In A Reasonable Request, director Andrew Laurich show a father and son in an uncomfortable negotiation, to say the least. He tells us about the film.
How fucked up was your childhood…? I’m sorry, I meant to say: where did the idea for A Reasonable Request come from?
“Actually, both co-writer Gabriel Miller and I come from fairly stable nuclear families. I think that’s what made the subject approachable for us: we can access it precisely because it doesn’t hit close to home. As for the idea: it was a pitch that Gabriel made to me over e-mail. He said: ‘What if we made a short about the hypothetical “would you rather”, but made it the most taboo version possible.’ The rest is history.”
Can you tell us a bit about the production? With just one location and only two actors it seems simple but I’m sure there must have been many difficulties along the way.
“It was fairly simply, actually. We filmed for about six hours. Single camera, three or four setups. I wanted it to feel more like a staged play reading than a traditional film that relies on cuts and camera moves to tell the story. The biggest challenge was that – due to his schedule – I only had one ten-minute conversation with John Ennis, who plays the dad, before we started filming. So we had to sort of find the character in real time.”
You’re both coming at this from the world of advertising. What was different about working on this short film, and screening it at film festivals? Or what was the same?
“In advertising, you’re a apart of a much bigger machine with lots of moving parts. With short films and the festival experience, it feels like the attention is more squarely centered on you. Personally, I’ve received more attention for this one eight-minute short as a director than I have in five years of directing commercials professionally.”
The film was a staff pick at Vimeo and was selected for the prestigious Sundance festival. Which of those meant more to you?
“That’s like picking between siblings. Vimeo is such an amazing company with a uniquely curated audience. A film can reach so many talented peers and content creators so quickly with a Staff Pick. That said, it’s hard to beat Sundance. The bulk of the response has been a result of that selection. From a purely statistical perspective, Sundance is the harder achievement.”