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Minneapolis Filmmaker Completes First Feature Film in 17 days

Written By Naomi Thomson

Lynn Lukkas, a filmmaker and professor at the University of Minnesota has been an artist and storyteller her entire life. The primary focus of her work is telling older women’s stories, as they are among the most ignored demographic in today’s society.

She’s made dozens of projects throughout her career, many recognized internationally, but this year she released her very first feature length film.

Lynn Tjerrnan Lukkas

Claire Facing North is a film of self discovery and a story in which Claire, an older woman picks up Iris, a young irreverent traveler hitchhiking in Iceland. This influential collision between the two women of different generations launches them on a journey through Iceland together as they engage in a series of reflective conversations amidst beautiful scenery.

But while the imagery of the film is incredibly moving, with vivid colors and the creative uses of light, Lynn’s process for the film is what sets it apart.

In fact, the entire 76 minute film was shot over the span of only 17 days with a very small crew.

“This is pretty atypical, having a cast and crew of only 6 people to make a feature film”, Eric Schleicher, the cinematographer for the film said, “Kind of insane, and almost unheard of”.

A major advantage that helped the two week film process run smoothly was Lynn’s clear vision.

“I had a really good idea of what this film was going to look like visually”, Lukkas reflected, “Because I had been to Iceland so many times I chose it specifically because I really wanted an environment that was this very dramatic, awesome physical place. Working with Eric was really about getting that idea out of my head and onto the film”.

‘Claire Facing North’Lynn Tjerrnan Lukkas

Together the two spent hours planning the trip via phone call and later met in New York City to continue planning in person. When they arrived in Iceland in August of 2021, Eric and Lynn spent the first three days scouting out their planned locations.

Physical shooting with the entire crew began on the fourth day of the trip. Lynn’s production crew was made up of actors Barbara Berlovitz and Annick Dall, co-producer and music supervisor Peter Frenz, location sound recorder Patrick Shaefer and cinematographer Eric Shleicher. Together they hit the road to film at several different locations. One of the most pivotal locations of the film’s plot is around a crashed plane in the middle of a field.

“The plane was off the road near the water. It was a US military aircraft that crashed on the beach and was just left there. So it’s been there over the years and has sort of become a tourist site” Lynn recounts, “But you can’t take cars in so you have to hike out what felt like 5 miles from the road to get to it. We hiked out there at 3am and had to shoot so early because we had to work around when tourists would show up”.

‘Claire Facing North’Lynn Tjerrnan Lukkas

After returning home from Iceland, Lukkas set off to edit hours upon hours of footage all by herself. Her husband and co-producer Peter Frenz wrote two original musical themes for the main characters Claire and Iris. Phil Aron also joined in post production to write more original music and score the film, pulling together Peter’s work along with other sources including Rachmaninoff’s Vespers as well as music from the medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen. Jason Almendinger also joined in post as the sound designer and Tom Cairns of Arteus productions in Glasgow completed the color grading on the film.

In total, Clarie Facing North came to life from the hands of no more than no more than 10 people.

Claire Facing North First screened this April at the 43rd Annual Minneapolis International Film Festival. After two screenings the film was selected for a third premiere in the Best of Fest Showings.

In June, Claire Facing North will be screened at the New Jersey Film Festival and later in Las Vegas for the Nevada Women’s Film Festival.

To other aspiring filmmakers, maybe you don’t need a huge budget, large cast, or months on end to make a feature film.

Lynn Lukkas proves that beautiful work can be produced with little time and fewer people, so long as you have a good team and clear vision.

Author: Guest Author
This article comes from No Film School and can be read on the original site.

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