ALT (2013) – By Loida Garcia

Wow.  

I have finally had the pleasure to review one of the best (if not the best) short film I have ever watched!  At a short 6 minutes this film manages to accomplish what most feature films fail to do, enthrall it’s audience.  

It is a rare occasion when I look forward to re-watching a film, especially right after finishing it.  Enter “Alt”, I was barely done with it and I was already looking forward to watching it again.  The story isn’t necessarily a unique one, but I can assure you that the way that it was presented was fresh and fantastic.  Even though this film was short on the dialogue side, it left nothing unsaid.

The acting was superb, the sets/locations gorgeous and very clean cut (which fits perfectly with this film), and the cinematography was also lovely with some great artistic shots.  The only negative that I can find is that it was only 6 minutes long.  I would have loved for it to have been a feature film (and it could have easily been one).  

At a ridiculously low budget of $350 the quality of this film is on par with all major motion pictures.  My advice to any and all indie filmmakers is to watch this film and take a massive page from it.  It’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about how you spend it.  Luckily I had the pleasure of interviewing Alejandro Hernandez, the director and mastermind behind ALT!  

Me:  What were you doing the moment you came across the idea for this film?

Alejandro:  I watch a lot of films and TV shows, so I’m constantly getting inspiration from them. I’ve always loved science fiction and I told myself “I want to do something like that”, then I started writing the script. In my country (Venezuela) there is a serious lack of Sci-Fi. The last feature film of the genre was produced in 1965, so I felt even more compelled to write it. I like to think that this short means a lot to the history of Venezuelan cinema.

Me:  Did you already have a cast and crew in mind to work with you?

Alejandro:  No. Actually, the cast didn’t turn out to be what I had in mind, but due to budget/time limitations I had to work with what I had. The actors were great on set and I’m happy with the result.

Me:  What does your film say about the world we live in today?

Alejandro:  It’s hard for me to talk about the film without giving away key elements of the plot, but I’d say -and this could be a mild spoiler- Alt deals with feelings of sadness and how looking for an easy way out can turn out to be the wrong decision, instead of working really hard to overcome them through natural methods.

Me:  What was the most challenging thing about making this film?

Alejandro:  Trying to make it look believable. My biggest fear was that it would end up looking cheap. Sci-Fi is a genre where mediocre visual effects or erratic cinematography can completely throw the audience out of the story. I tried really hard to create a particular atmosphere while making it look as aesthetically pleasing as I could. That way, the viewer is fully engaged into the story.

Me:  What was the script writing process like for this film?

Alejandro:  The final film is quite different from the first draft. I had a clear idea in mind but later I realized it was too superficial. There were no character motivations and it lacked a human element. Also, I originally planned to create an opening sequence that would help the audience to better understand the story but I changed my mind and decided to leave it a bit more ambiguous, even though it is not if you pay attention.

Me:  What type of camera was used in the making of this film?

Alejandro:  It was shot with a Canon T2i. Lenses used were Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 and Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8

Me:  What type of sound equipment?

Alejandro:  Sound was recorded externally with a Zoom H4 and a Sennheiser ME66 mic.

Me:  What did you edit this on?

Alejandro:  Color correction and visual effects were done with Adobe After Effects CS6 and edited with Premiere Pro CS6.

Me:  If you had the opportunity to remake it, what would you do differently?

Alejandro:  Everything.  Just kidding, but I’m never fully satisfied with my work. Maybe that happens to all filmmakers but there is always something I feel I should’ve done differently. In this case it was introducing more mysterious elements. I didn’t feel it while reading the script, but I think more things should’ve happened to the character before the resolution. Although, I have to say, I’m really satisfied with the look I achieved.

Rating Scale:  Movie Theatre, Redbox Rental, or Skip It — MOVIE THEATRE!!!!

Cheese Factor:  Vegan (no cheese), Teleggio, Limburger, Stinking Bishop — Absolutely Vegan, there is zero cheese factor to this movie.