Where did the idea of making this come from?
After working with Sam Shepard a few years ago as an actor playing his grandson I started reading everything I could get my hands on that I already hadn’t. Then, when I found Hawk Moon, Sam’s first published work from 1974. In it “Peacock Killer,” a short story that floored me in under 200 words. I became obsessed with it. A surreal story about a friendship between a Man and his dog that is challenged and we come to find out how much that bond means to the man and where he will go to try and save it. After working with Sam again on Out of the Furnace we spoke about where the story originated in a time in his youth in southern California and my vision for the adaption. Like songs, literature always keeps reinventing itself and once Sam gave me his blessing I was off recreating this world in my own snow globe.
Why a short film?
I wanted great material. I wanted something to be engaging and something to be challenging, so a short film with no dialogue.
As a storyteller, there are great stories that need to be told but don’t need to be feature length. And as a filmmaker, short films offer the opportunity to develop your craft without taking on all of the risks involved in a larger project. After developing the story Peacock Killer, Sam gave me the opportunity to re-imagine his story. This was my first chance to dip my feet in the water as a director and create a calling card to help me transition to directing a feature’s of the same note.
I’d been thinking about making this short for a while when I partnered up with Madeleine Sackler. She helped really get the ball rolling and brought on another producer Blake Ashman-Kipervaser, and collectively we set out to try and shoot the film this winter while there was still snow. Madeleine and I drove about 800 miles around New York State to find the perfect locations, and we weren’t sure it would be possible to get the film done so quickly, but when Shea Whigham and Elizabeth Marvel said that they were both available the same week, we knew we had to do it.
Three weeks and a week of shooting in -22 degree weather later, we had shot the film, complete with peacocks, an adorable mutt, and an indomitable crew. I’m hoping we have something very special on our hands to show for it, and that now that we’ve gotten this far, you’ll help us finish the film!
What’s left to do?
The shoot was really challenging, but we ended up with beautiful footage and now have to finish the film! That means an editor, sound designer, composer, mixer, graphic designer, and colorist. As a short film, we also rely on film festivals as the primary way in which the film can gain exposure and viewers, so we have submission fees and tapes to make for those. As you probably know, it’s really tough to raise money for a short film. We’re so proud of what the amazing actors and crew accomplished, and we hope you’ll join the team and race with us to the finish line.