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How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Shooting in Extreme Weather Conditions for ‘Lake Los Angeles’

How I Shot That (LAFF Edition): Shooting in Extreme Weather Conditions for 'Lake Los Angeles'

Mike Ott has made four feature films over his short career and received numerous accolades, including an Independent Spirit Award. His newest, “Lake Los Angeles,” focuses on the intermingling lives of middle-aged Cuban exile worker Francisco and a ten-year-old Mexican girl who crosses the border without her family. It premiered on June 14 at the Los Angeles Film Festival

[Editor’s Note: Indiewire reached out to filmmakers with films playing at the 20th LA Film Festival (June 11-19) to ask them about how they shot their indie, and what advice they had for other filmmakers. We’ll be posting their responses throughout the run of the festival. Go HERE for the master list.]

What camera and lens did you use? Camera: Red Lens: Cooke mk3 25-250

What was the most difficult shoot on your movie and how did you pull it off? We shot on top of this mountain in Mojave where we were doing a very slow zoom shot on a character about 500 yards away. When we got up there, the wind was blowing at about 60 miles an hour knocking our crew and equipment all over the place. One of the camera assistants had to hold the lead actress (who weighs about 50 pounds) down by her ankles for fear that she would be swept off the mountain by the wind. Not sure if we pulled it off, but we tried.

What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you BEFORE you started your movie? That there would be 60 mile per hour winds in Mojave.

What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got? That there’s only one way to really make a film.

What’s the best? There is no right or wrong way to make a film.

What advice do you have for aspiring or first-time filmmakers? Don’t listen to anyone and make your film.

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