CSIF Member Spotlight: Eric Pauls

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Bridges Still: Photo by Ingrid Vargas. From left to right Eric Pauls, Michael Janke.

Date: 25 June 2019

This week, CSIF is proud to highlight Eric Pauls, co-writer of the new short film Bridges Burning alongside Michael Janke. 

CSIF: Tell us a bit about your project. 

Eric Pauls: I've just finished shooting Bridges Burning, a short film originally written by Michael Janke. I then came on as co-writer and we re-worked the script until it became a thriller about a woman who leaves prison and sets out on a mission to make amends with her family.

The film is a departure from anything Michael and I have done in the past. There is a level of violence and physicality in the story that has forced us to try new things and go places we've avoided in the previous projects.

CSIF: Where did the inspiration for this project come from?

EP: Michael's initial inspiration was the story of the Prodigal Son and the desire to shoot something in the prairies. When I came on, I felt Michael's story was strong and could be used to do something very different than anything else we had done. The re-writes became about surprising ourselves and taking the story to places that made us uncomfortable.

Films like Badlands, and for some reason 1995's Kids became big inspirations for the film. I think that's because those movies captured a combination of grime and beauty that we wanted to emulate and our Art Director Ingrid Vargas and our Make-up artist Ana Ortiz had a huge hand in conceiving and executing that vision.

Webp.net resizeimage 11Bridges Still: Photo by Daniel Braun. From Left to right Derek Waite, Ingrid Vargas Shae Paterson, Eric Pauls, Noah Leach, Kaz Nakajima.

CSIF: What advice would you give to independent filmmakers who are just starting out? 

EP: Surround yourself with talented people. Obviously, that's easier said than done but on this shoot, in particular, everyone was so capable and it allowed me to focus on the story and to use everyone's input to strengthen the film.

When you are starting out you probably won't have the luxury of a talented crew and you will be forced to direct, produce and do every other job so the most important thing you can do in prep is knowing your story. Half of filmmaking is sitting around and talking about your story and your ideas. You are not going to be able to prepare for all the inevitable issues that will arise on set but if you know your story backwards and forwards you will be able to navigate those obstacles when they come.

Also, apply for the CSIF FISH FUND. The grant provided us with a lot of the gear we needed and a great rehearsal space. The money it saved us was a big advantage and indie films need every break they can get. Thanks, CSIF.

CSIF: Do you have social media for the project or a business/personal account you'd like to share?

EP: More info at ericpauls.com or @ericjamespauls on Instagram. 

Webp.net resizeimage 12Bridges Still: Photo by Ingrid Vargas. From left to right Geoffrey Simon Brown, Eric Pauls.

If you are a CSIF member with a project in the works or news to share, send us an email at programming@csif.org.