The short film and comedic drama “The Condition,” written and directed by UCSB alumnus Rene Caballero, made its debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival last week.
The 12-minute short film, which was also screened at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art over the weekend, tells the story of two couples at a party on Del Playa Drive the night before graduating from UCSB. The male protagonist is falsely identified as a person in Isla Vista rumored to have a “condition” that eventually leaves nearly disastrous effects on his potential love interests, leaving those around him in states of heartbreak and denial.
It is also about the relationship between two college friends who were forced to separate after graduation, one by moving back to Virginia and the other by joining the Marines.
Caballero, a former film & media studies major, first thought of the idea for the film just before his graduation from UCSB in 2010. According to Caballero, he gained inspiration for the film’s visual aspects from a class taught by film and media studies lecturer Anna Brusutti.
“Aesthetically speaking, the inspiration came from the Italian cinema class taught by professor Anna Brusutti … Everything she screened in that class was gold, and it definitely got the creative juice flowing,” Caballero said. “Story-wise, the story of the couple spending their last night together was inspired from two of my very good friends who had to part ways after graduation.”
According to producer Greg Minihan, while the success of the filming process relied heavily upon preplanned efforts, many successes of the film were contributable to coincidence and luck.
“Filming was hectic, but it was a blast,” Minihan said. “We shot the film on three separate nights — one night for the couple in the laundry room, one night for the party and one night for the ending outdoor scene. We got really lucky so many friends were willing to come help us out with the party scene.”
Caballero said those who were a part of the filming process, such as the actors and actresses, were college seniors motivated to shoot something for free which would be viewed by peers.
Caballero said he hopes the short film will inspire other film students to be creative and proactive in pursuing their career-oriented aspirations.
“We never intended the film to be viewed by anyone outside of our social circle,” Caballero said. “I just hope it does for current film students what seeing other shorts did for me as a student, and that is to try to go out there and make a better one, or at least one with a unique voice that brings something to the table.”
While the artistic visuals of the film were meant to be a creative addition to the piece, the film’s black-and-white format actually helped the filming process. Accurately capturing dialogue during party scenes was difficult as actors and actresses struggled to keep quiet during the shoots, and this task was made easier by the film’s artistic use of dubbing, according to the film’s assistant producer Edoardo Vojvoda.
“One of our main inspirations was Italian movies from the sixties, like ‘La Dolce Vita,’ so we wanted to recreate the kind of glamorous look those films had. Black and white and Italian dubbing were the best ways to accomplish it,” Vojvoda said. “An interesting thing is that many things were not properly translatable. This led to a slight difference in meaning between the Italian dubbing and the English subtitles.”
According to Vojvoda, the movie’s dubbing sequences, though a lengthy process, were done by professionals from Italy. Vojvoda also said the soundtrack and poster photo were tailored specifically to the film and its story.
“My brother, Riccardo, and I recorded them in our studio in Pordenone,” Vojvoda said. “The score is original. It was composed and played by Edoardo Pedrotti, who is an Italian pianist, and Stefano Salmaso, a saxophone player and a member of reggae band Mellow Mood. The poster photo was shot by Mattia Balsamini.”
Minihan said his favorite part of the entire process was working with friends and seeing the fruits of the team’s labor.
“As a producer, I’d gotten everyone together, got the equipment and locations, and once the camera’s recording, I just got to watch it all come together,” Minihan said. “Post-production took over a year since everyone was just helping out in their spare time to get it down. I couldn’t be happier with the final results though.”