a human element and base the horror in human emotions and the human experience. Sure, a guy in a hockey mask with a machete can be scary, but he’ll never scare you as much as being locked in a room with your own thoughts and the truths about yourself that are waiting to come busting through the facade you show the world. My influences range from Terrence Malick, to William Blake, to David Bowie, to Park Chan-Wook, to David Cronenberg, to Kurt Vonnegut, or to any person I meet in the street. Influences and inspiration are everywhere. You just have to take the time to look.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making SUTURE?

The best by far, was working with the cast and crew. Everyone was 100% committed the entire time. The producer, Tasha Cicherillo, and her husband, Bob Cicherillo, (one of my childhood idols, btw. He was freakin Nitro on American Gladiators) welcomed a bunch of strangers in their home for two days and fed us homemade Italian food the entire time. My DP, Tanner, just graduated college, and he truly is some kind of Rain Man/Terminator who was born to be behind a camera. Unlike me, he doesn’t really talk much, but his talent speaks for itself. We developed a shorthand on set, and all I would have to say is “I want it to look like this” and it would look a thousand times better when he was done. My lead actor, Kenneth, went full on method. I would call him Kenneth Day Lewis on set, because he fasted an entire week before and took the role very seriously. My running joke was telling him he could just act hungry, but here was a guy who wasn’t getting paid, working with a first time director with a plank on a blanket as a dolly track, and he still brought that level of intensity and professionalism. You can’t fake that type of drive and dedication, and the film is better for it. And, Jordan. What can I say about Jordan that doesn’t sound like I’m a paid member of her fan club? She truly is the closest thing to an angel on earth I’ve met. When she’s on camera she can make anybody cry, and when she’s not, she can make anybody feel loved and valued, regardless of who you are. I tell her all the time that she’ll probably die trying to sacrifice herself for somebody she’s never met. Not only did she have to portray gut-wrenching emotion for two days, but she did makeup, helped fix problems on set, made sure everyone got enough to eat, and brought a sense of calm that the tight schedule needed. My producer, Tasha, is just a badass baller Italian boss lady who doesn’t take shit, but protects those she cares about. This film wouldn’t have been possible without her and I will be forever grateful. We’ve scheduled two more shorts and a feature, and I know I’m in good hands. Her husband Bob is not only intimidating as hell, but he’s genuinely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He has zero problems telling you if your idea is dumb, but if you explain that it’s part of your vision, he’ll defend it to anyone who has the balls to question you again. He was AD, sound guy, my personal sounding board when I wanted to vent, and brought a depth and breadth of knowledge that can never be overstated. I didn’t get to joust with him as I’d hoped, but we’re boys now, and that’s good enough for me.

As far as problems go, I’m hard pressed to find any. We only has use of the gun for 30 minutes, and as it turns out, pushing your camera on a ladder doesn’t make for a good dolly track. Also, snoring dogs can really fuck up your ambient noise recording.

4Q: You are about to embark on the most difficult part of filmmaking: Getting your film in front of an audience. When festival audiences finally get the chance to see your work, tell us why they should choose SUTURE over other festival options?

I hope they choose it because it’s simple. It’s love and fear. Two things that every human who has ever walked on this floating blue green ball can identify with and has experienced at one time or another. There’s beauty in love and there can be beauty in death if the cause is just. Maybe this film will show the audience a bit of both.

5Q: Time to pre-pre-pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for SUTURE for Best Short Film. Give us your acceptance speech.

“Hey, there’s Angelina Jolie. Good lookin out on that one, Brad. *waits for uncomfortable laughter to end* Everybody I’ve needed to thank I’ve thanked a million times already, and they know I love them more than any speech would be able to express. So I’d like to use my platform to say we need more wine at table 23.”

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View the Trailer!

Suture

Suture

From → Interviews

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