Florida Theatre-Inspired Short Film, 50 WORDS Makes Orlando Debut
Written, produced, cast, and filmed entirely local to Florida, "50 Words" will screen at the 2018 Saints and Sinners Film Festival, part of MegaCon Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. Inspired by her experiences in the regional Florida theater-scene, the 28-minute narrative romantic comedy was written, starred in, and produced by Sarasota, Florida-based actor Kathryn Parks. Mark Palmer, award-winning cinematographer and southwest Florida-based owner of Mars Vision Productions directed the film.
"50 Words" will play as part of the Saints Short Block on Sunday, May 27th, at 11:30am. The plot follows the story of a newly-single stage actress, Lilly Green. Desperate for ways to meet men, she rewrites her bio in the theater program as a personal ad and suddenly finds herself swamped with admirers.
Writing and producing a narrative short was a first for Parks. "As part of the Florida arts community," Parks explained, "I see how the region is brimming with talent. Although I was completely new to writing and producing a film, I felt so passionate about telling this story and showcasing our community that I just made it happen. I drew on everything I've learned in musical theatre and film and translated it into a light-hearted comedy about looking for love in a setting where, quite literally, all the world's a stage."
Altogether, the film features twenty-seven actors including Florida theater performers Charles Logan, Craig Weiskerger, Jeffery Kin, Dan Higgs, Shelley Whiteside, Alyssa Goudy, Matthew Ryder, and Dylan Jones. Over 70 Sarasota and Manatee County area extras appeared in the film while international model/actor Michael Rischer played a key supporting role.
The production was filmed over the course of 13 days in late 2016 in Sarasota with post-production completed earlier this year. Locations for filming included the Players Centre for Performing Arts, Florida Studio Theatre, the Starlite Room, and Clever Cup Coffee Shop. Theater artist and jill-of-all-trades Jamie Lee Butrum was co-producer. Once a Sarasota music director and now an LA-based musician, Bobby Brader was the film's composer. He's best known as Orchestrator on recent blockbusters such as "Trolls" and "The LEGO Ninjago Movie."
The challenges to producing "50 Words" were many. Parks, Palmer, and Butrum had to schedule production around full-time jobs, paying clients, rehearsal schedules, zero funding, toddlers, teenagers, and a pregnancy. Relying on the local theater talent, many of the cast and crew had no experience in front of or behind the camera. The production team also lead a crowdfunding campaign which raised $3,500 - altogether, the budget was less than $9,000. Thirteen shoot days, 27 actors, 20 crew members, 70 extras, countless kind gestures, and 18 months later, the film was completed.
"50 Words" will screen as part of the Saints Short Block of the Saints and Sinners Film Festival on Sunday, May 27th, at 11:30am. Part of MegaCon Orlando, the festival will be held in the Orange County Convention Center at 9800 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 in room W309A. Tickets to MegaCon Orlando are available at MegaConOrlando.com.
About 50 Words:
Synopsis: After catching her boyfriend and co-star cheating on her, theatrical leading lady Lilly Green writes her 50-word actor bio in the program as a personal ad, seeking her perfect match from the audience each night. Once her literary stunt goes viral, she's faced with many new admirers, including the one she's secretly been pining for. But as the flowers, chocolates, and coffee dates begin to mount, she learns that sometimes the road to love begins with taking one good, long look in the mirror.
The film made its world premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival in April 2018.