The Ultimate (By Lou Fescano)

Directed by Daniel Jaffe

Nicole returns home to New Jersey after her high school ex Lou dies very unexpectedly. Sadly, he is only survived by his brother Joe. He urgently tells her he has something to share with her (in person) and so our story begins. Joe reads a passage from the beginning of a script titled "The Ultimate" (written by Lou) and we quickly learn that this film is not only bad but potentially problematic. And, Joe thinks discovering the film is nothing short of a sign: they must make it. Armed with a maroon Avery 3 ring binder in hand, Nicole navigates her past identity with present, deciding if she should make the film in his honor or speak honestly. The decision is not an easy one.


War Story

Well, this film was by far the craziest act of planning and executing I've ever embarked on. We had an initial 5-day shoot that we quickly realized was not enough, unfortunately. So we essentially shot an additional weekend at a later date after we had started editing. Some of the shots in the party scene or in the office were filmed MONTHS after the initial shoot. Even just singles, reactions of characters, etc. This was truly insane BUT definitely allowed us to continue to try and bridge a very difficult tone and subject matter with comedy and sensitivity. Other than that, the editing process was pretty intense and there were lots of VFX which we had no money for so I tried to learn how to do it myself. We shot at a Universalist Church in Montclair (for the funeral scenes) and realized after the fact there were no crosses anywhere! So we superimposed them on the walls and hopefully got away with it. I guess the one really funny story was: we were shooting in Michelle's dad's office in New Jersey and wanted the characters to be smoking a joint (the prop, herbal kind). However, Michelle's dad was worried about one of his employee's severe allergies and shut that idea down; to which Michelle got furious and told him she would "never forgive him." Eventually, I sat down with both parties and figured out an alternative. Obviously tensions were high and even higher when you're dealing with family. But hey, thank god for vaping I guess...


About the Director

Daniel Jaffe is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and artist hailing from San Diego, California, currently living in New York City. In 2012, Daniel graduated from NYU's Tisch Film & Television department. In terms of narrative work, Daniel has made several short films shown at SXSW, Telluride Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Slamdance, Palm Springs ShortFest, Brooklyn Film Festival, Flickers Rhode Island, The Ivy, No Budge Live, Woods Hole, and Las Vegas, as well as having work featured on Short Of The Week, NoBudge, The Bureau of Creative Works, and the Slamdance Channel. In 2013, Daniel wrote and directed a three-episode web pilot for MTV. Currently Daniel is writing and developing his first feature, as well as some television and other short-form work.


Credits

Cast | Michelle Uranowitz, Brandon Uranowitz, Clare McNulty, Lisa Haas, Jonathan Marballi, Tony Markouris, Nate Miller, Maggie McDowell, Nnenna Obiakwata, and Ione Davina.

Writers | Daniel Jaffe and Michelle Uranowitz

Director | Daniel Jaffe

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