Diamond in the Rough Films - the Shorts
Diamond in the Rough Films is a huge fan of the short film format. Making short films is an excellent exercise to being a better filmmaker. It's a challenge to tell a good story in under 20 minutes. But it is easier on the pocketbook and can still show off your indie filmmaking skills. We hope you enjoy these "smaller carat" Diamonds in the Rough. We learned a lot from making them and had a great time doing so. We will be updating this page with more short films very soon so check back for updates!
"ADVENTURES IN SCIENCE #282" (2005)
Directed by Mark Schwab and starring Mark Balunis, this was part of the "Cinemasports" film festival where entrants must conceive, produce, direct and edit a 4-minute movie in 8 hours and with a public screening held on the 9th hour. To keep things fair, there are 4 "ingredients" or visuals (announced the day of the festival) which must be part of the finished film. Adventures in Science is a satire of old high school science films where we find our subject Kermit Nasalrod (Mark Balunis) suffering from Ambulophobia - the fear of walking - and how he gets through a typical day. Shot on location in the heart of San Francisco, this was named a "Best of the Fest" by the Cinemasports organizers with Mark Balunis' hilarious performance being a big hit with the audience.
Written and Directed by Mark Balunis, Essence is an excellent sci-fi head trip involving DNA, alleles, projected essences, and a very dangerous being called the Ryegen (played by Balunis himself). Set almost completely within the confines of an alternate realm where our earthly reality of birth and death is controlled by a mysterious consortium, Essence is truly intelligent sci-fi. This short film was five years in the making, with Writer/Director Balunis inventing his special effects as technology became available. All of the effects showcased here were completely created in Adobe Premiere and NOT After Affects (which DITR would acquire in late 2011). Think about that as you wrap your mind around Essence. The inventive screenplay and visuals are a testament to Mark Balunis' talent and creativity.
"ENTRANCE EXAM" (2002)
One of Diamond in the Rough's earliest shorts, Entrance Exam featured a screenplay by Mark Balunis, cinematography by Mark Schwab and direction by award-winning USC filmmaker Robert Little. It tells an almost surreal story of an eager young filmmaker (Pins and Needles' Devon Lee Grover) desperate to get into the "in crowd" of filmmakers at his local college. He is given an opportunity but must first pass their "entrance exam" of a high stakes poker game. Entrance Exam features an almost film noir style with deep shadows and high contrast creating a foreboding and dream-like atmosphere.