First time mum Ellie is worried about her sick baby boy. Dr Cole tries to reassure her that it's probably nothing but Ellie is inconsolable, so he agrees to run tests just to be sure. As they struggle to find out whats wrong with her son Ellie moves in to the hospital. She copes well, despite being alone with her husband away on business, she begins making friends with other mothers and even joins a support group.
In fact, the hospital life seems to make her happier than her isolated, uneventful home life and as she becomes more absorbed and attached to it a dark truth is revealed.
6 questions with Sick director, David Winstone at the half-way mark.
Monday, June 5th, 2017
1Hey David! Thanks for being a part of our festival! First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Sick? I'd heard about munchausen by proxy syndrome (deliberately making your own child sick) when I was a bit too young to hear about something so horrible, and many years later it still really stayed with me. I guess I was trying to get some understanding in to why someone would do that, even though its pretty unfathomable.
2Your lead actress Bethany Muir gives an incredible performance in this film. How did you find her and can you talk about how you two were able to get that opening scene? I cast her after many, many auditions. Its obviously an extreme character and a difficult part but I felt she played it with the most depth and nuance. I was wary of casting someone who approached the character as a "psychopath" or out and out villain and she brought humanity to a morally reprehensible character.
3This film has some great surreal elements added in. What inspired you to make that decision and what is it about adding surreal elements to a film that attracts you? I love films that are expressive and can show the world in a subjective way, from the characters point of view. As the psychology of the character is so extreme we decided to really heighten the film, blurring the lines between her fantasy and reality.
4The cinematography in this film by Steven Cameron Ferguson is excellent. What was it like working together and how did you two come up with the look of the film? Steven was heavily involved conceptually and was very bold and enthusiastic about pushing the look of the film subjectively. All our ideas came from trying to understand the character and what the world looked like to her.
5You wrote this film as well and it has a great twist. Did you know the ending before you started the script or did the ending just occur to you during your writing process? I sort of started with the ending and worked backwards, I knew I wanted it to end in this tragic way. Deciding exactly how and when to reveal the twist was the tricky part.
6What's next? I have a feature and TV show in development, which is exciting but its still early days. I'm hoping to shoot a new short before then as well, a comedy, so a very different to "Sick"! I want to keep pushing myself and trying new genre's, tones and types of story.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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