By Sarah Chaisson-Warner
Our entire focus at Shore Scripts is discovering and nurturing new writers and supporting their career development in the entertainment industry. Our Short Film Fund – which runs twice annually in the spring and fall – offers an opportunity for emerging screenwriters and filmmakers to have their short films financed and produced. Short Film Fund winners and finalists have gone on to premiere their finished short films at major festivals around the world and win awards.
The 2020 Short Film Fund winner, TwoBears, is one such film. Written by Anthony Florez, the film tells the story of Casey TwoBears, a Marine Corps veteran, ex-junkie, and former county inmate. While working as a janitor for a boxing gym, Casey volunteers to be the sparring partner for the local “champ” to prove his worth as a warrior in the ring, but also to prove himself as the modern warrior that his daughter and granddaughter can depend on.
Anthony shared his inspiration and goals for the film as follows,
“I came into this industry really wanting to say different things than what I had seen, especially about the Native community. It was an inspiration of how can I portray and represent the people I know personally and shed light on the different experiences people have on the Rez and be truthful to the good and the bad and possibly tell a story of how it can be overcome.” MovieMaker, 2022.
Anthony brought some of his family’s experiences into the script, “There are so many misconceptions and so many things that people don’t understand and know what native people are doing through right now. I want people to realize how many things we have in common…I want them to see the similar stories there.” He wanted his audience to walk away understanding and thinking, what don’t I know?
“Funding from Shore Scripts was invaluable,” says Annika. “It allowed for us to elevate our post-production and contributed to a better production value of the film. We couldn’t have made the short we did without the aid of Shore Scripts and are extremely grateful.”
Anthony also found the support from Shore Scripts to be integral to his ability to make the film. “Receiving the Shore Scripts film grant was intensely rewarding as a writer and director. It not only gave me the confidence to know my script was ready to be produced, but it also helped elevate my film by providing essential funding for production and post-production essentials!”
The film was shot on the Paiute Reservation in Nevada in 2021, following standard on-set COVID protocols. Luckily, the script itself didn’t require a lot of changes to meet COVID protocols. “I felt comfortable with the protocols and followed the SAG-AFTRA white pages, as did my actors and my crew,” says Anthony. “How many background actors who were in the scenes was certainly affected though!”
However, COVID did place limits and some challenges to preparation, though. “Restrictions didn’t affect communication once we were on set. It was more about the lead-in and prep communications,” says Anthony. “We had to do Zoom readings. Those roundtable readings where actors get to talk and collaborate and figure characters, and trying to get everyone together in LA for scene work, these things couldn’t really happen because we had to limit interactions and it required a lot of testing.”