Honorable Mention – “Tutu Grande” (USA)

Title: Tutu Grande
Runtime: 12 min
Country: USA
Director: Derek Sitter
Placement: Honorable Mention
Competition: June, 2018

Synopsis: The Tables Are Turned On the Torturer.

Tagline: Pain Is Temporary. Trauma Is Forever.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Derek Sitter, Director

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

DS: The script was written in the summer of 2017 just prior to the #METOO Movement and Weinstein Era. I wanted to write a short story about the consequences for someone causing trauma by the abuse of power and self-entitlement….and exactly what should be the consequences. The story evolved into a circumstance surrounding a date rape. I feel passionately that people should be held accountable for their actions and thought a story about exploring the best course of action to hold someone accountable for permanent damage.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

DS: I wrote the script while on a rode trip alone in my Jeep. I daydream and talk to myself a lot. The word ‘trauma” kept popping in my head and I began exploring a monologue about “trauma. based on my own personal experiences. The monologue spawned the circumstance surrounding the scene and then it just wrote itself. I just allowed my brain to daydream until the all the characters, circumstance, obstacles, dark humor, and story was eventually told. It took me about an hour to write the monologue and a few more days to complete the story.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

DS: I love the short film format because it’s an opportunity to jump right into the climax of a story and create a cinematic punch in the gut. This always challenging for the actors because there’s no real time to develop your characters. You just jump right into the climax from the get-go and live inside the story. It’s also the funnest and most exhilarating for an actor. When you’re forced to be producer, director and actor of a script you’ve written, it terribly challenging to wear all the hats and pull off a performance as well as directing camera and other actors. But, when you live in a small town, you use the resources you have. 

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

DS: The whole production went very smoothly. It was actually shot in about 4 hours. We were all very experienced and knew what to do in order to tell this story. But, I would say the most challenging was getting one shot that wasn’t completely necessary but I was hell-bent on getting it if we could. Kicking an object 20 ft to land right on it’s mark with the correct side facing camera proved to be much more difficult than you would think.

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

DS: Character(s) in Conflict. Develop strong characters in extraordinary circumstances. Determine their objective and all the obstacles in their way….then let the actors execute. The more internal and external obstacles the more interesting the story. Cast good actors and trust them. Telling a good story or writing a script is like telling a good joke…get to the punchline as quickly as possible.