A collaboration between Portland filmmaker duo Peterson-Defreese and musician Eric Schopmeyer (Slackjaw, Waxwings), “yellow” combines the sensibilities of Ernst Lubitsch’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s and the restrained photographic sense of Yasujiro Ozu to create a unique modern musical exploring the complexities of love, sex and relationships. The story follows cynical Natalie (Nora Ryan) and her interactions with new boyfriend Matt (Eric Schopmeyer) and best friend Christian (Nico Izambard).
The music for this film was composed for a small jazz combo featuring trombone, trumpet, viola, vibraphone, marimba, bass and drums. During filming all of the music, including the singing was recorded live on set, with the musicians accompanying just off camera, in an effort to capture a sense of naturalness from the (primarily nonprofessional) cast. Shooting on 16mm and working on an extremely tight budget, the numbers had to be shot in one or two takes.