We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Ryan Mac, producer and actor, Meg Dudley, producer, Johnny McPhail, actor and Sam Cespedes, producer of Last Call, .This film will be screening Saturday, Feb. 8 at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
Ryan Mac: A short film about a documentary crew following the life of an elderly couple surviving, post-apocalypse. A true test of ‘through thick and through thin’, a tale of true love and what it takes to survive. You should see it because it’s an awesome film and a lot of work went into making it.
Sam Cespedes: Our film is a character driven zombie film. Unlike other films where the terror and the zombies are the focus, in ours, they are simply the setting.
Johnny McPhail: Last Call is the only film (that I know of) that is actually a love story. It will touch your every emotion. You will laugh, cry, and cringe. The ending will stay with audiences for a long, long time.
Meg Dudley: Not just another zombie movie Last Call is a love story about survival. In a post-apocalyptic world the real struggle is a disease that has nothing to do with the undead.
#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
Ryan Mac: My biggest lesson learned would definitely be to never take your sleep for granted. The best part in making this film for me was getting to work with some of the best people i know and having ourselves a ball doing it. I really love our crew, there’s just such good chemistry on set and they’re all so talented!
Sam Cespedes: I learned just how far my crew is willing to go to make a film. And that was the best part. It was so great knowing I had all these people to work with and supporting the dream.
Johnny McPhail: A quality film can be made in one weekend.
Meg Dudley: Even when you think you are on top of it, DO NOT RELAX! One minute, you are ahead of schedule, the next you are two hours behind. In the world of indie filmmaking, when you only have two days to shoot your entire film, literally every second counts!
But the best part is once it all starts to come together on set, we hit our groove and its chaos as always, but a happy chaos. We all know that this is truly right where we are supposed to be.
#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
Ryan Mac: I was literally thrown into the film world by my producing partner Sam Cespedes. He approached me a couple years ago about wanting me to be a producer for this script he had been working on and my response to him was “dude, i don’t know the first thing about being a producer” to which he told me, “you’ll be fine”. Being sure to ask many questions along the way (and still asking some) i’ve sort of fell into the groove of the production side of film and i truly love it. Meeting and networking with people has always been a strongpoint of mine and i’ve always had an interest in the film world so this all came together in sort of the perfect combination. Some crew members feel that i am a ‘good’ actor so i’ve made brief appearances in a few projects we’ve done but i truly do not wish to be on camera, i’m just too much of a team-player to say no to them.
Sam Cespedes: I’m a New Orleans native, who has worked in film for the past five years. I primarily work in the production department, but I have tried my hand at every aspect of film making I could get involved in. From PA to Producing
Johnny McPhail: As an actor, I have a great deal of success that is disguised in the form of luck. Google me!
Meg Dudley: I began with acting, growing up participating in theatre and always loving movies. Once I got a college degree in something completely unrelated, I decided to get back to my roots and do something I really loved. I began working at a talent agency in my hometown of Austin where there is a great indie scene, and eventually moved to New Orleans where film was really taking off. I began working on set in production and realized that was a better fit for me. Meeting people on each new production, we’ve created a great crew of about 30 diverse New Orleans based filmmakers. Almost all of us work on big productions to pay the bills, and make our own films in every other spare moment. We have successfully completed two other award winning short films, comedy Size Matters, and modern day romance One Day.
#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?
Ryan Mac: I want them to know that the people you don’t see on the screen, the ones that have put in such tremendous dedication, sleepless nights and long days in making this happen and doing it all with the most positive, jubilant attitudes of anybody i’ve ever worked with, deserve to be recognized. To me they’re not just working partners, they’re friends and family. There’s such a special place in my heart for the people we work with i’m so grateful to know them all.
Sam Cespedes: It’s about love. It’s also about people. Come for the style, stay for the story.
Johnny McPhail: The entire crew of Last Call are professionals who work in the film industry every day. They are amazing!
Meg Dudley: That the film is so much more human than it first comes off. While it is a fun zombie flick, it goes so much deeper, exploring a range of human conditions and questions that affect many of us personally. The elderly couple, and the documentary team following them, struggle with so much more than just zombies, if that wasn’t enough in itself!
#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
Ryan Mac: I wish i had a crystal ball to say for sure, but i’d love it if someone who were in a position to help us realize our dream see this, really understand the talent behind this, and want to do something to help us reach that next level. People hear what we’ve done and things we’ve achieved and they say ‘oh that’s great! So what’s next?’ and that’s motivation for me to want to continue on with more projects and continue to make people proud of us. I definitely see a bright future ahead for us as long as we stick to it and continue to make note-worthy films.
Sam Cespedes: Anything, everything! We are trying to make a feature length film. Slowly but surely we will gain notoriety and build an audience, and hopefully get a chance to realize our dreams. A production company where everyone is close, and we are just a big family.
Johnny McPhail: As a top five winner in the Louisiana Film Prize, Last Call received distribution and will be available through itunes and Amazon. It was awarded automatic entry into film festivals in Hollywood, Dallas, and New Orleans. Also, the crew received a substantial monetary award that will enable them to produce another film for the La film prize and free entry next year. A full length feature of Last Call is written and is in the works to begin filming in the near future.
Meg Dudley: Who knows!?
Last Call is being broadcast and distributed by Shorts International, so it will be available on the Shorts HD channel as well as (soon) on iTunes and Amazon.
I still live and work mostly in New Orleans, with some projects expanding to Los Angeles. And our group, Little to N.O. Budget Films, is always looking to create new projects and meet new people.