Entertainment Magazine: Film

The Delights of Chocolates

By Madelyn Ritrosky 
A short film that screened at the 2014 Middle Coast Film Festival is a quirky little comedy centered on the interactions – and jealous tensions – of two women who have been friends.  The film is titled Chocolates, which plays on both an element in the plot and its visual accompaniment as the women sit in a living room and talk.  
Sedona International Film Festival filmmakers:  Laura Owen (left) and Aron Campisano  Photo of the two filmmakers:  Laura Owen (left) and Aron Campisano.

While a short film focused on the minutiae of this moment in these female characters’ lives makes for an interesting mini-story dynamic, the direction and editing push this 5-minute film into a visually dynamic piece as well. 
As for the plot, let’s just say that a dish full of specialty chocolate candies gets eaten as one woman realizes what the chocolates being there means.  She has come to her friend’s home to rant about her now ex-boyfriend – and her friend can’t hide from what the chocolates reveal....

Chocolates is a bite of delight among the many choices in that large smorgasbord of offerings at film festivals, the short films. 
I talked with the two filmmakers, director Aron Campisano and co-lead actress Laura Owen.  The two co-wrote and co-produced this film, and Aron also edited it.  

The project was originally Laura’s, that is, there was an earlier version of the film in which Aron was not involved.  When they both realized some problems with that version and saw an opportunity to whip it into shape, they jumped in together and reworked it from the script up. 
The result was an entirely new film, and Laura Owen is justifiably proud of it.  I asked her about the film and their experiences, so let’s see what she had to say.... 
Laura Owen1. What are the origins of this story and film?  
This is a tricky question!  Originally, Chocolates was written and shot as a scene for myself and my friend’s actor-demo reels.  

However, after it was edited, I thought I could submit it to a few smaller film festivals, just for fun.  So I entered it in three festivals – and won an Honorable Mention in one of them!  
Then a friend referred me to the Sonoma Film Festival.  Well, this was a much bigger fest than anything I’d thought to submit Chocolates to previously, and frankly, I realized the sound was horrible.  We had to fix the sound, and through a crazy chain of events, Aron Campisano jumped on board.  We decided to re-write and re-shoot the whole thing.  
By bringing Aron into the mix, the production value jumped up significantly.  We re-wrote what once was a drama into a satire, specifically for the Northern California audience we knew we’d have at Sonoma.  We re-cast the other lead, got a new location, new crew, etc. 
This has been the journey of a little scene for a reel taking an unexpected turn into a very nice little short film, which has thus far been to about ten film festivals!
2. What are your goals with this film? 
Chocolates taken me from a film festival spectator to an actual participant.  I have since made a much larger-concept short, Winged Feet Do Fly, which is wrapping in post-production right now (September 2014).  Chocolates has been my gateway into the indie world, as an actor, as a writer, and as a producer.  It’s my goal to keep pushing and making the indie world a home.
3. What’s your background that brought you to making this film?
First and foremost I’m an actress.  I grew up in Houston, Texas, and from a young age started dancing.  Dance brought me to musical theatre, which led me to straight theatre, and finally to film and television.  
I have been in LA about 8 years, and through seeing others make their own projects and having lots of ideas and a good ability to balance a ton of spinning plates, I got into making my own projects as well.  It became very clear that it’s truly imperative for you to make your own work! 
Chocolates has been a vehicle for me to showcase my talents and expand my horizons as a writer/producer.  While my first love is still acting, I have found that I have other talents which filmmaking allows me to express.
4. Do you and Aron consider yourselves a filmmaking team?  What other work have you done together?   
Aron and I work on separate projects, but I do feel like we make a great team.  He has been a major backbone for me while in production on my current short film, Winged Feet Do Fly.  And I’ve assisted him with his next feature, Invasive Species.  I think ultimately we want to support one another on this journey of filmmaking.  Who knows if we’ll work together again on a collaborative film project, but I wouldn’t be surprised!
5. What has your festival experience been with this film?  
It has been great!  Everyone has been super receptive to it, and it has just been a blast to screen at festivals.  I think it’s an unexpected film for many:  they seem to find the pacing and surprises very entertaining to watch.  I have loved screening it!  So far we’ve been to the Sonoma International Film Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival, the New Filmmakers New York festival, Ballston Spa festival, Wilmore 9, and more.  Coming up next we’ll be screening on Shorts HD - The Short Movie Channel.  I can’t wait for that!
6. What projects do you have on the horizon – together and individually?   
Mine is Winged Feet Do Fly.  You can check it out at www.facebook.com/wingedfeetdoflymovie.  I am very excited about it.  I’ll be pursuing film festivals with a vengeance with this one.  I feel like I grew tremendously with Chocolates, and I pushed hard to go to the next step with Winged Feet Do Fly.  It’s a 17-minute drama about a young woman who is compelled to go on a journey in the hopes of reconnecting with a lost piece of her past.  
I also have a silly three-minute short called Bunnies which will be due out later this year.  So I’m in post-production on that one as well.  It’s an absolute 180 from Winged Feet Do Fly and will be promoted mainly on the web.
Aron’s upcoming Invasive Species is a fascinating documentary feature film shot in 3D!  He’s currently in post-production on it and hopes to be finished by spring of 2015.
Thank you, Laura and Aron, for chatting about your lovely little tidbit, Chocolates.  Good luck to you on your next projects! 

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