By Andrew Di Pardo, Writing For Film & Television Alumnus
Decades Apart was the best project I have worked on in my career as a filmmaker. It took months of hard work and countless revisions, but on the cusp of its release, I couldn’t be more proud of the film. In this article, I detail how this film came together, from the point of inspiration through to its release this summer.
In May 2017 after returning to South Carolina from a film premiere in Washington, DC, I was ready to begin work on a screenplay for a new film. I was in search of a new idea in a genre that I hadn’t done before. After going through various ideas, nothing excited me until I got called to model in a “Decades” themed shoot by photographer Scott Thomason, model Deborah Hahn and designer Jon Pierce. Upon arriving in Spartanburg, South Carolina, I met the designer who walked me over to the shooting location in an apartment complex where there was this red phone booth that looked as though it was from England. Deborah was posing at the time with a red hat by the phone booth, and it just looked very classic and new.
To do a shoot based on different eras is something I don’t think is done enough. Immediately I started to think about how times have changed so drastically since the 1950s, both good and bad and about how this may be an interesting subject to tackle in a film given that I feel like I’m born in the wrong time. Later that day we shot in a coffee shop which sparked the first draft of my new film which had the working title Time Change. After spending a month and a half on that concept, I brought on board one of my former classmates from the Toronto Film School, Gilbert T. Laberge to expand on the screenplay. Gilbert and I had worked on a previous short film together called Violators.
Gilbert read my screenplay and had a different take on the film in his mind, a darker version. His draft was titled “Across the years.” Upon reading his draft, we then discussed another version that would combine both screenplays into one. I won’t bore you with the details of all the different variations of the screenplay as it took several different drafts before we got to “Decades Apart.” In fact, that’s where I’ll pick up from. We had a solid screenplay that centred around the telephone. Not only was a phone relevant in the 1950’s, but it’s still relevant today. Both in different ways of course. The story follows Diane Flint-Watson as she makes a call and through an anomaly in space-time, it gets transferred from 1953 to 2018 and ends up in the house of a man named Nathan Grimm… A connection was born… Decades Apart.
In November 2017, I met with the producers of Falls Park Entertainment, who I worked with on the Feature The Rush Chairman, Brett Kanea and Helena Flaugher-Sullivan in Greenville, South Carolina. They loved the script and took on the project and with that, I officially signed on as the Director of the film and casting began. After going through various auditions, I couldn’t find an actress who fit the role of Diane. I started to look back at that Decades shoot and it struck me that Deborah could be right for the part. I contacted her, she auditioned and was exactly what we were looking for. That same day we found our co-star for Nathan, Martin Tylicki. We set up a skype audition to see if the chemistry between our potential leads matched up And it did! Our cast was set. We then brought Jon Pierce the designer, officially on board to make the dress for our lead actress. Not long after Charlotte Acker was brought on as Director Of Photography, along with Angel Di Pardo as Gaffer/Grip, Collins White as the sound engineer and many others. Our team was set for production in February 2018.
About a week before production, the producers had to step away from the project due to some personal matters, but we kept the shooting on track and went into production on time. We found a great set that looked like an abandoned subway station and it fit the 50’s theme perfectly. The film took three days to shoot and it went rather smoothly and it didn’t feel as rushed as some of my earlier projects had felt before. We only had some minor difficulties with one of the lenses but we edited around it in Post-Production. In March 2018, the producers returned to the film and acquired the rights from Sony for songs by the band, 2CELLOS. One of the songs was a Johnny Cash cover of the song Hurt. Post-Production for the film took about four months and was completed officially on June 12th, 2018 and released in August. We are also submitting the film to festivals in Canada and the USA. See more here.
This project was the longest and most fun I’ve ever had on a film and I can’t wait for it to be released!
Andrew Di Pardo is a multi-talented filmmaker born in Toronto, Canada. Andrew is a graduate of the Writing for Film and Television program at Toronto Film School. Read more about Andrew here. Also, you can follow him on Instagram here.