Silent Film

Interview with the Antagonists | Actors | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. We are less than a week away from the February 6th release, so we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!) so you can get to know us a little better. We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.

Today we have the Antagonists of the film joining us for an exclusive three-person interview. Joining us we have Russell Eresmas who plays Tyler, Sabrina Anderson who plays The Little Girl, and Darrell Portz who plays The White Knight.


When you first read the script what were your initial thoughts?

Russell: It was very funny and like nothing I had ever been involved with before. I remember reading the script and thinking “I’ve got absolutely no lines…It’s perfect!” Silent films are so rare nowadays, and it was great to be able to see I Phub You being made and be able to take part in it.

Sabrina: It looked funny, as in Ha Ha!  And the little girl role looked cool and fun to play. I liked that I didn’t have words to say but could ‘act’ through a phone!

Darrell: When I read the script for the very first time, I was intrigued by the project.  I was excited to do a film that was all about the visuals.  With it virtually void of dialogue, and meant to represent the old style silent films of the 30’s, I was pumped for an opportunity to perform in a different way than I am used to on stage or on film.  As an actor, I always want to try and do something different and unique.  This was definitely a project that was outside of anything I have previously done.

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Edmonton Legislature Building

Silent film acting is much different than “talkie films” How did you prepare for acting in a silent film?

Russell: I would love to say that I stopped talking for a whole week, but I genuinely believe that’s an impossible task for me to accomplish. I LOVE to talk, almost as much as I love eating, breathing, and Anna Kendrick. I really just tried to approach it like I would any other role. Only difference being I had to keep my mouth shut with super glue and do way more eyebrow exercises than usual.

Sabrina: My mom showed me a clip of a Charlie Chaplin movie, as well as a clip Justin had shared called ‘Battleship Potemkin’. It was interesting to see a movie in black and white like in the olden days.

Darrell: My character has no dialogue.  All of my intention has to be portrayed through body language and facial expressions.  With it being a comedy and reminiscent of the early silent films, I knew that many of the actions would need to be “over the top”.  I have never had any experience with clowning, and so that aspect of the performance would be new to me.  I watched a number of early films, and especially Charlie Chaplin’s work and tried to incorporate his style of movement into how I thought my character would react and move in certain situations.

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Battleship Potemkin Stairs
The White Knight


All three of your characters are obsessed with technology in one-way or another. What did you think about in terms of your character’s obsession with technology? Do you relate to your character at all?

Russell: I’ve always been a proponent of putting down your phone when you’re in public or with friends and family and really trying to live in the moment. Having said that, I’m also a huge tech nerd. I follow all the latest news on technology and gadgets, so it’s a bit of a toss up for me. I’ve definitely been guilty of being on my phone a lot, but I do try as much as possible to stay away from my screen when I can.

Sabrina: I kinda relate to the little girl, I don’t have a cell phone, and definitely not a flip phone! Those are soooo last century! I do have an IPad Mini and sometimes lose myself in watching YouTube or playing games.

Darrell: I have this mild obsession that when I leave my house, that I may have forgotten to close the garage door.  As I drive away, I will ask myself if I actually did close it, even though, I watched it close only seconds ago.  This is my compulsive anxiety.  For this character, I tried to imagine a more severe version of that anxiety related to my phone and what I would miss if I did not have my phone or was not actually looking at it.  Was something going on in the world that I need to know about?  Are people liking my videos or social media posts? Oh wait, maybe that is not too far off from what I am really like!

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Sabrina, you are the youngest actor in the film. How was it being on set with all of us “old people”? 

 Sabrina: It was fun! I taught Skyla and Darrell how to play Game Pigeon games.  I beat them at Battleships and Connect 4.  I love working with ‘old people’ as I learn lots of acting stuff.

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Growing up in this advanced age, do you have any activities that you like that don’t rely on technology?

Sabrina: I like to do Track and Field, and Swimming. I like lots of sports stuff.

I also like to play with my friends. We build snow forts and have snowball fights. I like to read books, my favourite series is Harry Potter. I also research crazy facts for my YouTube series ‘Did You Know’!!

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Darrell, you were the oldest person on set (even though you don’t look it!). You’ve got to see technology change better than most of us. How has it changed and what are your views on it?

Darrell: I was the oldest person on set.  I have watched technology advance through my life.  I remember as a child having a black and white TV with only 3 channels and no remote.  I had a “Pong” video game.  I was in grade 11 when my school first started offering computer classes.  I was in the military when the first “brick” cell phones came out.  Before that it was pay phones.  I grew up in a time when if you were not home, you could not be contacted.  You had to listen to the taped answering machine message when you got home.  I remember serving in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq / Kuwait war that I had no means of communication back to family and friends other than sending letters.  WOW, I am old!  I think I was about 30 years old before I got my first cell phone.  To see that advancement in technology from that first phone to what I have 20 years later, is astonishing.  Who knows what mobile devises will be able to help us do another 20 years from now.

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Do you relate to your character at all?

Darrell: Yes, I hate to say it, but I am obsessed with technology.  I love gadgets and phones and electronics.  I love the ability to have technology at my fingertips at all times.  I am one of those guys that feels naked when I don’t have my phone with me.  I love knowing that I have information at my grasp at any time.  I love the internet.  That said, I do prefer to have human contact.  I would prefer to use my phone to call someone rather than text them.  Even better would be to call them to meet for a coffee!

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Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?

Sabrina: I liked watching Skylar being sassy in her scene.When we filmed at the Edmonton Legislative on Day 2, I really liked playing Pokemon Go with AJ and Russell.  AJ found a squirtle nest which was awesome. It was also really cold so we hung out in Darrell’s car.  This was fun because it was warm, but also cause he had the biggest bag of trail mix I have ever seen! I ate loads of it!!

Russell: The last day of filming was tough for many reasons. First, I didn’t start my day off with my venti caramel, skim, extra shot, extra-hot, extra-whip, sugar-free macchiato so that was extremely difficult. Second was obviously the weather. It was a huge shift in temperature from the day before. It felt like Mr.Freeze from Batman was hugging me, and I’m talking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger Mr.Freeze where he makes all those funny puns, so you know it was cold. But despite the cold weather, everyone was in really high spirits and those are the kind of shoots where you really appreciate being surrounded by amazingly talented and hard working people.

Darrell: I shall never forget our final day of shooting.  The weather turned cold and we are all dressed in our wardrobe from the earlier “warmer” shooting days.  How fun was it to huddle together in a vehicle, then run to set, do a take and then run back to the vehicle to warm up again.  The looks from people out for walks at the Legislative Assembly grounds, all bundled up, were priceless.  Of course me running around dressed in foam armor likely would have earned a few head shakes, regardless of the weather conditions

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What is your favorite silent film?

Sabrina: Does watching a scary movie with the sound off count?!?! If so Superman vs Batman was pretty intense and I turned the sound off!

Darrell: I am a fan of horror.  A few years ago I directed the stage play Bram Stoker’s Dracula (by Steven Dietz), during pre-production I watched a few older films and absolutely loved the 1920’s silent film Nosferatu.  It is an artfully disturbing vampire film that tells a brilliant story, all without dialogue.

Russell: Well some of the silent films I have watched are the ones where you forgot you muted the TV and you’ve been watching The Devil Wears Prada for 42 minutes with no sound. I haven’t watched a ton of actual silent films, but I do really enjoy anything with Buster Keaton, especially The General and Sherlock Jr. I would love to see silent films of that era make a reemergence into modern cinema, and I think I Phub You is a prime of example of how it can work in this day and age.

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Interview with Andrew Joseph Pahlke | Actor | I Phub You | Storyhive | Edmonton Film Production

Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. In the weeks leading up to the February release we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!) so you can get to know us a little better. We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.

Today we have the wickedly talented, Andrew Joseph Pahlke. Andrew is an Edmonton actor that has appeared in many films, commercials, and you may even recognize his voice from various video games! Andrew Joseph plays the role of Kurtis in the Storyhive funded, I Phub You.

When you first read the script what were your thoughts?

When I first read the script my initial thoughts were how unique and creative of an idea this script was! It’s genius. You rarely see anything like this (in ambition, scope and creativity) really being done on the big or small screen nowadays so I knew I NEEDED to be part of it.

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What made you want to pursue acting in this film?

I knew as soon as I read the first draft from Keebs (Justin Kueber) that I wanted to be a part of this project. I love physical acting and the film required a lot of it (being a silent film). A special film like this only comes around once in a blue moon and I knew I had to be a part of it.

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Silent film acting is much different than “talkie films”. How did you prepare for acting in a silent film? 

I prepared by watching some oldie silent films, Chaplin ones mostly and naturally. Kueber gave me a list of films to prepare and he helped a lot as he knows this period better than anybody. Also a lot of physical acting in front of my mirror (laughs).  The biggest worry for me was coming off as stiff or unnatural during the black and white scenes but my team reassured me I was doing a fine job.

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Describe your character. Were there any influences to how you portrayed it?

The main influence I'd say on my character I play who is Kurtis is somewhat myself back in the day when I was a lot more shy and timid, especially being social around people I didn't know. A lot has changed since then (laughs). But I looked at the person I used to be when I was younger and added certain innocence to the character. Like a teenage cub in a pack of lions!

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Charlie Chaplin Silent Short


Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?

The most memorable story of being on set was just the overall experience to be honest with you. I know that sounds pretty cheesy, but I enjoyed working with the cast and crew soo much that it made the whole shoot a memorable story really. Always love working with the guys at Guerrilla Motion Pictures, really down to earth and make filming a lot of fun.  

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What is your favorite silent film?

My favorite silent film I'd say would be The Artist as it was the first silent film I'd ever seen. It’s similar to what we are doing with Phub, by helping bring some of the classic and old into the newer age of film for a whole a new audience to see and appreciate. I hope this one can get the same reaction as that one did. Oscar please! 

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The Artist Silent Film

Interview with Heidi Ellen | Actress | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

As we are putting the final touches on our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You, we want you guys at home to get to know us, the filmmakers, a little better. In the weeks leading up to the February release we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!). We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.

Today, we are lucky enough to have Heidi Ellen answer a few questions about working on the film. Heidi is the lead actress who plays the role of Janet in I Phub You.

When you first read the script what were your thoughts?

The first thing I thought after reading the script? How relevant the story is! I became hyper-aware after the reading I Phub You of how involved people (and myself) are with their cell phones. Walking through a mall, sitting at a table with a group of friends, waiting in line at the grocery store - those around me were consistently on their phones and ignoring their surroundings. At first it seemed like the I Phub You script was over-exaggerating how much time we as a society spend on our phones, but it actually wasn't! And it makes sense, especially if you take into consideration how important social media has become. It is used for marketing, finding jobs, staying in touch with friends and family, MAKING friends, etc. As an actress I rely a great deal on social media - and my phone keeps me connected to it. However, after reading IPY I began to pay more attention to the attention I gave to those in my physical presence.

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What made you want to pursue acting in this film?

 I first heard about the casting call that Guerrilla Motion Pictures sent out from a friend of mine who was on the crew. He had tagged me and a few other actors on a post on facebook. After reading the character descriptions I immediately felt a connection to Janet. I think that I share a lot of her personality traits. So that was certainly a part of why I wanted to audition for I Phub You. I always make a point to research production companies I am auditioning for, so after asking around I learned that Guerilla Motion Pictures had a good reputation among others in Edmonton's film industry. In fact, one of my best friends went to film school with Sam Reid! After submitting myself to audition I was incredibly excited to learn that I was 1 of 6 actresses to be selected to audition for the part. I was thrilled!

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Silent film acting is much different than talkie films. How did you prepare for acting in a silent film?

Shannon (our director) really helped with my character development of Janet. She made it clear that she was looking for theatre acting more so than film acting. The two acting styles are quite different. Acting in a silent film is a lot like clowning. All of your actions and emotions are over the top. So I prepared for my role much the same way I prepare for a role in theatre. There is this practice theatre actors do called 'verbing a script'. Each line is assigned a verb to describe what the character may be feeling and what the scene may feel like. I also used Pinterest and pinned anything and everything that gave me inspiration for my character. And then I watched silent film online. I studied the way actresses held themselves, their facial expressions, and their acting styles.

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Describe your character. Were there any influences to how you portrayed it?

Like I had mentioned, I felt a connection with my character. She is bubbly, sensitive, full of expression, and wears her heart on her sleeve. I am a lot like her. So I put a lot of myself into Janet. As an actor I am what I have to offer my roles, so I feel quite fortunate to have gotten to play Janet. I also pulled different characteristics from other actresses in other silent films. Justin Kueber had told me that when he wrote IPY he had named my character after a character in his favourite silent film, Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans. I tried to pull from that character as well.

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Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?

Yes! I do! On our last day of shooting it was very cold. For continuity's sake I needed to wear the same outfit as I had on the other days of shooting. Janet's wardrobe consisted of a red summer dress and black flats. So not exactly the greatest clothing for -3, plus windchill weather. I had brought pocket warmers which I stuffed into my flats, and hid under a blanket in between takes. The crew was fantastic and understanding, so a vehicle was pulled close to set for me to hop into when it got too cold. I would warm up, then hop out of the car and run back to set to film the next take. Although it was a very cold shoot day, it was still a fun experience. It's funny what artists will do for their passion.

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What is your favorite silent film?

I haven't seen many, but after watching Justin's recommendation of Sunrise, I would have to say that would be the one! It's incredible the amount that goes into telling a story without dialogue. It's an entirely different approach to story telling. It's an art, really. I hadn't expected Sunrise to be such a long movie, but it was! And even though it is a silent film, it held my attention right until the end. I definitely want to see more films that are silent.

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Interview with Dianne Mahoney | Production Designer | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

As we are putting the final touches on our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You, we want you guys at home to get to know us, the filmmakers, a little better. In the weeks leading up to the February release we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!). We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.


Today, we are lucky enough to have Dianne Mahoney, who stopped by and answered a few questions about her experiences working on the film. Dianne is the Production Designer of I Phub You, along with Costume Designer, Props, and Makeup! – and, Dianne is the reason this film was pitched to Storyhive in the first place. You could say she’s the captain who brought all of us together. Without further adieu here is Dianne Mahoney:


You’re one of the main reasons this film was made in the first place. You organized everyone for the original pitch video – what made you want to pursue making this film happen and pitch it to Storyhive?


I was already contemplating of pitching a project with Storyhive with a different director using another script written by Justin Kueber. When that didn't work out, Shannon messaged me expressing her interest in directing around the same time. I asked Justin for any other available script he has written. After reading I Phub You, I immediately loved it and knew we had to try and let it be heard especially how it resonates and is relevant to today's society. Having previously worked with Justin and Sam of Guerrilla Motion Pictures, and knowing the quality of their work and vision along with their experience, I knew they're the perfect guys to pitch to Storyhive with.

I Phub You Silent Film
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 What has your process been for the Production Design/Costumes/ and overall style of I Phub You?

 Production design for I Phub You is very specific since it is also a love letter to the silent film era. The look I was going for was a familiar vintage feel in this modern age. We didn't want it to be a complete blast from the past especially because of its relevance to these times so I went with a balance of incorporating 1920's style that it evident from the locations we chose to the wardrobe inspiration of our main characters, Janet and Kurtis, who we wanted to stand out physically as well.

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Silent Film Costume

Do you have any memorable stories or experiences from working on set or even building some of the set pieces?

This production experience is definitely the best I've had thus far. Everyone from the cast to the crew is simply joyous to work with and it was such a pleasure bringing to life a project with ease from start to finish. The props were interesting since I haven't made a medieval inspired armour and giant phone prior to, and also quite a challenge because of the time constraint, but a few cuts and burns later at the end of the day it did its job and (mostly) held together during the production.

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What is your favorite silent film?

I haven't watched a lot of silent films but I'm most captivated by The Musketeers of Pig Alley, it being one of the first to start the gangster film genre which I am absolutely a huge fan of.

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Musketeers of Pig Alley


Thank you so much to Dianne Mahoney for this wonderful insight into the world of I Phub You. Look for the film to premiere on Telus Optik February 6, 2017 where we will be looking for your vote for Top Film in Alberta!