Tip #1216: A Split-Screen Movie – that Works.

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1216: A Split-Screen Movie – that Works.

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

80 minutes – two separate locations – both shot in real-time at the same time.

Screen shot from the film “Last Call.”

Topic $TipTopic

When does film become theater… and when does theater become film?

This article first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

The film, “Last Call” is about a suicidal alcoholic (played by the film’s co-writer Daved Wilkins) on the anniversary of his son’s death. When he attempts to call a crisis hotline, a mis-dial connects him with Beth, a single mother working as the night janitor (Sarah Booth) at a local community college. The split screen feature showcases both characters in real-time as they navigate a life-changing conversation.

80 minutes – two separate locations – both shot in real-time at the same time. 10 days of rehearsal, 4 days to shoot, 5 good takes.

“We were either going to get it or not,” director/co-writer Gavin Michael Booth says. “We filmed every rehearsal and watched it back to see if a particular section was getting boring and therefore to try something visually to spice it up. I was like an NFL coach being able to watch the game plays back to perfect the technical aspects of the performance.”

Not content with shooting both takes simultaneously in realtime, they shot in locations several blocks away from each other. The crew for each was a camera operator and a sound operator. Cinematographer Seth Wessel-Estes was in charge of Daved’s storyline, while Booth took charge of the other storyline featuring his wife. They shot with a part of RED Helium cameras in 8K.

Shot almost exactly two years ago, the film picked up 25 awards on the festival circuit including the Founders Award at Napa Valley and Best Feature at Hamilton, eventually landing a theatrical release with Mutiny Pictures and a streaming distribution deal with Apple TV+ with more to follow.

The article provides lots more details, plus a trailer and production shots.

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2 replies
  1. richard malcolm
    richard malcolm says:

    as always your articles are fascinating and very educational.
    I am surprised that you do not mention the pandemic. in these times of Covid 19, Theaters Companies and school theater depts in an effort to produce “Live” theater performances are live streaming this sort of thing with casts of much more than two people from separated locations. Some wonderfully creative things have come out of the pandemic and this is almost the new norm. There is indeed a very blurred line between live theatre and film in my world today. (AV director for a performing arts college)

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Thanks for your kind words.

      I can only write about the projects people tell me about. So far, no one has sent me anything describing the kinds of performances you mention. It would be fun to learn more.



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