A watered down award winner hits big at film fest

By KatherineGamby

Cameras flash as Jacqueline Bisset and Martin Landau stand beside a young gentleman as he holds the Chicago Award with a big smile on his face that surely spanned from ear to ear. Brad Bischoff won the Chicago Award at the Chicago International Film Festival for his short film, Wet.

The film, which was produced by Bischoff’s own production company, Rubbish, is about a young man who has trouble fitting into society because he is constantly wet. The story came from an idea that Bischoff, a Columbia student and director of Wet, had about five years ago while he was showering.

“I’ve always been fascinated with water,” Bischoff said. “It’s a completely character-driven film … It’s a day in the life of this outcast character that represents the essence of water and is rejected by everybody around him because of his appearance.”

During the production of the film, Bischoff said the tone became more dramatic instead of comedic as it was originally planned.

“I was still happy to see the laughter in the theater at this oddball character, so it was good,” he said.

When he won the award, Bischoff was happy that he had the honor of winning the acclaimed award after previously submitting one of his pieces in last year’s festival.

“It’s insane … It’s inspirational to me to keep creating and keep representing Chicago—that’s my dream,” Bischoff said.

He said it is fulfilling for him that his films from college classes have been accepted into the prestigious Chicago International Film Festival.

“The thing that makes me the happiest is I’ve had both of my Production I and II films in this festival and I hope people will start taking [those classes] to make the film [they] want to make. Don’t wait until your senior thesis film,” Bischoff said.

Though the film won the award, the crew did encounter some struggles on the road to success.

“It was great, but very stressful; we shot in three days in the Loop and one sequence in Kenosha,” said Bob Zegler, a producer for Rubbish.

Along with the strain of location change and time constraints, lack of water was another challenge.

“Me and another art director, Ellie, basically would have to go throughout the entire Loop and try and find places where we could get these entire gallon jugs filled with water,” said Nick Santore, art director for Rubbish.

He said they encountered people who wanted to know what they were doing and requested that they leave, but Santore replied saying that he and the other art director were conducting a photo shoot. He said that one of the most difficult aspects of filming was giving the illusion that water was present at all times.

“We would attach these hoses to the top of his head with like clips and devise a pump system where the water would stream down his face for the close-ups,” Santore said. “The biggest trick was also for the point-of-view shots to devise a rig that would stream water in front of the lense.”

The crew used a pipe-and-fountain method to avoid getting the camera wet, which proved successful. Santore was pleased to see the finished product which he describes as a humanities-type piece.

“I think it’s a piece [about] trying to find your place in a society where you don’t belong,” Santore said.

For more information on Rubbish and to get a link to view some of their production work on YouTube, visit LookAtRubbish.com.