Mashup: Bernie and Rebecca

By Jo Phillips


Bernie and Rebecca is a short film about a blind date that turns into an experience of a lifetime, it is directed by Melissa Kent who is making her directional debut with the film. The short has won a number of awards including the Award of Excellence Special Mention at the IndieFEST Film Awards, and the Movie Waffler said that the film was

“…both funny and moving. A heartfelt and clever short that offers thoughtful meditation on the nature of time and love.” 

We interviewed the director of Bernie and Rebecca to respond to some of our unanswered questions about film making (Mini spoiler alert)…

What makes for a good short film, and how is this different from a regular full-length feature?

Melissa Kent: For a film of any length I like to adhere to the Pixar philosophy: a compelling story with likable characters in a believable world. If a feature film can afford ten minutes to establish the tone, the main character and what his/her journey and obstacles will be; then for my 14-minute short I allowed one minute.


What makes you want to cast a specific actor, again particularly for a short?

MK: While collaborating with casting directors Meg Morman and Sunday Boling I watched a lot of actor’s reels and TV shows to get a sense of people’s work. Kyle Davis was the perfect person to bring Bernie to life with his sincere, likable qualities and natural humor. Brianna Barnes’ early career as a model was very close to the backstory I had imagined for Rebecca and she connected with the character on a deep, personal level.


What difference do things like colours make to a film?

MK: The choice of a color palette definitely informs the story. Some directors choose a painting they love and match the costumes and sets to those colors. Because much of Bernie and Rebecca’s date is a night interior with warm, muted tones, I wanted the day exteriors of their future to feel vibrant and hopeful, complete with sun flares. Then as the story gets dark, the sky is overcast and the interiors are more blue, until the last flash-forward features an older Bernie only in silhouette.


Do you ‘see’ what you want to film before you come to film a piece?  If so, how does that process work for you??

MK: I did visualize every shot very carefully so there was an efficient plan in place to tell the story. As the shooting day unfolds though, it is important to be open to the magic of the moment and what the actors bring on the day. Also, I was getting tired of night interiors so I nixed a scene where they imagine their wedding night in a hotel and instead added the wedding! Luckily Kyle fit in my husband’s tux and Brianna slipped into my wedding gown and voilà, an outdoor wedding. Sometimes spontaneity saves the day.


You can find out more about Bernie and Rebecca here,

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