Patrick Biesemans has been announced as the winner of the 2016 Musicbed Film Initiative. The competition was unusual in that it asked entrants to draft a treatment for a passion project that would then be funded by Musicbed. Biesemans won for his treatment ‘Embers & Dust,’ which has now been shot and edited and is now available to view online.
Based on the 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds by Orson Welles, the piece blends fiction and reality for a dreamlike semi-documentary feel. You can read the winning treatment here.
Biesemans actually took an option to use audio from the recording of the broadcast before he had a firm idea of what the project would be, and was just about to launch a campaign on Indiegogo when he was told he’d won the Musicbed prize.
The shoot had its challenges. ‘There were two torrential downpours,’ says Bieseman. ‘There were bears.’ Bears? ‘On the first night we were shooting, my wife, who does a lot of production design on my projects, told me she heard noises near the prop shop. So I sent someone with her to go look. Five minutes later I hear, “Bear. Bear here.” We all look, and sure enough there’s a black bear looking at us like, “Am I not supposed to be here?”‘
Biesemans has no regrets about putting his crew through what he calls ‘hell’ though. ‘Short films are a chance to work with watercolor when you normally work with Sharpies… A short film is a chance to be purely you.’
And his final piece is a distinctive piece of filmmaking, blurring the lines between the fantastic and the everyday: a timely reminder that perhaps we shouldn’t take everything we hear or see in the media literally.