A look through the imagination of a child at the 'magic' of the Eucharist.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Amy-Joyce Hastings
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thanks. I made this film as a result of a call for submissions I saw for a One Minute Film Festival which the Galway Film Centre were running as part of the 28th Galway Film Fleadh last month. They were looking for submissions of one minute films in any genre (fiction or documentary). I primarily work as an actor but had previously written and directed a couple of short films, and I was really in the mood to direct something at the time.
I'd also just moved to a new area and had been watching the neighbourhood children playing. They were really funny at times and I'd been thinking it would be fun to do a little comedy with very young children, so the inspiration came from that.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
If you are interested in filmmaking, short stories, music videos, narrative commercials - it's storytelling at its most disciplined putting a narrative across in just one minute. Or if you are having a cup of tea and fancy a laugh this should do the trick!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Without wanting to give it entirely away I've taken a lot of well worn cinematic tropes here and used them in a very atypical way, which hopefully makes people laugh. The film challenges preconceptions of religious ritual, looks at things from a different perspective and turns it on its head, which I something I always aim to do in my work as an actor.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
There were only 8 days left before the deadline at the time I saw the call for submissions, but as it was only a 1 minute film I thought I could definitely get in done in time. I massively underestimated how much work would go into it, in the end I got the film itself submitted with only an hour left on the clock before the deadline. I wrote the script the first day, then set about casting the children (and the dog) the next day. There are a lot of flash cut montage style of shots in the film to put across a lot of action very quickly so my shot list was extensive. Also given the children were so young, and there are two cats and a dog also featured,I needed to make sure I had extra coverage so I could afford to cut out entire segments if they didn't work. This meant filming several alternative sequences which didn't end up in the film. We filmed over one day, and that was the most fun part - I love the shoot itself.
We captured three and a half hours of footage, which I then had to edit down to a one minute narrative. That is a huge raw footage to onscreen footage ratio - I think it rivals Apocalypse Now! This meant a few days involved in the edit. The final stages involved working with composer Joe Conlan, remotely by Skype (as he is based in LA). He had quite a challenge to score the piece as there were several sections where the 'genre' shifted suddenly - I asked him to open with something churchy, switch to a thriller tone, then heavenly music, segueing into zany trippy stuff, then a western for 10 seconds, then a hint of danger before finally a sweet score. All in 75 seconds.
He did such an amazing job, I'm very lucky to have someone so talented loan me their skills. While he was composing the score, I was having a lot of fun playing around with the grade and visual effects. I had a lot of freedom to experiment on this short as the footage had to look pretty trippy at points.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback so far has been wonderful. For starters it was hysterical watching the kids see themselves onscreen for the first time. The film won 2nd place at the One Minute Film Festival when it premiered. The screening for it sold out, so they laid on a second screening which also sold out. It's always really rewarding watching your comedy film with a packed audience when they laugh - that's all you can ask for. I used the prize money as a fund to submit to a number of other festivals which had one minute or micro short categories, and so far it's been accepted into the first three festivals I've heard back from. I'd like it to have a wide reaching festival run for the first year and then I will release it publicly online.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The only concern I had was that people mightn't 'get it', particularly at the stage where I was pitching it (eg to the children's' parents!). My sense of humour can be pretty out there. But so far people have reacted with delight. I suppose it could be construed as a little bit controversial, but then the best humour does tend to push people's buttons and it's all in good fun.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Well film is a visual medium so the more visibility the better. I'd like this film to reach the widest audience possible as my previous two shorts only screened at festivals in Europe. I'd like Body of Christ to play at a number of American Festivals too.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film Festival programmers - hello, drop me a line!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I really just set out to make people laugh with this one, it's short and sweet, I'm not trying to change the world. That said it was a challenge in lots of respects, the discipline of the short format, and working with young kids and animals, so I feel it's advanced me as a filmmaker. I'd like if more festivals had a one minute category as there's a lot of creativity involved in making shorts this short. Maybe seeing this will inspire that.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Film has always been a medium to challenge perceptions. Given that wars have been fought over the literal definitions of religion, what does this film say about the Eucharist?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for the interesting questions. If you'd like to follow the film you can look me up on Twitter @AmyJoyHas or http://2222productions.blogspot.ie/
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Right now I am writing a feature length script called "After The Rain". It's tonally very different, to BOC and a complex subject matter, but I'm really enjoying the process. I've been working on it on and off for a couple of years but it's coming together at the moment. The composer Joe Conlan and I recently both worked on a feature called "Sanctuary" (I was acting this time), which is a groundbreaking, award winning film and soon to be widely released. Joe also scored short film "Lily", written and directed by Graham Cantwell (my cinematographer on BOC). "Lily" won the Tiernan McBride Award for Best Short Drama at the Galway Fleadh which is an Oscar Qualifying Category, and is about to begin its festival journey.
Interview: August 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Body of Christ
A look through the imagination of a child at the 'magic' of the Eucharist.
Length: 1 minute!
Director: Amy-Joyce Hastings
Producer: Amy-Joyce Hastings
Writer: Amy-Joyce Hastings
About the writer, director and producer:
Amy-Joyce Hastings is an award winning filmmaker and actor from Ireland. She has worked on film sets from a young age and has a Bachelor in Acting Studies from Trinity College Dublin.
Key cast: Introducing Caden O'Neill, Olivia Doerflinger Duffy and Sophia Doerflinger Duffy
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Film Festivals and distributors
Made in association with: 22:22 Productions, Galway UNESCO City of Film, Galway Film Centre
Release date: 10th July 2016
Where can I watch it in the next month?
In the next month Body of Christ will be screening at the Miami Independent Film Festival (MINDIE) and Roma Festival DOC in Rome. It will also be coming up in the 7th Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dublin in September. Check back to this link from mid 2017 to watch it online: https://vimeo.com/171912019