'Free Pie' from Caleb Slain | #ShortFilm #Film | via #Vimeo

Free Pie from Caleb Slain on Vimeo.

A traumatic comedy about life, death, pie and death.

Download my original Free Pie stageplay here: http://bit.ly/X27hyO
SCRIPT IS FREE TO USE AND PERFORM. Just shoot me an email saying "yo".


Originally written as a stageplay under the tutelage of theater, film, and TV legend Tom Skerritt, I adapted Free Pie for the screen and partnered with producers Gabe Berghuis, Aaron B. Smith and the Gorilla Film Community in Grand Rapids to shoot the film in two nights. With three dedicated actors and a small crew, the filming took place in a puzzling house designed by a cathedral architect shortly before his death (the present homeowner being incapable of residing at the home, due to a mysterious allergy).

Because the 10-minute film takes place in real-time, the entire team was able to experience the actors performing the script from start to finish as though they were watching a play. Given the short shooting schedule to execute the ambitious deep-focus look (the film was shot exclusively on a 18mm and 25mm Master Primes), the live performance of the film proved to be an invaluable way of creating a unified vision for the cast and crew.

Director Statement:

I've received various emails and messages inquiring about the film's meaning, who Kowalski is, what the pie represents, etc. Ultimately, I feel that meaning is a product of the equation "Film + Audience" and consequently just as varied as the individuals who watch it, but after a friend informed me that her fashion blog (where she had posted images of her outfit for the Free Pie premiere) was being frequented by the google search "what is meaning of free pie short film," it became clear that a few words should be said. So rather than explain what it all means, I offer any interested viewers the following context for how this story came to be.

Inspiration for Free Pie stems back to its origins as a "joke script" that I and my co-conspirator Justin Hall would redraft whenever we became stuck on a more serious project (the more extreme iterations I leave to your imagination). Years later when I joined a screenwriting course at TheFilmSchool, we were required to arrive at Tom Skerritt's class with a 4-6 page stageplay ready. I decided that the Day of Pie had finally arrived. Although the original story began as something of an exercise in grievous absurdity, the formation of the actual script was thematically influenced by a story I was told while compiling research for my short documentary "Juggle & Cut" (the story of prodigy juggler and woodcarver Andy Phelps, who suffered a tragic accident at age 16 rendering him paralyzed). While interviewing Andy's brother, Dave, he described to me the first night of being in the hospital after the accident... Dave was a philosophy major in Ann Arbor, MI, and he had driven across the state to join family and friends at the hospital, but over the course of the evening his role as "older brother" slowly dissolved into that of crowd control: answering the same questions that every new grief-stricken visitor arrived asking. After many emotionally draining hours of monitoring his post by the door, Dave was surprised to see his philosophy Professor suddenly walk through. Noticing his student's mixed state of fatigue and social obligation, the Professor went over and sat beside Dave in complete silence. After a few minutes, he leaned over and simply said "It's exhausting taking care of those who come to comfort us." The Professor sat with Dave for the next two hours without saying a single word…he was just there.

I found the story to be profoundly revealing of how oftentimes we project ourselves onto those who are suffering, and how we often comfort more out of our own need to feel like we contributed than out of a delicate evaluation of our friend's needs. We want to know we made a difference, which is an inherently self-gratifying perspective. Dave's professor transcended this common pitfall by genuinely thinking outside of himself and raising the needs of another above his own. Perhaps consolation is not a decorated service, but a sacrificial one.


Follow me at: twitter.com/CalebSlain

P.S. The song is "Non ho l'età" by Gigliola Cinquetti. ;)

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