During a class spelling test, intense young student Laura is furious when her neighbour Ollie cheats her out of winning a coveted gold star. Remorseless Ollie refuses to return it, driving Laura to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.
7 questions with Fall director, Claire Hanrahan at the half-way mark.
Monday, August 14th, 2017
1Hi Claire! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Fall? The seed that inspired me happened to be a film called The Bad Seed! It's this great 50's film about a very charismatic, manipulative little girl that I saw in high school and became obsessed with.
2You did an amazing job of setting up a very unexpected ending. How important is the ending to you and how what was your writing process like? The ending is always crucial, it's the final impression an audience is left with. I wrote this short film as an exercise in non-linear time during my studies at film school. I so enjoyed the challenge of writing like that, splitting up a time line then piecing it back together out of order so it still makes sense.
3What was it like working with child actors? How were you able to get good performances out of them? Did you do lots of rehearsals, were you loose with the script, or were they just good actors? It was a great experience - contrary to everything I'd heard! The kids were professional, easygoing and their style was beautifully natural. It was lovely to work with people who weren't overthinking anything. We didn't rehearse a lot, I just asked them to know their lines then made sure they felt as comfortable and relaxed as possible on set. I got really lucky, they brought a lot of talent to the table.
4I loved how you decided to not show an important shot and instead used a toy falling in the pool. Did you have that planned in the script or did you shoot it that way? I always knew I wanted to cut away in that moment, but the shot I had originally planned was different. Then on the day my (very creative and spontaneous) DP was messing around after the actors went home and grabbed one of the toys and was like' hey, what if we get a shot of this falling in the pool?' and I was like 'yes! I love it!' Later in the edit the shot I had planned was kind of underwhelming, and when I found those experiments I just knew it was a perfect fit for what I was trying to say.
5Laura is a very competitive and ruthless child. Were you like that at all as a child or were you more like Ollie? I was definitely a bit of a nerd and a goody two shoes, I took school very seriously so I can relate to her in that sense. But I was sensitive too, definitely not ruthless - I think that's part of why I was drawn to exploring a character who's the opposite, who seems to completely lack empathy. Laura is actually my lovely sister's name, which I chose to amuse her - not because she bears any similarity to the character!
6What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? A Clockwork Orange.
7What's next? A feature film based on Fall. The script was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab last year, so fingers crossed we'll have more luck this year!
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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