Rule 17 (2016)

The past can reshape us and break us in ways that will always determine who we become. Meet Faraday. A stickler for the rules and if you break them, she will make you pay.

Written & Directed by Rob Bowen
Assistant Director: Katie Hermanson
Starring: Sara Balakrishnan, Jareth Spirio, Nicole Goeke
Featuring: J Giordano & Mark Lutinski
With: Jacob Hillman & Tricia Timney
FX: Rob Bowen

Director’s Notes

It has been said, that necessity is the mother of all invention. This latest short film helps to sell that argument here in the film world, as my driving need to create another film in 2016 gave rise to this new script and idea overall. Having had two other short films fall through as we tried to get them off the ground this year, I began looking at the remaining completed scripts I had and realized that none of them were speaking to me at that time. Those that had been promised to certain actors aside (because those were the ones that we had already attempted), I needed something potent and new that was going to grab my attention. That’s when I came up with Kendall and Anne, and another Whatsabudget love story was born.

Now those who remember our last love story, Soulmates, then you probably remembered that love stories aren’t our typical fair, and we typically will take them in a Shakespearean theme, directing them towards tragedy. That let me know that this pair of lovers needed something to steer their story down that path. Enter Faraday and Rule 17. It didn’t help our latest pair of star-crossed lovers that the past year for me has put my own heart through the proverbial wringer. Having lost three members of my family and a close family friend in the span of just over a year, my heart and mind have been in an extremely dark place. So I decided to take my audiences to that place of darkness through this short tale of the broken.

With an underlying theme concerning how our own past traumas shape who we become in the future, the tale of Faraday, Kendall, and Anne highlights this painful reality, wrapped in the gritty undertones of a simple crime/drama. This was a great project because I got to work with some new folks and some of my favorite folk as well, and in new ways. Having Katie as an AD proved beyond helpful and getting to work with Sara as the lead actor for the film was an exceptional treat. She had done such a minor role in Bad Friends (acting on camera that is), and so I was excited to give her a meatier role with such depth and so much burning below the surface. In particular, watching those subtleties change from the flashbacks we filmed first, to the present day action and stand-off that hints at what her character has gone through.

This was fun to play with as I withheld parts of Faraday’s full backstory from Sara until I needed her to know to fill in the meaningful reactions and impacts she so poignantly portrays throughout the film. I also got to work with Jareth and J for the first time on this film, and they were both beyond a treat to have inhabiting my characters and bringing them to life. Having Michael behind the scenes was also a first, and if I am lucky enough, it won’t be the last either. Getting to have Nicole come back after Bad Friends was another no-brainer. She absolutely killed it in Bad Friends, pun completely intended, so I wanted to give her something in this film that was a little bit different, and she ran circles around it.

Rule 17 further gets some love because of how this film, was grown from the connections and filmic family that I have come to know and make connections with over the span of the last year, many through the film festival Bad Friends took Best Comedy in during the Spring. So I really like how it came together from various threads that came to be (or came to be cemented) over the last year. I think the behind the scenes chemistry between the cast and crew always plays into how the film comes together on the screen, and for us, for Rule 17, that chemistry was a potent mixture that gave rise to something that is sure to get a reaction.

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