Interview with “Supernumerary” Producer Alexandra Creswick


Supernumerary, a film that showed recently at the Newport Beach Festival and garnered a great review on TFD News, is a 26 minute long short that was produced by an old friend of mine from High School, Alexandra Creswick.  Though I call her Alex, but IMDB tells me it’s Alexandra…

1. A brief description of the film itself?

“Supernumerary” tells the story of Sally Nuart, a projectionist that locked herself in a film booth for four years after the loss of her father and completely immersed herself in cinema.  One day, an ‘extra’ in the film comes to life and they begin an unlikely romance.

2. Who is the creative team behind it? Do you have “day jobs”?  How did you get together initially?

This film is a production of the Wake Forest University Mafia, LA chapter.  Just kidding…kinda.  The director, cinematographer, and two producers are all WFU grads, and most of us met through some sort of Wake connection.

JS Mayank and I took a screen writing class together at Wake when I was an undergrad and he was getting his first master’s.  (We all assumed he was the TA and it wasn’t until a year or so ago that he told me he was a student.)  He’s a full-time screenwriter and an adjunct professor of screen writing at Western State College of Colorado.

George Reasner, the DP, is also a WFU grad and we met through one of our favorite professors.  He’s a professional cinematographer.

Alex Saks, the other producer, we met through the same professor; she also started the Reynolda Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, where we screened a rough cut of the film.  She was working with a company called MPower films at the time.

3. How did you find the rest of the team: actors, cinematographer, editor?

We had a casting director, Luis Selgas, who helped us find our very talented actors. In casting, we saw over 200 actors, and narrowed it down to Mckenzie Cowan for the role of Sally, Chris Fore to play the Supernumerary, and Jeff Coopwood for Frankfurt.

The chemistry between the two leads was instant.   What appealed to us most about their look, in that they both seemed as if they were from a different era, i.e. they could have very well been in any one of those classic movies…

The director found our editor, Mark Sult, through a mutual friend of his. Once they looked over the footage together, both realized that they had similar visions for the film.   They both understood the importance of paying homage to their shared love for cinema, yet keeping the story personal and intimate.

4. How intense was post-production?

Very intense.  Probably more intense than the actual shooting of the film, which was more exhausting than anything.   The process was long and very precise.

The visual effects which were done by the extraordinary team at Crash+Sues, were the most time-consuming. That took almost six months, since integrating our actor into the pre-existing movies is painstaking work, and making it seemless was pivotal to the story. They were marvelous, and did an amazing job.

Additionally, we had to work very closely with our lawyer, Michael Donaldson.  All of the existing footage (from 28 films) is considered Fair Use, and we had to pass very stringent criteria to make sure we were within the bounds of the law.  But Michael and his colleagues were endlessly enthusiastic about our film, and supportive through every step of the way.

There were a couple of instances where we wanted to use bits of soundtracks to movies to introduce the clips, but we couldn’t because of copyright issues.  But our composer, Antonio Lepore, stepped in and found ways to marry our original score, the original songs, and the films we pay homage to.   If you listen to the original music, you can hear themes that are echoed in the music of the clips that follow, and it’s amazing how much of a difference that makes to the feeling of unity we managed to achieve.

5. When was it made, what was the budget, how long did it take to get out to festivals?
6. What festivals have you tried for?  Do you have a festival plan?

I took two years from conception to final cut and print.  We completed all the sound mixing and corrections in late 2010 and started submitting to festivals for the 2011 circuit.

We tried to pick festivals that our film would appeal to.  Each festival has it’s own brand and personality, and we tried to remain conscious of that because we wanted to find the best places to showcase our work. The film is 26 minutes long, which makes it hard to program for festivals that are trying to pack as many shorts as they can into one program.  So we knew going in that that would be a challenge, but we made the film we wanted.  We did a lot of research as we narrowed down the field.

7. What is the background to the term “supernumerary”?

“Supernumerary” is an old-fashioned way of saying an extra or background actor.  It’s primarily used in operas these days; I’ve actually heard it in use a few times in the past couple of years and every time I do I perk up.

8. Future producing plans?  Anything else you’ve produced that we’ll be seeing?  Anything you want to pimp here…

The writer/director, JS Mayank, is trying to use the momentum of Supernumerary to try and make his feature directorial debut – “THE DEAD WIVES CLUB”, a quaint ensemble British comedy.  He’s also had several screenplays optioned and is working on them.

I work for an executive producer who specialize in independent, foreign-financed films, and we have several projects we’re working on at the moment.

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