In a world of instant gratification, filmmaking is hardly instant. It takes time, resourcefulness and a hardworking team to make a great project come to life. With a background in music video and commercial work, Jesse Vinton of Vinton Depiction decided to take on the task of his first short film, but he found himself distracted. There were so many vices and temptations preventing him from writing the script. It led him to contemplate the concept of instant gratification itself. “We’ve become obsessed with material satisfaction. We dissect our lives into problems that can be fixed through a fleeting purchase or experience…’Sex,’ ‘money,’ and ‘power’; these are the central allures of this ‘cult of the self’ ideology. It’s all around us and it’s a trap.”
Using this as the seed of inspiration, Jesse worked with a co-writing team to develop the story of a protagonist fixated on these 3 temptations. A story where despite the “morally righteous” choice being clear, the difficulty of overcoming temptations consumes him as he contemplates this choice.
Inspired by films like Eyes Wide Shut and the legendary Rothschild masquerade parties, Jesse created an opulent world of elaborate costumery and excessive wealth as the backdrop for the story; a “nightmarish playground” for the characters to conflict with one another. Here he engaged production designer Hari Khalsa, the original costumes of Clayton Beck, and the original music of Jeff Tinsley to ensure the right tone and context for the story.
Jesse turned to Reed Harvey to bring his keen audio sensibilities to the film’s sound design. Off the shelf effects were not going to be appropriate for a production of this detail, so Reed and Jesse went through the effort of gathering a cast of talent to create the buzz of a well-attended masquerade party, as well as other wild sounds. Each section of the film required different textural sound elements. For instance, layers of whispering and sighing by multiple female actors lent itself well to the Desire scene, whereas the power and money scenes included more upbeat and frenetic sounds.
Hardly a product of instant gratification, Jesse’s hard work pays off as Masks of Desire skillfully explores the dark side of human psychology with rich details and fantasy-laden flair.
Masks of Desire premieres Thursday, October 12th 8:15pm at Cinema 21. A Q&A and social hour will follow film. Get the details on the event here.