Refuge from the Storm: Behind the Scenes Look

Men with Lights

Every year at the Oscars, the film industry celebrates the artistry of its cinematographers and directors of photography. They should. A good cinematographer can take a decent story and make it breathtaking.

Thanks to director Elias Acosta, the Refuge from the Storm production had an outstanding cinematographer—Bruce Logan ASC.

They’re friends.

We talked about Bruce in an earlier article.

What people outside the actual filmmaking industry might not know is that no cinematographer is an island. He or she needs his gaffer and an no nonsense team light their visual confections.

We’ll never look at an inside daylight scene the same again.…he-scenes-look/

Photo Courtesy The Decider

Enter Mr. Kevin Funaki, Mr. Trevor Elliot, and Mr. Tommy Gallagher (and company).

They are to lighting, what Heimdall is to Thor–keeping out the forces of darkness.

They have the ability to make the lighting effects happen. And we mean that in a very super hero, man-of-steel sort of way, despite the fact that Kevin is a Raiders fan. 🙂

As a reminder, Vista Films International is based in San Diego.

On Location Butt Saving

Case in point, Linda is at a yogurt shop one night when she runs into Steve. If you look behind her to the left, you see a shop with sit-by-the-fire warmth beaming through its window. It undeniably adds to the gorgeousness of the shot. Thanks to Bruce, Kevin and the guys.

Here’s what happened. The locations manager was supposed to arrange to have that shop stay open long enough to keep their windows lit. Never happened.

Bruce Logan: I need that window lit.

Locations Manager: Ugh!?  OMG. What now? How am I going to light this effin shop window?

Yogurt Shop Owner: Here’s their number.

Owner of Shop with Dark Window: Ain’t no way I’m coming back to light you up, babe.

Locations Manager: S#?@!! Now what?

Nothing necessary. Kevin and the guys already lit the place by shooting a few angled spots from under the awning. Here’s what the screen looked like:…he-scenes-look/


In the end, it worked out better than the shop’s cold, in-house flourescents.

That’s what we mean by superheros. Front light, side light, backlight—and uncooperative store light—all lit to perfection.

San Diego Film Equipment

Trevor Elliot has been shooting films since middle school. He’s currently a partner and director of photography for San Diego Film Equipment. He recently finished a gig as director of photography for a film short called Homestead. It’s in coloration with Bruce Logan at the moment, and will be part of a festival release.

Logan communicated light setups to Kevin Funaki, the gaffer. The grips helped set lights as well as facilitate camera movements.

Elliott shared what it was like to work with Logan. Bruce Logan is highly respected. He was the director of photography for TRON. It was amazing to with so closely with the cinematographer. That doesn’t happen on a big picture. Refuge was a small film, so there was time to really pick his brain. It was a tremendous learning experience.


Film Terminology

A Gaffer is the chief electrician. He coordinates how the lights will be placed | powered.

The Grips support camera crew with positioning: dolly, crane, or ladder shots achieve optimal storytelling angles.

See the visuals in the DVD.





Got Fear? Read This Now…

Don Sutherland, U.S. Air Force. Public Domain. courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Don Sutherland, U.S. Air Force. Public Domain. courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Here Are 10 Things You Can Today Do To Overcome Fear

Fear is always wrong. It’s got many faces. It’s known as doubt, worry, anxiety—and the list goes on.

The late great Napoleon Hill said in his book The Laws of Success in Sixteen Lessons, “Fear is nothing but faith [believing] in reverse gear.” That was 1921, almost 100 years ago, and it’s still true today.

You don’t need to be a biblical scholar to know that fear goes against God’s plan for his people.

2 Timothy 1:7 reads: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

3 John 2 reads: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 

When you connect the dots, you realize—not only does God want us NOT to fear, but He actually wants us to prosper and be in health.

Fear won’t bring about prosperity. It’s definitely believing in reverse gear.

As VFI films continues our celebration milestone of the Refuge from the Storm DVD release, we’re going to show you 10 things you can do today to overcome fear.

Keep in mind that this is a continuing process. You’re changing mental habit patterns. But if you read our last article on forgiveness, you’ll know how changeable thoughts are.

1. Involve God. Pray. Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fear.

2. Recognize that God did NOT originate your fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

3. Identify your fear. Write it out if you have to. Getting clear will allow you to get specific about defeating it.

4. Claim your victory. Say it out loud if you have to. “Fear, you have no power over me. My trust is in God.”

I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Replace thoughts of fear with thoughts of love. 1 John 4:18 reads: there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.

Perfect love casts fear right out. It’s simple.

I John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6. Act on a promise that quenches the fear. Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

When you know God is by your side, you know you’re on the game-winning team.

7. Live a now-until-bedtime mindset. Tackle your challenges one day at a time. Don’t go outside that. It’s amazing what God can do in a day. Read Genesis 1 as a reminder.

8. Find out what might be triggering fearful thoughts. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that Ted advised Linda to get rid of things in her environment that made her feel bad about herself. If you have a nagging fear, maybe there’s something in your house that’s triggering those thoughts.

See Linda’s true story on the DVD.

9. Prepare your fearlessness script. Write it out. At key moments throughout the day—like when you wake up, when you’re tired, or in need of a positive thought refill—describe to yourself HOW GREAT it is to live without fear.

You’ll get to the point you don’t need a script.

10. Get thankful. One of the greatest keys to moving forward in any category of life, is focusing on all the blessings you already enjoy.

Here’s a simple formula to get rid of anxious thoughts:

Philippians 4:6 Be careful [anxious] for nothing.

This is always true, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Philippians 4:6 continued: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

Prayer = pouring out. You’re to pour out your every concern on Him [God]. Hold nothing back. It’s a big, fat data dump. You let Him have it—all of it. Now that you told Him what you DON’T WANT.

Supplication = tell him what you DO want.

With thanksgiving—there’s the thankfulness.

Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Once you’ve gotten all those jumbled up thoughts out of your system, and told God exactly what it is that you want, guess what?

You have peace.

In Philippians 4:7, Christ Jesus isn’t a haphazard rendering of Jesus Christ. The fact that word Christ appears first, points to Christ’s finished work. What work? Your salvation and mine. It’s done. You just have to walk in it.

He did the heavy lifting because we couldn’t.

Those are the 10 things you can do to overcome fear.

To see this in action, you can get your DVD here.

Follow us on Instagram and Tumblr.

A Behind the Scenes Look at One of Our Top Stars: Michael Madsen

We continue with week three of our DVD release milestone celebration.

When Elias Acosta, the director for Refuge from the Storm, was thinking about who to cast in the movie, his first and only thought for the role of Steve was film veteran and big screen, tough-guy Michael Madsen.

Mr. Madsen was in Europe on a shoot when things finally came together. The production team breathed a sigh relief, because they all knew he was perfect for the role.

And if that wasn’t already cause to celebrate Madsen’s son, Christian Madsen, also agreed to appear in the film.

Michael Madsen has a career that spans over 25 years and more than 170 films. You can watch some of his best work in movies like Kill Bill, Die Another Day, Donnie Brasco, Thelma & Louise, Free Willy and for some, his most memorable character—Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Mr. Madsen is also an accomplished poet. His first book Burning in Paradise won the Independent Firecracker Award.

Here are some behind the scenes moments with the great Michael Madsen:

You can purchase the DVD here to see him in Refuge from the Storm.