Betrayal is a theme we have seen time and time again in film. Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back or Ian Holm of Alien are two of many cinematic characters that have stirred emotions of audiences everywhere. “I’m focusing on the universal theme of betrayal,” said Matt Weinstein, director of the upcoming short film, The Gun Equation.
Shot in Chicago, The Gun Equation centers on a husband who discovers his wife’s infidelity, and is placed on a path full of moral choices. “It’s a very human story,” Weinstein said, “I wanted to focus on what it takes to get someone to this level. At its core, it becomes a chase film, but it doesn’t have a lot of action. It is much more thoughtful than just blowing [stuff] up for two hours.”
Weinstein’s passion for film noir and his love for directors Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Interstellar) and David Fincher (The Social Network, Gone Girl) helped push the aesthetic look of the film forward. “Fincher is very open to his process and the politics that go with it,” he said. The inspiration from Nolan came from the style of his films. “Memento and The Dark Knight both have [intense] scenes shot during the day, and they therefore go against the grain. I was really going for that when shooting in broad daylight in Chicago,” Weinstein explained.
Weinstein credits Heat (1995, Michael Mann) and Following (1998, Christopher Nolan) as primary influential sources, specifically as where walking around a busy downtown area inspired the “chase” aspect of the film. “I try not to get too crazy about copying a certain style,” Weinstein clarifies; “It’s one thing to use something as a stepping stone, another to copy something completely.”
Shooting itself was done in an admirable day and a half. “It’s mostly exterior scenes running around Chicago. We were checking the weather constantly, and were on a roll for the first few hours, and when it did eventually rain, we just filmed a later section until it cleared up. It really took a lot of preparation to shoot so quickly.” The film was shot in the last weekend of June 2014.
“I’m still telling a story,” Weinstein said, talking about the job of directing. “I love the process of being able to conceptualize something – it’s an efficient way of working.” Matt made plenty of short films when he was attending Northern Illinois University at DeKalb (he graduated in 2011), and has collaborated as a co-director on the fictional documentary, Conservation Area. “Coming back to Fincher and how he operates – I am not the only director listed for that film, and although I enjoyed the process of it, someone else wanted it to be another way.”
Conservation Area and all of Matt’s shorts are available for viewing on his YouTube channel; a link is provided at the end of the article.
Regarding crew, Weinstein remains very appreciative and proud of their work, such as an invaluable director of photography that he found in AJ Young. “AJ found very good compositions. I really could never have found anyone better than him. Tom DeSplinter [producer] was instrumental in providing locations, transportation, food, and props, among many other things.” He also mentioned his appreciation for assistant director Chris Ramirez, assistant cameraman Nicholas Guy Wilson, production assistant Brandon Hausen, and composer Jessica Salzinski.
The cast consists of three actors: Colin Jackson, Tyler Pistorius, and Emily Rogers. “I knew Colin and Tyler through NIU, I met them through a class where we directed acting students in a project, and they are very open to ideas, and also contribute plenty of their own. Tyler in particular was the first person who came to mind for the main character of The Gun Equation.” As for Emily, he knew of her from watching another short entitled Wrigley Faithful, and thought she would be great for the part of the wife.
The Gun Equation will be sent to film festivals with expectations to do well in those circuits when it releases with many other short films in the late-summer/fall 2015 season. “I’m very diligent in updating the film’s Facebook page, and there is a link there to the film’s official website.”
Readers can learn more about The Gun Equation through Facebook and the IMDb page in the links below, as well as by viewing trailers, also available on Matt’s YouTube channel. Stay posted for screenings as the release gets closer.
The Gun Equation IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3945934/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
The Gun Equation Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thegunequation
Matt’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/mw120/featured