Kurtis Chen


Waves — Production

Hollie Hughes in  Waves  (2016)

Hollie Hughes in Waves (2016)


This limiting budget also forced us to limit total camera days to one: a half day (overnight) at the Templar Hotel — whose rooms are adorned with pieces of human-made objects at their finest — and a half day in a dense Scarborough forest. This meant that we pretty much shot exactly to script, with maybe a camera-to-cut ratio of about 2:1. That's tight.

As you can imagine, shooting overnight is taxing on everyone. Hollie Hughes, our talented lead, took the challenge in stride. I think some of our crew (which, admittedly, we hired too many of) had the most trouble staying awake. Filmmaking is hard work.

As for lensing, we got our fantastic Lomo Squarefront glass from the great folks at Toronto Anamorphics. These lenses provided us with an eery, dreamy distortion that really helped sell the film's aesthetic.

Finally, for the most important part of the film, Nathan hooked us up with his long time collaborator, Andrew Scott Bell, to score and sound design the film. The difference between watching the picture-locked cut before and after Andrew's work is absolutely astounding. The sound of air vents, the sound of street traffic outside, epic modulating bass hits — I can't even begin to emphasize how important the audio track of a film can be. Everything you hear is a result of Andrew's work — we didn't record any sound at all on location.

Ultimately, this project is perhaps the only thing I've worked on that I'm actually happy with (for now). If I could go back and makes Waves again with Nathan, I don't think I'd change a single thing.

Waves is currently making its rounds in festival circuits; until that's over, I won't be able to share it with you. But for now, I hope the still frames here suffice!

Beautifully soft early-dawn light.

Beautifully soft early-dawn light.

Actor Hollie Hughes looking out a north facing window of the Templar Hotel.

Actor Hollie Hughes looking out a north facing window of the Templar Hotel.