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Q&A with ‘Touch’ Filmmaker Harper Lee Rogers

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Harper Lee Rogers DA 6-minute short will be screened today by the Fort Myers Film Festival in Short Block #2, which begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. The film is about a curious photographer who lives through her camera and views the world through her lens. However in so doing, she may be losing touch with humanity and the art of interpersonal communication and connection.

The film was conceived, written and directed by Harper Lee Rogers, who was finishing her college degree at the time. “I only had a couple of hundred dollars to Harper Lee Rogers Afinance the project,” Rogers told the Film Festival audience during this morning’s filmmaker panel discussion. “It’s a passion project, for sure. I used classmates and friends for the actors. There is no dialogue in the film. And as I had no money for insurance or to pay for locations, I shot the film guerrilla style, sneaking around with a Canon DLR, which allows you to be stealthy but gives you a nice image depending on the lenses used. So it was really, really low budget. But I’m really proud of it.”

Finding acceptable locations was key to the Harper Lee Rogers Bsuccessful completion of the film. Harper Lee tapped a friend by the name of Erica Lavatt as her “locations manager.” Erica spent her entire Spring Break squiring Rogers around Central Florida in search of qualifying spots. “All the locations look sort of like a doll house, like an alternate world filled with pastel colors, bright objects and these weird walls and bushes. It was important to Harper Lee Rogers Efind locations that matched that aesthetic since we did not have a budget to create sets and could not afford to pay for locations either.”

There was also another dynamic that came into play because Rogers lacked the funds to insure and pay for locations. They had to be in places where she and her team would not run into police or be exposed to people inadvertently walking through Harper Lee Rogers Cshots. The latter was important for two reasons. First, with no dialogue, the wardrobe plays an integral part in telling the story of the film. But equally important, since they had no rights to be or film at each location, they couldn’t ask people to leave or even post a sign that said if they walked through the shot they were giving de facto permission for Rogers to use them in the film. “So we had to find locations that were kind of discrete,” Harper Lee explained. “Although,” she was quick to add, “there is once scene where we used the exterior of a house and my locations manager went up, knocked on the door and explained what Harper Lee Rogers Fwe wanted to do and the homeowner let us use the house.”

Rogers wrote the storyboard fairly quickly, and lensed the film in just four short days at venues in Celebration, Winter Park and Sanford, Florida. While the protagonist in Touch substitutes her camera for interpersonal relations and direct connection with the world she encounters, the film can clearly be seen as a metaphor for all of us who increasingly experience people, places and things through our devices and are, perhaps, also losing touch with humanity and the art of interpersonal communication.

Touch screens at 3:30 p.m. Harper Lee Rogers will be in the house should you wish to meet her and talk about the film.

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