British Shorts Berlin 2019
Ben Clark & Megan Pugh
‘The Blue Door’
Festival Screening / Midnight Movies (only for 18s and older)
Horror / Mystery / Animation / SciFi / Black Comedy / Music Video
Sat 19.1. 24:00 / Sputnik Kino 1
It is the first of its kind. A 9-minute film, which showcases a beautiful set made from entirely recycled and up-cycled materials. Even the props and costumes were ecologically sourced, using both previous film and TV sets including local charity shops and thrift markets.
Hi Megan & Ben, thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for British Shorts 2019?
Yes, the British Shorts team have been great and we're so thrilled to have been selected to play as part of their programme. We're just sorry we can't attend in person.
I believe congratulations are in order, what does it feel like to be BAFTA nominated?
Absolutely unbelievable, we're completely honoured and thrilled. We've been walking on cloud 9 since we found out last Wednesday.
What went through your head when you found out?
We weren't actually following the announcements, we were convinced we weren't going to get nominated and so didn't bother. Then Megan's sister called us and told us. We were so blown away and didn't believe it at first, but also felt very validated. Making The Blue Door was one of the hardest things we've ever done and the BAFTA nomination has cemented our belief in it.
Any nerves ahead of the festival?
Plenty! There's going to be the best of the best in film attending. And our little short film is up there with some incredible writers, producers and directors. It's sometimes overwhelming, but we're really happy!
How does it feel to be at the festival with The Blue Door?
We love that Berlin is hosting a short film festival championing British work, it's such a great and inclusive idea, we feel very happy to be a part of that. There is no dialogue in The Blue Door, this was a deliberate decision, not only to strengthen the creepy and isolating atmosphere but to ensure its accessibility internationally.
The response to your work has been amazing, what has it meant to you to get this type of reaction?
We feel relief a lot! The Blue Door is our first short film and has taken up a lot of our lives... and money! There were moments whilst making it when we would panic and wonder what the f*@K we'd done, but the fact that audiences are really engaging with it and in lots of different places around the world has removed any of that worry. Everyone has been so lovely about it and the audience reactions to the scares have been so great to see and experience; as a (short) filmmaker you can't ask for more.
Tell me a little bit about The Blue Door how did the film come about?
Ben had this returning idea of a door and how interesting it would be to make something inanimate like that scary. I had this reoccurring horrible dream which we wanted to incorporate. We also knew we wanted to create a female protagonist who was interesting to follow but is not your typical scream queen. Those three ideas combined got us to where we are with The Blue Door... we also don't want to give too much away!
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing The Blue Door to life?
Possibly predictable, but money. Finding money to make The Blue Door was a massive challenge. Part way through the producing process, we realised that we would be as better off trying to save as much money as we could, where we could. I think there tends to be a focus on creating a budget and finding the cash to meet that when there should be as much emphasis on finding ways to reduce costs. Then there was the studio and the set. It took a mammoth effort from everyone involved to get the set in and out. We had friends, crew, actors all involved (even a friend who was pregnant lifting huge slats!)
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
Yes, I would rope my poor siblings and friends into film and photo shoots from when I was very young. As a partnership, we watch a lot of films and try to attend shoots where we can. Watching films is so important, watch everything you can, even the stuff you don't like. You learn a lot.
What feeds your creativity?
Watching other peoples work, each other and music!
How has your approach to your films changed since your debut short film?
We're definitely becoming more confident with our writing and process. We're now working towards a feature film and are trying to remain reassured that we know what we're doing. We've also realised the importance of the people we work with, just how integral their input has been and to the project as a whole. We want to try and keep the core team for as long as we can - the Director, DOP and Composer's input was so important for The Blue Door's creation and completion, every one of that team was a vital cog to the machine; we want to take them through with us to the feature if we can.
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
Having made The Blue Door, we certainly appreciate just how important being collaborative is now. An incredible company; DRESD built our set. I knew we'd have to try and find a way to build a specific, movable set to make The Blue Door work effectively. I'd heard about DRESD and the amazing work they were doing on a Sustainability in Production course and sent The Blue Door to Lynn and Duncan almost immediately. They seemed to really like it. We worked with them closely for the first 4 months of production and they designed and constructed this incredible set piece. On the day of filming, it was an absolute thrill to see this space come to life. Lynn had designed and Duncan constructed the set to look exactly how we'd imagined it; if not better. And with all this, the whole set was recycled utilising materials that had been reclaimed from a number of film and TV productions, including the foundations. In fact, once The Blue Door was shot; the set was packed down to be used again either on another film or at a new event. We believe that we are one of very few if not the first to build a set in this way and with 100% sustainability. Its really fantastic what DRESD are doing and how they're changing the filming industry. We hope The Blue Door inspires more companies to build sets and event pieces in this way. We expect to work with DRESD again and on new projects. We'd definitely like to try and make that happen.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Always ask questions and keep watching, reading and experiencing other people's work. You never know what inspiration can come out of being open; and be open to ideas with every aspect in mind: writing, filming, production. Take long walks - great ideas always spring up on a walk.
What are you currently working on?
We're working on a couple more short films and now The Blue Door feature length. We find this really exciting, we never assumed we'd go on to make a full-length version of The Blue Door, but with everything that's happened, we feel ready to take on that challenge. We think we have some really interesting ideas and themes to make The Blue Door work as a big movie.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
We hope people who are fans of the horror genre really enjoy it and people who aren't find something new in watching it. We also want future producers and directors to know just what can be achieved through sustainable set building - that it could be the future, not just for the way films are built, but for how the environment is protected too.