Friday, July 19, 2013

"My Friend Hugo"

Photo by Nancy Chester

In the midst of promoting my newest short film, Nadine, I have also been working on another short film, My Friend Hugo. This film, however, has a longer history. I wanted to fill you in on the latest and provide a little background about how the film came about.

It was the summer of 2007. I had just purchased my new camera, a Sony PD170. Hungry to begin a new project, I was actively searching for subject matter. By chance, I ended up going to a Polo match not far from my home, held nearby in Harford County, Maryland.  I had never been to a Polo match , nor had I been around that many horses. Once there, I found the experience exhilarating.

Everything about the game of polo was new to me. It was a world I had never given my attention, other than maybe seeing a still picture or two, or catching a quick glimpse on television. As I sat there watching the game that day, thrilled by the action, one player caught my attention. His name is Hugo Pasten, a semi-professional polo player from Chile, who was at that time playing for a local team.

Hugo was mesmerizing to watch. For me, he clearly stood out among all the fine players that day, and by game's end, I had found my subject matter for a new film. Convinced I had nothing to lose, I walked over to where Hugo was resting and introduced myself. I explained to him  that I was inspired by his performance that day and asked if I could make a documentary about him. Hugo only paused a few seconds before saying yes. Though we didn't know each other, it was a very quick and easy agreement. All felt right. We talked for a while before Hugo resumed playing. As he rode onto the field, I stood their watching and thinking about my next move. I was off and running.

Throughout the the summer and Fall of 2008, I followed Hugo around to his games and visited him at his home on the farm where he trained and groomed the horses. But after months of filming, I had decided to shelve the project. Unexpectedly, my course changed.  I began diving into a feature-length documentary, The Skeptics In A World Of Their Own, about a garage band from my home town in Frederick, Maryland. This was something I didn't want to pass up.  It was a chance opportunity that fell into place and I was very excited about the project (See my early Blog entries, beginning on February 14, 2011 . The Skeptics In A World Of Their Own was followed by The Flow Of Forsythe (2012) and Nadine (2013), all of which I had the fortune to premiere at the Frederick Film Festival.

Now back to My Friend Hugo. Soon after beginning the documentary about The Skeptics, I lost interest in the film about Hugo. Then in the summer of 2012, I changed the film's direction. It was no longer going to be a documentary. I then began shooting some new scenes.

I'm very pleased about the film's direction and how it's turning out. Currently, it runs around 22 minutes and I'm fine tuning the edit, plus awaiting some music for the soundtrack from a friend, Brian Forsythe. Brian composed the music for the documentary about his father, The Flow Of Forsythe. If all goes as planned, I should have my first cut this summer.

Until my next posting, keep the coffee flowing, my friends.

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