The Button Game is a psychological drama that shows a brutal display of life in isolation. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down for an interview session with the director of The Button Game, Drake Woodall, to ask him questions about his new film.
Woodall tells us that he found inspiration for the film while listening to a podcast that told the story of a man in Alcatraz who was put in a prison cell with no light and whose only possession was a button. In the interview session, Woodall said that the biggest challenge he faced during production was the technical side of things, yet I found that the film’s technical aspects are really what makes it shine. Woodall brings us into a prison cell, not just physically but emotionally. Even though the film is set in a pitch-black environment, Woodall brings color into each scene, adding layers of depth and dimensionality to the film. He also utilizes chiaroscuro lighting throughout the scenes in isolation, heightening suspense and adding volume to the complex story he weaves together. Woodall said that he “stumbled into filmmaking” while taking a journalism class in college. He said that he immediately fell in love with being able to create a world. He is influenced by the visual style of directors such as Darren Aronofsky.
Duplicitous Minds is a dramatic thriller about magic, hypnotism, and illusions. The film focuses on the choice between love, represented by the Queen of Hearts, and power, represented by the Ace. Duplicitous Minds tells a captivating story with many twists and turns. In an interview with the filmmaker, Robert Rippberger, we learn that this film was mostly shot in L.A. at the tail end of the pandemic. This created various challenges in production, such as access to extras and how many people were allowed to be on set at any given time. Ribbberger tells us that he got into filmmaking through the art of storytelling and that he just released a book called, The Power of Storytelling: Social Impact Entertainment, which gives insight into how a simple narrative can change the world. Rippberger takes inspiration from directors such as Stephen Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet, and Abbas Kiarostami. In Duplicitous Minds we see references to the French illusionist and one of theearly pioneers in cinema, Georges Melies. Although touching on completely different subject matter, The Button Game and Duplicitous Minds both focus on creating a new reality. In The Button Game that means pulling hopes and dreams out of a button, and in Duplicitous Minds that means using magic tricks and A.I. to show that there is more than meets the eye.
Both films are set to play at the 2023 New Jersey Film Festival as part of the “Shorts Program #2” on Friday, February 3. The films will be Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ.
To buy tickets go here.
For General Info on the Film Festival go here: https://newjerseyfilmfestivalspring2023.eventive.org/welcome
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