Traveling the world filming a documentary about his former acting students, retired professor John Henry discovers that one of them, Marita Gomsrud, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving only a postcard from Salzburg with the words: "Remember our games of hide and seek." Now the film goes from documentary to documystery, as someone else is also searching for Marita, a man from her shaded past who will stop at nothing to find her.
Their quest takes them from the cobblestone streets of Salzburg onto the Great Wheel of Vienna, through the steaming red light district of Amsterdam, finally plunging them into the chaos of a hundred thousand revelers at Stuttgart's annual Volksfest for a final confrontation.
Acting is a tough gig, and even tougher if you live in a country where there are few opportunities in the entertainment industry.
When John Henry Richardson, former senior instructor of the New York Film Academy acting department and his producing partner, Mark Mockett, former supervising editor at the film academy, learned that their former international students were becoming discouraged with their acting careers, Richardson decided to embark on a journey to interview them about their lives since graduating film school. Encompassing seven countries and 30 interviews, Richardson learns that one of his students disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and still hasn’t been found.
This was the springboard that became the inspiration for Richardson and Mockett, who have worked on nearly 500 student and thesis films together, to make the documystery Where Is She Now that recently won Best Film and Best Director at the London International Filmmakers Festival.
When it came time for post-production, Richardson and Mockett chose AlphaDogs based on their trusted reputation for providing quality post-production. For over 13 years AlphaDogs has been earning loyal clients by providing both a collaborative and friendly environment. Working one-on-one with clients, the creative team at AlphaDogs prides themselves on helping filmmakers achieve their desired vision on projects.
“Everyone was at the top of their game,” said Richardson. “We immediately felt right at home and secure with our film in their hands. The team was completely open to our creative input and their expertise came to our rescue a number of times. It was a solid combination.”
Because the story was not originally intended to be a feature film, footage required a lot of fixing in post. Challenges with proper lighting and types of cameras used during production required AlphaDogs colorist Terence Curren to come up some creative solutions to make the film look its absolute best.
Curren chose to finish the film in Avid Symphony to reduce the complexities of round tripping to third party applications with various mixed media formats. To fix footage that was shot in uncontrolled lighting environments, Curren used Avid’s Spot Color effect to isolate sections of the images to be adjusted independent of the rest.
“While this process of color correction is easier in some other products, there’s a trade-off with the complexities in moving between applications.” Curren noted, “In this case staying in one application was the better workflow.” All this work paid of in the finished product. “All the natural lighting caused many changes in color temperature and light levels,” said Mockett. “Terence made it look like we had an army of gaffers on location lighting the scenes for us wherever we were. The man is a miracle worker.”
AlphaDogs audio engineer Curtis Fritsch used Cedar and Izotope RX plugins to clean up harsh background noises, ensuring that the dialogue could be heard in a clear manner. “Curtis worked wonders on the sound with a scene we filmed on a boat,” said Mockett. With the problematic water noise, I was certain ADR would be needed, but Curtis found the dialogue and made it sound fantastic.”
Richardson and Mockett hope that audiences will gain some insight into how difficult the world of acting really is, and how hard it is to make a living. Richardson comments, “There is strength in friendship, and that strength can move mountains.”
Richardson and Mockett’s film has been invited into competition at the WMIFF (World Music & Independent Film Festival) where it is nominated for three awards: Best Documentary Film, Best Director and Best Actor. Said Richardson, “AlphaDogs has enabled us to become a viable film fest contender in a field of films that were made for much higher budgets.”