Aftermath. This story of grief, the grieving, death, and the dead is a must see short from the mind of filmmaker Tofic Rzayev. With a runtime of 8 minutes, Aftermath does an amazing job of showcasing the dark and depressing world only entered by those in grief. Aftermath is short, hard hitting, and narratively brilliant.
Aftermath tells the story of a brother and sister, who are now at their lowest following the passing of their parents. In the short the brother struggles to accept his new reality, while the sister tries to hold on to what’s left of their family.
What this results in is a tense and deeply engaging drama. The writing of the short is fluid and extremely realistic. Thus the events in the film play out with intense narrative sharpness and the characters are presented with an amazing sense of realism.
Well, to be honest it was just the idea that really terrified me. You have a brother and sister. Both changed into totally opposite directions from one another after the loss of their mother and father. That idea alone disturbs me. It's right then and there that your life and the people you love are fully locked onto your actions.
- Tofic Rzayev
The main character of the film is the before mentioned brother. We walk throughout the film’s world through his eyes and experience the film’s event from his vantage point. As a result we are presented with an angle of the narrative that allows us to greatly feel sympathetic to the characters. Without giving away any spoilers, this short does a fabulous job of presenting a reveal that will be sure to surprise.
The acting in this film is phenomenal.
The actors who play in the film’s lead roles are tremendous and together present a great on screen chemistry. Audiences’ will be drawn in and memorized by their breathtaking performances.
Tofic Rzayev achieves brilliance in the little screen time his short has. By the end of the journey audience will feel connected to the characters he presents and engaged in their future.
The thing with me is that I create stories based on things that I fear in real life. I make the characters do things that I would be afraid to do in real life. So it was a very serious and important topic for me to tackle.
- Tofic Rzayev
The gritty handheld feel of the cinematography combined with the dark and gloomy color pallet of the production design makes for a more than aesthetically pleasing film. All in all aftermath is a film that wows with its low light and shadow approach to cinematography. This short is a true testament to the idea the cinematography can say as much about the story and actual narrative.
Like with any good short film, Aftermath will make you appreciate each element of filmmaking individual. Starting with writing and ending with lighting, Aftermath is truly a film to break down and observe how all these elements work together. Tofic Rzayev has created dramatic gold with this short film. When I say this I think I speak for everyone, but we can’t wait for what he comes out with next!
INTERVIEW with Tofic Rzayev (Director/Writer)
First of all how long have you been film making? What got you interested?
Well, it all started around summer of 2004. I got my first ever mobile phone with a camera. I believe it was the Nokia 6260. That was my first time when I got to use a camera. Me and my friends came together and made an attempt at creating a slasher flick. It was one of the most fun times I ever experienced making something and I would do anything to find that short film. But sadly it's lost forever.
Then as time went on and I entered High School, I started taking filmmaking very seriously. I started watching a lot of films that have been a huge influence on me and my short films today. Primarily Stanley Kubrick. He has and always be my idol. My father introduced me to his films ever since I was 12. Yes, 12. Imagine my face when I experienced "The Shining" for the first time through the eyes of a 12 year old kid. I was absolutely terrified and it affected me quite a bit. I was absolutely shocked at what cinema was capable of doing.
Any interesting behind the scene stories?
I was also lucky enough to collaborate with a close friend of mine Erdogan Ulgur. Who translated my English written screenplay to Turkish. As a kid unfortunately he lost a parent and that I think added a very strong spark to the film that elevated it a whole different level. It was a very personal project for all of us involved.
I remember contacting a very talented friend of mine, Gergo Elekes. I really wanted him to be involved with this project since I think he was an absolute force when it came to composing music for films. We had a conversation for a few days. I sent him the final version of the film and when he sent me the soundtrack that he created for the film. I was in absolute awe. Just the fact that he packed all those emotions into one continuous score and delivered every single emotion we were aiming for in the script to music form is absolutely magical.
We also came across some technical problems as well, One being we couldn't get a tripod for the filming on that particular day. Another being Berkan Uygun. The guy has never been in front of a camera before in his life and this was his first ever take on acting. At first we were really working hard on trying to make him deliver the lines as we wanted. It was especially hard for us during preparations prior filming. But at the end of the day I think we squeezed everything we could from him and we are happy for that.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
It has actually made me more mature I think when it comes to Directing & Writing. I have made around 12 short films prior to this but this is my first short film that I took with me around the festival district.
Aftermath was an Official Selection at the Three Cities Film Festival and at the Student Art Film Festival. Including my first ever trophy that I won at the Euro Film Festival for Best Short Fiction. Also it was my first time having my short film get reviewed by film critics in around 18 websites. Aftermath has made me understand that the amount of emotions you can spread from just an 8 minute short film are endless.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
Yes, I am currently in the filming stages of my latest short film titled "The Girl in the Woods". I won't go into detail because I want everyone to go into this as fully blank as possible but It is the most ambitious screenplay that I have ever written in my opinion and we are having our fingers crossed that the film will do the screenplay justice. The short is set to release mid-July. The film will be fully complete around the end of June. After that we will be sending the film around festivals and to film critics.
Any advice to filmmakers?
There is one thing that I would like to say and that is always be yourself. Do not try to imitate other filmmakers. Create your own style. How awesome would that be? Someone is watching your movie without knowing you directed it and in the first 5 minutes they go "Yep, that is his movie". I think as a filmmaker hearing that is the best compliment you can get. Someone understanding it is your film by the way it is directed.