With a $300 budget the Mexican director had to improvise
Pablo Orta’s suspenseful short film “Not It (“Zafo”) packs about as much drama as a four-minute, 21-second film made for $300 can.
The writer, director and producer — who completed his film education at the University of Guadalajara — just hopes that it’s enough to win TheWrap‘s third annual Shortlist Film Festival.
As if the small budget wasn’t tough enough to work around, Orta had to shoot on the outskirts of his hometown, Guadalajara Jalisco, powering his camera off a car battery, he told TheWrap.
Laura Ramirez also got a producer credit on the La Cooperativa Audiovisual short, which is embedded below.
Bernardo Gael Amezcua Pineda, Manuel Castillo Camacho, Sebastian Moreno, José Santiago and Barbera Tirado starred in the film.
Previous to TheWrap’s Shortlist Film Festival, “Not It” screened at Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara — where it earned an Honorable Mention. It also ran at the Festival de Cine Mexicano en Durango, the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and the Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato.
TheWrap: Congratulations, how does it feel to be among the 12 finalists in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Fest?
Pablo Orta: It feels great. When I first got invited I thought it might be one of my friends playing a practical joke on me, and when I got selected I couldn’t believe it. The competition is worldwide so I thought I didn’t have a chance.
How did you come up with the concept for your short?
Well, the short film comes from the idea of doing a story that was right to the point: One scene that told a bigger story and was inspired by the difficult situation in which my country is in right now.
How was your film made and where was it created?
We made the film in the outskirts of Guadalajara Jalisco, my hometown. We made it in one day with the help of my friends and my family; since we were out in the wild we had to power the camera with the battery from the car that took us there.
Who else worked with you on making the film?
My brother and most of my friends were the extras, and the crew was formed with my university friend-based production company called “La Cooperativa Audiovisual.” We are a diverse group of young filmmakers from all across Mexico, and we create cultural projects that intend to have social content.
Do you plan to expand the short?
I’ve been thinking a lot about expanding the film, but I haven’t found the right way to do it yet.. But it’s okay — we have a lot of other ideas that can be developed in the meantime.
How much did it cost to make the film and how was it funded?
The film cost about 300 U.S. dollars, and I paid for it.
What will you do with your $5,000, should you win either our industry or audience prize?
If I win the prize I would probably pay for my parents mortgage or save it for a Masters degree.
If you win the industry prize, what will you offer at your pitch meeting with a studio?
If I win the industry prize I would probably pitch a TV pilot that involves Mexican-American themes.