The inception of the "Chisel" story began as a feature script - a thriller with a concept of a "foreign stranger" invading new territory. This concept animates the opening of our short film.
At the heart of Chisel is a simple story about rising the ladder and what we sacrifice to get there.
Our wonderful DP, Samuel Romero, was the first person to embrace and fully understand what I wanted to accomplish. He immediately got the story. I had wild ideas of machinery and men, large groups of laborers, surging sounds of machinery, corruption, films from "Gangs of New York" to "Metropolis" to "The Bicycle Thief," large landscapes, art references from "Vida Americana," pictures and more. Sam got where I wanted to go. He immediately related the story to the work of his favorite photographer, Sebastiao Salgado. I'll forever be grateful for Sam and everything he brought to the project.
Amongst all the obstacles we faced and overcame, casting and world-building were the most challenging. I wanted a particular look and vibe which influenced the visuals and relationship dynamics between characters. Below is a photo of the "Great Depression," and it really moved me. My goal was to capture this essence in "Chisel" as a blunt depiction of the current inflationary period of our time.
In watching the film by F.W. Murnau, "The Last Laugh," - I was impacted by the leading character's behavior towards his job and how this job was part of his identity in many ways. His pride, love, and self-respect are nourished by his career, and when he loses his job - he loses his sense of self. Here was where my mindset was when I began casting the film.
Together, with crew and talent, this was the most harmonious production I've ever worked on. An experience that has impacted me as a woman and a filmmaker, and I'll always return to this memory with joy and happiness. - Julissa Scopino, Writer and Director of "Chisel"