- Country: United States
- Initial release: N/A
- Film Director: Brendan Beachman
- Running Time: 20 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 6.8
In the world of independent cinema, there are few filmmakers who can capture the essence of human existence quite like Brendan Beachman. With his black comedy, “Intersection,” Beachman takes us on a thought-provoking journey into the lives of two road construction workers who find themselves in the middle of nowhere, policing a deserted intersection. Inspired by Beachman’s own experience working summer jobs, this satirical tale delves into the futility of greed and the absurdity of mundane work. In this article, we will explore the origins of “Intersection,” its production journey, and the philosophical themes that make it a must-watch for fans of dark comedy.
The Genesis of Intersection
Brendan Beachman’s inspiration for “Intersection” stems from his personal experience as a road construction worker during his high school and college years. The long, monotonous days spent standing in the scorching heat with only a stop sign and his thoughts sparked the idea for this existential desert satire. Teaming up with screenwriter Josh Krenz, Beachman crafted a story that captures the essence of waiting for something that may never come. Influenced by the likes of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” Beachman created a unique twist on the concept, introducing a meteorite as a catalyst for the characters’ dark journey.
The Road to Production
Bringing “Intersection” to life was no easy feat for Beachman. After an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in 2010, he dedicated himself to saving up the necessary budget. Working as an office production assistant during the week and a digital commercial director on weekends, Beachman gradually accumulated the funds needed to realize his vision. The production budget ended up totaling around $36,000, a testament to Beachman’s determination and resourcefulness.
The Creative Process
Throughout the development of “Intersection,” Beachman and his team faced various challenges and made several adjustments to their plans. Initially considering shooting on DSLRs to save money, they ultimately decided to go all out and shoot on the Arri Alexa, a camera that could capture the breathtaking beauty of the desert locations. The story itself went through several adaptations, but the changes were driven by artistic choices rather than budgetary constraints. One major change involved the removal of an aerial shot in the intro scene, which would have provided a bird’s-eye view of a truck driving alongside an anthill.
Capturing the Essence of the Desert
Location scouting played a crucial role in bringing the desert landscape to life in “Intersection.” After aimlessly driving through the Mojave Desert, Beachman turned to satellite imagery and discovered California City, a remote area with an intriguing history. This vast network of dirt roads devoid of buildings provided the perfect backdrop for the film’s desolate setting. The team’s pre-production work also involved shooting an experimental short film called “Goddamn Cats” to explore different times of day and the visual potential of the desert environment.
The Cinematic Experience
To capture the visual richness and atmospheric quality of “Intersection,” Beachman and cinematographer Colin Arndt chose the Arri Alexa camera. Known for its ability to handle challenging environments, the camera proved to be the ideal choice for showcasing the desert landscapes as the fourth character in the film. Additionally, the use of Cooke super speed lenses added a distinct visual quality to the footage. Steadicam was also employed for specific shots, particularly in the film’s climactic scene, where time was of the essence.
Achieving Visual Effects
One notable effects shot in “Intersection” involves the arrival of the meteorite, or what the characters perceive as a “gift from God.” To achieve this shot, the team relied on a combination of digital effects and practical elements. VFX artist Michael Matzur created the initial explosion digitally, while the subsequent sequence of Chris crawling through dust and debris was largely captured in-camera. The art department played a crucial role, throwing buckets of dirt and sand into the wind to create the desired effect.
The Casting Process
The success of “Intersection” heavily relied on the chemistry between the two main characters, Chris and Dwayne. Through a casting call, Beachman discovered Zach Sherman, whose restless energy and innocent quality perfectly suited the role of Chris. For the role of Dwayne, Beachman reached out to Terry Serpico’s manager, and to his delight, Serpico loved the script and agreed to join the project. With limited time for rehearsals, Beachman instructed the actors to approach their characters as if they had never worked together before, fostering a natural rapport between them.
Crafting the Soundtrack
The soundtrack of “Intersection” plays a crucial role in setting the tone and enhancing the overall viewing experience. Beachman enlisted the talents of Bob Keelaghan, a member of the renowned band Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, to create an original score. The stripped-down, dark folk/bluegrass sound perfectly complements the desolate desert setting and adds depth to the film. Composer Justin Marshall Elias also contributed to the film, using his expertise in sound design to create a strange and foreboding atmosphere.