Logline: A young woman makes a dawn escape from a commune she has grown to distrust.
Length: 8 mins
Director: Aurora Fearnley
Producers: Maria Forsström, Jude Goldrei, Sophie Reynolds
Aurora graduated with a First BA Degree from The Northern Film School before starting production company Little Northern Light. She was funded by the UK Film Council to direct her short SHADES OF LIVING. The film screened internationally before signing to Shorts International. Her Sci-fi short film DANIEL premièred at Edinburgh IFF as a Nokia Shorts competition winner.
Jude has worked as an executive producer on behalf of the UK Film Council on more than 70 short films, including a BAFTA winner. She has worked as a film adviser for the British Council, a development producer for Universal Spirits and she is currently the production manager across Creative England’s iShorts schemes.
Originally from Finland, Maria moved to the UK where she joined Vita Nova Films and has been involved in the management of all feature, short productions. A graduate of the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE) Film Marketing Workshops and a graduate of the 2010 EAVE Producers Workshops
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Fans, film festival directors and journalists
Production companies: Little Northern Light, Vita Nova, Lunar Lander
Made in association with: Directors UK, ARRI Media
Release date: June 2015
Why did you make Murmur?
Murmur was made through the Challenge ALEXA competition. Directors UK partnered with ARRI to offer members the chance to win free 2 day ALEXA shooting package with the groundbreaking Master Anamorphic lenses.
The appeal of the ALEXA challenge was the opportunity to create something of exceptional quality in a short time frame. It is very rare for Directors to have this creative opportunity. Having the support of Directors UK and ARRI for the film helped a lot with the small production budget.
Simon Cookson wrote this story originally as a short two-hander play. I love Simon's writing and been a fan for years. His dialogue is ambiguous and subtle and always contains double meaning and visual fables. Having wanted to work with Simon for the past 5 years, we were both delighted to finally collaborate.
Making Murmur was also a chance to work with producers Jude Goldrei and Maria Forsstrom, both of whom I met years earlier at Screen Yorkshire's Triangle feature film scheme. I'm really pleased that I took up the challenge to make new work and build on old relationships.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It is a short and original UK thriller with tension and mystery.
Why is it called Murmur?
A thought that is too dangerous to speak out loud but is too explosive to contain comes out as a whisper. Murmur is the escape of ideas swirling in the mind that needs a voice, but the speaker is too afraid to say the words aloud.
Is there a connection between Murmur and your earlier films including Life on the Line?
Murmur is a film about how we perceive events differently based on our past experiences. Comfort and security to one person is a confined prison to another. Thematically I’ve found that I explore the questions of perceptions of reality in most of my films. This is especially true for Life on the Line.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It’s been surprising to see the film be accepted to so many festivals so quickly. People really like it, I’ve been delighted!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Considering I made this film in under a month with very little input from outside I wasn’t thinking directly about the audience. I was more nervous about this about this film than any I’d released before; it felt like such a risk.
Although we had a camera package and ARRI support I still wanted to pay all cast and crew for their work. So I had to make the choice to take the money I was saving for my wedding that year and put it all into the film instead. The opportunities were great, but I had to make sacrifices to get the film made to the standard I felt my crew deserved.
On reflection I’ve taken stock that my instincts to make this film were correct despite the challenges. Seeing the film do so well and win awards has been so rewarding.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
I’d love to make another film with this team and on this time frame. I have a couple more scripts with this level of tension and shooting simplicity that I’d love to make. Likewise I have feature films in development with the Producers and I’m so ready to make longer form work.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Having the film play in America and outside of Europe would be my aim. It’s done incredibly well in the UK and close to home. LA is the first international screening and I hope the first of many to come.
In terms of journalism and media I feel the film is very female centric in both story and talent. I think there is interest in the different stories coming told by genders in film at the moment.
What type of impact and reception would you like this film to have?
Murmur gets a lot of people talking. I’m asked a lot of questions about this film after every screening, which is just great. The biggest impact is people saying that I need to extend the short into a feature. I often hear “I want to see more”.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or conversation about this film?
Control, possession and perceptions of reality.
How was the shoot for your film as it was entirely exterior locations?
I had decided to film in the Surrey Hills to make the best use of shooting with Anamorphic lenses on the ALEXA. I wanted the beautiful scenery to be in direct contrast to the chilling story unfolding.
We intended to shoot the film in one shot on one day. Our two lead actors would need some special qualities to handle the demands of a continuous six minute shot with actions and focus marks. Lucy Russell and Olivia Morgan were extraordinary overcoming the day’s challenges.
However, on the day we were met by weather obstacles and wet ground, making a one shot impossible. Luckily it was something we'd planned for and if visited the location numerous times in preparation. The positive outcome was the film could make full use of the Anamorphic lens package.
What are the key creatives working on next?
After winning ‘The Pitch’ at Pinewood Aurora is completing the ambitious sci-fi short film PULSAR starring David Gyasi (Interstellar) and Jessie Buckely (War & Peace). Release is summer 2016. Alongside developing Sci-fi feature “Tipping Point” with support through Birds Eye View’s FILMONOMICS.
Jude manages Lunar Lander Films and has a slate of feature films in development, with writers and directors including Aurora Fearnley (winner of The Pitch 2014), Nick Payne (whose play CONSTELLATIONS staged in New York, starring Jake Gyllenhaal) and Alex Winckler (director of BFI funded short TITS and MY MAD FAT DIARY). She currently has a feature film in development with Creative England.
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