“J.P.” by Zack Williams kicks off our filmmaker features with a short and sweet tale about a boy and his fish. Zach Williams, director and main character (J.P.-the-fish’s owner), discusses the main themes of his micro short and what it meant to capture these small, simple moments, “I don’t think there is anything simpler than someone trying to find a friend, so we went from there.”

Short and simple is key. “J.P.” travels through seemingly mundane city shots and park bench scenes only to gently escalate to the beautiful environment of Independence Day at The Point. These scenes move seamlessly together with the melodic notes that thread them, “I absolutely loved scoring it. When we were filming, we had an idea of what we wanted musically, but nothing specific. I sat on the footage for about four months then cut it together and scored it in a day. As soon as I started adding music, it truly came alive. All of a sudden there was some meaning behind it.”

At only 3:30 minutes, this film joins multiple microfilms that grace Indie Oaks festival this year, “Short films are so fundamentally different in story structure than feature films, and I think this was the beginning of us truly realizing that,” explains Williams. “There was no screenplay. We instead created a general outline for the direction of the film and filmed mostly on the spot. The dialogue is completely improvised. However, I knew I wanted to keep it to a minimum.”

The theme of finding friends and kind strangers came full circle in Williams’ experiences filming “J.P”, “I kept spilling so much water out of that damn fish bowl. The bus driver was cool with us taking a fishbowl with a live fish on the bus though, so props to him. We need more people like him.”

See “J.P.” travel across Pittsburgh, April 15 at Indie Oaks Film Festival.
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