On Friday night, there was a film screening of Beyond the Grid, a short film directed by local filmmaker Raouf Zaki, at Holliston High School. The film is a comedy that follows a man on a series of blind dates with a set of sisters.
“I always liked comedy,” said Zaki, who has made two other short films previously, one of them a comedy like Beyond the Grid. “I wanted to make a film all outdoors and in bizarre locations that are off the grid.”
The films four main scenes were all shot in Holliston and the surrounding area, and the production team had to rely on the cooperation of the locals to be able to shoot on the locations that they wanted.
“Finding the locations was a challenge, but the local people were very generous in terms on getting locations,” said Zaki. “It was so nice having people open up their farms.”
Zaki gave special thanks to the people at Little Beehive Farm in Holliston during the Q&A session after the screening for allowing the crew to use their farm as a location in the film.
The film took almost a year in total to put together. Zaki said that he first found the script online, which was written by Jason Allen, who lives in Tennessee, and that he optioned the script last June.
He went on to say that the production team was assembled in September and October, and that all the casting for the show was done over Skype in the fall. Filming took place in early November, and they were able to get everything shot before Thanksgiving, leaving all winter to work on post-production.
Zaki plans on entering Beyond the Grid in as many film festivals as possible this summer, both nationally and internationally. His previous two films have won multiple awards at short film festivals.
“I think it’s a beautiful American story about dating in the modern age with offbeat characters,” Zaki said. “Comedy is about the characters. It’s all in the script and the actors.”