VSA’s Paul Bland takes the leap from the monitor to the big screen

Rescue is a short film following a young woman struggling to connect with the world she captures in frozen images. It’s also the latest work from VSA Partners Senior Developer Paul Bland, who recently screened it for coworkers at his New York office.

“Film has had an enormous role in my life,” recalled Bland. “I’ve been fascinated by independent film, film festivals and world cinema since I was quite young.” Discovering this passion as a teenager in suburban Australia was the catalyst that led Bland to a larger creative community and career path; he’s made four short films since 2002, and spent two months in 2010 at the New York Film Academy in an immersive program .

Bland continuously finds himself entranced by the combination of art and science that brings a film together. “There’s the technical world of cameras, lenses, digital codecs, lighting and sound equipment, microphones, bit rates, etc. But the other half of the equation is the art form: the writing, the words, the ideas, the emotion, the story. One cannot exist without the other. What I do at VSA, web development, is the same combination—written in code and algorithms but at the end of the day is entirely visual.”

Bland’s ambitions for completing Rescue were, like all labors of love, frequently endangered by time constraints. “The project was limited to evenings and weekends, which meant the rest of my life was pretty much on hold during production. Every second of spare time for months was spent organizing things.” Bland wanted to use as few professional resources as possible, so he enlisted the help of VSA comrades—current VSAers Xichuan Wang (gaffer/extra), Tyler and Lee Sargent (composers, previously of the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), and Maurice Downes (sound recorder, holding the boom mic in the above photo) contributed, while former VSAers served as extras and camera assistants. The only hired cast and crew he used were two actors and the hair and make-up team.

Bland gained much from the experience, especially the satisfaction of creating something entirely from scratch. And he admitted that it was something of a personal test: “Overall, I’ve proven that I’m capable of making something that looks reasonably professional, which gives me the confidence to put more time, effort and budget into the next one.”

Rescue is being submitted to film festivals around the world, and will be available to the public online later in 2014. Follow Bland at his Vimeo page for clips and an exclusive look at the Rescue trailer, posting soon. As for future projects, Bland said simply, “There will be more. Many, no doubt.”