There is nothing quite like watching a good crime drama at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. I was honored to attend the directorial debut of Keith Sutliff’s feature film, The Mason Brothers from KS Pictures LLC. Keith Sutliff wrote, directed and produced The Mason Brothers, a crime and suspense drama that I highly enjoyed. Keith is an incredibly kind and humble man and the consummate professional. Sutliff expressed how excited and proud he was of this film. In his own words, “I put my entire heart, soul and energy into this film.”
Keith Sutliff is from Tampa Florida, and is described as a stylistic filmmaker, who emphasizes a lot of his work on nonlinear storytelling and a dark desaturated lighting/color tone. Sutliff prefers shooting at night as this adds dramatic and thematic elements to the film. He enjoys a type of shooting style that he refers to as the “Christopher Nolan style” of filmmaking. Sutliff has crafted his lighting technique that brings the suspense factor to life onscreen.
Keith graduated from the University of Central Florida Orlando in 2010, with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 shortly thereafter, to attend a trade school in East Los Angeles for filmmaking. Growing up he was influenced by suspense flicks, such as Indiana Jones and Terminator 2. Keith obtained multiple certificates from the trade center before leaving the school and starting his own production company, KS Pictures LLC, a Limited Liability Company. From there, Keith would produce, write, and direct multiple short films before making his first feature film.
The Mason Brothers centers around Bank-robbing brothers (The Mason Brothers) planning a bank heist at a local bank in downtown Los Angeles. While at the bank, the brothers encounter an unexpected setup, resulting in the death of one of them. The plan does not go as expected and this leads to chaos. The leader and oldest of the brothers, Ren Mason (played by Keith Sutliff), hires a bounty hunter to investigate and find out who set them up at the bank, which results in interrogations, shootouts and serious betrayal.
However, overall, Sutliff decided to take a different approach with this movie. We get a brow-beat scene after the opening credits, and then the tone of the film changes dramatically. At this point, the film becomes a cerebral, verbal and mental story for the remainder. There are no fight scenes and guns are never fired, not typical of most movies of this genre. There’s no action until an hour into it. After a tip from family friend, Jerry (Tim Park), they corner one of the rival gang members named Diego (Gregory Gordon) and the pliers come out. In a day and age where every bit of blood and gore is shown (in real life and on film), Sutliff takes the psychological approach, focusing more on Diego’s facial reactions than the actual damage that has played out. What a nice change!
part to take on the ‘mental game’ point-of-view. In retrospect, it can even enhance the film further.
Keith Sutliff also spoke about his respect for the entire cast and crew and what an immense team effort it is. Errol Webber Jr. was the cinematographer on the film. Webber is known for mixing a sense of rigid structure into chaos and is adept at capturing polished, hyper-real visuals.
Federico Vaona was the musical composer for the film. He did a beautiful job. Federico explained that he and Keith had an immediate chemistry, when it came to understanding the importance of music and sound with films. Once Federico was handed the script, he started composing a main theme. From there, Federico experimented with many sounds and styles for the movie until the perfect “color music” was found. When shooting started, he was able to draw even further inspiration from the characters in order to build an entire soundtrack. He and Keith worked on the musical scores together and Federico could not be more complimentary of Keith Sutliff.
The admiration and respect the entire cast and crew has for Keith Sutliff is obvious. Sutliff is a very talented director. I cannot wait to see what is next. The Mason Brothers is currently playing at the Downtown Independent in downtown Los Angeles.
To learn more about this film:
Theater Listings: http://www.fandango.com/themasonbrothers_200295/movietimes
Lizzy Collazos is a LA based writer who covers fashion, style and emerging artists. She is constantly sourcing and inspired by designers, artists and entertainers making their mark in an innovative way. “I see fashion and art as a beautiful form of self-expression and a way to tell a story.” "I love becoming immersed in a project and seeing it through fruition."She knows the LA scene well and currently contributed to The LA Fashion Magazine as well as LA-Story.com. Follow Lizzy Collazos on these social platforms.