The Global Search for Education: Meet the Talented Montgomery Brothers Behind the Charming Short Film, Leonard and Kevin
This month, audiences can screen Leonard and Kevin on the Planet Classroom Network.
Ethan and Luke Montgomery, filmmakers from Orange County, California, are the creators of this animated, heartwarming short film.
Leonard and Kevin follows the story of two characters trying to turn off a lamp post, featuring a blend of live action and animation. Despite the simple premise, the film’s attention to detail and sound design provide an immersive experience. The identical twin brothers, currently studying film production at Biola University’s School of Cinema and Media Arts, often explore themes of identity and individuality in their work.
The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome back Ethan and Luke Montgomery.
Tell us what inspired you to create Leonard and Kevin, and how you came up with the idea for the story?
Our good friend Micah Weightman is a brilliant writer, and he had written this amazing, complex, and moving short story called “Alone Too Long.” We really wanted to adapt that into a short film, but after realizing how difficult it would be to realize the whole story in a film, we came up with this little 90 second sketch that just sort of throws the two main characters into a funny situation. It doesn’t even hint at the deeper themes of the short story, but we had a blast making it, and maybe one day we’ll get to make more.
Can you talk about the process of creating a unique blend of live action and animation, and what were some of the challenges you faced while bringing the characters to life?
We really enjoyed the technical challenge of this film. It took about 6 months for us to create these 90 seconds. We started by shooting Micah, who plays Leonard, and a stand-in for Kevin acting out the scene on a street. Since there was no actual lamp on that street, we had to use a bright, hard light source on a tall pole that could actually fall down at the right moment. We also had a friend turning a little light on and off to replicate the light coming from sparks. From there, we created lots of reference material for Kevin’s movements and did a lot of math to get the stop-motion set to match the proportions of the real set. Then we began the long, tedious process of animating 24 frames per second on a blue screen. Finally, we put it all together in After Effects. It was a lot of fun, but also very challenging. Next time, I think we’ll just find a real 8-foot tall creature.
What was your goal in creating this short film, and what message or feeling do you hope viewers take away from it?
We certainly hope people have fun watching it, and we hope it makes people want to know more about these two characters. It was really just fun to put some of Micah’s writing on screen. We love his dialogue.
What other projects are you currently working on, and how has the experience of Leonard and Kevin influenced your approach to storytelling and filmmaking?
We’re currently working on a 13 minute short film that Micah wrote! This is our second time collaborating and this one is much more of a story with a beginning, middle, and end. We can’t wait to release that one.
We have also continued to integrate visual effects in a lot of our projects since. We always want our projects to start with a story, but we learned through this project that technical challenges are something we should embrace.
Thank you both!
C.M. Rubin with Ethan and Luke Montgomery
Don’t miss Leonard and Kevin, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.