In Da Street
In Da Street, is the brainchild of writer and director Damien Kazan. The film tells a riveting tale of two cops on patrol. As the logline reads, “One afternoon of a French cop abroad with his Hispanic partner”. What starts off as a normal afternoon quickly delves into a police officer’s worst nightmare. A masked gun man shoots a civilian and immediately engages into a fight or fly mode. Quickly, the two officers jump into action and what happens next is a beautifully choreographed action sequence that is both fast paced and gritty.
When watching this short, I could not help but think back to End of Watch a 2012 action cop movie of similar subject matter. Like in End of Watch, the audience is given time to bond with the characters, and to get to know them on a personal level. This is done in similar fashion in In Da Street within the opening scene, in which the two cops sit in their cruiser and shoot the breeze. They tease and joke with each other and create a realistic feeling of a tightly bonded partnership. At the end of this sequence the audience is left with a better understanding of just how comfortable the cops are with each other and just how much each the other’s life means to them.
As the film progresses this sequences serves another goal. It gives the audience an idea about how much is at stake for the two cops. The audience is given an exclusive chance to feel with the characters. We feel their pain, we sense their struggle, and we fear their demise. Such an aspect usually takes hours to develop, however impressively Damien Kazan does this in a near 4 minutes! Topping films like End of Watch or Training Day and giving In Da Street the same level of emotional appeal.
The story in this short is strengthened by its cinematography. Damien Kazan utilizes shaky cam footage to its maximum potential. Close ups and extreme dramatic lighting help to sell the gritty and high adrenaline aspect of this film. I found my eyes darting from side to side as I tried desperately to keep up with the intense sequence before me. By the end of it, your heart rate will be through the roof and I swear you’ll sit at your computer in a cold sweat.
Additionally, like any polished action flick, In Da Street utilizes realistic special effects and a jaunting musical score. The score is a perfect accompanying piece for the action sequences, while the special effects at no times feel out of place or laughable (As can happen with some tighter budget short films).
The acting in this short, speaks for itself. Scenes of cop on cop teasing feel authentic and practically unscripted. Cop tactics and gun handling on the actors part feel on point, and almost even militaristic.
Overall In Da Street is an impressive feat by veteran filmmaker Damien Kazan. It showcases how in so little time a true storyteller can develop and make and audience feel for a character. On top of that… it’s just a really fun action movie. For those who are die hard action fans, Die Hard fans, or just want some variety check out In Da Street.
INTERVIEW with Damien Kazan (Director/Writer)
First, who is Damien Kazan? How did you become a filmmaker?
I’ve always been passionate of movies. I was always surrounded by films. I used to record tons of VHS as a kid, so I grew up wishing to become a Filmmaker. I never attended any film school, but I did start making short films around the end of High School. I then met people that taught me a lot, and I've been working on my craft since.
What inspired this short?
This short was inspired by the buddy movies, films like Bad Boys, but also more visceral films like Man on Fire. I was in Spain when I thought of this film. I have family over there, which explains the large Hispanic aspect of the film. Of course as always, the film is also inspired by Michael Mann's work, whom is one of the masters that influence me the most.
Any interesting set stories?
Yes! We shot it in less than 48hours, on a weekend, the shoot was pretty intense, on roughly a budget of $1.500. On the 2nd day, during the shoot of the gun fight scene, after having shot something like 80 blank bullets, the cops showed up pointing guns at one of the actors. Thank God nobody was hurt, we had permits, and had warned the police station but they still showed up, needless to say that they were as stressed out by us and as relieved that it was just a movie shoot. We then were able to continue filming.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
Yes, since this film I feel way more confident on set, but my approach really changed as far as editing. I know what needs to be trimmed, what's necessary and what's not, which is very important. All in all after this film I felt more ready to go on projects with a larger budget.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
There's a lot of things I want to do, of course I'd love to have the opportunity to work on my first feature film. For now, I just finished editing my latest short called "Heritage", it's a 3 minutes piece about childhood and fatherhood. Should be on YouTube pretty soon.
Any advice to filmmakers?
Besides practicing, just keep watching films, good films, over and over and over again. Try to learn from them as much as possible. I think it's Michael Jackson who once said something like "if you want to make good music you have to listen to great music, listen to the masters" I don't remember the quote exactly as it was but that was the idea. I think it's the same with films.