“A Modern Romance” – Real to Reel Film Fest Highlight

Real to Reel Film Festival Selection Highlight – “A Modern Romance,” from writer/director/composer Nathan Shanahan, actors Gabriella Ramos and Lukas Freeman, and DP Brian “DeCon” DeContreras. Produced by NC Creative Co. in association with DeCon Films.

From writer and director Nathan Shanahan comes the unbelievably charming, confident, and charismatic short film, “A Modern Romance.” With lovely homages to silent cinema in a Wes Anderson-esque package, Shanahan has incredible command on the flow and rhythm of this short film. The nuanced performances of stars Gabriella Ramos and Lukas Freeman blend with Brian “DeCon” DeContreras’ wonderful guidance of the cinematography to deliver on Shanahan’s vision.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the cast and crew of “A Modern Romance,” and was provided with some fascinating insight regarding the development of the film. The decision to approach this project as a silent film evolved throughout production. As Shanahan describes, while there were never plans for dialogue between the characters on-screen, voiceover was considered for certain sequences. The lack of diegetic sound effects in the film was also not completely intentional, but a choice that was deemed best for the production over the course of time. This team’s creativity and decisiveness is worthy of great recognition.

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L-R: Lukas Freeman and Gabriella Ramos.

Each member of the crew was extremely complimentary of one another in our discussion together, giving due credit on all sides of the equation. Shanahan praised the efforts of DeContreras’ set lighting, and the natural magnetism of Ramos and Freeman as the lead performers. Ramos commented on Shanahan’s brilliance as a multi-talented director and music composter. Freeman gushed about the pure joy and pleasant memories that the project brought him.  It is obvious that the entire team builds on the dynamic positive energy amongst themselves, both artistically and personally. It is refreshing to see a young group of filmmakers so poised and mature in their craft and partnership.

Regarding the avenue of film festivals, Shanahan mentioned how much it means to him and his crew to have this route of distribution, for a film that might otherwise have difficulty reaching a wider audience. Quoting him directly: “This is the whole goal. I remember the first conversations we had about making this were…‘yeah, I wrote this thing, and we can make it, and it can wind up going to some festivals!’ And here we are.”

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The Cleveland County Arts Council will host films like “A Modern Romance” for the 21st Annual “Real to Reel International Film Festival.” The festival will be fully online this year through Seed & Spark due to the COVID-19 pandemic, featuring official selections Sept. 9 – Oct. 9, 2020.

For over two decades, Real to Reel has showcased thought-provoking films from around the world and offers opportunities for cinema-lovers to embrace the independent vision of this unique art form.

For more information, visit the Real to Reel International Film Festival website.

Thomas Manning is a member of the NCFA, and also the co-host of the television show and radio program “Meet Me at the Movies.” He has served as a production assistant and voting member on the Film Selection Committee for the Real to Reel Film Festival. He is currently studying film, television, and English at Gardner-Webb University.



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