Short film by Sheri Sussman Close the doors toured quite a bit on the festival circuit, squarely capturing the attention of Toronto Film Review In the process. With Ian Buchanan and Billy Wirth, Close the doors captures a moment in time of a man struggling to cope with an unimaginable loss in his life.
In a recent interview with the magazine, we learned more than a few revealing details about the film and what Sussman has in store following the movie’s smash hit.
Asked about the fundamental inspiration for Close the doorsSussman says, “The inspiration behind making this film was the desire to write a role for Ian Buchanan, who I know and who is such a fascinating actor to me.”
“I had always had an image of him sitting in a bar with a glass of scotch as a character who was a bit broken for some mysterious reason.” Susman continues. “Then I added in Billy Wirth, my friend, who I’ve also worked with before and who had envisioned a certain type of role for him that worked perfectly for this film. Then it was just a matter of diving in and… ‘being in the moment of my ’emotional state’ at the time.
However, Sussman says it hasn’t come without difficulties. “Short films are difficult to create a complete world, emotions and feelings with as little plot as possible, while keeping the audience interested. Short films can be the longest few minutes of an audience’s life while being the most captivating! This genre was a classic-style film that needed to eliminate any sense of unnecessary drama.
The pandemic provided an additional challenge, but Sussman was more than up to the task. “There was the risk of choosing not to shoot inserts or cutting actors and standing still in scenes, which is counter-intuitive for many shorts these days.” she says. “Shooting it all in one day due to Covid and budget (or lack of!) was also a challenge, as well as doing post-production remotely.”
Sheri Sussman is a New York-born, Cincinnati-raised, and currently based in Los Angeles screenwriter, director, and producer. She studied in UCLA’s Extension Writers Program after moving to Los Angeles when she was 18. Soon after, she became a screenwriter in Hollywood. Sheri was a writer on the critically acclaimed independent feature film, MacArthur Parkdirected by Billy Wirth, which premiered at Sundance and is distributed by The Sundance Channel.
Sussman has written, directed and produced award-winning feature films, documentaries and shorts. His work has been screened at over 50 film festivals. Currently, Sussman is a judge for the prestigious PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. As founder of Spiral Gate Productions, she has worked with a wide range of respected veterans and up-and-coming talent in the entertainment industry.
Toward the end of the interview, Sussman had a tantalizing response when asked what she has in store for her as a writer, producer, and director.
“I am editing my first feature film which I will direct. I’ve written two articles – so whoever gets the funding first is what I’ll do. One is a satire on Hollywood titled, Just another day in Hollywoodin the vein of Adaptation & The player. The other is the feature of this short that Ian and I collaborated on the story called At Sam’s. Ian will play there and is also a partner (sic) of the project.
What else do you think Sussman has up her sleeve now that the pandemic is no match for her? Let us know in the comments!