A girl, a dog, and a sickness.

We are obviously big fans of Nicholas Payne Santos‘ work having featured his films Kiddo, Ice Cream & Things We Remember (All highly recommended). The more films of his we watch, the more we realize the reasons why we love them. The most evident is that Nicholas is a master at capturing in between moments (of nothing) of a character’s journey to build tension and significantly delightful character development.

The idea for Mutt first came as a music video, but when it didn’t pan out, Nicholas found a different home for his idea.

When our film collective, theFilmshop.org, came up with the theme of “Kill Your Darlings” for our annual screening event, I thought it’d be the perfect venue for the film. So I adapted the music video concept into the script and the story grew organically from there

– Nicholas Payne Santos

The almost or no dialogue is certainly a signature of Nicholas throughout his films, who he says is inspired further by the films of directors like Nicolas Winding Refn. For Mutt, Nick found inspiration over a few films for style and soundtrack:

It is largely inspired by Cormac McCarthy‘s “The Road” and Stephen King‘s “The Stand.” (There’s also a hint of FallOut 3 in there).

The use of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E Minor was inspired by the musical choices of Stanley Kubrick and Lars Von Trier. The recording is courtesy of Musopen.org, who you can find out more about on their website.

Katie Rose Summerfield is an actress that Nick has been wanting to cast for years, and found a perfect role for her in Mutt. Feeling she had an “Alien” Sigourney Weaver and
“The Fog” Adrienne Barbeau look to her, Katie fit her role to perfection and brought a lot to the short film through her character.

Secondary actors had small but important roles for Nick, having interesting and fun facts to say about them as well:

With Survivor #1 Luke James Vose, who has one of the only lines and the orange beard, I met him from doing a couple music videos for his band Crooked Coast. He is a local musician who plays in Cape Cod and Boston, MA. You can see our music video here. The Dog, Chance, belonged to a family friend of ours, Greg Baker, who also played Survivor #2. Greg is also a local musician, who, (FUN FACT), started his career recording and touring with the Village People. You can find more info about Greg here. The Dog was surprisingly easy to work with. It is his film debut and it’s Greg’s first movie since the Village People film “Can’t Stop the Music.”

Get a full set of behind the scene photos of Mutt here and here