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Running at just over three minutes, excluding credits, Cyn is difficult to describe without spoiling all the fun. It’s a playful tale that opens with a vulnerable girl tied to a chair, towered over by two imposing and unpleasant gangsters. Things quickly take a turn for the unexpected, revealing a dark, violent wit that reverses a few cliches and shifts the film into an entirely different gear. Wrapping everything up is an extremely self-indulgent credits sequence that runs to almost two minutes: almost as long as the film itself. While packed with visual ingenuity, its inclusion is still somewhat questionable.
Cyn is a bizarre mix of the grungey, low-budget, 70s exploitation stylings recently resurrected by Grindhouse with slick James Bond adventure fare, held together by a great score, amusingly caricatured characters and a particularly brilliant – and extremely simple – line of dialogue halfway through that I wouldn’t even think of spoiling. Other than an odd lack of sound effects at one point this is a very professional production and succeeds in being highly entertaining.
Having rather enjoyed Cyn, we asked Alex if he’d answer a few questions about the film’s production. Being a friendly chap, he kindly agreed.
How did you go about adapting the original feature film concept into a short?
Well really it was a short first. I wrote Red Princess Blues the short (which became Cyn) then I wrote the feature film version of Red Princess Blues. As I developed the Princess short film I noticed that it had less and less in common with the characters and storyline of the feature project. So when I made the Top 100 of Steven Spielberg’s On the Lot and they asked me to create a short film in six days, Cyn was born.
Was the tight schedule a problem, or did it help?
It helped in some ways. The original script was over twelve pages long and a much larger production. Being forced to stick within a three minute frame helped me cut out the fat and make the film lean. The negative was I had only six days to make the whole thing happen so the normal planning I do on a project was cut down to almost nothing. I had to wing it a bit. It was a good exercise for me. It pushed me on a creative and technical level. I'm glad On The Lot asked me to do the film because it pushed me to make it quickly. I would probably still be in post if I had it my way!
What made you choose to shoot on the Panasonic HVX-200 in HD 720p?
It allowed me to have my assistant editor/cameraman Ricky Pierre-Louis to download the footage on a Final Cut Pro editing system while still on set. The workflow was amazingly fast and the images were beautiful. We needed speed and quality and the HVX gave it to us.
What made you decide to create such an elaborate and unusual end credits sequence? And why not put it up front, as would be more 'standard'?
The creative director of my visual effects company Numb Robot, Dan Cregan, came to me and told me he'd always wanted to do a James Bond title sequence, so I said let’s go for it! We made end titles because when the film is three minutes and the titles run an extra 1:15 min you need to get to the story ASAP and give them the dessert after they have had the main meal.
How did you cast the actors?
Very quickly! I had a day. I called all the casting agents in South Florida and told them what I was doing. They jumped and sent me some amazing talent. Out of the fifteen people that showed up my cast walked into the room. I had no backups. They were it! We rehearsed for half a day and did fight training for the rest.
How can people see the film when there isn't a DVD available yet?
People can see the film at film festivals around the world. The world premiere of Cyn will be in Los Angeles at The Holly Shorts! Film Festival on Aug 11-14, 2007. I might be there, trying to work the schedule out! Also I might release the short as a bare bones DVD for people who are really interested in watching it but you know me, I can't do anything bare bones!
What's your next project?
Next up is Red Princess Blues Animated: The Book of Violence, which is an animated short film prequel to my upcoming feature film Red Princess Blues. Dan Cregan will be making his directorial debut and I’ll be writing and producing. We hope to have the short done by Fall 2007.
I am also starting pre-production on Red Princess Blues the feature film and have the beautiful and talented Paula Garces (The Shield, Harold and Kumar, Man of the House...) attached as Princess. We have some more surprises coming in the coming months so keep checking back to www.redprincessblues.com for more info.
Cyn on DVD?
Director Alex Ferrari and his team at The Enigma Factory are still pondering whether there’s enough demand to release Cyn on DVD. We’d certainly like to get our hands on a feature-packed DVD release so, if you feel the same, make sure you drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can check out Cyn by heading over to the official site.