The enthusiastically received "Mr. Petrified Forrest" is a 26 minute short film by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Felicity, The Pallbearer, Let Me In, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) produced at USC between 1991-92 as part of his Masters' thesis. It was shot on 16mm with a digital transfer done shortly afterwards.
Eric Scott, at an early stage of development in both the brand new Day For Night music catalogue and studios, as well as the newly formed marketing design services, offered a one-stop solution to Matt as an aide and consultant during the film, recording and overseeing all location sound, and co-creating the film's sound design and selected soundtrack clips directly with the director. The final stages included creating the title sequence and marketing materials such as postcards and a soundtrack album on limited edition cassette (...!)
Matt Reeves wanted to make a film that would shine. He put absolutely everything into making it so, he really succeeded, but then that's who he is. I remember being there every single minute of the 25 days shooting, always on location first because I was also carpooling the D.P. Richard Fannin to the set, and therefore we always had to be there first. I would always seem to leave last too. Long hours crouching with a Nagra recorder behind counters and trees as we shot very little of the film on a soundstage, except for the near death sequences; everything else was on location, usually in many cramped or small places. Then, there were many dozens of late nights reviewing edits and then eating Taco Bell at midnight. During this time, J.J. Abrams composed the original score, which we thought was amazing. He co-produced the film, along with Greg Grunberg and Bryan Burk... He also built the life-size Cessna plane that you see two-thirds of the way through. It was the most ridiculous thing ever, he actually built us a plane. In his backyard. Genius.
The film took 16 months to produce and was premiered at the USC First Look Festival on November 5, 1992 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to very positive audience response. The film was subsequently retained by the USC School of Cinema-Television, as the work that was shown to all students as part of the sound curriculum. It was one of the first times that the nucleus of J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, Bryan Burk, Greg Grunberg, Amanda Foreman, were to work together as a team, followed soon after by "Felicity" which reunited many friends from this film to work together many more times in the future.
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