A poverty-stricken father and son struggle to survive in a region of the Middle East frequently targeted by unmanned aerial strikes. From the Sky is a narrative short film about living under drones, from writer/director Ian Ebright and producer Jessica Grant.
From the Sky had it’s world premier at the Newport Beach Film Festival 2014 and was an official selection of the Seattle International Film Festival 2014.
Character development is the most essential part of a film. The characters inform everything from colors, textures, props, set and script. Research and development was key in ensuring authenticity to the characters, the story and the set. Though the father and son are nomadic goat herders, we wanted a small, transportable structure to symbolize family and stability. The campfire is also a nod to how the father loves and cares for his son. They don’t have much, but they take great care with the things they do have. Below are sketches of the campsite and tent.
In addition to Production Design, I was also the Costume Designer. For me, the combination of these two roles is a welcome task.
The costumes were a great challenge in color, texture and cut. We decided that the father (Hakeem) should carry the same visual weight as the main traveler (Dhiya). Hakeem (Maz Siam) is dressed in tranquil blues and greys while Dhiya (Steven Soro) wears energetic red/browns and oranges. Both encompass opposite ends of the spectrum.
Abbas (Mohamad Tamimi) is Hakeem’s son. It was important to show the connection to his father and their traditions while hinting at the struggle within himself and longing for a different way. For that reason, we chose some of the neutral tones of the landscape combined with the blues of his father and a bit of brown from Dhiya.
Samir (Georges Chalhoub) is the wildcard character, we never really hint at where he may be from and we are never quite sure how strong his allegiances are. He plays an important role, but we wanted his character to blend into the story as well the environment. He wears all neutral tones with just a touch of black.
Additional Production Stills (Photos by Tony Tibbetts):