Spiral, written and performed by Camilla Joyce is a simply arresting and powerfully intimate short that’s part of the Cahootify Escape Micro Short Film Contest Public Vote.
With the direct to camera approach of a one-sided conversation between Laura (played by Camilla) and her mother during lockdown, it’s a strikingly familiar setting.
But it’s the little things of daily existence in the big-and-lockdown world that make this compelling viewing. A break-up seems inconsequential compared to a walk outside. The gift of a jumper from a Christmas past is a powerful reminder of a life that once was.
“The inspiration was from the current pandemic,” Camilla told D&CFilm. “The news, people’s stories / experiences and the absence of human touch and connection.
“I also really enjoyed watching Isolation Stories on ITV, including the ‘Making Of’ programme and could relate to the artistic choice of narrative driven stories; something I love.
“My aim was to create a naturalistic, relatable film with a good beginning, middle and end; for the reveal to build and the twist ending to be a surprise.”
The action is a monologue straight to camera, a view most people are used to in an environment where the online face-to-face has become more normal. By taking this singular and simple view the impact and loss of lockdown feels raw and immediate. The ‘new normal’ is made to feel jarring again.
Video diary feel
“I filmed it on my phone, freehand, in portrait to give it an authentic video diary feel. It also helped me to focus my performance into the phone, imagining Laura talking to her Mum in a natural way,” said Camilla.
“The last video diary clip was the one I started with, then worked backwards fleshing the story out from there. Jim Elton filmed the ending, which was just perfect.
“Art is subjective and people will draw from it what resonates with them and have a different perception of the ending and what may have happened. We wanted to point towards Laura taking matters into her own hands by showing her vulnerability and decline in outward optimism.
“Dom Lee did a superb job on the edit and helped to choose the title. I fired lots of options over to him and he chose Spiral from the list, which nicely encapsulates it / sums it up.
“We wanted to create a truly authentic lockdown film, without meeting or undertaking social distance filming. This idea and physical constraint created a greater challenge, in turn being more rewarding when we managed to piece it all together.
“There were three of us in total involved with the project and we each contributed to the film from our own separate locations. I’m proud of what we put together in such a short space of time.
“I’m a firm believer that you can create something truly amazing in a limited time frame. Often less rehearsal / prep time is better. When you have several weeks to work on a play or film, it can feel over rehearsed and too polished. Also, there’s a tendency to waste time with the planning and you only really get down to the nitty gritty right near the end. There’s something about the adrenaline of the ‘last minute’ deadline that helps creatives produce their best work.”
There’s something about the familiarity of the situation that cuts beyond the confines of lockdown.
“Laura’s experience is undoubtedly relatable at this time, however I didn’t want it to solely be a piece about lockdown, hence not fully referencing it. Instead we focus on her decline of mental well-being in the current climate. She tries to put a brave face on it all, but has to face the demons.
“I was mindful not to use too many coronavirus cliches, instead focusing on another angle, bringing to the forefront Laura’s problems pre-lockdown.
“Often ‘less is more’. I really wanted to focus on the story, portraying it in a minimalistic way without special effects, lavish cinematography, impressive locations or smoke and mirrors.
“Much like the current pandemic, life is vulnerable, transparent and stripped bare. We are alone with our thoughts much more than usual, reflecting on the past and learning about ourselves. Life has become more simple, yet time alone can be complicated, forcing us to face fears and realities.”
Voting for the Cahootify Escape Micro Short Film Contest Public Vote, takes place from now until July 13.
Watch Spiral by Camilla Joyce and vote for your Cahootify Escape Micro Short Film Contest fave.