Overcome loss with the new drama film ‘Shutter the Doors’
Sheri Sussman’s short film Shutter the Doors has been making quite the rounds on the festival circuit, squarely capturing the attention of Toronto Film Magazine in the process. Starring Ian Buchanan and Billy Wirth, Shutter The Doors captures a moment in time of a man struggling to deal with an unimaginable loss in his life.
In a recent interview with the magazine, we learned more than a few revealing details around the film and what Sussman has in store as a result of the film’s resounding success.
When asked about the fundamental inspiration for Shutter the Doors, Sussman says, “The inspiration behind making this film was the desire to write a role for Ian Buchanan, who I know and is just such a mesmerizing actor to me.”
“I’d always had an image of him sitting at a bar with a glass of Scotch as a character that was a bit broken for some mysterious reason.” Sussman continues. “Then I added Billy Wirth, my friend, who I also have worked with before and had envisioned a certain type of role for him that worked perfectly for this film. Then it was just diving in and being in the moment of my “emotional state” at the time.”
However, Sussman says that didn’t come without its challenges. “Short films are challenging to create a complete world, emotion, and feeling with as little plot as possible but keep the audience interested. Short films can be the longest few minutes of an audience’s life as well as being the most compelling! This genre was a classic style film that had to have any sense of unnecessary drama stripped away.”
The pandemic provided an extra challenge, but Sussman was more than up to the task. “There was the risk of choosing not to shoot inserts or cut away from the actors and just sit still in the scenes, which is counter intuitive to many short films nowadays.” she says. “Shooting it all in one day because of Covid and budget ( or lack of!), was also a challenge, as well as doing post production remotely.”
Sheri Sussman is a writer, director, and producer born in New York, raised in Cincinnati, and currently based in Los Angeles. She studied at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program upon relocating to Los Angeles at the age of 18. Soon after, she became a working screenwriter in Hollywood. Sheri was a writer on the critically acclaimed independent feature film, MacArthur Park, directed by Billy Wirth, which premiered at Sundance and is distributed by The Sundance Channel.
Sussman has written, directed, and produced award-winning feature films, documentaries, and shorts having her work shown at collectively over 50 film festivals. Currently, Sussman is a judge for the prestigious PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. As the founder of Spiral Gate Productions, she has worked with a vast array of respected veterans and upcoming talent in the entertainment industry.
Towards the end of the interview, Sussman had a tantalizing answer when asked about what she sees ahead for her as a writer, producer, and director.
“I am putting together my first feature film that I will direct. I have two features I wrote – so whichever gets financing first is what I will do. One is a satire about Hollywood called, Just Another Day in Hollywood, in the vein of Adaptation & The Player. The other one is the feature to this short film that Ian and I collaborated on the story, called Sam’s Place. Ian will star in it and is a partner (sic) on the project as well.”
What else do you think Sussman has up her sleeve now that the pandemic is no match for her? Let us know in the comments!