Film shoot held at Wakulla location

-A A +A

Megan Chichester

In February, Wakulla County caught the eye of a Florida State University (FSU) film student as the perfect location for filming his F3 short film (the third student film in a student’s curriculum).
Nathan Cohen, an undergraduate student of FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts, scouted areas in Wakulla County to film his magical realism romance movie titled “Fate for Distant Observers”
For those unfamiliar, a film set in magical realism uses elements of fantasy intertwined with fiction based on established folklore to tell the story. A few recent examples of this type of narrative are films such as “The Lady in the Water,” “Big Fish,” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
As he scouted locations, Cohen sought to avoid areas that appeared too lavish for his down-to-earth and heartwarming story. He ultimately settled into the use of a rustic, single family home in Mashes Sands that made his script jump off the page.
The house, painted in an earthy red with white trim accentuating the windows and doors, was complimented by rows of twisting trees making way to the sea. The location also emphasized several of the film’s themes, including fear of the unknown, cause and effect, closeness with others, and the most fascinating to me, commentary on the loops in life where you eventually arrive back to the path you once started.
One notices the private pier extending into the rolling water, which made it clear that this house was the perfect backdrop to tell their story.It was clear why they chose this house as the backdrop to tell their story.
When breaking into discussion of the film with the crew at the helm, the excitement to tell an interesting, imaginative story emanated from them.
Cohen and his colleagues took their filming seriously. However, between takes was a different story: The group lightheartedly joked with each other and had a natural comraderie that was captivating to be a part of.  
Under the direction of Cohen with the crew aiming cameras and microphones, the actors embodied their characters – displaying exuberance and bringing the written individuals from paper to real life.
During my time with them, I learned about the basics of the filming process, including the importance of lighting. It was crucial for the crew to film during the brightest parts of the day so that digitally editing scenes could be done with ease.
Additionally, there are a few tricks of the trade to film under optimal conditions. One of the more interesting techniques takes advantage of natural light; where evening scenes are filmed at dusk to preserve clarity and the colors don’t wash out.
“Fate for Distant Observers” will be one of many movies forever part of Wakulla County’s history. Wakulla has been the atmosphere and setting for many feature films, including the old time classics “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
With the county’s rich landscape forever cemented in classic films, I asked Cohen what he wants audiences to take away from his short, he replied “That when things are outside our control, it always seems to work out” adding that he hopes Fate for Distant Observers starts gaining exposure through festival play.
Towards the end of our time together, I asked what message Cohen would like the residents of Wakulla County to know from the FSU’s student film community. “If (FSU film students) ever knock on your door.” he answered, “please don’t be afraid! When (we) start talking about filming in a house, people tend to be wary of (the production), especially with student films. Don’t worry! We are professional and courteous. Our relationship with the community is what allows us to make films, and this community is a great one to be a part of.”
As our time together ended, I was reminded of the important role art plays in Wakulla and what makes it so special. The area is a place of beauty and one that continues to inspire artists to create beautiful work.
For anyone interested in attending the premiere
for Cohen’s short, a screening will be held Saturday, April 29 at 7pm. This screening will not only have Cohen’s work but other F3 students as well and is free, and open to the public!
For more information you can check out the calender for FSU, http://calendar.fsu.edu/event/f3_screening#.WL7PUBAwf-Q

Megan Chichester is a graphic artist at The Wakulla News and artist of Random Doodles.