By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
WICHITA - The short film Rosemary and Juliet contains no dialogue or plot, but it may be one of the most gripping, unique films you see all year – and it was created locally in Wichita. Directed and produced by Shane Wallace, the film stars Shanna Berry, Kaemie McCanless, Beckie Jenek, Mark Anderson, and Byron J. Love in a 30-minute visual experience.
Rosemary and Juliet made its debut at this year’s Tallgrass Film Festival. Liberty Press had the chance to interview Wallace about the film.
Liberty Press (LP): How did the idea for Rosemary and Juliet originate?
Shane Wallace (SW): Rosemary and Juliet is an experimental film in terms of editing and artistic design. I wanted to make a film that was free of dialogue, melodrama, or any other filters to allow me to directly impact the audience through visual storytelling. We consider it a visual film rather than a silent film. I also have an amazing group of actors and other filmmakers who I want to constantly work with. Rosemary and Juliet was an excuse to work with [these] fine actors.
LP: What is your goal(s) for the film?
SW: Rosemary and Juliet came from a desire to construct an emotionally stirring film primarily using editing and mise-en-scene. We wanted to create art rather than simply a movie. A short film allowed us to concentrate on cinematography and art direction. … [I]t was refreshing to work on a small project and pour our efforts into the details. We also constructed the film based on metaphor and symbolism to tell the story rather than plot and dialogue. To construct an array of emotionally gripping scenes was our main goal which I think we pulled off successfully.
LP: Describe your involvement in the film – in front of the camera and/or behind the scenes.
SW: Since this was a small project it gave me a chance to personally oversee every department during the production of the film. Not only was I the producer and director, but I was also the cinematographer and editor. Shanna Berry was essential in developing the art direction, design and color themes that run throughout the movie.
LP: When was the film released?
SW: The film began production in April 2017 and wrapped in June. The film saw its official release at the 15th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival, on Oct. 19 at Roxy’s Downtown in Wichita.
LP: What has the feedback been so far?
SW: The feedback during the festival was phenomenal. The critique I heard from everyone I talked to was that “it was a film like they have never seen before.” Which was exactly what I was going for. Something visually and emotionally engaging that left the audience pondering what they had just experienced.
LP: What was the Tallgrass Film Festival experience like?
SW: The Tallgrass Film Festival is a rare festival in the fact the community supports it so strongly. Audience members flood the theaters to watch these independent films when they could easily stay at home and watch Netflix. Those are the experiences that will mean the most. I have screened at many festivals that the only audience are the filmmakers. To produce a movie that was filmed entirely local, cast with local talent and using the equipment and facilities of local filmmakers, to see the turnout of local viewers was fantastic. That’s why we make these movies, to get viewed - and there is nothing more special than to watch your film in a packed theater.
LP: Are there other upcoming screenings or festivals planned for the film?
SW: We are continuing our effort of submitting Rosemary and Juliet to other film festivals across the country. Some large, mostly small festivals and trying to hit all the LGBTQ events as well. Once the festival run is complete, we plan to host another screening in Wichita for those who were unable to attend the Tallgrass Film Festival. l