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Award-Winning Short 'Voice Over' Breaks Narrative Conventions to Reveal Life's Significant Moments

02.21.13 @ 12:30PM Tags : , , , ,

You’re the astronaut who’ll never reach the oxygen tanks. No hold on, on second thoughts you’re the bleeding soldier who can’t detonate the charges. Actually scrap that, you’re the fisherman being dragged to the bottomless depths. Or perhaps you’re someone completely different? Martín Rosete’s 10 minute short Voice Over depicts the urgency of life’s pivotal moments in a desperate race against time. Watch it after the break.

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As is evident from the onscreen action, which begins in high tension mode and doesn’t really let up until its final moments, Voice Over was a pretty ambitious production to undertake. With a script penned by Luis Berdejo (writer of [REC] and [REC]3) — that called for locations as far-ranging as Tenerife’s Mount Teide, World War I trenches, and the open sea – four production companies from across Spain were required to band together to pull off the eight day, Red One shoot. With the majority of shots requiring added effects or visual retouching, the production turned to Kickstarter after principal photography with a $10,000 goal for post work, which they successfully met.

Take a look at this behind the scenes video, which does a decent job of representing most of the departments:

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There are also a stack of shorter on-set and behind the scenes videos on the Kamel Films Vimeo page which are worth a look even if you don’t happen to speak Spanish.

Voice over in film is often used as a crutch to attempt to shore up broken stories or shoehorn in lacking exposition. But Voice Over creatively employs it as a tool which re-writes the narrative before our eyes and ultimately invites us to consider the link between potentially life-threatening events and the significant possibilities of new experience. No wonder the film has gone on to scoop up 44 awards at more than 80 selections, including the Runner Up spot at last year’s Shot on Red Film Festival. It also landed director Martín Rosete representation with William Morris Endeavor, who are helping him search for a script to become his narrative feature debut. Not too shabby an outcome.

What did you think of Voice Over? Are there other voice over driven shorts which have left an impression on you?

Link: Voice Over — Website


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Description image 25 COMMENTS

  • Yep, saw this a few weeks back. Solid writing and well executed. Great stuff.

  • Very good! Only bad shot that took my out of the experience was at 08:03.

  • This short is just gorgeous. I still don’t get the problem with skin tones people talk so much about red cams… Really, if you know what you doing, it’s such a good camera (MX, scarlet, EPIC). Another piece fo art to prove it.

    the making of is also invaluable and fits perfectly with this post, so much good info on light setup and art stuff.

    Thanks guys!

  • Big fan of Mar Belle’s posts, always worth the reading and watching. Thank you

  • Buster Blakeney on 02.21.13 @ 4:52PM

    Wish I could’ve said I loved it, but with the resources clearly expended on this thing I’d like to think they could’ve made something a bit more captivating. The whole thing was only going one place, and when it got there, I felt cheated out of the ruse that could’ve been.

    • Agreed. For me the voice felt like a gimmick that took away the strength of the images. You don’t a need a voice telling me how desperate the characters are, just show it ( Exception: the fisherman bit was pretty good.) The deus ex-machina ending also pissed me off.

  • Saw it in 4K at the RED Film Fest and looked amazing!

  • This is exactly how young kid’s imagination works. Good one.

  • Visually, this is fantastic short, with a superb production value. But the one thing that let it down for me is the actual voice over. It felt very cliche and much like a lot of other films narrated by Andre Dussollier. I would have much preferred to hear this in Spanish.

  • This is boring. High Tension Mode? Seeing a guy walk/jog/run = tension? Give me a break. The guy has a limited supply of air and is runnign around? What, he’s too stupid to know that uses up more oxygen? The voice over had no emotion, nothing, just a dry voice disconnected from the images. Maybe it’s technically well put together but, again it’s boring.

    • I thought it was damn goo short. Maybe its that theres an alien monster in your trousers? It doesnt matter, it worked in the over all story. Maybe stick to FredieW stuff with explosions and fist person shooting? :/

    • For me the three life threatening scenarios the lead finds himself in are the type of thing I could see occurring at a pivotal/climactic (high tension) point of a narrative that was focussed solely on that story.

  • So critical jeeez…. just enjoy the damn film

  • as a french person, the voice over felt very cliché.
    the 3 situations were well shot, but i felt that the writer just so too lazy to give us a proper ending,
    and ended up just filming 2 kids by a pool cause its cute and people will buy it

  • It’s discouraging to see more and more short films to pan out stories in a manner of ‘mini- epic’ scale productions. From Oscar nominated shorts “Death of a Shadow”, Afghanistan shot Buzkashi Boys to “Voice-Over” set in three/four exotic locations,

    increasingly short filmmakers are trying to mimic the scale of its big brother feature length movies into the span of a short film. These productions has hardly anything inspirational to offer to would-be filmmakers with a micro to no-budget. Writers are taking the easy way out on crafting stories on ‘epic’ format rather than taking the challenge of crafting rewarding experiences from much simpler stories but compelling, with complex characters, less exotic locations and contrainst imposed by a ‘real’ low budget.

    I would like to see the producers actually add up all the ‘free service’ from cast and crew, the four productions companies and the Canary Island & Teneriffe’s toursim departments before the utter ‘low & restricted budget’ for this production. It is simply a false claim to do that.

    • I have to disagree with you, I’m inspired. I’m working on a short film right now and I saw this about a month ago promptly sent it to everyone involved because I liked it so much

  • Truly one of my favorite short films I’ve seen. I don’t exactly understand all the hate.

    If I spoke french the effect might be lost on me, but I’ve really been digging subtitled shorts lately,

    • I speak French and English. English being my native language, and the effect wasn’t lost on me. I still wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but overall i think it was pretty great.

      • Cool, it’s just interesting to me watching something in a language that I don’t understand because a lot of it is being left to my imagination. When you rely on subtitles I think it’s a different experience, if that makes any sense.

        I saw a short that might have been featured on this site I forget but it was in french and was animated and went from being really poor line drawings to more complicated animation and ended in total chaos and was narrated with subtitles and it was awesome. But I thought that if I was actually listening for dialogue I might not have liked it so much.

  • This is an incredible piece of work. And I’m a huge fan of the writer, but this short makes me realise how disinterested my film industry (South Africa) is in affording us to make shorts of this quality. I mean the production alone must have cost them thousands of dollars, never mind the $10k they needed for post. But it shows that team work and ambition have no limits. We could learn a lot from this.

  • It was good, but I definitely don’t think it was the best short film I’ve ever seen and it didn’t look that amazing to me. Doesn’t seem like it should have been that big of a production other than the underwater shots. Still… I enjoyed it.