FRIDAY, FEB. 17: Bermudian filmmaker Bayard Outerbridge is working on a short film that he intends to submit to all the major film festivals next year.
Outerbridge, a student at the prestigious American Film Institute, is working in a producing role for the film with fellow students as part of their thesis.
Machsom tells the story of a young Israeli soldier in the West Bank set against the background of serious conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The film is a self-financed project and Outerbridge and his team need to raise $20,000 before filming commences on March 17.
The money is needed mainly for the actors and the set — the 20-minute short is being filmed in LA but is set in Israel.
He told the Bermuda Sun: “I’m very confident in the talent of the team members and I know that AFI films in the past have made it in to some pretty good festivals so I think we have a very good chance. We are going to go for the big ones first – Berlin and Cannes and Sundance — and then, of course, Bermuda.”
Machsom, the Hebrew word for checkpoint, is about an Israeli soldier’s relationship with his younger brother who attends one of the few Arab/Jewish schools in Israel.
In December, Outerbridge went on a research trip to Israel with his director and cinematographer travelling through the West Bank visiting various checkpoints and talking to people on both sides of the fence. He described the trip as “an amazing life experience that undoubtedly helped us get a real flavour of the people and shape a story grounded in reality.”
Outerbridge described why he was interested in getting involved with the project.
“To me it is looking at a very personal story — it is character driven and looks at both sides of the political conflict. It’s a powerful story of a young soldier in a political situation that he didn’t choose.
“This is a story that is very important to everyone around the world. It’s very specific as far as being from an Israeli soldier’s point of view — but it has a very universal theme. It talks about intolerance, it talks about prejudice which is something we know a lot about in Bermuda.
“Hopefully, if the film does what we intend it to do, it’s going to cut through all that and people will be able to see the racism and intolerance that surrounds this issue and see characters break through that. It will allow an audience to engage in the characters in an emotional way that’s moving and makes them understand both sides of the perspective. That’s what we hope to achieve.
“If anyone is interested in being a part of that then we would love the support. We will make it one way or another whether we raise the money or not but it is really going to be something special if we are able to get the full production backing that we want.”
It is hoped that the film will be completed by August 2.
Outerbridge says he hopes to pursue a career in film, first and foremost as an independent producer, but with some screenwriting in the future.
“AFI prepares you really well for that transition —what I have learned at AFI has been invaluable I had no idea how much I did not know a year and a half ago. I have been doing some internships at production companies here in the development departments and I would like to be producing feature films in the next couple of years. I hope to continue with the producing role, working as an independent producer as opposed to with the studios to start with because I think you get a lot more creative input and latitude and eventually I hope to write several screen plays on the side but I want to establish myself as a producer first and then get onto the creative side.”
Anyone interested in donating funds towards the film www.machsomfilm.com and click on the “contribute” tab.