Eli Powers’ enlistment of Amanda Seyfried to star in his captivating short film, “Skin & Bone,” began in 2014 on the Boston set of Ted 2.
The psychological horror short, which Powers plans to turn into a feature, is about a woman (Seyfried) who lures drifters to her farm — and looks deep into their souls. The film’s other lead is her husband, The Newsroom veteran Thomas Sadoski.
“Skin & Bone” is now available free on Vimeo (below) after a festival run that included the Indy Shorts International Film Festival, Provincetown International Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Riverrun International Film Festival, Tribeca, and Palm Springs ShortFest.
“Skin and Bone,” directed by Eli Powers and starring Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski.
Powers has made several other shorts, including “Kidnap Me,” “From Rock to Rock,” “A Place We Can Be Treated Fairly.” Under his Horsegod Productions, he’s also made “Babywatch,” “Fish,” and “Holy Moses” — also with Seyfried and Sadoski.
From Emerson to ‘Skin & Bone’
The story of how Powers met Amanda Seyfried has a lot to do with where he went to college. After graduating from Emerson College’s film school in Boston in 2014, he began working as a production assistant on Ted 2, which happened to be filming in Boston.
“I was literally just setting up Ikea furniture in the office just as a P.A., and then… someone asked me if I wanted to be Amanda’s assistant,” Powers said. “I met her on set and we just became friends. That was kind of like the origin of our friendship and eventual creative collaboration.”
(Emerson has gotten some very good publicity of late — Emerson grads The Daniels nearly swept the Oscars with Everything Everywhere All at Once.)
Amanda Seyfried Seems Like a Cool Boss
Powers went on to work as Seyfried’s assistant on several other films, including The Last Word, First Reformed, Anon, Mama Mia! Here We Go Again and You Should Have Left. He was also Robert De Niro’s assistant on Joy.
But all the time he was working as an assistant, Powers was really funding his short films.
“That sort of has been my process, I guess, at the time… find an assistant gig, make money on that assistant gig. And then whenever that was over just dive into a short film, lose all my money, look around for another assistant gig, find a gig, get it,” he said.
“That was sort of the process that I was doing for several years.”
He’s learned a lot about filmmaking by observing other great filmmakers at work.
“I went to film school, graduated, and then ended up just going to film school all over again, just being on all these sets and being exposed to actors and directors that just have an incredible caliber,” Powers said. “Every set was just a different lesson.”
Describing himself as a “sponge,” Powers said that during the making of each of his short films, his directing style would mimic the director of the last movie he’d crewed.
After working on David O. Russell’s Joy, for example, Powers said: “The next short I did, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to feel free to start trying to cultivate some sense of chaos, or talking to the actors, or… encouraging improvisation.”
Paul Schrader’s First Reformed left him feeling inspired about religion, passion, and frailty. In response, he made “Holy Moses.”
The success of “Skin & Bone” is poised to propel him forward toward his goal of making it into a feature — and continuing his lifelong journey as a filmmaker.
Main Image: Amanda Seyfried in Skin & Bone, directed by Eli Powers.