Now in its 14th year, the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema celebrates local filmmakers and local productions in San Francisco. I came to the BHOC first as a filmmaker (showing "As Seen On TV!" in 2015), and have stayed on as a member of the selection committee and a presenter. Founded and still run by Anne Batmale and Leslie Lombre, this worthy neighborhood event features an opening night show, a "film crawl" in six venues along Cortland Avenue, the eponymous outdoor cinema in Precita Park, and resurfaces a few weeks later with awards for the audience' favorite films. Judging by the response, the BHOC is a favorite of many.
Two weekends is a short amount of time to pack in 48+ hours of filming. Especially when most of the cast and crew have day jobs. So on our last day of production, there was both a sense of urgency and responsibility: We needed to capture another 7 (or was it 10?) scenes for "Jacob + Malika" but also get our cast and crew home in time for another week of work. Our gracious hosts for week two, Paula and Ken, kept smiling as the sun set and we kept on working. But the final scene (a touching embrace between the young lovers) was wrapped at 11:50pm and stars Connor Mulraney and Marisa Darabi looked as happy as everyone behind the camera was. It's a wrap!
On our third morning in Redwood Shores, the production team for "Jacob + Malika" traveled afield: first we drove a couple of blocks to Sandpiper School to film a short but crucial scene (with the permission of the Redwood City School Board). After lunch, we took a field trip to the top of Eaton Park in San Carlos. With the helpful cooperation of the SC Parks and Recreation Dept. (and the San Mateo County Silicon Valley Film Commission) we were able to secure the spectacular setting for a climactic scene in the film. Other than the blistering heat (and our associate producer Sahar Kazemzadeh's encounter with a wayward tick!) the complicated scene went off without a hitch.
Our hosts for the first weekend of filming, Kelly and Steve, made our crew feel both welcome and fortunate. We set up our production HQ in their garage, which was just a few doors away from our principal location. While producer Joe Sikoryak managed the business side of things and kept an eye on the always-busy craft services table, director Vahan Bedelian, assistant director Jose Lopez and DP Chris Rasmussen worked with a crew of 10 and cast of 8 (on average) to capture 28 scenes set on 10 dramatic days in the lives of "Jacob + Malika."
Saturday, July 22 marked the first of four days of photography for Vahan Bedelian's short film "Jacob + Malika." We were incredibly fortunate to have secured the cooperation of the board and residents of the Sandpiper Lagoon Homeowner's Association in Redwood Shores, CA, who welcomed our crew into their neighborhood to film. In addition to the homes used as interiors and exteriors for the story, we had access to the lagoons, playgrounds, streets and greenways for locations. It felt rather like being on the Universal backlot, but filled with friendly and helpful residents who even pitched in as extras!
At San Francisco's 32nd Scary Cow Film Festival, our film was selected as a "Phase Two" winner along with Dana Moe's short Rest Stop. Pictured during the Q&A from left to right is writer-director Joe Sikoryak; producer/editor Terry VerHaar; DP Owen Tomlins; sound designer Stan Ng, actors John Parsons, Odysseus Gagan and Maris Darabi; colorist/sound recorder Tony Jonick; associate producers Anna Callahan and Nora Ng-Quinn, actors Rosie Maciel and GiGi Anber, AC Colin Bishopp and composer Brandon Drake. The film is immediately being submitted to a dozen other festivals.
Post production wrapped on "D for DOCs" the first week of June, when colorist Tony Jonick and sound designer Stan Ng completed their work. And now the trailer is available for all to see. Stay tuned for news of our premiere, set for July 8 in San Francisco. And check out our IMDb page as well!
We're over the hump in post with our latest short film, "D for DOCs." Editor Terry VerHaar delivered a "fine cut" (via Final Cut Pro) this week and we're probably a week from "picture lock." That's the milestone when sound (Stan Ng), music (Brandon Drake) and color (Tony Jonick) can all swing into action to deliver a finished film. Can't wait to share the results with you all late spring/early summer!
I've been proud to be a volunteer speaker at the 27th annual Cinequest Film and VR Festival in Redwood City. In addition to having the honor to introduce and moderate the Q&A sessions for 16 programs over two weeks, I have enjoyed meeting a host of fellow filmmakers. The long list of guests included Laina Bakarat (director), Robert Emmet Kelley (intrepid audience member), and Emma Baccarat (lead actress) of Glowworm, a lovely short film filmed in New Hampshire..
Joe Sikoryak has been making movies on and off for decades. Now he's on for good.