Seniors produce award-winning short film

Awesome Entertainment presents “Incompatible”

For their upcoming film,

For their upcoming film, “Outerlands,” seniors Alexander Kardasis (left) and Wyatt Wolf film their robot named “K.I.T.” They began filming “Outerlands” after finishing their short film “Incompatible,” which won first place in the IHSA Drama State Series Film Festival. Photo by Alex Garibashvily

Alex Garibashvily, Lifestyle Editor

For their latest film titled “Incompatible,” seniors Alexander Kardasis and Wyatt Wolf filmed the top of the Chicago skyline using a drone. Kardasis’ phone, which was controlling the drone, died while the drone was in the air. 

“I thought the drone was going to plop out of the sky, we were going to lose our footage and the drone was going to break,” said Kardasis in a video conference. “Thankfully, we were able to bring it back home.” 

No footage was lost.

“Incompatible” was uploaded onto Awesome Entertainment, a YouTube channel Kardasis and Wolf created in eighth grade,  on Feb. 17.

In the film, which runs 4 minutes and 57 seconds, Todd, the main character, struggles to pass his compatibility test, a fictional test he takes to determine whether he is allowed to live in an overpopulated city. 

Wolf said in a video conference, “We were originally doing a completely different film, which was going to be called ‘Chatbox,’ but … we didn’t really find the right jive for it.” 

Kardasis came to Wolf with a one-page rewrite of “Chatbox” that Wolf found interesting, and they worked on the film until it became “Incompatible,” Wolf said. 

According to Kardasis, he and Wolf filmed scenes for “Chatbox” a few years ago, and Kardasis decided to repurpose the footage for “Incompatible.”

“When we shot the film, we had no idea that we were going to make ‘Incompatible,’” said Kardasis. “We had a completely other idea in mind, and that’s where you see those earlier shots in the film.”

It was challenging to fit old footage with new footage in order to create a cohesive piece, Kardasis said.

According to Wolf, they worked on the film until the day it was uploaded.

“Incompatible” would not make much sense to the audience without explanation, so Kardasis and Wolf decided to add a clip in the beginning of the film with an explanation of the compatibility test’s importance, Wolf said.

Much of the new footage was filmed during the pandemic, Wolf said. He was surprised he and Kardasis were able to shoot despite obstacles the pandemic presented, he said. 

Even with the obstacles, the pandemic provided some advantages as well, Wolf said. 

“For the city shots, actually, I think it helped us out … because we were able to film and there were not too many things going on, so we were able to get some quiet shots,” Wolf said.

Both Kardasis and Wolf are happy with the final result of “Incompatible.” 

“We were obviously probably trying to push ourselves for something even longer, but I think [the length] actually works,” Wolf said. 

“Incompatible” had to be under five minutes to meet the requirements for film festivals, including the IHSA Drama State Series Film Festival, Midwest Media Educators Association Fest and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Awards. 

The short film won first place in the IHSA Drama State Series Film Festival and was named Critic’s Choice. 

According to Kardasis, he was worried the film would not go over well with the audience. When Kardasis and Wolf received the news that “Incompatible” won, the two were thrilled. 

“It’s a pleasure to know that it resonated enough with the judges … that they would choose our film out of what I assume are many great films that came out of the other high schools in the state for the IHSA award,” Kardasis said.