Close Quarters

2006 · 6:48 · written by Pam W. Coughlan, William R. Coughlan, Nello DeBlasio, Shawn “Felt” Felty & Kori A. Lusignan · produced by Pam W. Coughlan · directed by William R. Coughlan

Every Sunday, a group of close friends gets together for a backyard barbecue. But one day, Smitty decides to bring along his new girlfriend — and everyone is shocked to discover that she looks strikingly similar to Samantha, another friend who died several years ago. As the afternoon progresses, each of the friends must not only deal with the new addition to their little circle, but confront the ghosts of their own past relationships — resulting in unplanned revelations.

Once again, Tohubohu Productions returned to the 48 Hour Film Project with “Close Quarters” — a drama (a brand-new genre for the 2006 competition) produced entirely over the weekend of May 5–May 7. Frequent Tohubohu director William R. Coughlan returned to helm the effort, and Pam W. Coughlan (who had previously appeared in “Schlimmer,” “Screening Process,” and “The Big Lie,” as well as producing “A Birthday Movie”), took on the producer’s role. The short premiered at the AFI Silver Theatre on Friday, May 12, 2006.

48 Hour Film Project IMDb
‘Close Quarters’ really gave us a chance to bring together some of the best talents from our previous pictures in a new dramatic situation. Dramatic not only in terms of the team dynamics we hoped to exploit, but also in that ‘drama’ was the mandatory genre handed to us by the 48 Hour Film Project, the competition for which the film was being made. I would be stepping back into the director’s chair, and Pam Coughlan would be taking the producer’s reins on her first full-fledged short for our catalog. Regulars Stuart Scotten, Shawn Felty, and Nello DeBlasio would be stepping back in front of the camera, along with Christine Willand (having first appeared in ‘Homemade Hero’), Bjorn Munson (having been behind the scenes for our last several efforts), and Kori Lusignan (flying in from Chicago for her first Tohubohu appearance since ‘Schlimmer’). In the absence of a dedicated writer (‘Homemade Hero’ writer Julia Montgomery had to bow out this time around), our improv-trained cast worked to structure a dramatic storyline, taking a dramatic catalyst and following each of our characters’ reaction to it. In looking at the preliminary edit (editor Larry Contratti worked concurrent with principal photography), we realized that the initial setup was coming across as overly vague, so Pam reassembled a skeleton crew and two actors to shoot a new introductory scene (written on the way into the editing studio), and we were able to incorporate the new footage that afternoon — turning in the finished product right at the final deadline. Though an ensemble drama is tough to convey in such a short form, some great performances and character work make this a distinct and memorable piece in its own right.
— William R. Coughlan