A short film directed 
Mark Columbus
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Adapted screenplay by Neville Kiser

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Quick facts:
- Narrative Drama 
- Duration aprox. 12 min
- Based on the short story "Guests," written by 
Robert Boswell of "The Heyday of The Insensitive Bastards"
- Official Selection 2014 Telluride Film Festival

When Charlie (Modern Family's Rico Rodriguez) and his family move to a warmer climate for the sake of his father's (Matthew Modine) illness, he finds himself between losing his father - and a conflict with a vicious bully at school.

Rico Rodriguez
Matthew Modine

 Directed by Mark Columbus
Executive Producer James Franco
roducer Tatenda Mbudzi
Adapted Screenplay by Neville Kiser
Director of Photography Andrew Wesman
Editor Mark Columbus & Javier Bosques

2nd Unit Director of Photography Steven Huffier
Assistant Director Paul Reisinger
2nd Assistant Director Sarah Jean Kruchowski

Producer Jonathan King
Unit Production Manager Adam Sidman
Line Producer: Amy Hartman
Production Design Heidi Koleto
Art Department Ann Gordon
Driver Benjamin Arfmann
Sound Designer Richard N Shapiro

Already from the first frame we are introduced to what seems to be the main character of the film. We can hear the voice over, telling his story, as we also understand that the women with him must be his mother. Early on we also get introduced to the father of the boy, and we learn a great deal about the fact that his health is not in the best condition.

Already from the first step onto the school yard the first day, he encounters the vicious bully. And it is clear that he will eventually have to deal with him sooner or later. This creates a suspense, whereas the audience gets pulled into the story and eagerly pays attention at the same time as unconsciously taking the young boy, Charlie´s, side. 

It is almost unbearable as we witness the raw brutality of Charlie facing the bully and his friends. Charlie is dressing very proper and does also have the same style on his glasses as his father. This can tell us something about the fact that he really looks up to his father, and wants to be as him. Charlie is constantly reading in a book about his fathers disease, which shows the audience that he is very interested and immersed in finding out what he can do to help. Or how he can maybe try to understand what is happening to his father. This shows courage as he is facing the hard truth of what the diagnoses really mean and can or will lead to.

There are several shots of trees in the film, with magnificent lens flares drawing parallels to such as how Charlie feels rootless in his new school. Where he has no friends, and just the bully picking on him. It can also symbolise the great roots of family, and how family stick together and always try to do whats best for one another. Additionally the tree can also be explained to represent what a steady and strong person Charlie´s father truly is.

"Its like a buch of uninvited guests, you didn't ask them to come.They just showed up one day, and didn't go home."

Truly an astonishing story told in a good pace, where you as an audience tend to forget time and place, as you are dragged in to this lovely film universe. Mark manages to create something unique, touching, relevant and real in the space of only 12 minutes. Yet, the film does feel like lasting for longer, and in the best way possible, because as a viewer it makes me want it to. I dont want it to end, and he manages to create a hope in me, a hope that it won't end the way my mind thinks it will. As it is crucial to catch the audience and drag them in to the action, it has to be said that Mark pulls that off just perfectly.

What I like particularly with this film is first and foremost the even and consistent flow of the story, as well as the cinematography! Oh my, the cinematography is what I would phrase as goals. The lense flares, the great focus in each shot, the framing and shot sizes. I love it all. I even struggled to choose which screenshots from the film to use, because each and every shot is amazing. The story telling and cinematography combined makes the most perfect atmosphere come to life before the eyes of the audience.

The colour palette used is also very appealing, and I really like how all the colours are complementary to one another. The "sandy" kind of look it has to it, brings forward the felling of hope, even in the most hardest and saddest times. Everything from furniture, to clothing to props is matching in the same scheme, making it seamlessly sewn together.

How this film has influenced my own project is by how well Mark has managed to make the story feel so raw and real. I got really inspired by the handheld camera technique, and as I mentioned a bit earlier, to me the whole cinematography is goals. I also like the voice over, as this is also something I tend to use as a tool in the films I create. And in general I think this has to be my main inspiration for my project.

If you look at Mark´s other work on his Vimeo channel, it is clearly that this dude has talent! His achievements in filmfestivals reflects this. As well as his own style and way of doing things, which I really like. There is only left to say, how much I enjoyed and loved this film, and that I can't wait to see what he brings to the screen in the future.

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       Guests (Official Selection 2014 Telluride Film Festival) from Mark Columbus on Vimeo.

//Sources of information

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