On January 11, 2017, a group of supporters and collaborators packed FilmBar in downtown Phoenix to watch director Robert Felix’s first dramatic short, “Take a Stand,” on the big screen.
The twelve-minute short, shot around the Valley’s Arcadia neighborhood, tells a story of conflict and resolution centered around a lemonade stand. When Emile, one of the film’s lead characters, visits his friend Todd to escape his abusive home situation, he and Emile notice two girls on the other side of Todd’s backyard fence. The girls are setting up a lemonade stand. Using grapefruit as projectiles, they begin a feud with the girls which leads them all to face an ultimatum.
After the film, lemonade was served and Robert and the four lead actors took audience questions. The attendees were eager to know more about the young actors’ experiences on set and about the visual effects involved in making the film. Some suggested that “Take a Stand” be shown in schools as a way to teach conflict resolution.
The proceeds from the inaugural screening support the “Take a Stand” musical score and film festival entries. “Take a Stand” is now looking for its inaugural film festival screening.
Dixiletta Moving Pictures is nearing the end of production for its first short fiction drama, Take a Stand, written and directed by Robert Felix. This 10-minute film revolves around a tense standoff between four young children who begin to learn about confrontation, redemption and the consequences of their actions. The film is set entirely in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix.
Take a Stand will premiere at The FilmBar in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. A question and answer panel with the director and main cast will follow the screening. Guests will enjoy free lemonade and can purchase drinks from the bar. Tickets are available online for $25, and merchandise will be available at the venue. Proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales will fund the original score and festival entries for the film.
The editing process for Take a Stand is nearly complete. Dixiletta’s latest short film, Take a Stand, tells the story of a troubled young boy trying to navigate a tense situation. The current edit of the film is being prepared for composer Paul Cristo to begin the next step of the creative process: creating the score. Cristo has 20 years of experience composing for film and television. His work has been nominated for several awards, including a Maverick Movie Award nomination for best original score on the well-received short film, Singularity. Cristo recognizes that a score doesn’t just accompany a story, it drives it. Dixiletta is excited for the opportunity to work with Paul Cristo and include his work in one of its own films.
We’ve found our location for the front yard of “Take a Stand.” Complete with citrus tress, the home in Phoenix’s Arcadia area provides an ideal backdrop for the girls’ lemonade stand.
The house is miles away from the house with our back-yard fence, but in the film it will appear to be directly across the street thanks to some visual effects, shot choices and editing.
Our previous week of filming for “Take a Stand” ended with a cloudy day that wouldn’t let us get our last shots. Our make-up day, though, gave us some takes we like. To learn more about the project, click here and read our post on the first week of filming.
Here are a few still frames from what we captured:
Emile, played by Josh Pike, mulls over the first attack.
Todd, played by Nicholas Williams, doubts his aim.
Emile takes a bucket full of grapefruit from Todd.
Emile delivers an important message to Todd.
Todd watches safely from behind the fence as Emile executes his plan.
Three weeks ago, we filmed at one of our two major locations for “Take a Stand,” a back-yard fence that took us a lot of searching and long time to secure. The weather at our nearly perfect location cooperated most of the week until clouds rolled in Friday and cut off the golden sunlight that filled the rest of our shoot. We plan to make up that lost day in early January.
In “Take a Stand,” two boys in a back yard notice two girls setting up a lemonade stand on the other side of the street. When the boys decide to throw grapefruit at the lemonade stand, the girls respond and a conflict develops that advances further than anyone expects.
During the shoot, more than once people remarked at the high skill and remarkable attitude of our young actors who had to put up with cold water, hits with foam “grapefruit,” and a long week of shooting. The images below – all still frames from the footage we shot – show our actors portraying a fateful afternoon with realism and depth.
Our crew was also critical to our success. Chris Gadd put in a late night of carpentry to make sure our dolly setup would work properly, and Chris Medill faithfully recorded our audio through technical challenges. Dixie Cook assistant directed, ensuring the quality of the material captured. When it became necessary, Nicholas’s brother Kyle and Anna’s father Jamie both protected the neighbors by catching grapefruit as they flew across the street. It was a sticky job, but the citrus aroma was fantastic.
Emile, played by Josh Pike, peers over the fence to observe the girls’ next move.
Todd, played by Nicholas Williams, struggles to understand Emile’s perspective.
After dodging grapefruit to get across the street, Janie, played by Anna Harr, delivers a message she hopes will put an end to the fighting.
Marcie, played by Katie Brown, attempts unsuccessfully to spray Emile with water, finding the nozzle setting less than adequate.
When Marcie figures out how to adjust the nozzle, Emile takes a face full of water.
Todd relishes successfully hitting his target.
Emile peers through the fence, trying to figure out what will happen next.
A critical location for my upcoming short film “Take a Stand,” a back-yard fence, has been secured. The journey to find that fence – an aged, wooden fence with grapefruit trees growing behind it – has been arduous.
In “Take a Stand,” two boys, Todd and Emile, decide to make a target of a lemonade stand run by two girls, Marcie and Janie. Taking cover behind a back-yard fence, grapefruit is their weapon of choice. The fence I had in mind when I wrote the script is very much like a fence I remember from a childhood friend’s home. I found, though, that the particular fence I remembered, like so many in Phoenix’s Arcadia area, has been replaced with a block wall. Furthermore, many of the citrus trees that dotted the yard have been removed.
After searching through the area street by street, I found a few yards that might have worked. When we pursued the possibility of shooting a film there, however, the homeowners objected. At one house, I had spent some time chatting with one member of the family, but when I returned a few days later, someone else answered the door and chased me away with shouting, apparently mistaking me for a pushy salesman.
With recent frustrations in mind, I was cautious when I approached the nearly perfect yard I eventually found. Its worn grape stake fence is covered with crawling vines and large grapefruit trees right behind the fence are the perfect source of ammunition for Todd and Emile. I approached the house one evening and was told to return the next day. After asking others to pray for me, I returned. At our meeting, and in subsequent conversations, there were many questions. The couple that owns the fence has never been involved in a filmproject before, so there were a lot of unfamiliar possibilities to consider. In the end though, after the project had been thoroughly explained, they said something I wasn’t sure I was going to hear: they would go for it. I felt like jumping up and down.
For the cast and crew, this means that we are a big step closer to making “The Finish Line.” One major location remains to be found: a fantastic front yard. I expect this step to be much simpler, though; we have perhaps thousands of citrus-filled front yards to explore as opposed to just a handful with the right kind of back-yard fence.