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"Dawn Patrol Film (2014)" Austin Film Festival When Dreams Come True

By Yenis Monterrey

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The American Dream represents the freedom where each person has the right to pursue happiness and strive for a better life through ambition and hard work that leads to opportunities. “Dawn Patrol” (2014is a story about a blue collar surfer who joins the marines to escape his past that is catching up to him and involves a revenge murder.  The local surf subculture in the story is centered on outdoor living, physical narcissism, good vibes, and a desire to live for the present.  The story takes the audience to a blue collar surfing town in Northern California with a theme about choices and how they affect others.

Dawn Patrol” (2014) is a film based in California, but the movie was born in Austin, Texas where the script was a finalist in the 2008 Austin Film Festival In 2014 the film had its World premiere at the Austin Film Festival six years later at Paramount Theater.  The Austin Film Festival (AFF) uses the language of film and television to tell a story, and it offers the opportunity for writers to get noticed in the competitive world of the entertainment industry.  This is how the Austin Film Festival differs from other festivals!

Meet the writers Rachel Long and Brian Pittman

The writers of the film are a married couple and both have a strong connection to the ocean. Rachel Long said, “I love the ocean, but Bryan is the surfer and I love standing on the paddle board. I admire the surfing sport, it’s an absolute art form when surfers go out there and risk their lives to catch a moment of glory and a peaceful moment as well.”

Yenis Monterrey. -  Rachel, as a female writer how come you are wrote about the life of a surfer?

Rachel Long. -“I grew up on a beach near Long Island, New York and surfing has always been in the periphery of my life. The beach represents freedom to me and in some ways is like the American Dream. If you live a block from the beach people think that is something very symbolic of the American Dream. People will do whatever is possible to hold on their little corner of their American Dream. This is especially after the last decade of economic turmoil where people lost their homes, etc. We wanted to bring all of that to light and that’s what excited us. This isn’t a surfer movie, but it truly uses surfing as a metaphor or a microcosm for what’s going on or happening in culture at large. There are cultural issues in it and it touches upon the racism and xenophobia that we see around the country and worldwide. We focus it through a magnifying glass through this type of beach culture and show how quickly it can become a nightmare if you are making the wrong choices to hold on to your dream.”

“Everything is put in metaphor,” said Bryan Pittman, “The beach breaks and waves can get pretty big, people get close to the edge and they need to hold on and protect their dream that is largely what it is about.”

Yenis Monterrey. - What can you tell me about your journey as writers and what can you tell me about the mentorship you received for Dawn Patrol? 

Bryan Pittman. – “Everything started for us here in Austin Texas, during the Austin Film Festival. Our script was a finalist during the screenplay competition in the Entertainment Award category. We met Rick and Dan here in Austin at the Driskill Bar. We didn’t pitch the script with them, we just built a relationship. When we went back to Southern California we reached out to them. They read the script, they gave us notes - that’s where mentorship came in. They set up all the relationships with the studio, producers, directors, and talents that we talked to. Through the process of mentorship the script was getting better and better at different levels for different talents and different budget levels. We finally shot it on set in Ventura County and it was totally incredible. We were wonderfully mentored by Dan and Rick and we also have the Austin Film Festival and the spirit of Austin that for us is a family. As a writing married team to come back to a place that seems to us as a family is really special. Having the film premier during Austin Film Festival was a blessing!”

Rachel Long. – “Dan Petrie and Rick Dugdale were our mentors for “Dawn Patrol”. They were responsible for our career from the moment we met them at the Driskill. The film was initially called “Stranded” and was changed to “Dawn Patrol” which had more strength and a stronger title. “

Yenis Monterrey. - What advice will you give other writers? 

Rachel Long said, “The best advice is to keep writing and being prolific. The journey for Dawn Patrol was long so we kept working on other projects.” Bryan Pittman said, “Besides being prolific, embrace and never give up your voice. It’s not just the plot and the story, the industry is looking for unique voices.  Another advice is to research, never give up and sometimes you have to ignore everything around you until you get the answers that you want. If the answers are not coming, you just keep pushing and keep working, you can’t stop. You need to have the passion to be screenwriter. You have to have the courage!” 

Meet the Director Daniel Petrie Jr 

When Dan Petrie came to the Austin Film Festival in 2008 he said he wanted to help as panelist and offer his knowledge to newer screenwriters, filmmakers, and public in general about the film industry and the business.  He wasn’t looking for anything in particular when he came to Austin to personally benefit himself, but it turned out that it did, because he loved the story told by the married couple and screenwriters. Through a casual conversation with the writers, they found out he lived in a similar town in Santa Barbara and the story caught his interest. He said it brought him good karma!

Yenis Monterrey. - How was the process of casting Scott Eastwood and the rest of the cast?

Daniel Petrie. “We met Scott Eastwood during the casting call for the main role and during the audition I wasn’t aware that he was Clint Eastwood’s son. He came in for the audition and he got the part completely on his own merits, but part of me was thinking, “I know that face.”  Then I said duh! He looks exactly like his father Clint Eastwood! He was the only cast attached for a while until we finally funded the film three years later and then after that the process of casting the rest of the roles was timely done and we got qualified actors such as Rita WilsonDendrie TaylorJeff Fahey, Kim MatulaChris BrochuDavid James ElliottJulie Carmen, and the rest of the cast.”

Rachel Long. –“He was attached to the project for a long time. He is inspiring, very professional and we believed in him and he is going to get far not only because of his talent in camera, but also for the person he is. He really has a vision and a voice on the set. He has a strong and commanding voice and presence and it was very helpful to see. I’m telling you that aside from the acting, he really brought the character to life and he took the character and made it his own. He is going to go to places business wise in the industry, and we were blessed and lucky to have him in our film.” 

Bryan Pittman. “Scott Eastwood is a great surfer. He lived in Hawaii and one of the greatest experiences I had on set was to see Scott Eastwood surfing. He is really a true water man at heart, and he has a love for the ocean and the character resonated with him and that’s why he was attracted to the part in the first place.”

Yenis Monterrey. - I was very impressed with the footage on the water. What kind of cameras did you use for the film?

Daniel Petrie.-“We shot the film with an Alexa camera which is a very high end digital camera. We also used the smaller camera, the GoPro, which is actually very cinematic in its quality. It’s very limited about what you can do, but it’s so light and small that you can fix it to skate boards, bicycles and mount it in different ways. The GoPro was mounted to a quadcopter which is a little tiny helicopter with a remote control. We got some over head shots with the GoPro as the helicopter hovered over the waves and captured the surfing, and we also had some of the footage that was in the water. Right behind the waves there is a great shot at the opening of the movie, where we were literally behind the waves and we see the surfer through the water.”

What a great film! We can’t wait to watch this film in theaters soon!

Published on Dec 07, 2014

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