In the hot spring of 2012 I spent a week in Griffith Park shooting a lovely film called The Park Bench. One location, two lead actors and a small dedicated crew came together to create something special. The main ingredient was a wonderfully smart, witty and touching story. After I read the 84-page script and met with director Ann LeSchander, it was pretty clear that this was going to be a challenging affair. Budget restrictions only allowed for six days of principal photography. Shooting fourteen pages per day is hard in itself, but factor in that the story spans roughly four months and every scene takes place during the day, you're facing the ever changing position of the sun and limitations of shooting with only available daylight. Because of permit restrictions, we were not allowed to use any lights in the park.
So it took months of careful planning, scouting and thinking to map out a schedule that would allow us to achieve everything we needed in such a short period of time. Somehow, on day six, after shooting forty-five scenes and well over a hundred setups, we wrapped an hour and a half early. It's a testament to the amazing talent on hand. Director, actors and crew were on their A-game the whole week and I'm so proud of what was achieved. A memorable experience. In the months that followed we had two separate pickup days of shooting in other locations. After that it was all about post-production and getting the film out to festivals.
After a year and a half on the festival circuit, The Park Bench has been screened in dozens of places and has won numerous awards and nominations (including one for cinematography!). To crown it all, it opens today in Los Angeles for a week-long theatrical run. I'm so excited and happy for everyone involved. It's extremely rewarding to see all the hard work and passion generate so much love for this truly wonderful film.