By Sven Mikulec
Visually stunning, with perfect music, really impressive acting by both Breaking Bad star Mark Margolis and young Aaron Himelstein and equally powerful and painful storytelling, Joshua Caldwell’s Dig is a phenomenal example of fine filmmaking in short film production. Set in Breaking Bad environment, this story is a joy to behold and ends up leaving you wanting more.
Dig is a short film about a young, Jewish Holocaust survivor who, twenty years following his exodus from Europe, sees the Nazi responsible for his family’s death, kidnaps him, and orders him to dig his own grave.
Starring Emmy Nominee Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad) and Aaron Himelstein, Executive Produced by Anthony E. Zuiker (creator of CSI), shot by award winning cinematographer Paul Niccolls and scored by Bill Brown (CSI:NY) the film had it’s world premiere at the 2011 LA Shorts Fest. It was also an Official Selection of the 2011 Carmel Art & Film Festival, NewFilmmakers LA Series; the 2012 Durango Independent Film Festival, Beverly Hills Film Festival, Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, Dances With Films, HollyShorts Film Festival, Action on Film International Film Festival; and won the Silver Screen Award (Short Film competition) at the Nevada Film Festival.
In 2013, Caldwell wrote and directed his debut feature film Layover. Made for only $6000 the film was shot on a Canon 5D and stars Nathalie Fay, Karl E. Landler, Bella Dayne and Hal Ozsan. Layover World Premiered at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival on May 30, 2014 to a sell out crowd.
At the beginning of 2013, inspired by seeing several articles about Ed Burns making sub-$10,000 films, I set out to do the same. It had taken me a while to get there. I spent a lot of time and energy developing and writing projects that required other people to give me money and a greenlight, instead of creating a project I could do on my own terms. It took me lifting my head up, looking around and saying, “I have everything I need to make a movie for very little money: access to cameras, actors, crew, post-services. So why am I not doing it?”
So, I took an idea that I had floating around in my head about a girl stuck on a layover in L.A., developed out the story and wrote the script. Then, with my producing partner Travis Oberlander, we raised a little bit of money from a family friend (enough to pay the cast, rent a few locations, and food), cast the film with actor friends whom I knew spoke French, borrowed a Canon 5D, set the schedule and over the course of five weekends, shot the film, and then spent another eight months or so editing (off and on). The entire film was made for $6000. That’s right. —How to Maximize Production Value on a Minuscule Budget by Joshua Caldwell