Silver Cord: A Graduate Thesis Film

Silver Cord: A Graduate Thesis Film

It is finally over! I shot my film. It is hard to believe that I finished the production stage. I and my producer, Urwa, have been working on our thesis film for over a year, and now our problems and concerns about the production are over. How did it go? Read more to see.

The production of Silver Cord took six days. The first two days we were in Kankakee State Park. It started really great with the efforts of an amazing team. I think I couldn’t have asked for a better team. We had undergraduates from Columbia College Chicago, and they did an excellent job for six days. I am so thankful to each of those amazing, talented and passionate people. We made this film thanks to them! On the second day, we were caught under the rain, but thanks to the team’s great work we only cut two or three shots and made our day.

After a break, we continued with our pool and underwater scenes. On the third day, we shot our underwater scenes, and then on the fourth day we completed pool scenes on the surface. This was the most challenging production that I have ever done. As the director, to be able to see the performance I had to be in the pool with the actress. Acting underwater is just a whole different world, and I feel incredibly lucky to have an amazing actress like Annelyse Ahmad. I was struggling to even look at her performance; she was acting underwater, and she was at her best. She is at the top of the list of the people I cannot thank enough! I also want to mention the professionalism of our crew, their respect for each of the scenes, and their knowledge of production. They made everything so much easier and I am here, writing this blog proudly, thanks to them.

Me and Young Maya, played by Heather Baskin.
Underwater scene set-up.

On the fifth day, we were in a cabin. Although the cabin had been flooded a couple of days before, we were able to get there and shoot. We knew this was going to be one of the challenging days in terms of scheduling because we tried to shoot four scenes in a day in that location. But we made it! Although we had to cut a couple of shots, we finished all the scenes. I think another person that needs to be mentioned is our cinematographer, Matt Hayward. He is a great collaborator and is not afraid of trying new things. He understood the story well and articulated his ideas with cinematography. Working in a stressful environment and trying to be creative within a limited time is difficult. Matt was always on our side and tried to do his best for the film and for the production.

For the last day, we were in Columbia College Chicago’s Media Production Center. We finished our VFX shots in our studio, which was a much more controllable environment than the other locations. Then, finally, it was a wrap! I had great experiences on this project. I also made great memories, witnessing passionate people working to make one thing happen. It was such a joy to shoot my film at Columbia College Chicago. Now I am focused on the post-production of Silver Cord and looking for jobs. Stay tuned for more!