"ALTHOUGH WE LIKE THE COMFORT OF KNOWING A GENRES BOUNDARIES WE ALSO LIKE TO BE SURPRISED."
The Last Oak
Nomination: Best Micro-Short
Screening Session: Feb 28 | Nominated Films
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
The only surviving soldier of an eco-security force must overcome his inexperience and complete an important mission that will save his future in more ways than one. This 90-second film was shot during the lockdown of 2020 using what resources were on offer. The crew were randomly selected from the BFI Network and BAFTA Crew initiative. None of the crew have yet met.
Hi Annabel thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
It has been a very challenging time, but running with my two dogs Huxley and Lola has kept me sane. Also a few creative projects have kept me on track. I am in active development with my commissioned feature film SKYWARD and I am editing wildlife documentary about an inspiring female adventurer.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?
Yes, for sure. During lockdown I found it very hard to break new stories, but some seeds of inspiration have definitely been sown. It will be interesting to see which ones sprout.
Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
Being part of a film festival that is affiliated with a creative production company, Papaya Films and an iconic cinema, the Genesis, is a great start, you immediately feel like you are in good hands. I’m excited to part of this line up as many of the films being screened have been produced in lockdown and during a time in history that has been incredibly difficult. I am proud to be part of such a resilient community and can’t wait to see the films.
Can you tell me a little bit about The Last Oak, how did this film come about?
THE LAST OAK was written, shot and editing during the first lockdown as part of the BFI Network and BAFTA Crew micro short challenge. I knew I had to write a film that would let each member of the crew express their creativity, with limited resources and where we would not actually meet. So the concept was born out of the restrictions. We had zero budget, so it was ver much a case of use what we had. The script needed a prosthetic severed hand, I put a shout out on Facebook and amazingly my friend had one, it was left in my shed a few days later and turned out ok considering.
What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?
The crew were all so professional, so for me it was having to self shoot, set dress, do the continuity, make-up, sound and direct the performance in the war zone scenes. My son acted in it, it was a baking hot day and we had to get all the equipment to the location on out own. It was a full on but fun experience.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
Yes! I would have changed the framing for the opening shots to just a close up of a head filling the screen and I wished I would have taken a bit more time with the set dress in those first few shots too.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
I was studying drama as part of a foundation in Theatre Arts, acting on stage terrified me, but I was excited by writing plays, story telling and the tech side. As part of the course they ran a module in film, we had a great teacher, I shot this short film and as soon as I got in the edit suit I just felt so free and in control. I knew instantly that film was what I wanted to do.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?
“What ever you want to do, do it now, the conditions are always impossible.”
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Yes! I love films that surprise me and do things differently. Although we like the comfort of knowing a genres boundaries we also like to be surprised. Audiences are pretty sophisticated these days and love to be shown something in a new way. Films like BORDER, MONOS, A CHOST STORY are all favourites of mine and I loved them for their bravery in story and execution.
"I am proud to be part of such a resilient community and can’t wait to see the films."
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Keep producing work.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film?
That the environment is worth fighting for.