Quick Dash Films shows off collaborative talents in short films

Brothers James and John Kendall are making short films for now, but hope to someday create a feature film.

The Kendall brothers grew up in Eagle River making fun, short films with friends and family to enlighten those around them.

James Kendall is a UAA theatre major and John Kendall is a UAA alumnus, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Their love for filmmaking is fueled for a love for good movies and other inspiring filmmakers and directors.

“When I was probably 12, [John] showed me the movie ‘Snatch’… it’s basically about these guys in a rat-race for a diamond and it was the first movie I’d seen where they had these intense action scenes, but a lot of comedy to it. It was really well-shot. After that, I was like, ‘I wanna makes something like that, that was cool.’ Through years of trial and error, I ended up where I am now,” James Kendall said.

Some of the directors the brothers ltdook up to are Edgar Wright, Wes Anderson, the Coen brothers and Stanley Kubrick.

Their YouTube channel, Quick Dash Films, has almost two dozen videos of short films, infomercials, behind-the-scenes and trailers to entertain their subscribers, family and friends. They started their channel back in 2010 and are continuing their work purely out of enjoyment.

The editing process for the brothers and their crew can take up to around two months after approximately two and half days of shooting the material and the time spent in pre-production of writing the script, casting characters and getting the materials together.

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“It’s so easy to have the idea, but actually asking, ‘How do I pace this?’ ‘How do I make it clear to anyone that reads this what I intend?’ I mean, writing a feature can take a year, depending on how much free time you have,” John Kendall said.

Continual filmmaking improvements as the years go on can be seen on their YouTube channel. Their latest short film “The Red Fox,” which came out in March is an example of the work to come. The 12-and-a-half minute film shows off some quality editing skills, well-captured shots and believable sound effects and special effects makeup. The film starts out intense and quite bloody, giving a serious vibe out at first but the resolution to the plot’s problem is perhaps unexpectedly lighthearted.

“[They] do a good job,” Sam Zeller, UAA’s media support technician, said. “[James] is super organized which is really different to seem from other student filmmakers. He has pre-production and post-production meetings, he’s got an assistant director who handles communications… He’s getting into the actual organization of how films work.”

Zeller helped on the set of “The Red Fox” and Quick Dash Films’ current post-production short, “Wellaway.”

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The cast and crew of Quick Dash Films’ newest, unreleased short, “Wellaway.” Photo credit: Photo courtesy of James Kendall

James and John Kendall sometimes act in their own films, John Kendall recently portraying the hard-to-crack Agent Stone in “The Red Fox,” but if they’re behind the camera instead, the brothers have great actors they can write for that would best suit their acting skills, as well as friends in the art department for cinematography.

The Kendalls’ brother, George, is part of the team too. He was said to be on more of the business side of their organization while James and John are more on the creative side, but appeared in “The Red Fox” as the title character. The Kendalls’ nephew, Roman Stiehr, has been a part of Quick Dash Films for a while, too. He can been seen in their older, four-part western series, “Western Justice” where he plays not only the sheriff, but the bad guys, too.

“Just that whole collaborative community just makes everything better,” John Kendall said.

Quick Dash Films hopes are to have their creations turn into something more, perhaps to have a feature film one day and to turn filmmaking into their career.

“Something that always makes it really worth it for me, since I’m not getting a ton of feedback on this stuff, is the little comments people make like one of my friends saying, ‘Oh my gosh, that was so funny.’ That’s always such a victory for me because it’s just some dumb idea me and John had that we put all this time and money into and got people to forget what they had going on for the day and laugh at our stupid ideas,” James Kendall said.

To watch their content or see what they’re creating next, visit their YouTube channel Quick Dash Films, like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram, @quickdashfilms.