Death by Chocolate

byFaruq Oyekan

Death By Chocolate is an incredibly clever short film that will leave you ecstatic and slow clapping as the credits roll. Co-directed by Dimitri Gochgarian, Death By Chocolate tells the story of “A former movie star [who] has a hard time adjusting to life after fame. Somewhat anxious, yet determined, she meets with her hired killer to cancel the contract”. Death By Chocolate is a film that will shock and awe audience through its use of intense dialogue and a highly engaging back to back that is the main element of this short film.  Death By Chocolate is a short film that garners a strong emotional connection that is both refreshing and endearing.

The birth of Death by Chocolate came with this idea: A challenge. We felt we needed to write a simple yet engaging story between two characters in one location. We needed to keep high visual standards and production value but the first efforts would be focused towards the story. To keep our audience engaged, we've tried to write a story that grows in you; we needed strong dialogs and characters that would stand out

- Dimitri Gochgarian

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With a runtime of ten minutes, Death By Chocolate unfolds slowly through what can accurately be described as a slow reveal of a highly structured twist.  Dimitri Gochgarian utilizes a psychologically twisting combination of dialogue and plot shifts that create a world of mystery that will have audiences hooked. Without providing much spoilers, Death By Chocolate can be considered a short film that really delivers at the end, if you stick it through and witness the more than entertaining exchange of words between the film’s two leads you’ll be rewarded with a piece of narrative brilliance. 

In Death By Chocolate, Dimitri Gochgarian showcases a skill in this short film not often gifted to many filmmakers. In Death By Chocolate he showcases the ability to convey a sense of danger and adventure through solely dialogue and very little physical action. For film lovers and filmmakers alike, Death By Chocolate is a film to not only watch but to see how words can be just as strong as actions.

The cinematography in Death By Chocolate, is breathtaking. Using the RED One camera Death By Chocolate achieves a look and aesthetic that mirrors its dark tone and the feel of the period that it utilizes as its setting. The framing and shots are somewhat standard in Death By Chocolate, but are used with a purpose that greatly serves the underlying narrative.

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One day, we were working with Julian Casey on a videgame project and he told us about his cousin who was writing novels. Among the ones he showed us, there was ‘Two Limes’ who was telling the story of a blind date that was in fact a meeting between a killer and his client. We loved it and thought it would be a great start for pitch and for what we wanted to create!

- Dimitri Gochgarian

Overall, Death By Chocolate is a film you should not miss. Not only does Death By Chocolate tell a riveting tale through a dialogue heavy filter and beautiful framing, it also is an example of a smoothly executed short film with very little flaws. Check out Death By Chocolate today!

Check out a Behind the Scenes Video Here: 

INTERVIEW with Dimitri Gochgarian (Co-Director)

First, how long have you been film making? What got you interested?

I've always loved movies. I remember when i was a kid i was dreaming of creating movies and I was making funny videos with my cousin and my neighbour. Then i oriented my career towards marketing and videogames. It is only when i started working on trailers that my will to create movies came back. I met Robin Veret who was a director at Ubisoft Montreal and we decided to do a World War I short called On The Other Side. I acted more as a producer on that one but felt this was the right place for me at that time. I learnt a lot. It helped me defining my own perspective on things. It is the best and only filmmaking lesson i ever had! This movie is war drama with a big crew - around 30 people, real trenches, gunshots, stunts, mud, rain, day and night shooting, etc... We learned the hard way... For a first experience in live action, it was a hell of a ride but also one of the best experience of our life! Then we’ve decided to work on an other project and while still producing, i was more acting as a writer and director so Robin and I co-signed Death By Chocolate! That was a natural process.

Where did the idea for this short originate from? 

When we looked back at our first short, we felt that our next project had to be different. In almost every way. The birth of Death by Chocolate came with this idea: A challenge. We felt we needed to write a simple yet engaging story between two characters in one location. We needed to keep high visual standards and production value but the first efforts would be focused towards the story. To keep our audience engaged, we've tried to write a story that grows in you; we needed strong dialogs and characters that would stand out. One day, we were working with Julian Casey on a videgame project and he told us about his cousin who was writing novels. Among the ones he showed us, there was ‘Two Limes’ who was telling the story of a blind date that was in fact a meeting between a killer and his client. We loved it and thought it would be a great start for pitch and for what we wanted to create! So we’ve worked on characters backgrounds, add depth to the bound between those two, working on a setting and the idea of the chocolate cake... With all the greatest modesty, we wanted to bring a Cohen Brothers touch to our characters and story. Something modern but also timeless.

Any interesting production stories?

Things are always happening on a set! It’s crazy. You’re always running after time so we tried to prevent anything to happen - this is why this time we’ve decided to shoot in a restaurant instead of a trench outside in cold Canada! 

But we made several changes as the production would go; the very first version of the script was more related to the novel we got inspired from and the action would happen in a dinner. When we’ve decided to give this background the female character, that she would be this kind of faded fame from Hollywood, the dinner idea felt off. So we looked out for a cool, fancy and timeless restaurant.

We’ve also changed our mind about the music during the editing process. We thought having licensed music with this retro touch of jazz would increase tremendously the quality of the final result.

We decided to cut the head of the waitress and you can never see clearly people in the background as we wanted to keep the 2 main characters in their bubble. When you start watching the film, you’re not entering a specific place but the two characters’ world, their rules. 

But it is purely from a creative purpose as she was terrific and we gave her the lead role for a music video!

The other thing I can say is that nobody could eat the chocolate cakes we baked for the opening credits as we needed them for the next scenes! It was a bit frustrating as we were in a real restaurant during its closed days and the chef was amazingly skilled! It smelled chocolate all day of the first shooting day.. It was kind of hard to focus :)

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What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?

e’re trying to have a different approach for each movie we’re doing and i think what is important is to raise the bar a little bit higher every time you try something new. It doesn’t mean necessarily more money or more special effects, actually our second film cost us less money than the first one and we got zero vfx! But we tried to focus more on the writing, on the characters while keeping a high level of production. Also, when we show the movie we try to get as much feedbacks as possible, from professionals and casual viewers. We want to know what they felt while watching the movie, what they liked, what they don’t like, what they have understood from it and we’re always seeking for advices… We are not making movies for commercial reasons but we create movies so people can enjoy them as much as we enjoy making them! It is important for us keep this link and see what we can improve to become better filmmakers. After filming that short, we shot a music video and i remember i was way more confident while directing it. I could make a decision in a second! I think this is the most valuable aspect of doing a film: it brings you confidence.

What projects do you have lined up for the future?

We are writting new stuff on a regular basis. I don’t like to talk projects when they are at the beginning because it takes time to develop an idea and sometimes, you just realize it was a bad one so you’re back to square one! But we love making movies and i hope we’ll have to chance to make another in the near future. We are also developing our agency amongst other things. We are creating trailers and cinematics for video games which is something we really enjoy! And we need to work to get money so we can finance our next projects :)

Any advice to filmmakers?

Wow… I’m not sure i’m in the right position to give advices! From my experience, I can say that making a movie is one the most compelling things i have ever achieved! It is a long and hard way to create a couple of minutes of entertainment but it is totally worth it in the end.. So never give up, find ways and stick to your dreams because watching people watching your film will be the best reward ever!

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Faruq Oyekan is a San Diego-based screenwriter and filmmaker. Born and raised in California, Faruq dedicates his time to producing and participating in film projects across the region. Faruq's own film work consist of short film narratives that explore realms of fantasy, sci-fi, and the bizarre. To Faruq, short films are just the right length and the prime arena to inspire others with new and innovative narratives.

Cast and Crew

Cinematographer: Francois Messier-Rheault

Sound Designer: John De Buck

Editor: Dimitri GochGarian, Robin Veret  

Written, Produced and Directed by REZ (Robin Veret & Dimitri Gochgarian)

Music by Slow Joe and the Ginger Accident 

Cast:

Quentin: Julian Casey

Anne: Tara Nicodemo

Waitress: Victoria Diamond

Clients: Annie Veret, Dominique Veret, Valentino Lercher

Runtime: 10 min

Genre: Drama

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