HAWLEY – Filmmaker and Wallenpaupack graduate, Alia Haig has come home to present her thesis film, "Hello."
Last April, Haig filmed her thesis at several locations in Hawley, for her bachelor's degree from the New York Film Academy. Most recently, she debuted her production at the Hawley Senior Center.
Before making her thesis, Haig had a number of short films she had to create, including a few silent films. At the senior center, she presented her works and explained the process of filmmaking.
One location for her thesis was in the Hawley Antique Exchange, which Haig called an, "incredibly magical shop." She said the store was perfect for her film because characters were able to find items that would change their lives. The items, she said, were special because of the emotional ties the objects possess.
The character in her thesis, "Chloe," found a rotary phone, which Haig said demonstrates that, "everything is connected." Chloe's character was that of a lonely girl, which Haig said was meant to prove that when people are alone, it isn't until they interact with others that the individual is able to understand themselves.
Using a red cam to shoot the film, Haig explained that the camera delivers very high quality imaging. But, the film is not about the quality of the camera, instead she said, it's about telling a good story with the help of a great crew and cast. Haig was able to borrow the equipment that valued $45,000, from her school.
At the showing of "Hello," Haig sold DVDs and tee-shirts, to raise funds that will go towards the final touches of the film. Once complete, she has plans on submitting "Hello," to additional festivals. So far though, Haig has submitted her film to the Cannes Short Film Festival and Hollyshorts.
With a cast of five, shooting the film took four and a half days, and Haig said although everyone was great, her assistant director wasn't good at keeping her on schedule. Instead, her Ipad helped her immensely with organization, along with a very large production book.
Haig expressed her appreciation to all who helped her through the production of "Hello," including her mom who helped cater the crew as it was her responsibility to feed everyone. The actress, she said was, "amazing," because of her patience. She explained that the actress understood that she was still a film student, often providing Haig with tips. Also, her brother Adam was a skateboarder in the film and helped with music.
Shooting in the Boiler Room of the Hawley Silk Mill, provided Haig with a big challenge. She said the large windows had to be blocked off, because the dream scene was filmed there. Blocking the windows, she said took about three hours.
Because of how she worked with the sounds and Chloe's expressions, Haig categorizes, "Hello," as a psychological thriller. It was Chloe's personality; she said that allowed for some comic relief and as the creator she was able to, "play with peoples' emotions." With this film, Haig hopes people will watch and ultimately try to understand the story, but will have to ask, "what?" Hearing peoples' vocal responses, Haig said is the reason for making a movie.
As for her future in the field, Haig admitted that filmmaking is not what she wants to definitely do. She said that live action is where the method of production is storytelling. To further her dream, Haig has applied to Cal Arts and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for animation. Once she learned how to improve her writing, Haig said that opened her eyes to how she can visually express her ideas through stories. This, she said, helped her realize what she wants.
Haig said what she likes is the control that animators have. The ability to control the environment that she would create, would allow her the opportunity to feel as though she is, "part of the rawness of telling a story." By creating what she would imagine and end up showing people, Haig said to her, that is "amazing."
Initially, Haig believed 3D animation was more of a hobby than a career, and it wasn't until she took an animation history class during her third year of school that she discovered her passion for animation. Thanks to an inspirational professor who had an immense amount of energy, Haig said she realized that, "film making is practically photography at high speed."
Having presented in the Senior Center, Haig said she would like to do a viewing at her alma mater and or the Silk Mill, so she could show more local residents how the movie was made. The response she has received from everyone, Haig said is very surprising.
At this time, Haig said she cannot show her full movie as that is a rule when submitting films to festivals. To view the trailor of "Hello," visit Haig's website at http://www.aliahaig.com/#.