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Steven Culp in "Refresh"

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(November 11, 2012)
First Glance Film Festival has announced Award winners for Best Actor:

And the winner is….

"Steven Culp " --- for winning the Award for Best Actor

Congratulations to Steven!


(October 30, 2012)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the First Glance Film Festival in Philadelphia

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Franklin Theater in The Franklin Institute, 222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.





Synopsis:

Refresh (David Orr, 13 min, CA) A wealthy yet chronically unhappy businessman (Steven Culp) at the end of his rope hires a mysterious company who provide an effective - but drastic and irrevocable - solution to his problem. Starring Steven Culp, Scott Michael Campbell, Matt Moore, Calvin Moore.

(May 20, 2012)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the Playhouse West Film Festival, North Hollywood, CA. The festival takes place from June 8 until 10, 2012.

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.

(October 6, 2010)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the Carmel Art & Film Festival, Carmel, CA. The festival takes place from October 6 until 10, 2010.

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.


Festival catalog listing (c) Orr

(July / August 2010, markeemag.com, by Mark R. Smith and Christine Bunish)
Eye on Independent Films

Although technology has leveled the playing field, the focus in indie filmmaking is on the people and the storytelling.

The film: Refresh

Steven Culp stars in Refresh as an unhappy businessman who finds an effective ˆ but irrevocable ˆ solution to his problem.
The genre: Short science-fiction thriller; 13 minutes

What it's about: A wealthy but chronically unhappy businessman at the end of his rope hires a mysterious company that promises an effective ˆ but irrevocable ˆ solution to his problem.

What it's really about: "How people can become so desperate leading lives they thought they wanted that they suddenly desire radical change," says director David Orr.

Cast includes: Steven Culp, Scott Michael Campbell

Director/producer/writer: David Orr

Producers: Paul Papanek, Sharon Lineker

DP: Andrew Turman

Editor: Christopher Willoughby

Colorist/HD conform: Jim Bohn, Liquid/Venice, California

Postproduction sound: Jeff Levy, mixer, Margarita Mix/Santa Monica

Music: John Hill, composer, original score; 8MM band, end theme

Budget: Under $10,000

Acquisition format/camera: HD video-enabled Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR

Locations: St. Barnabas Senior Center and S. Mark Taper Foundation Adult Day Care Center, Los Angeles

Equipment rental: CAMTEC/Burbank (camera and accessories); Tomzilla/Burbank (grip and electric)

Film festivals: Premiered at Vail Film Festival; Newport Beach Film Festival; LA Shortsfest


Director David Orr discusses Steven Culp's eyeline in Refresh.
What inspired the production: "The tableau and mood were inspired by a visit to a sleep-study clinic ˆ a place where you spend the night monitored by video cameras and electric sensors attached to your body," explains Orr. "I remember lying there in my pajamas, getting hooked up to a machine by an unfamiliar person, thinking, 'wow, this is just like a horror film!' I began writing the next day."

The biggest hurdles to financing: "Keeping the budget low enough that I felt comfortable financing it myself. It was designed to be incredibly low budget. The Canon 5D required a lot less light, compared to RED, so I needed fewer people for grip and electric. We were able to shoot by supplementing available light and got a great look."

The biggest production challenge: "Finding a location in LA willing to let us film for next to nothing. My wife [producer Sharon Lineker] works in healthcare and found St. Barnabas which actually hosts wonderfully-curated movie nights at their facility, so they were really film friendly. Also, working with the 5D. When we shot [in May 2009] no one had used the camera for a narrative project, so we were pioneers. There was no one [with] quick and easy answers. Even Canon didn't anticipate the camera being used this way."

The biggest postproduction challenge: "The 5D was so new it was difficult to know what was going to be possible: how 8-bit compressed footage might react to color correction ˜ that kind of thing. We had difficultly doing conversions from 30 to 24 fps ˜ a firmware upgrade allowing that frame rate was released after we wrapped. Based on early footage, Randal Kleiser invited me to be a panelist and screen excerpts for the DGA's Digital Day. That became our test run, taking the process from the beginning through projection in the DGA's Theater 1, one of the best rooms in the world. Even I wasn't prepared for how great Refresh would look ˆ like S16mm!"

What's next for Refresh: "The film is doing the festival circuit, and I'm on my second draft of a feature script for Refresh. I'm using the short along with my commercial reel as a showreel for feature, series and branded-content projects."

I couldn't have made the film without: "The strong support of family and friends. As for the core group, when Christopher [Willoughby] and Andrew [Turman] told me they were interested I knew I'd be able to accomplish the project. A shout out to West EFX and Erick Brennan who did a great job on the practical fire and mask effects."

Lessons I'll take to the next film: "One of the things I learned early as a commercial director and which was reiterated with this film was the importance of prep. We tested everything ahead of time and did run-throughs all the way down the pipeline."

(July 12, 2010, shootonline.com, by Mark Androw)
Short stars Desperate Housewives' Steven Culp

LOS ANGELES— Director David Orr's short film "Refresh" (www.refreshfilm.com) will make its Los Angeles premiere on July 25th as part of the 14th Annual LA Shorts Fest. The film stars Steven Culp ("13 Days", "Desperate Housewives", "West Wing") and Scott Michael Campbell ("Brokeback Mountain", "24", "Push").

A mind-bending parable in the spirit of "Amazing Stories" and "The Twilight Zone", "Refresh" centers on a wealthy businessman, Roger Dean (Culp), who is seeking a cure from his chronic depression. Dean's quest leads him to a mysterious medical clinic that promises a highly effective—but irrevocable—solution.

"Refresh" marks the short film debut for Orr, who is well known for his work as a commercial director, photographer and visual artist. His work has won ADDY, BDA, CTAM, PROMAX, New York Festival and TELLY awards, and been shown in Ad Age, Adweek, Communication Arts, Graphis, Millimeter, SHOOT, the Art Director's Club, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Andrew Turman is the film's cinematographer; Christopher Willoughby is the film's editor.

"The tableau and mood of 'Refresh' was inspired by a visit to a sleep study clinic—a place where you spend the night monitored by video cameras and electronic sensors attached to your body," observes Orr. "I think there's a universal feeling that being in a medical facility and dealing with medical staff—when you're at your most vulnerable—is stressful and depressing. I remember lying there in my pajamas, getting hooked up to a machine by an unfamiliar person, thinking: 'Wow, this is just like a horror film!' I began writing the next day."

"Refresh" is one of the first narrative films to be shot with a digital still camera with HD video capabilities, Canon's 5D mk II. Orr's background as a commercial director and fine art photographer enabled him to see, early on, the possibilities of using a still camera with HD capabilities. As "Refresh" was filmed in a practical location, the camera's small size and ability to shoot in low light allowed the production to move quickly yet give the story the atmospheric and cinematic look it needed.

Orr screened portions of "Refresh" and was a panelist at Digital Day, an annual symposium on emerging technology held by the Directors Guild of America, where the quality of the imagery drew rave reviews from the crowd of directors, cinematographers and producers. Orr also discussed the making of the film at HD/EXPO, The Newport Beach Film Festival, and at the Collision Conference.

The 14th Annual LA Shorts Festival (aka the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival) is one of the largest short film festivals in the world. This year's festival will include screenings of nearly 300 films from more than 1200 entrants. In past years, 33 participating films have earned Academy Award nominations, with 11 filmmakers actually taking home the Oscar.

"Refresh" will screen on July 25th at 7:45 p.m. The screening will occur at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters located at 8000 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, California 90046. Tickets and information are available at www.lashortsfest.com.

For more information about Refresh, visit www.refreshfilm.com.

(July 2, 2010)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the L.A. Shorts Fest at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters in West Hollywood. The festival takes place from July 22 until July 30, 2010

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 7.45 pm.

For those of you who are in the area and have the time, go to watch the movie. Yes, it is a short movie and you probably spend more time on the freeway getting there than watching the movie, but it's worth every minute you spend on the freeway. :-)


Tickets go on sale on July 12, 2010.



From their website:

Refresh

Sci-Fi / USA / 13 min.

Roger Dean, a successful businessman, has been chronically unhappy for years. At the end of his rope, he approaches PDLAS, a mysterious private company that promises an effective - but irrevocable - solution. He is assured of the company's 100 percent success rate and that he will 'emerge completely refreshed.'

Director: David Orr
Producer: David Orr, Paul Papanek
Writer: David Orr

Cast: Steven Culp, Scott Campbell

(May 6, 2010, newportbeachfilmfest.posterous.com, by Kelly Strodl)
NBFF Filmmaker's Five with David Orr

Today I spoke with David Orr, director of Refresh, a sci-fi thriller about Roger Dean, a successful businessman, who has been clinically depressed for years, to the point of suicide. He has attempted a range of remedies, some prescribed, some radical, but none have worked for him. At the end of his rope, he approaches PDLAS, a mysterious private company that promises an effective - but irrevocable - solution. All he is told is that he will emerge 'completely refreshed.'

Q: How did you hear about the Newport Beach Film Festival?

A: Through a colleague of mine, Stuart Shook of Shelter Post. He works with our editor, Christopher Willoughby, and suggested we submit to Newport Beach. I'm really glad I did - I saw some great stuff here.

Q: Tell a little about the story of your film and the production of it.

A: REFRESH was based on an experience of mine at a sleep study lab - where they monitor sleep patterns during an overnight stay, although in the film that experience is taken to an extreme! I wanted to address the idea that some people would do anything to utterly change their life. We shot on a DSLR with video capabilities, the Canon 5D mark II in May of last year. We were the first narrative piece ever shot with that technology (at the time only Vincent Laforet and Shane Hurlbut had used the camera as a production tool: Vincent for a montage titled 'Reverie' and Shane for some viral packages for Terminator Salvation). Canon had no idea that people would take the 5DmkII seriously as a production tool (the video function was really intended for photojournalists to grab clips on the fly), so had not developed refined controls for filmmakers. As pioneers, we were figuring out a lot of fixes and workarounds on our own. For instance, this was before you could even set the exposure on the camera itself; we'd establish what the exposure should be, point a light in the lens, then move it off the center until the exposure was correct. Then we'd hit the exposure lock and shoot. The week after we wrapped, Canon announced an upgrade to allow setting exposure! Since the production, I've been invited by Canon to consult on hardware and software development.

The results are astonishing. I showed clips of REFRESH at a symposium on emerging technologies at the Directors Guild of America. This was Theater 1 - one of the best screens in the world - and it held up! It looked better than the RED footage we saw there.

Q: Tell a little about yourself and your story in filmmaking.

A: I am a commercial director and fine art photographer. I had done some experimental works quite a while ago (FAIRCHILD and NOCTURNE), which did well in festivals, and were shown repeatedly on PBS here in the states and Channel 4 Britain. This is my first narrative piece, and is a teaser for a feature I'm developing.

Q: Your take on the performances of the lead actors, (set backs, triumphs, impressions, good surprises, etc.)

A: I knew that Andrew (Turman, cinematographer) and I could make it look great; but I was adamant that we get great performances. In fact, the production was designed to accommodate faster setups to allow ample time with the actors.

Casting was, by far, the most critical aspect of the production (as it should be), and I have to give thanks to Anthony Krauss, our Casting Director. Luckily everyone: Anthony, actors we approached, and their representation, liked my reel, and really responded to the script. Steven Culp loved it - he's a big 'Twilight Zone' fan - and signed on quickly. That was a game changer - suddenly our calls to Endeavor and CAA were being returned quickly! Scott Michael Campbell signed on after that, and we were good to go. Both, of course, are excellent and accomplished actors, so were a significant asset on a project like this. They were both enormously sympathetic to the rigors and realities of an indie flick, and both worked very, very hard.

Their working styles were different, of course: if pressed, I'd say that Steven works more from the inside out and Scott from the outside in. In order to work more effectively with actors, I'd studied acting at Playhouse West, and had taken the Judith Weston (acting for directors) course, so was able to navigate both styles fairly well. The most exciting moments by far were seeing what a talented actor brings to character and a story. Not only seeing the words come to life, but the nuances that are brought into play - the 'inner life' of the characters and situations. That's gold, especially when those things are something you may not have thought of initially, but seem so dead-on, furthering the story and bringing additional layers to it. Both Steven and Scott have the presence and charisma that makes you want to watch them constantly - especially on a big screen.

Q: What do you do when not making a smash indie film?

A: I'm also a fine artist. Lately, the main medium has been photography. I love the collaborative nature of filmmaking, but it's nice to be able to create something without needing access to thousands of dollars and a crew! I've had some success with it - I'm in collections with Ansel Adams, John Baldessari, Jim Dine, David Hockney, and Edward Weston, and have shown all over the country and in Europe. I had originally tinkered with still cameras to become more fluid with the mechanics of lenses, exposure, composition etc., but now also love it was a means of expression. I do artists talks and presentations, and have been a guest speaker at UCLA on several occasions. The print work is fairly large, 20x30 inches to 40x60 inches. I will most likely be integrating motion into my artwork as time goes on. In my view, still and motion picture photography are merging quickly so one medium very much feeds and informs the other, both technically (look at my film!), and aesthetically.

(April 19, 2010)
The coverage of the Newport Film Festival continues with dramatic and psychological thriller Refresh, which makes a one day appearance next Monay April 26th at 1:00pm. The plot line follows a successful businessman, known as Roger Dean, into a treatment facility for chronic and debilitating depression. Here Dean undergoes a procedure that might wipe Dean's memory clean through the use of a drug therapy (speculating). To discover Dean's fate for yourself take a peek at the trailer below, or see the mystery unfold for yourself one week from today.

The synopsis for Refresh here:

"Roger Dean, a successful businessman, has been clinically depressed for years, to the point of suicide. He has attempted a range of remedies, some prescribed, some radical, but none have worked for him. At the end of his rope, he approaches PDLAS, a mysterious private company that promises an effective - but irrevocable - solution. All he is told is that he will emerge 'completely refreshed" (Newport).

Release: April 26, 2010.

Director/writer: David Orr

Cast: Steven Culp, Scott Michael Campbell, Matt Moore, Byron Keith Neil Sr., Poppy Friske, and Calvin Moore.


More details on the film from the Refresh website

Refresh at Newport

(April 8, 2010)
Published at the The Newport Beach Film Festival printed program.


(March 23, 2010)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Newport Beach, CA. The festival takes place from April 22 until 29, 2010.

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.


(March 22, 2010, shootonline.com)
Director David Orr's short film "Refresh" will make its world premiere April 3rd at the Vail Film Festival in Colorado.
"Refresh," Short Film from STORY'S David Orr's to Premiere at Vail Film Festival

Short starring Steven Culp will also screen at Newport Beach Film Festival.

LOS ANGELES, March 22, 2010 | SHOOT Publicity Wire | --- Director David Orr's short film "Refresh" will make its world premiere April 3rd at the Vail Film Festival in Colorado. The film, which stars Steven Culp, will screen as part of the festival's Short Films series. Refresh will also screen at the Newport Beach (California) Film Festival April 26th. Orr is best known for his work as a commercial director via "STORY."

A mind-bending parable in the spirit of "Amazing Stories" and "The Twilight Zone", "Refresh" centers on a wealthy businessman, Roger Dean, who is seeking a cure from his chronic depression. Dean's quest leads him to a mysterious medical clinic that promises a highly effective—but irrevocable—solution. The film also stars Scott Michael Campbell.

"Refresh" marks the short film debut for Orr, who is well known for his work as a commercial director, photographer and visual artist. His work has won ADDY, BDA, CTAM, PROMAX, New York Festival and TELLY awards, and been shown in Ad Age, Adweek, Communication Arts, Graphis, Millimeter, SHOOT, the Art Director's Club, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Andrew Turman is the film's cinematographer; Christopher Willoughby is the film's editor.

"The tableau and mood of 'Refresh' was inspired by a visit to a sleep study clinic—a place where you spend the night monitored by video cameras and electronic sensors attached to your body," observes Orr. "I think there's a universal feeling that being in a medical facility and dealing with medical staff—when you're at your most vulnerable—is stressful and depressing. I remember lying there in my pajamas, getting hooked up to a machine by an unfamiliar person, thinking: 'Wow, this is just like a horror film!'"

"Refresh" is one of the first narrative films to be shot with a digital still camera with HD video capabilities, Canon's 5D mk II. Orr's background as a commercial director and fine art photographer enabled him to see, early on, the possibilities of using a still camera with HD capabilities. As Refresh was filmed in a practical location, the camera's small size and ability to shoot in low light allowed the production to move quickly yet give the story the atmospheric and cinematic look it needed.

Orr recently screened portions of "Refresh" at Digital Day, an event sponsored by the Directors Guild of America, where the quality of the imagery drew rave reviews from the crowd of directors, cinematographers and producers. Orr also discussed the making of the film at the Conference on Emerging Technologies in High Definition and at the Collision Conference.

"Refresh" will screen at the Vail Film Festival at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 3rd.

"Refresh" will screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 26th.

For more information about Refresh, visit www.refreshfilm.com.

(March 21, 2010)
Steven's short movie "Refresh" will be shown at the Vail Film Festival, in Vail, Colorado. The festival takes place from April 1 until 4, 2010.

"Refresh" is scheduled to screen on Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 10.30 a.m.


(August 1, 2009)
David Orr talked about how he shot his film "Refresh" with an HD video-capable Digital SLR still camera at the DGA Digital Day Conference

Conference notes by Mike Curtis:

- David Orr - shot on 5D Mark II, 1080p30 video
- looks better than the HVX by far!! Color rendition is nice
- called "Refresh" - rolling shutter artifacts? Didn't see it!
- budget was $2500, were over 200%, was $7500 by done, 12 minute teaser for a feature
- records onto a CF card, files from card are QT H.264 files, which pulled into Avid, edited, and finished in a Smoke
- music is temp score for now

- plans are to finish the short, use as leverage to finish the feature, release the short as a self contained piece, take it to festivals, try to leverage from there, screen play is finished, in the short you figure out what happens to the guy - you light it differently from film - were able to light using light panels, available light, and a few kinos. Sound was recorded separately, used a separate sound person recording into a separate system

- disadvantages to this since it looked so good - was all donated time - disadvantages - need to be aware of moving the camera too quickly - if you don't have the look in camera, but you can't push in post - don't have leeway in post - BRITTLE! They did extensive tests, have to light to get it exactly right.

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