Most indie filmmakers notoriously credit themselves for every role, but Liam Fitch humbly referred to vimself only as the creator of vis newest feature film, “The Solution.” Fitch, a senior double-majoring in cinema and English, is the writer, editor and director of vis film and the results showcase vis creativity, talent and hard work.
Long before vis college days, Fitch’s interest in filmmaking began at the age of 10 when ve would film videos with vis friends, edit and upload them to YouTube. This enthusiasm for recording and creating videos continued into vis teen years and eventually followed vim into college. Before coming to BU, Fitch made two short films that were never officially released. These films, “Greenhorn” and “Black Orchid,” were created under a pseudonym because, as Fitch explained it, vis teenage self believed “James Walcott” sounded cooler than vis own name.
“Later, with the films I made at [Binghamton University], I started making them under my own name,” Fitch said. “Go figure, they felt a lot more like me and I was a lot happier with these films.”
“The Solution” is Fitch’s first real feature-length film. It took over a year to shoot, resulting in a film that prevailed over the pandemic. The film visually depicts a character, GUNMAN, going through a mental and physical journey. Fitch’s official synopsis of the film is written as “GUNMAN is a vagabond in the deep forest of chaos. He must ascend from madness on a mystical journey and return to reason.” Fitch said ve preferred to have a short and tight synopsis for vis film, rather than a specifically detailed one since the film is purely visual.
“I much prefer for people to draw their own conclusions and for the film to speak for itself,” Fitch said. “Because primarily the film is an expression of cinema, not an expression with words.”
GUNMAN is played by Payton Michael Watson, a senior majoring in English and a close friend of Fitch. While they began with a middle school rivalry, they soon became great friends in high school. Artistically, Watson and Fitch were on the same wavelength, making them the perfect duo for creating a film.
“I enjoyed every second of filming it,” Fitch said. “It was so much fun and my friends were super gracious to kind of humor me in this whole thing and star in it.”
Fitch taught vimself many editing skills, but learned techniques in college which inspired and influenced much of “The Solution.” At BU, Fitch learned about color grading, which is the process of minorly manipulating colors to create a certain effect out of them. When avidly discussing editing, Fitch expressed the joy of having no limitations to your film due to the endless possibilities available with editing.
“If you have X, Y and Z as your source material, you can arrange them in many more ways than the order or sequence in which they arrived,” Fitch said.
Beyond Fitch’s phenomenal editing skills, “The Solution” also reveals vis composing and musical talents. Fitch composed almost all of the music, using a free music program called Soundplant and playing the guitar and chord organ throughout the film. A particular scene featuring the organ shows GUNMAN throwing rocks at seagulls with the clouds as a backdrop and crystal clear water reflecting the character, clouds and afternoon sky. The organ and artistic camerawork create a heavenly feel to it.
Contradictory to popular belief, Fitch explained that there was no specific moment of overwhelming inspiration that can be attributed to “The Solution.” Instead, ve started with a place to film and the long process began there. Fitch chose to film in the Finger Lakes region, where ve grew up. “The Solution” is a 50/50 nature film, with stunning shots of nature and scenes following GUNMAN. At times, the nature shots are serene and peaceful, such as an accelerated scene of billowy clouds shifting shapes and drifting across the blue sky. Other times, the scenery is hauntingly intriguing, emanating a sense of fear, but still pulling you in so your eyes cannot look away from the screen.
After the location was decided upon, a character soon came into existence. Fitch explained how the environment reflected the mental struggle the character is going through. The viewer meets GUNMAN in the beginning scenes wearing a mask and carrying a gun in the woods with an altered coloring effect. The original title for the movie was actually “Man With a Gun,” but as filming progressed, Fitch decided on “The Solution.” A difficult truth of reality is there are no clear solutions in life, but rather, we are surrounded by mystery and doubt, and GUNMAN falls victim to these challenges.
Fitch said it was a long process of developing meaning, which was fluid as the shooting and editing process occurred. Nevertheless, ve focused on capturing the most important things for the final product.
“You have to be vigilant while you’re recording,” Fitch said. “And then I was trying to be a little extra vigilant when I was editing to try to get the most out of the material.”
Fitch is currently planning and writing a new film, but right now ve is more focused on the promotion of “The Solution.” It is officially listed in 10 semi-major festivals and these experimental film festivals’ results will be revealed soon. Fitch has had one victory already by winning the February 2021 “Best Experimental” category at the New York Movie Awards.
While you can watch the trailer for “The Solution” on vis YouTube channel, the film has not yet had a wide general release. Fitch explained if a film is available to the public, festivals will not accept your film. Until the festival season is over, which may not be until mid-2022, the only way to watch “The Solution” is to be a part of the team. Luckily, you can be considered an official producer of the film if you donate a $5 minimum, which will give you access to the film. So, if you want to cross off the item “produce a feature film” from your bucket list, head over to Fitch’s GoFundMe page and preorder “The Solution” in hard-copy Blu-ray format.
When asked what ve hopes people will walk away feeling after watching “The Solution,” Fitch responded with a simple answer.
“Be happy,” Fitch said.