Vallejo actor hopes ‘Fly in the Room’ has buzz at Vacaville Film Festival

By Rich Freedman
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Picture the arduous labor of chiseling Mt. Rushmore, but before the public unveiling, you have to remove Lincoln.

Now you know how Kip Baldwin feels. Well, to a certain extent.

The Vallejo actor is featured in “A Fly in the Room,” a short film entered in the 4th Annual Vacaville Film Festival at the Brendan Theatres on Dec. 13.

Basically, said Baldwin, “it’s 24 hours of film cut to five minutes. It’s a lot of condensed shooting. Obviously, a lot gets left on the cutting room floor.”

Still, Baldwin “is really proud” of his performance in the Joey Blackburn film, joining fellow Vallejoan Jaclyn Evone Robinson (“Peephole”) at the festival.

Blackburn, a student at California State University, Monterey Bay, was named the 2012 winner of the $2,000 scholarship in the Monterey County Film Commission’s Film Student Scholarship & Awards Program.

Well deserved, hinted Baldwin, who enjoyed taking direction from Blackburn.

 “He’s meticulous. He shot every little detail,” Baldwin said.

The local actor actually works more behind-the-camera as producer, but enjoyed the challenge of the short that is all body language.

“It’s basically a silent film,”

Baldwin said. “I don’t say anything. It’s about a guy — a writer — who has a drinking problem and gets very frustrated with writer’s block. He keeps hearing this fly in the room and it’s driving him nuts.”

Just then, a fly landed on Baldwin’s arm during an interview at a Vallejo coffee shop earlier this week.

“Perfect timing,” Baldwin said grinning, using nonverbal communication utilized in the film short.

“A lot of ‘eye acting,’ lot of facial expressions,” Baldwin said. “It really worked out well. The state of mind I was in, I just let myself go entirely into madness.”

“A Fly in the Room” was shot with a 16mm camera using actual film “which is rare,” Baldwin said.

The short had previously done well in the Carmel Film Festival as “the second best short,” Baldwin said.

“The first one was so phenomenal, the bar was pretty high. But I was really proud how it (‘Fly’) had stood out,” he said.

“A Fly in the Room” was shot at the former Fort Ord army barracks in Monterey, Baldwin said, “which smelled and was moldy.”

However, “we got to trash whatever we wanted and one scene has me pounding through a wall to get a hole big enough to fit my head through so I could look inside to see where this fly was,” Baldwin said.

The five-minute short could have been a quality 30-minute film, he added.

“There was a lot of good stuff that didn’t make it in,” Baldwin said. “But what is there is very good. It’s got a lot of Hitchcock, a lot of ‘Twilight Zone.'”

Baldwin, the founder of the United Filmmakers Association, said nothing but positive could come out of showcasing the short at the Vacaville Film Festival.

“It gets your name out and, on a personal level, who knows who’s going to be in the audience at any film or who you’re going to meet,” Baldwin said. “Like any business, it’s all networking.”

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