Jesse Harris, Filmmaker: And that’s eventually how we got to Lucy Hale who stars in the film and that’s then who gave us the ability to to get the film made because her name has value and then it becomes an actual kind of a real thing.
Film Courage: What is a proof of concept short film?
Jesse: A proof of concept short film is basically making a short or it could be something even like a teaser or trailer but basically showing what you can do and what you want to do in the feature version. In my case, I had written this feature script that I wanted to make, but I hadn’t made. I made this first feature when I was 17. I was now I don’t know 34 at the time when I was trying to make this feature and I didn’t really have any kind of recent narrative work to show. I had been making commercials for the last almost 10 years but a lot of that isn’t really transferable to narrative storytelling in the same way and so I knew I needed to basically prove not necessarily to myself but to the people that were going to fund this film that I could make this film. A lot of people were telling me that too and so I decided to basically make a short film kind of inspired from my feature that would show the style and the tone and the vibe I was going for and then showcase my filmmaking as a director. I think that is super important for young filmmakers because unless you have a whole collection of really great short films and even if you do it’s the different style or tone than the feature a lot of times people just won’t have the faith that you can do that and that’s a separate issue in general. Hollywood probably should have a lot more faith in people and take some more risks but unfortunately they don’t and so you really kind of have to prove to people that you can do this. For me to get my feature off the ground it was essential to have made this proof of concept because it was probably a 12-15 minute long film. I had taken kind of a character from the feature and wrote a kind of back story for them and it was so it wasn’t a scene from the film it wasn’t a teaser but it was kind of like a almost a prequel to the feature of kind of an origin story of one…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Jesse Harris started his filmmaking career early, writing and directing his first feature when he was 17. He opted against college and used the money to fund his feature that he wrote and directed, which was eventually picked up for US theatrical distribution and by HBO Europe. In 2007, to support other young filmmakers, Jesse founded NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth), which has grown into the largest and most prestigious youth film festival in the world. Jesse put his filmmaking career on hold for several years to support other young directors and build a premier showcase for aspiring directors. Variety named Jesse one of 25 talents who transformed youth entertainment and was named one of City Arts Magazine’s Top 50 Culture Makers. His feature was shortlisted for the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards ‘Someone to Watch’ Award and was one of 20 features invited to the 2004 IFP New York Film Market. Jesse’s recently been named a Global Shaper, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, built around young entrepreneurs and do-gooders. Jesse returned to filmmaking in the commercial world, now bringing years of experience crafting beautiful stories for brands. His commercial work has been seen on TV around the world, working with clients such as Volvo, Microsoft, Disney and more. His 2018 short film, Wind in the Night was one of seven films selected for the 2019 Prix SNCF du Polar in France and picked up for distribution in France, Asia, UK and USA. The film was a proof of concept for his next feature, Borrego (available January 14, 2022).
WATCH ‘WIND IN THE NIGHT’ (Proof Of Concept Short Film)
CONNECT WITH JESSE HARRIS
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