The Ice Blossom (2007) 81 minutes Bismarck, North Dakota
Writer/Director: Brian Ray Davenport
Director of Photography: Nick Karner
With: Eric Hanson, Laura Davenport, Farren Gunderson, Natasha Petry
IMDB SYNOPSIS: After coming to terms with the downfall of his last relationship, Monroe thinks he is ready to move on. Monroe has had his eyes on one girl, Chelsea. Although she is already pregnant with an ex-boyfriend's baby, Monroe asks her out. While on their first date, things are going well until Monroe receives a devastating phone call, his grandfather has just died of a stroke and he must travel to Elgin, North Dakota to attend the funeral. On the drive to Chelsea's apartment, she offers to accompany the clearly crushed Monroe for the road trip. Throughout the journey they begin to learn more and understand each other better, but before they get to their destination, fate will test them in events they never could have imagined.
History and Trivia:
I met Brian Davenport at the NYFA in London. Being the only Americans there, we quickly bonded. He was, and still is, an obsessive Stanley Kubrick fan, which was just fine by me since Kubrick's work is the reason I became a filmmaker. I even got to watch "Fear and Desire" at his apartment since Brian had a bootleg copy.
I was flown out to Bismarck, North Dakota. I thought I knew what cold was. The land was beautiful. Nothing but flatlands and sky, so it was like shooting a David Lean film. We took full advantage and filmed some pretty epic wide shots. Being a road movie, we rented a flatbed truck and used my Sticky Pod(a suction cup tripod device) to rig the camera to the hood of the car.
Although it's not mentioned in the synopsis above, Monroe and Chelsea's car breaks down and they're stranded in the middle of nowhere. Our cell phones didn't work in this area at all and we only had one car, so if we'd broken down, it pretty much would've been art imitating life.
Brian altered some script elements during the shoot. In the original script, they both die, but he changed it so only one dies and the other's fate is a bit more ambiguous. This gave us the chance to do a great final shot, which I still love to this day. Also, in the editing, he decided to cut a kissing scene between Monroe and Chelsea. I've never been certain why. Chelsea was played by Brian's wife, Laura, so maybe it had something to do with that, but it definitely changed the dynamic between the characters.
And, finally, I must mention that I have a small cameo as a Fargo-accented gas station attendant. This couldn't have happened on a worst day. We shot the entire scene with close-up's and over the shoulder shots and while we were packing up, I checked the footage and found that the new footage was fighting the old footage. It turns out that Brian was using old dv tapes from the studio where he worked and it was like trying to tape over a VHS tape. The gas station was in full service so we ended up re-shooting the entire scene in a master shot. Although I don't shoot on tape anymore, it's taught me to always check footage before leaving the set.