Silent Echoes (2011)
A young teenage girl finds herself trapped in an unknown location. As her captors torture her for information, Amber, being deaf, faces the challenge of escaping her captors while relying on her other four senses. But why did they kidnap her… And what do they want from her?
Well, here it is. Our first short film.
After much deliberation (and a VERY helpful Facebook post), I’ve decided to start posting all of our old short films, one every couple of weeks. Mind you, this is basically old work that was never posted publicly since after the two year “festival run”, we had already produced WAY better quality work, so it felt pointless to post work that was not representative of our current skill level.
Since this is all OLD work, I’m going to start each post by talking a bit about the production process. I will also be sharing whatever behind the scenes photos, promotional material or production stills there may be, but there is very little material for some of these. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below or write us directly.
OBVIOUSLY, spoilers ahead, so watch the short first!
About Silent Echoes.
The concept for Silent Echoes was born from a challenge posted by Puerto Rican film company Cinemovida Entertainment for a short film festival they would be hosting. You see, Cinemovida would periodically hold themed film festivals, where they would challenge filmmakers to produce, film and edit a 10 minute or less short film with a specific theme of genre, all in the span of one week. In order to assure you didn’t cheat by using old scripts, on the Sunday night the challenge began, you would receive an email with certain specific characters, items and/or elements that HAD to be included in an important role on your short. This would be Cyanide Nation’s SECOND time participating in one of their challenges, as we had participated in the filming of Iron Fiend Productions’ short, “Coulro” for the horror themed “Morbo Fest” on October of the previous year. However, this would be the first time I was writing and directing. Ever.
The theme for this festival was silent films.
The second I read that, my first thought was “yeah, everyone’s gonna try to copy Chaplain (Spoiler Alert: I was right). I wanna do something entirely different”. While brainstorming a bit, I came up with the tale of a deaf girl being kidnapped by thugs. The whole story would be from HER perspective, so we could experience what it was like for her, not being able to hear her captors. We would only be able to glean whatever information she could get through lip reading. I later decided to give it a bit of a sci-fi twist by adding the Project Echo plans on her necklace, something maybe unimportant to the overall plot, but fun for me (I do this a LOT, so prepare for more little personal Easter Eggs in future posts).
On the technical side, it was thanks to the great team of my producer, Luis “Jimmy Joe James” Álvarez and cinematographer/editor Juan J. Vázquez that this was a success, as I had NO idea what I was doing. The original plan was to shoot the whole thing in first person (something done to perfection YEARS later in 2015’s Hardcore Henry), but as we only had a regular Non-HD handicam, since GoPros with body rigs were still a few years off, I had to take some creative liberties and add third-person shots to help transition and move along scenes. Their experience producing shorts for their old production company, Nonzensed, is what really helped to get the ball rolling here. Makeup and special effects were handled by the talented Migui from Stickerms Makeup & FX. I should also mention my wonderful cast that doubled as crew, the always great Jennytr0n, Billy Riff, and Cyanide Nation Studios Alumn, Loki Kypo and Nikki Red for having put up with such an extensive day of filming and insanity. While I’m at it, I should thank my trusted advisor, friend and brother in arms, Raphael Hudders. This man has always been there to help and give all sorts of advice, be it production or life.
The original cut of the short (which was an official selection to be presented at Cinemovida’s Silent Film Fest) featured NO audio dialogue at ALL. We didn’t exactly win any awards, but we did present the most original short in the selection, which was met with praise from other filmmakers. Because of this, I decided to submit the short to the Puerto Rico Horror Film Fest (now known as Lusca Fantastic FIlm Festival). Much to my pleasure (with a heavy dose of genuine surprise), Silent Echoes was also an official selection for this festival. Also much to my surprise, the cut of the short that was handed in to the festival by the producer was a different cut that featured audible dialogue in all the 3rd person shots. This is the only remaining cut of the film that still exists, as all the original footage and previous cuts was lost.
After that wonderful experience at the PRHFF, I decided I wanted to keep making films. I haven’t stopped ever since.
I really hope you enjoyed the short film, despite it’s age. I’ve always considered remaking it in film form or continuing Amber’s story in comic book form. What do YOU guys think? Let me know! In the meantime, enjoy some production stills and the promo poster below!