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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #151: 'State v. Unknown' Fridays!

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Since the release of State v. Unknown on YouTube and Tubi, I've been sharing a wide variety of promotional content related to my 2nd film on Facebook and/or Instagram every Friday (with a few early exceptions). This blog post will serve as a collection of shared material to be updated regularly until the end of the weekly promotional push.

June 30th, 2023 - Behind-the-Scenes

A revelational look behind-the-scenes...

June 23rd, 2023 - Opening Credits

If you watch my 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown', you'll notice the complete absence of any opening credits. The same is true of my 1st feature film 'For My Sister' (with the exception of the streaming version of the film which includes an Indie Rights bumper mandated by the distribution company).

The origin of the decision to forego upfront identification of any companies or creatives behind these films stems from a choice observation made by my good friend and former classmate Cris Mertens during our time in film school at University of Central Florida in the mid-2000s. One day while waiting for our weekly film colloquium to begin, Cris noted the superfluity of opening credits and accompanied his criticism with a humorous impression of a movie-watching dunce presented with opening titles and announcing "We're watching a movie!"; underscoring how opening titles needlessly remind audiences about their undertaken activity when they simply desire to get on with the experience. The more I thought about Cris' sensible commentary about this dispensable but ubiquitous buffer in the days that followed, the more I longed to dash this mostly corporate-minded convention when it came time to produce my own feature films.

After all, we ride in the spirit of art, not NASCAR, right?

June 16th, 2023 - Basic Implements

  1. Notepad - To collect ideas.

  2. Final Draft - To draft screenplay.

  3. Zoom/Skype - To record footage.

  4. Premiere - To edit footage.

  5. Photoshop - To create graphics.

  6. Time and solitude - To orchestrate everything.

The basic implements used to realize my 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown'.

June 9th, 2023 - Kahkovka Dam

Earlier this week, the Kahkovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine was destroyed as a result of the Russian invasion of the country. Culpability has yet to be assessed by the international community but it was likely the result of Russian forces attempting to forestall a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Construction of the dam took six years and was completed in 1956. Destruction took mere minutes, lending much credence to the saying "To destroy is easier than to create"; a notion applicable to more than massive concrete structures, by the way.

My 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown' is dedicated to those who continue to build in a world where such wanton destruction is possible.

June 2nd, 2023 - Influences

  • The pride and discipline of Colonel Nicholson leading his fellow POWs to construct a massive bridge for their wartime enemy in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

  • The anarchic transformation of young "Jim" from spoiled brat to machine-obsessed, Japanese sympathizer in Empire of the Sun (1987)

  • The fervor for feats of aerial engineering (and blueprints) of the pathologically afflicted tycoon Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)

Directly or otherwise, these were some of the influences behind my sophomore feature film 'State v. Unknown'.

May 26th, 2023 - Cal and Glen

An impossible romance. A lasting friendship.

May 19th, 2023 - One Year Gone

One year ago this weekend, I held the first public screening of my 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown' (in collaboration with Rene Rodriguez) at Cosford Cinema!

Read my blog post about the event.

May 12th, 2023 - Fellow Feature Filmmakers

The below list of persons are friends or acquaintances of mine who've directed at least one narrative or documentary feature film; most of whom did so before my first lap at the fountain in 2018. Over the years, I've been greatly inspired and encouraged by their infectious degree of passionate commitment to long-form filmmaking. I am, in no small part, because they are.

  • Lau Ángel

  • Johanan Benavides

  • Yecid Benavides Jr.

  • Alain Bidard

  • David Bush

  • Craig Calamis

  • Jonathan Cuartas

  • Danny Daneau

  • Alyn Darnay

  • Robert Dastoli

  • Noah Debonis

  • Mike Diaz

  • Matt Fuller

  • Jeff Grace

  • Aaron Hose

  • Zach Ingrasci

  • Christopher Anthony Irarrazabal

  • Laura C. Lopez

  • Frantzy Moreau

  • Reid Nicewonder

  • Michael Nichols

  • Quincy Perkins

  • Ryan Pomeranz

  • Max Rousseau

  • Monica Sorelle

  • Ángel Manuel Soto

  • Chris Temple

  • Christopher Walker

  • Brandon Wane

  • Zachary Weil

  • Jon Weinberg

  • Alexander Paul Wolfe

May 5th, 2023 - New Promotional Art

Build big.

April 28th, 2023 - Fun Facts

  • The original concept for the film was a drama-laden virtual funeral service

  • Production consisted of 80+ video calls on either Zoom or Skype

  • Andrew J. Garcia flawlessly memorized 10 pages of dialogue per filming session

  • Two forensic photos at the end of the film were taken at a Subway

  • "Hexatek" is my father's defunct company and "Almath" is an online handle of his

  • AI was used to produce a single photoreal image of a human face in the film

April 21st, 2023 - My Father's Involvement

As technical advisor on my 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown', my dad Alonso E. Rhenals, an MIT-educated professional, was key in providing a crucial measure of authenticity to the film's world of civil engineering projects and workplace hierarchies. But my dad indirectly contributed something far more important albeit far less specialized in the form of his personal values of ambition, productivity, risk-taking, independence, civility and compassion which served to inform the more admirable aspects of the fated protagonist Cal Modesto.

April 14th, 2023 - About the Music

My 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown' represents my fifth collaboration with composer Ben Morris (left). For the first time in our creative partnership, Ben and I decided to have the film score performed by an actual musician with live instrumentation. Enter Evan Hyde (right), a masterful drummer and colleague of Ben's who both performed and recorded the percussive music which lends an essential authority and propulsion to the film's law enforcement proceedings.

April 7th, 2023 - Presenting the Cast

Made with the participation of 50+ actors during some of the most harrowing months of the COVID-19 pandemic...

March 31st, 2023 - A Special Message

March 28th, 2023 - YouTube Premiere Announcement

My 2nd feature film 'State v. Unknown' is NOW PLAYING for FREE on YouTube!

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