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Rejected By Sundance #9: Multimedia Short Film 'The Chaperone 3D'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 14, 2014 at 12:27PM

Rejected By Sundance #9: Multimedia Short Film 'The Chaperone 3D'
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The Chapperone

First here's a quick recap on what this is all about, for those who missed last week's announcement:

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival titles have been announced in the various categories, and so we now know who made the cut. But what about those many thousands who submitted their films and didn't get in? If you're one of them, here's a chance for you to let us know who you are.

For the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected, representing 37 countries and 54 first-time filmmakers, including 34 in competition. These films were selected from 12,218 submissions (72 more than for 2013), including 4,057 feature-length films and 8,161 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,014 were from the U.S. and 2,043 were international. 97 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

So really somewhere between 1% and 3% of total submissions were selected. Those are minuscule numbers. So that also means that there are roughly 97% of you remaining, with projects that didn't get into the festival. And YOU are the folks we want to hear from!

Of interest to those of us on this blog (see the name and tagline of the blog at the top of page if you're new here) are films by and/or about people of African descent. So, if you or your film fit the bill, we'd love to hear from you!

At the very least, it'll be great just to know you exist, so that we can become familiar with you and your work, and track from here-on.

So, if you agree, feel free to send me an email to obensont@gmail.com, with all the vitals about you and your film, and we'll go from there.

The above was posted 4 weeks ago, and since then, I've received several emails in response, which I've been highlighting (see the first piece HERE; the second HERE; the third piece HERE; the 4th HERE; the 5th HERE; the 6th HERE; the 7th HERE; and the 8th HERE).

Today's submission comes from producer Michael Glasz and director Fraser Munden

Instead of me summarizing, I thought it would be better to share the goods in details directly from Michael Glasz' email to me, since its a more compelling read:

My name is Michael Glasz.  I produced a short film called The Chaperone 3D and it was rejected from this year's Sundance competition.  If you are still looking for films to include in your "Rejected from Sundance" series, we would love to be included!  Our film premiered at TIFF and was the runner up for best short film award.  It was subsequently selected as one of Canada's Top Ten short films produced in 2013.  It was especially disappointing to not have been accepted because The Chaperone's director, Fraser Munden's favourite movie of all time, Hoop Dreams, is having a special 20th anniversary screening at this years festival.  However, we have since been accepted and will be attending Slamdance, so our hopes are high that we will be able to get him tickets. We are also really excited to be in Slamdance because we feel that their emphasis on DIY/Grassroots filmmaking really fits our style.

It took us two years to make The Chaperone 3D with virtually no funding.  It tells the true, previously untold story of a lone school teacher, Ralph, who fought off an entire motorcycle gang while chaperoning a middle school dance in a church basement in the early 1970s in Montreal, Canada. It was a tale that the film's writer and director, Fraser Munden, heard often growing up since his father was one of Ralph's students (although he was not present that fateful night).  The story took on mythological proportions for Fraser and so he felt compelled to tell it in his first non-student project.

It's told from the first person unscripted perspective of Ralph and Stefan, the DJ who was there that night. Both were brought into a recording studio and asked to describe their perspectives of the events.  We then reinterpreted the whole scene using hand drawn animation, miniature sets, puppets, live action Kung Fu and explosions. Over 12,000 hand drawings (many of which were coloured in crayon by hand), were made for the film, all drawn in Fraser's parents basement.  Fraser also happened to find an exploitation band and convinced them to create an original blaxploitation score.

We got the film's art director and co-director, Neil Rathbone, to build puppets, miniature sets, and piñata heads, from scratch and then spent 7 months finding specific vintage cars to include in a live action portion of the movie that most closely resembles Sesame Street, if Sesame Street took place in a really bad neighbourhood.

We also decided that it would be fun to try our hand at creating the film in 3D.  We went into the project thinking that we could differentiate ourselves because we didn't see anyone doing DIY 3D and we learned why!  It was very challenging. Our motion graphics specialist, Chris McMahon, complete a brief certificate in stereoscopic 3D production which gave him the confidence to teach himself the rest of what he needed to know in order to do an amazing job of converting our animations into a 3D world. In order to shoot the explosions in slow motion, we ended up renting two Arri Alexa's and a 3D rig that we then taught ourselves to use in one weekend.  In the end, the 3D looks really cool and we're really happy with the way it turned out!

Anyways, we have lots of great stories from production, especially about the explosions; making bulk Crayola crayon orders; getting the movie done in time for TIFF (which was quite a mountain to climb), and befriending David Arquette at a Hooters during TIFF and having him show us around the festival party scene.  We would absolutely love to be featured on Indiewire, since it's our favourite film blog, and we would of course be available for any additional questions you might have.


Michael also notes that the protagonist in the story, Ralph Whims, was the first teacher of African decent in the public school system in Montreal.

You can follow the film's progress via the company's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thoroughbreadpictures; on Twitter is @Thoroughbread3D; or their website www.thoroughbread.ca.

Check out the psychedelic trailer below for a glimpse at what to expect:


This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival


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