BY SHARON SAMUEL
Have you ever thought you could make a movie with a small budget? Meet a duo who has.
Ava Torres and Helmann Wilhelm, both graduates of cinema studies at the University of Toronto, founded Canted Pictures, a micro-budget film production company in Toronto. They have financed, produced and directed the films Killing Time and Through Rose Coloured Glass and are currently producing their third one. They were in Kitchener on Sept. 22 to give a workshop on how to make films on a micro budget.
“A micro-budget short film is below $10,000,” said Torres. Hopefully your budget is even lower because people who produce micro-budget films finance them with their own money. The minimum amount needed to produce one of these movies is $5,000.
“Ava does all the production and cinematography and I do the writing, editing and directing,” said Wilhelm.
He said micro-budget filmmaking is so important to them that they learned about localities, permits, insurance and the appropriate process to go through all by themselves.
“We still have lots to learn. We are still growing. We want to share what we have learnt with the people,” he said.
Torres said people generally think the films have to have a big budget, but movies can be shot with any budget.
“Sacrifices are made and if you are calculated and smart about it and fair you can mobilize quicker than you think,” she said.
You have to pay for lawyers to ensure there is no copyright infringement and for contracts, but you save money on the cast, because they are usually volunteers.
“You have to find dedicated cast and crew. They have to have your back 100 per cent,” she said. “At least budget for food and transportation. Give them appropriate breaks.”
Wilhelm said they use a DSLR camera to shoot their movies and the output is the same as one shot with bigger cameras.
They also operate with a skeleton crew. Instead of having multiple camera assistants they only have one and each person has several roles.
Wilhelm said he likes to edit because he then feels like he has complete authority over the project.
“When you write the film you have a different (story) going in your mind. When you shoot the film it’s very different from what you pictured and when you edit the film you have to go with what you wanted and what you have been given,” he said.
Torres advises that you embrace your limitations as the comfort that one had in school is not found out in the field.
Wilhelm said one has to be realistic about their age, budget and experience when they think of shooting a film.
“People keep telling you that the sky is the limit,” he said, adding that is not always the case. He said money is definitely a limitation, as is lack of experience.