If filming a car chase on Cornwall Avenue sounds like something you'd like to do this summer, then read on.
Western student Chris Koser is rallying together students to film a full length feature called “This is Between Blood.” Western students will make and star in the film, and it will be shot entirely in Bellingham.
The main reason for shooting the film in Bellingham is so that it can look like any American city, Koser said.
“Shooting in Bellingham is absolutely primary,” Koser said. “It's got a lot of little corners that work for so many different things.”
Koser described “This is Between Blood” as a cross between a contemporary crime drama and a Sergio Leone Western.
“It starts out almost as a film noir, with a crime scene in an urban setting,” screenwriter Joshua Young said.
The film is based on a 40-minute pilot film Koser made in May 2007 called “Crossing.” For the task of writing the script for “This is Between Blood” Koser went to Western graduate students Joshua Young and Alek Talevich. Young wrote a rough draft in three days, and then went over his ideas with Talevich at an Ihop writing session. Coming up with a final draft that Koser, Young, and Talevich all liked took about a year, Young said.
Koser described the writing process as a sort of negotiation between himself and Young.
“We both love these characters so much that we've kind of been back and forth,” Koser said. “I think that in the end that's made the script so much better.”
The story is similar in both movies, Koser said, but the new film will spend more time focusing on the relationships between the characters.
“It really spotlights the evolution of these different characters over a five-year period,” Koser said.
The story is told in four chapters, Young said. Each of the first three chapters is seen from the perspective of a different character, and the final chapter shows these characters' paths colliding in a spaghetti Western-style showdown.
Koser said he is going to begin looking for other Western students to act in the film, as well as design costumes, work on lighting and promoting the movie.
“I think that would be a really amazing thing to see,” Koser said. “A group of students coming together from all different walks of education and putting together a cohesive and fascinating movie.”
This quarter, Koser is doing an independent study project through Fairhaven College which involves seeking out investors for the film.
“The more people believe in this, the more successful this film will be,” Koser said.
This is the first in a series of independent study courses that Koser is taking to complete the film.
“He's taking all the time that you should take when you make a movie,” said Mark Miller, instructor and media manager at Fairhaven College.
Koser said he came to college knowing he wanted to make movies. Fairhaven gave him the unique opportunity to get class credit for making movies through independent studies.
“Students sort of find the areas that are lacking at the university and create their own class to fill that need,” Miller said.
Koser said he first became fascinated in the power of cinema while watching “Jurassic Park.”
“It was one of the films that really showed me just how much a movie can do,” Koser said.
As a kid, Koser made movies in his parents' back yard with the family camcorder. He continued making short movies with friends through high school and college.
During his freshman year at Western, Koser made the short film “Knit Club,” a parody of “Fight Club,” and entered it in iMovie Fest. The following year, he made a 12-minute film called “High Stakes.” For the movie, Koser managed to get a section of Cornwall Avenue closed for about eight hours to film a car chase.
“Telling somebody you're going to shut down a nine block street in Bellingham…not many people are going to believe you can do that,” Koser said. “It's just matter of saying ‘yes, we can do it.'”
More recently, Koser made a promotional video for the Office of Sustainability, and is making a promotional video for the Formula SAE team.
Once “This is Between Blood” is finished, Koser said he plans to enter it into film festivals nationally and internationally. Entering films in the festival circuit can help the film make enough money to break even on production costs, and is also a way to showcase the talents of everyone involved in the film, Koser said.
“Finding just that one person who believes in your project…is what festivals are all about,” Koser said.
Not only are film festivals a great way to get noticed, but they're just plain fun, Koser said.
“The payoff is incredible,” Koser said. “Seeing what has taken months and months of work…finally come to fruition on the screen is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.”
Students who are interested in getting involved in the film can visit the Web site at http://www.thisisbetweenblood.com, or e-mail Koser at firstname.lastname@example.org.