Amid the dried out-and-dead desert oasis of suburban Las Vegas, and after three years apart, a young couple decides it's finally time to move in with each other and take their relationship to the next level.
| We Used To Know Each Other still frames
I met Robert Putka at Slamdance in 2016. I was there representing Chemical Cut, my first collaboration with director Marjorie Conrad. Robert's film, Mad, was also in competition with us in the narrative feature category. At the time, he was a youngster, maybe having reached his mid-twenties. There was a lot of buzz about him as a kind of cinematic vunderkind, and after seeing Mad, I understood why. It was a mature film, and had I not known it was his, I never would have thought someone so young could have made it.
Long story short, we chatted over coffee one morning and I guess I made an impression, or maybe the film I worked on did, because when he was ready to make his follow-up, We Used To Know Each Other, he called me and asked if I wanted to work on it. Of course I was happy to have the opportunity.
This would be the first time I walked onto a feature set not knowing anyone involved. Robert and his crew flew in from Cleaveland, where they were all based. I drove down to LA from the Bay Area and met up with his lead actor, Hugo de Sousa, who was gracious enough to let me crash on his couch. The next day we drove to Vegas to meet the rest of the team.
It would also be the first time I've co-shot a movie. I was a bit nervous about this, mainly because I didn't know what I'd be walking into. Would my partner cinematographer be an egomaniac? A control freak? An asshole? Thankfully, Joe Martin was and is the exact opposite of all those things. We got along so well and were able to divide our duties so efficiently that working with him felt like second nature. In fact, as shooting ramped up, I couldn't imagine doing the film without him.
| We Used To Know Each Other BTS photos
We shot over the course of just over a week. We used two cameras a lot on this film, which was a departure for me, but it was the only way to capture everything we needed within our schedule.
Most scenes involved lighting for as much freedom of camera and actor movement as possible, using practical light sources and lanterns to augment them. Once the lighting was set, we'd shoot cross coverage with our two cameras and Robert would run the scene over and over without cutting until he felt like he had what he needed.
It was intense and grueling thanks to the Las Vegas summer heat, but the result speaks for itself. Thanks to our amazing cast and crew, we were able to get everything we set out to and more–raw material for editor Ben Measor to assemble something special. 
| We Used To Know Each Other still frame
If you're a lover of indie dramedies with heart, this film is definitely for you. Robert's wonderful dialog delivered perfectly by Hugo de Sousa and Essa O'Shea is a delight to watch, and the supporting cast all owned their characters to the point where you might feel like you're watching a documentary. 
If you have the inclination, please give it a watch. Even the simple act of viewing indie projects supports indie artists.
Americana Film Festival, 2019
Florida Film Festival, 2019
Hill Country Film Festival, 2019
Filmfestival Kitzbuhel, 2019
We Used To Know Each Other is currently available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Hugo de Sousa – "Hugo"
Essa O'Shea – "Amanda"
Clare McNulty – "Tess"
Ashley Lenz – "Laura"
Vig Norris – "David"
Sandra Cóias – "Marta"
Robert J. Putka – "Uber Driver"
Key Crew
Robert J. Putka – Writer, Director
Joe Battaglia – Producer
Mackenzie Mathis – Cinematographer, Colorist
Joe Martin – Cinematographer
Ben Measor – Editor
Chris Mack – Location Sound
Philip Hirzel – Music
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