Shadows – Dramatic Short Film


Filmed in 2007, and hidden away from sight, This Stirring tale of drugs, depression and the descent into madness is as disturbing as it is compelling.

An Iraq war veteran is tormented by the events of his past. After hooking up with some drugs to try and take his mind off of the horrors he has witnessed, and the guilt that he feels for the loss of the friends that did not make it back, he withdraws to his room where his trauma continues to haunt him.

Everything comes to a boil when his guilt manifests in hallucinations, and a neighbor calls the police. Unequipped to deal with patients suffering from PTSD, the police are unable to diffuse the situation properly.

Some Back Story

This section is being written by “Shadows” Cinematographer David DeFino.¬†

One day my friend, and long time collaborator, Chad Ferrin (The Ghouls, Someone’s Knocking at the Door) called me up about a short film. He had been approached by a guy (who I can’t remember’s name) to shoot his story. It was to be shot on film, and there was pay. Those were very import to me at the time, so naturally, I jumped on board.

We shot mostly using an old CP-16 16mm camera. While testing the camera before shooting we realized that the belt that drives the magazine motor had gone bad. Luckily for us, a guy by the name of Don Erkel had a few broken old CP-16s, and let me sit in his office the night before we started shooting and pull parts out of old cameras to get ours working again.

The opening sequence of the film (at the drug dealers apartment), was shot in my tiny living room with the entire crew squeezed between the camera and the front porch. The camera magazine on the CP-16 made it impractical to use when it came time to shoot the car scenes. Luckily I had picked up a Krasnogorsk-3 camera off of e-Bay a few years earlier. It became essential for shooting those car scenes. The day was very bright when we shot the car scenes on Ventura Blvd, and the 101 Freeway. After shooting digital for a while already, and being used to the shallow latitude of the medium, I was concerned going into the car scenes that the film was not going to be able to handle the contrast between in the car and outside. (I believe it was an 11 stop difference). We had no lights for inside the car while it was driving. ¬†Taking into consideration that the shot only involved 1 actor, the director and myself, we decided to “shoot and see” as opposed to waiting for better weather conditions. I ended up setting the exposure right in the middle, and was very pleased with the results.

When the police show up at the end of the story, we wanted to separate that stark reality with the previous parts of the film. To Achieve that we actually switch from 16mm to Digital Video.

How Shadows Became Lost

The financier who had originally Approached Chad about making this film… well let’s say he felt that Chad and I had taken to many liberties with his original idea. Some of the actors were not available for reshoots (and I was actually out of town on another project) So the entire project was scrapped and re shot.

However, you can’t keep celluloid down, so here it is: Shadows


Learn More about PTSD, and the needs of our returning Soldiers: