Mississippi Smoke (Short Film)

Shot in the pittoresque city of Dubuque, Iowa, Mississippi Smoke was the second ‘instant movie’ I made in the city, while I was over there, presenting my feature film The Droid. The Droid was officially selected for the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, held in April 2018.

Mississippi Smoke just wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the two dear Canadian friends I made at the festival, James Douglas and JP. Winslow, who honored me with their time and talents they generously shared with me.

We shot the movie over about five hours. I had been around location the day before in order to make sure we’d have all it took to get the movie together. On the one hand there were what I’d call the standard shots, which included all shots that wouldn’t require the presence of the train itself. Indeed, the problem was the train (I seem to be obsessed with trains, if you recall my shorts The Half-Open Door, and Bornéo 7319). On the other hand, there would thus be this train which would come only once or twice a day without real time schedule. So I had to make sure we’d have reduced the train featuring shots to the minimum. Furthermore there was no such thing as stopping it. We’d have to work with the train as if it were an untamed elephant or tiger, shooting it when it’d please it.

On top of that we discovered, while shooting on the bridge itself, when the railroad bridge operator came to us, upset, that it was a federal offense to walk on the tracks. So we moved away, after we got most of the footage we needed tough. This is why the side view of both friends sitting on bridge was set totally elsewhere. But fortunately for us it blends so well together with the main shot.

And then there was the ADR which was carried out by James and JP like the professionals they are in Canada.

I like and enjoy Mississippi Smoking as I believe it’s the kind of achievements that comforts me in my directing skills.




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