SHORTFILMTEXAS (SFT): What is your short film “Charades” about?
SHIRAZ JAFRI (SJ): A comedy about two couples playing an innocent game of charades that goes, horribly, horribly, awry. I would say more but it would ruin the experience of watching the short.
SFT: Where did the idea for the film come from?
SJ: The idea came from the wonderfully deranged mind of Jett Garner. He and I share a rather perverse sense of humor that worked perfectly for this particular short.
SFT: Was there a script or was this primarily ad lib?
SJ: We did have a script but I’d say it was a 60/40 split. 60 percent script, 40 percent ad lib. Towards the end of the short it becomes almost 100 percent ad lib.
SFT: Tell me a little about your casting choices.
SJ: had initially worked with Amanda and Jett Garner on another project, loved watching them work off each other, and knew they would be a perfect fit for their respective characters. Jett brought the amazingly talented Michael Konway to my attention, and Amanda recommended the wonderful Jenny Simpson. It was important to me in casting actors that were familiar with each other outside the set. That additional familiarity I thought was essential for the material. With some considerable help from Jett Garner and Amanda Brown I was able to make that happen.
SFT: What did you shoot on? Likes/Dislikes?
SJ: The Panasonic HVX 200. It’s a really solid camera, just like the HPX 170. It reminds me, and this is going to date me, but it reminds me of the old 16mm Bolex camera’s I used in film school. Really easy to pick up and start shooting. Would I shoot a feature with this camera? Probably not. But for this short and the budget I had, it was the best fit.
SFT: What did you learn from making this short film?
SJ: I know a lot of people say this but it’s very true, hire people that know more than you behind the camera. In front of the camera, get the best cast you possibly can, don’t settle. Both of these things are essential. I was lucky to work with an amazing cast of actors whomade the material work and behind the camera my crew was equally talented. As a result, this was the easiest, loosest, shoot I have ever had. Furthermore, in post production, this was the first time I wasn’t wishing I had got this shot, or had an extra take, or this piece of coverage, I had everything I needed. Neither of these things would have happened without the talents of everybody I worked with. So pick your crew and cast with equal amounts of care and consideration.
SFT: When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?
SJ: The old cliche, since I was a kid. Honestly, I have never wanted to do anything but make movies.
SFT: What is the best film you’ve seen in the last year?
SJ: Animal Kingdom. I absolutely loved it, I am in awe of David Michod’s script, it’s a thing of beauty and the only film I have seen at the theaters this year where everyone applauded as the end credits rolled, it’s that damn good.
SHORTFILMTEXAS (SFT): What’s next for Shiraz Jafri?
SHIRAZ JAFRI (SJ): Finally shooting my 2nd feature this summer in Austin.
WARNING: Film Contains Adult Language. Discretion Is Advised.