Production Photos

A brief tribute to the people who made it happen, on and off the camera. It was an ambitious shoot, but these people kept with it and did so graciously.

-Mark

Starnes Island

Starnes Island, Lake Travis 

This photo was taken by Yamel Thompson during our first location scout in January. I loved how low the lake was at the time, revealing hidden scars from the bottom of the lake. Nature thought my metaphorical imagery was too obtuse and cast down a biblical flood, filling the lake completely, right before our shoot.

Heidi Builds

Heidi Diederich (Production Designer) 

This is my third film working with Heidi. She pushes my ideas early on when I'm developing the story. I locked the script early this time, so I was the one pushing her. Here she is building the bones for our Soyuz capsule.

Mary and Brett

Mary Anzalone (Mary) and Brett Brock (Jack)

Actors like listening to music to stay focused and tune out the set. Very shortly, Mary is going to have to run into the lake, wearing those white pants, several times. She brings all of herself into each role, and I respect her more every time I see her work.

The Team

The team 

This looks staged. Maybe we are on a boat and I am Ahab. That's close to how it felt most of the time. Though I didn't make anybody swear a blood oath.

Boat rescue

The boat rescue 

This scene was cut from the film. I now have a pretty good idea of what those scenes feel like when shooting them. It's a type of despair and confusion that's of a slightly different character than the usual production despair and confusion. In the edit, it becomes clear to anyone which scenes are being rejected by the movie's immune system. On set, you do feel it in your gut: the kind of mild gassiness which distracts and clouds your thinking. Best to act on it right away.

Caleb in the water

Caleb Kuntz (Director of Photography) directing the action

Caleb and I have been working together since I started film school. Though his mind operates in its own unique cartwheels, he understands me very well and I get to let a lot go into his hands. Besides being a natural with cameras, he also has a habit of fixing most of my bad choices and helping me work through unexpected impediments. There was also quite a bit of pointing at things on this set.

Omnious Clouds

Threatening clouds

Most of the film takes place outdoors, so we had to push our shoot dates back by a week when the weather brought ten consecutive days of thunderstorms to the area. We were always wary that the weather could still affect us but luckily our rejiggering of the schedule worked well.

Mark Stressin

Mark Blumberg (Director) looking worried

This is what it felt like most of the time. Also, this was one of the good days.

Caleb and Charlie

Caleb practicing a dolly move as Charlie Pearce (Gaffer) contemplates a tweak in the lighting

Let me know if you want more pictures of Caleb with a camera, because I've got a few.

Mark directs

Mark directing

I'm including one vanity shot where I actually look like I know what I'm doing. Here I am talking Brett and Mary through the final scene, very happy that it doesn't involve water, a crazy set, or special effects.

Brett in Space

Brett in space

I really loved this character, and I think that helped throughout casting to land on someone who was really going to approach the role with an equally generous spirit. The film relies heavily on Brett's performance, and he pulled us through the most difficult days, whether it was underwater or in a hot studio with pieces of the set being assembled around him.

Raven

Raven Patton (Assistant Director)

I like this picture of Raven. I met her on the set of Results where I noted her strong energy and how ably she kept things moving. She was a shoe-in as AD, and a lot of the time we just kind of did whatever she said we should do. She also dove right in and picked up on so many crazy tasks on days where we had very limited crew.

Snake

The Snake and the GoPro

There were a few instances where a more superstitious crew would have closed up shop. In the middle of one of our dive days, this snake zipped across the water to hiss at our faces. Tom Wayne, our executive producer, approached the camera-shy reptile with his GoPro, forcing a retreat. This made it clearer to us what kind of thing an executive producer can contribute to a film set.

In the pool

In the pool

The flooding caused all of our freshwater filming locations to become so murky that we had to improvise a shoot in Caleb's apartment pool. Here, we have black and yellow felt held down with diving weights and zip-ties. We had no idea if this would work in the end. The tenants didn't seem to think so, either.

Testing the footage

Makena Buchanan (Producer) tests the footage

Here we see Makena Buchanan, the producer of this film, doing a quick test on the pool footage to see how well our DIY visual effects set-up worked. Makena helped give shape to this film's story when he showed me some diving footage he shot in Hawaii. I then asked him to produce this film, promising a contained story about a husband and wife, and the rest is history. We'll see how eager he is to work with me again after this adventure, though I think he's proud of this film.