BendFilm: Caught in the ‘Under-Tow’

Willie Carpenter as Norm in "Under-Tow"

A young woman goes to find the father she’s never known. Although they meet, both of them are weighed down by things that stand in the way of forgiveness.

That’s the premise of Under-Tow, says first-time filmmaker Miles Orion Feld. The 24-minute short makes its BendFilm debut at 3:30 this afternoon at the Old Mill Regal 1 Cinema.

“The story is about two people trying to come together,” says writer-director Feld, who cast his fiancee, Diarra Kilpatrick, as the female lead.

Viewers might reasonably expect a short movie with the flavor of a stage play. Miles’ background is theater; born in California, he is a New York University graduate who has directed plays from New York to Bangkok. “But I always wanted to direct movies,” he told me.

After writing the script for Under-Tow, Feld recruited his sister, Annie Feld, a New York film school graduate, as editor and producer. Together they raised the $15,000 they needed for the film. “Everyone on the crew is someone who I’ve worked with at some time,” Feld said.

He cut financial corners everywhere — except when it came to feeding the crew well. “I’ve seen caterers deliver eggs McMuffin to other companies,” he said. “We were eating Cornish game hen.”

The film took about five days to shoot in the Los Angeles area, he said. “We shot many of our scenes in Malibu, at a porn producer’s house,” he said. “His main stipulation was that he got to walk around the set holding his dog. He had cameras in every room in the house. I told my actors to be careful, when they dressed, to stand behind a towel.”

In addition to Diarra Kilpatrick, the movie stars Willie Carpenter, and features Jeryl Prescott and Cheryl Lewis.

As a stage director, Feld said his favorite production was Our Lady of 121 st Street, which he presented in New York. “Our Lady is a play about all these people who are trying to come together, but they don’t know how,” Feld said. “At the end of that play, all you get is a brief moment of connection; then the play is over.

“In a way, Under-Tow is similar. The father and daughter don’t know how to come together even though they both want to.”

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