News Column

Short film shooting at Lil' Robert's Place in Concord

June 25, 2013


June 25--CONCORD, N.C. -- Kevin Girard describes his new short film, "Bad Dreams and Bar Tabs," as a "whimsical look at dementia."

Set at Lil' Robert's Place in Concord, the short film focuses on two guys talking about life and their fears. Girard didn't want to give away to many details, but he talked about the inspiration of the story he wrote. He is also directing, editing and acting in the film.

"It's that idea that even when we are at our most honest, sometimes we might be pretending to be something we are not or pretending to be something we aspire to be," Girard said. "There are certain fears I've always had about how does one know when they are losing their mind when they are losing their mind? That concept has always scared the bejeezus out of me. What is that and how do you know? And do you require other people around you to let you know when that happens and ... if you fall apart, what happens? And that fed a lot of this script."

Girard and others have been filming each Tuesday at Lil' Robert's Place, and he plans to submit the short film to festivals such as Sundance and SXSW. The short film looks to run 12 to 15 minutes long.

If the film gets into SXSW it will be the second time Girard has attended the film and music festival. He was there in 2011 when he performed as a keyboard player in the band Thoughtcriminals.

Girard is working with his producer, B. Barton Smith, who operates Basement Brothers Productions, which represents local artists. Basement Brothers is working on a shoestring budget. The camera and other gear they're using to shoot the film costs about $500.

The film has six speaking parts, with Girard and Smith playing the leads.

The project is the first the two have worked on since they graduated from Concord High School. The two met there in the late 1990s when they took the same theater program. The two went their separate ways but kept in touch. When Girard came up with the idea for "Bad Dreams and Bar Tabs," he contacted Smith.

For the two, the short film is a chance to move forward on their dreams of being involved in film production.

"Hitting 30 and realizing we both had come to turning points where we had to make decisions and had to make movements," Smith said. "If we wanted to do the things we wanted to do, we have to do them now and we really have to take that step forward and not just say, 'we're an author' or 'we're a producer' and not do anything with those talents. And this was really the perfect project to come along when it did."

Girard said for the first project, he kept the cast and crew small, citing how he studied the shooting style of director Robert Rodriguez, who helmed "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "Machete" as well as "Spy Kids."

"He said that you make a list of what you need to make your film and then try to get that list down to as few people or things as possible," he said. "And when you've gotten to the point of where all you really need is you to make it then you're in a good place."

Plus, Girard kept the script simple, setting everything up at the local bar.

"It's really eccentric, it's really quirky," he said. "There's an atmosphere here and it's a very specific atmosphere. The walls are hung with local artwork and all kinds of artwork, everything from very, very abstract expressionist pieces all the way to landscapes. I love the fact that it's a bar in the heart of Bud Light country that doesn't have Bud Light."

Girard added that the script was influenced by much of the activity in downtown Concord, including Lil' Robert's Place.

"I'm filming in downtown Concord, I've written a thing that could be a snapshot of any given conversation in Concord," he said. "It's very tied to this particular downtown area, where at the same time Concord is such a great 'any town.'"

Smith and Girard hope this will lead them to developing a feature film together. They have been balancing their film work between their day jobs, with Smith working as an administrator at Concord ARP Church and Girard working at bars and restaurants.

"That's also a lot of the reason I am doing this. I'm tired of being defined by my day job," Girard said. "I'd really prefer to have independent filmmaker on my resume than vagabond troublemaker."

Contact Michael Knox at 704-789-9133.


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