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The Kidnapping of a Fish

Author: Robert Creenan

A new short film by Buffalo born director Philip A. Ramos recently screened for family and friends at The Screening Room Cafe in Amherst. Ramos presented his first attempt at writing and directing ‘The Kidnapping of a Fish’ The plot revolves around a guy who is kidnapped and wonders if his girlfriend is the reason. It’s the first project Ramos wrote and directed since he attended NYU film school.

This film came out of Ramos’s partnership with writer/director John D. Hay on his web series, ‘Work in Progress’.

“Working on the web series made me reinvigorated,” Ramos said. To the point where he wanted to produce a short film, and hopefully a feature film. After the first season ended in May, he set out to film his idea, which had been in his head a while. The short was filmed over the course of 5 days in July of 2015 in New York.

While working on editing it down, Ramos had it to 25 minutes, but typical short films screened at festivals are between 12 and 14 minutes. Ramos wasn’t satisfied with a shorter version of this film. When showing the different versions to people that accept films for various festivals, he was told the 25-minute cut would be accepted.

Ramos primarily works as a production coordinator in television and movies. Some of the shows in his portfolio include Mysteries of Laura and The Big C. His movies include Tracers, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, and the Bourne Ultimatum.

Over the next year, The Kidnapping of a Fish will appear at Cannes Film festival, Big Island festival in Hawaii, Hang Onto Your Shorts festival in New Jersey, and Sunscreen film festival in St. Petersburg, Florida. His most recent acceptance was into the Tokyo film festival. Ramos plans on traveling to all of them.

Following is a short Q&A with Ramos, who still has solid connections to Buffalo:

You grew up in Buffalo?

I was born at Millard Fillmore hospital in Buffalo, NY. I grew up in Westfield, NY (chautauqua County), went to Westfield Academy and went to NYU to pursue my dreams of becoming a writer/director of feature films.

How did you get your start in the business?

I made my way up to becoming a Production Coordinator of feature films like Click, Tracers, War of the Worlds, The Big C, Mysteries of Laura. I’m a member of the Producers Guild of America as well.

How did this new short film come about?

But all of that is non-creative, I was asked by Team biscuit films to produce their web series called Work in Progress, and that led me to asking them if they could allow me to write and direct this short film THE KIDNAPPING OF A FISH.

Who/what were your influences? 

My parents are both retired doctors — My dad Fidel R. Ramos Jr. was a surgeon at Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Westfield Memorial Hospital and My mom Lolita Alvarez Ramos M.D. was an anesthesiologist at Kenmore Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, NY. and Westfield Memorial Hospital.  My father passed away two years ago and was very influential in my making this short film.

What inspired you?

My favorite kind of story is putting a regular mild-mannered guy into extraordinary situations — situations that everyone can relate to but set to a grander scale and I gravitate more towards movies that have commercial appeal but have strong emotional elements as well. My favorite movie of all time is Back to the Future.

Where will this short film lead you next?

The basis of the short film was to take elements of a feature length screenplay that I had already done and then use the short as proof of concept and find funding for the feature. The feature is a spy comedy called Trevor and will star up and coming actors Stephen Friedrich and Theodora Woolley. I plan to shoot parts of this in Buffalo and my Christmas Screenplay is set in Buffalo, NY. Currently looking for investors as I self-financed this short film.

What did the production on the short entail?

The short film was shot in 5 days. I edited on Premiere Pro and did the titles myself on After effects.  Hired a music composer and worked with her for 8 weeks.

Where does the short go from here?

The film has been accepted into the Cannes Film Festival/Short Film corner. It is also an official selection of the Big Island Film Festival, the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg Florida, The Hang Onto Your shorts film festival in NJ (which also has given us four nominations including best short, best director, Best actor and Actress) and the Tokyo Lift off film festival.

Work in progress web series:

Written by BRo Guest Authors

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It’s not unusual for authors to come and go. Guest authors range from collegiate interns to writers who will be contributing for a short stint of time. Guest authors might also have a series in mind. Authors are encouraged to submit their ideas to BRO (Buffalo Rising Online), upon which time we will work with the writer towards a productive end.

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