Earlier in the year, I discovered that Coursera has been offering an online course on Scandinavian film and television. Cinema from this part of the world has gotten more attention of late with adaptations of Stieg Larsson's Millennium novels (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and films like Let the Right One In as well as Lars von Trier's increasing popularity among indie filmmakers. So I signed up.
There was a week the course focused on the work of Ingmar Bergman. The lecturer spoke about Bergman's 'chamber films', which comes from the idea of chamber plays - a story unfolding in a single or small location with a small cast. I'd also watched and read a couple Neil LaBute's plays (Some Girl(s) and Wrecks) and loved the way he'd dump his audience into the centre of two characters' relationship without much context, then, throughout the course of the play, slowly reveal all the backstory and nature of their relationship. I thought it would be an interesting short film to combine these two ideas and a challenge to write it well.
I sat down and penned two or three pages worth of yelling between two characters and stopped. It was awful. I was doing that thing - inserting references to songs and literature etc. clumsily to add subtext and symbolism to the film, oops.
Then in March, when my Smash the State co-producer Lauren Woolcock and I got together and started talking about working on projects outside of VCA together, the idea popped up again. I went back and gave it another go and came back with something more decent. No more books or songs, just lots of embarrassing family history and detestable traits.
We're now in the full swing of pre-production with a lovely cast and crew onboard. It helps that it's a simple idea that can be made cheaply too, so things have moved quickly!
Love and Tolerance.
It's a black comedy about the urge to strangle those we share a table with. The story begins with Rick, as he announces over dinner he's leaving and moving away...just as Rachel pulls out a carving knife. Rick learns that in order to survive family politics, there is no such thing as being too honest with each other.
It's been fun to write and a good change from using my producer brain; to just do something purely creative.
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