News, , , , , , , , , — November 18, 2011 13:50 — 1 Comment

Hollywood beckons for director Conrad Mess after his film wins iPhone Film Festival award

A still from The Time Fixer by Me.S.S. FilmMakers ©

In an exclusive interview director Conrad Mess talks about his debut film The Time Fixer, shot for under $400 on an iPhone, and how winning the iPhone Film Festival has changed his life

The Time Fixer wins best film in 2011 iPhone Film Festival awards

Conrad Mess, director of the iPhone film The Time Fixer says he is “living the Hollywood dream” after winning the main prize in this year’s iPhone Film Festival 2 (IFF2).

Next month 37-year-old Mess will leave his native Spain for Los Angeles to work on two separate projects — one with Noreason Productions and the other with Spartan Pictures — before attending Macworld|iWorld: The Ultimate iFanEvent (formerly Macworld) in San Francisco, where he will present a special screening of The Time Fixer, which is being hosted by the iPhone Film Festival.

Mess has no formal film training and only started fooling around on the iPhone 4 after he bought one for his wife as a wedding anniversary present.

The reaction to his debut film has so far been extraordinary and is clearly opening up doors for Mess.

IFF2 spokesperson and senior contributor Miguel Johnson described the special effects on The Time Fixer as “awesome” and the story “attention grabbing”. Awarding the top prize to Mess he said the quality was “so good that it was simply hard to believe it was shot on an iPhone.”

Not bad, considering the budget for the seven-minute short came in at under $400.

Although busy preparing for his trip to Los Angeles, Mess found time for an exclusive interview via email in which he explains the making of The Time Fixer and expands on his plans for 2012.

Director Conrad Mess

You describe The Time Fixer as ‘an amateur film’ in the opening credits — incredible, as it is quite brilliant, is this really your first film?

I finished my first short film in February this year, then in April, I shot a trailer for the Pray For Down Teaser Trailer Competition, an Australian vampire movie in pre-production. I still don’t know who are the winners, and then in August I premiered The Time Fixer. But the first time I held a camera in my hands was two years ago, when I shot five teasers in two months, almost one per week, just to see how things work. I cut and pasted the shots in regular video editor software, obviously, it wasn’t awesome, but I could see an improvement from the first one to the last. A year ago I decided to do something bigger, and with some friends playing the characters, I shot my first short film, Avenger Love.

Have you had any formal training in other media?

I haven’t got any academic studies, but I’ve watched a lot of movies. Now I know a bit about Adobe Premiere and After Effects and Cinema4D by watching video tutorials from the internet.

How long have you been interested in film-making?

I have always loved movies and I always wanted to be a film-maker, but for whatever reason I never decided to; well, now is the right time. Let’s see what happens from now on.

With The Time Fixer I can see influences in Clockwork Orange — and more recently Drive, where the lead characters are similar. Have you seen these films? And what are your influences.

Clockwork Orange is an influence; it is one of the greatest films ever. I haven’t seen Drive, but the trailer looks awesome. As you well know, our influences are recorded in our subconscious, so you can pick any action movie of the 1980s and 1990s.

And directors?

As I said, I’m influenced by almost any movie of the 80s and 90s and any movie from Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. I like Guy Ritchie before and after Madonna, not with her. One guy that I love is Zack Snyder, this man is awesome — how can you debut with a remake and make it the best zombie film ever? I’m talking about The Dawn of The Dead. But above all I like Michael Bay, especially his early films.

How did you develop and make The Time Fixer?

You know, when you haven’t got resources, you do what you can. I got my wife’s iPhone, some friends and the table and chairs from my garden, that’s all. Oh, and a reflector too.

Did you edit the film?

Yes, in fact, for me, this is the most enjoyable part of the process, the edit, also when I’m creating the script, not when I write it but when I’m imagining it.

Were you personally pleased with the finished film?

Yes, I’m pretty pleased, But I’m sure I would do it better now. The Time Fixer has taught me how to do several things, so I won’t make the same mistakes again — I hope!

What has been the reaction to The Time Fixer so far?

The reaction has been really, really good. In fact, more than I expected to. The Time Fixer has opened a lot of doors for me. It has been broadcast on TV, also they interviewed me and I have met a lot of producers from the USA. My next projects have come thanks to The Time Fixer.

Were you surprised to win best film in the recent IFF2 awards?

Yes, absolutely, the reaction has been amazing. I want to thank all the people who have supported me and congratulated me. Thanks to the jury of the IFF and especially to Ruben Kazantsev, founder of the festival, one of my new projects is thanks to him. Thank you all.

Have you received your prizes yet?

Yes, the Red Giant suites are awesome. I want to take them to the limit … my limit, because their possibilities are endless.

In The Time Fixer the lead character smokes a pack of ‘MFM’ cigarettes. Your film company is called Me.S.S. FilmMakers – are you product placing your own brand of smokes?

No, No … It’s not a brand. MFM comes from *M*ess *F*ilm*M*akers. I love you like it. I used this in the Pray For Dawn teaser too — the TV Channel was called MFM News.

Finally … what are your future ambitions? Are you going to continue working with the iPhone for example?

Yes, my next two movies will be shot on an iPhone, after that, who knows? Whatever happens I will be proud with what I’ve done. I will have lived the most awesome and incredible experience I could ever imagine. I want to thank you the people from Hollywood and the iPhone Film Festival and thanks to my friends for their support – I would not have been able to make The Time Fixer without them. Last but not least, thanks to my family and especially to my wife for her support – and for lending me her iPhone!

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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