Set in the swamps of South Louisiana Noble Creatures pits two adversarial escaped convicts – with different ideas about how to hold onto their freedom - against a tortured, but resolute, female-prison guard known as ‘Put-Down’.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Daniel Lafrentz
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
This film was made as a second year film for the Masters in Directing from the UCLA School of Film & Television. I’ve also always been intrigued by stories about characters who have to sacrifice a part of themselves, or who they think they are, for the greater good. Sissy sacrifices his freedom, and Put-Down sacrifices her sense of herself as a ’good person’ in order to save innocent people.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because everyone wants to watch something exciting, that is actually really ABOUT something.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I like for my films to ask a larger question, in this case: what personal sacrifice would you be willing to make for the greater good, but have that question connect to a universally relatable need, i.e. freedom, and living with a guilty conscience.
I also try to give the audience a satisfying ending that still asks a question. In Noble Creatures, the good guys win, but Sissy goes back to prison and Put-Down has to live with herself having killed a second time. The question she asks in the final moment, and that I’m asking of the audience is: how would you live with having brutally killed a person for the greater good.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script was originally told out of sequence. It began with Put-Down capturing Sissy in the forest, then flashed back to the night before, their escape, Put-Down at the bar with her boss, and eventually caught up with itself after the convenience store shootout. In that version, when Put-Down captures Sissy it’s immediately following the convenience store. In the editing though, the story just worked way better emotionally as a linear narrative. The whole experience is just a testament to how directors try to be to clever and overthink things that really don’t need to be that complicated.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
People have been really engaged, track the story emotionally, jump at the right places, sometimes even scream at the right places. People have told me several occasions how effective the various tension builds in the various sequences are. Especially in the house, in the convenience store, and in the forest at the climax. We’ve also gotten compliments on the actors' performances which are incredibly gratifying to be able to share with them.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It’s been incredibly rewarding to see people emotionally engaged with the story and the characters.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Short films have such limited avenues for visibility outside festival screenings. And just getting to festivals is such an expensive and time consuming process. I’d love for more people to read about the film, the actors, my DP and creative team, and to build more awareness about the film and what my next film will be.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film festival directors and journalists are quickly becoming my best friends. Getting the film in front of producers is also a priority, because as directors we’re always working on ‘the next thing’.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want people to enjoy the film and be entertained but continue to discuss and think about the film when they walk out of the theater.
Would you like to add anything else?
We’ve won three awards for the film so far, out of four festivals we’ve screened in. Winning awards is definitely a new and exciting first for me.
Best Action/Adventure – Southern Shorts Awards
Audience Award – Fayetteville Film Festival
Best Director (Student Shorts) – Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am going into production on my first feature film, called The Long Shadow, on November 30. It’s also set in Louisiana but is more of a suspense/thriller. It’s a Southern Gothic noir set in a dying sugar town about a newly-minted female Sheriff’s Deputy in rural Louisiana takes on her town's old money establishment when the woman she loves - an attorney fighting to stop a rail deal that threatens to displace the town's poor - is murdered.
Interview: October 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Set in the swamps of South Louisiana, Noble Creatures, pits two adversarial escaped convicts – with different ideas about how to hold onto their freedom - against a tortured, but resolute, female-prison guard known as ‘Put-Down’.
Director: Daniel Lafrentz
Producer: Jeremy Hill / Daniel Lafrentz
Writer: Daniel Lafrentz
About the writer, director and producer:
Daniel Lafrentz was born in Silicon Valley but feels most at home in South Louisiana. He has worked professionally in the industry for eight years - first in Los Angeles and then in New Orleans on Syfy masterpieces such as Swamp Shark and Alien Tornado. He returned to San Francisco in 2012 to produce and direct commercials before being accepted to the UCLA School of Film & Television to pursue his MFA in Directing where he is currently a thesis candidate. When he's not writing Southern Gothic neo-noirs, Daniel does an amazing impression of Kermit the Frog.
Producer: Jeremy lives and breathes filmmaking. Whatever the budget, whatever the style, whatever the purpose, his goal is to bring it to life. Since 2009 Jeremy has produced or Unit Production Managed narrative and documentary feature films, commercials and music videos.
Key cast: Nicole Barre (Put-Down), Christopher Berry (Sissy), Mark McCullough (Bligh)
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Film Festival Directors, Producers, Journalists
Social media handles:
Made in association with: UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
Where will the film screen in the next month?
New Orleans Film Festival – Friday, Oct 13
San Jose Int’l Short Film Fest – Dec 7-10 (TBD)