Now exactly a year since the shoot, here are some new photos from that very hot week courtesy of Dom (centre, below, pictured outside his personalised office), who was utterly invaluable, but who I’ve still no idea how to credit.
An immaculate short from the mighty Blue Tongue Films and David Michod who’s names are all over some of the best shorts I’ve seen in a long time. Directed by Spencer Susser the subject matter could have suffered from recent over exposure (this dates from ’07), but it’s handled really beautifully, and stars a pre-fame Mia Wasikowska.
courtesy of Derek Brown esq (… don’t ask what he does for a living)
“Terry and I have developed a relationship where we just go and look at locations together, for weeks, and that way we kind of get in sync on a picture. And then he says, “Whatever you do will be fine.” He’s so trusting, but I’ve worked so hard to fall in line with what he’s after. I think also over the years we’ve kind of developed similar tastes. Some of it came about because we never had any money, so we always had minimal set dressing and props, and we found out that we really like the way that looked. Even today, I spend most of my time taking stuff away rather than putting stuff onto a set. Just try to keep it simple, because if people aren’t confused by the background, they pay attention to what’s happening with the characters, I think. I try to create backgrounds that are easy to understand so they tell you in shorthand what you need to know about the place or the character and don’t distract you by giving you too much to look at. [The balance between simplicity and authenticity] is a hard one.
I’ve developed a real love of Edward Hopper. His paintings have a simplicity and an essence of location, so he’s probably who I reference the most – I think of him almost like an art director. You really feel the humans in those environments because there’s not a lot of distraction; he paints just what you need. The other artist I like is completely different and that’s Francis Bacon. The thing I really like about Francis Bacon is his passion. I look at his paintings and they’re like falling apart. He’ll put water-base paint on oils – whatever he does, he doesn’t worry about preserving it, but he worries about the moment. If he needs a dash of purple up there, he’ll put whatever purple he has. I appreciate that passion.”
I’m a sucker for rusty knicknacks, me. Fellow Hastings-er, professional photographer, and amateur top bloke John Reynolds has a lovely series of pics of just such weathered bricabrac washed up on the unforgiving beaches of Dungeness, a mere squished cans throw from where we shot ‘The Gift’ … see HERE.
A Polish folktale tells of frogs, lizards, snakes, and other similar animals becoming so numerous, and causing so many problems, that God put them all in a sack in order to get rid of them. He gave the sack to a man, with instructions to empty it into the sea, but the man was weak, and overcome with curiosity he opened the sack to see what was inside, allowing the animals to escape and hide. God, in his anger, changing the man into a stork, sending him out to hunt them down and clean up the mess (Knab, 1996)
The best known modern image of the stork is as the bringer of babies, yet in ancient Greek mythology, the stork was actually a symbol of theft. Gerana, a beautiful Queen of the Pygmies, was changed into a stork by Hera, one of the goddesses whom she had made angry. As a stork, Gerana tried to abduct her own child, Mopsus, whom she loved, but was constantly chased away by her former kin.
German folklore held that storks found babies in caves or marshes and brought them to households in a basket on their backs or held in their beaks. These caves contained adebarsteine or “stork stones”. The babies would then be given to the mother or dropped down the chimney. Households would notify when they wanted children by placing sweets for the stork on the window sill. From there the folklore has spread around the world to countries such as the Philippines and South America.
Polish folklore relates how God made the stork’s plumage white, while the Devil gave it black wings, imbuing it with both good and evil impulses.
Germany associated storks with handicapped or stillborn babies, explained as the stork having dropped the baby en route, or as revenge or punishment for past wrongdoing. A mother who was confined to bed around the time of childbirth was also said to have been “bitten” by the stork.
In Slavic mythology and religion, storks were thought to carry unborn souls from Iriy to Earth in spring and summer. This belief still persists in the modern folk culture of many Slavic countries, in the simplified child story that “storks bring children into the world”.
A ‘stork bite’ is a common type of birthmark seen in a newborn. It is most often temporary.
I realised yesterday that while the edit is now pretty tight and to the point, it’s still not working in regards to the initial set up. Fortunately I also know why and reckon I can sort it out without too much bother. I need to do a couple of little pick ups – just details and props that should be very easy to do myself once I’ve the time in a couple of weeks – to insert into the title sequence and bob’s an uncle. There are other wafty and misleading bits elsewhere, but I quite like them so they’re staying.
It’s a nice feeling, though there’s still work to be done, I can now at least see the winking light at the end of the anus.
It means I’ll miss a couple of choice festival deadlines, but there’s always bloomin festivals, hundreds of the buggers, and it’d be daft to rush it (as if) at this stage. I’ve also got some paid work in so the slightly delirious pressure that EVERYTHING HINGES ON THIS FUCKING THING has subsided and was clearly a load of crap in the first place, taking time out to go camping at the back of Lidl in Bexhill – !exotic! – worked wonders too.
It looks very pretty, it’s nicely acted, and while there’s flaws, its fine for a little first film, and I’m just chuffed to have got this far.