Ethan Menear is a Cornwall filmmaker who looks at youth culture. His No Man’s Girl short was inspired by nights out and creatively filmed during the restrictions. He told us about the experience of making the film and creating an unsettling atmosphere
The premise for No Man’s Girl came from the type of people my own age I would come across on a night out, some of them really flipped a switch to me as to how often the topics covered in the film occur, even if it happens on a much smaller scale.
Those topics were, to me, considered a taboo to the point where it was almost normalised for people of my age, alongside other issues, which some may have at home, which again was a worryingly large amount of people. It’s really quite alarming when you realise how often the events in the film happen to young women in particular and I strongly felt that it was a topic that needed to be discussed more as an important issue that affects a large majority of people.
Shooting a short film on this scale within COVID restrictions was the largest obstacle I had to overcome. It took weeks of planning just to get a simple 3 hour shoot completed in compliance to COVID, for example the scene inside of the nightclub had us adopting simple perception tricks using the positioning between the camera and the cast, some with masks on facing away from the camera and those facing the camera with masks off, to film with social distancing applied and yet to the lens it looks as if the set is packed full of people cramped together.
The entire film was produced by students from the Creative And Digital Academy at Cornwall College where collaboration is strongly encouraged when it comes to projects as big as this. I’ve been extremely lucky with the cast and crew I’ve been working with for this film as they’ve been strongly dedicated to making this project as good as it can be which I couldn’t ask more for.
A lot of the inspiration behind this film is varied for all the different aspects of the film, the score for example was inspired by the soundtrack of Blade Runner 2049 which evokes an unsettling tone in a beautiful way, similar to how Ari Aster uses the combination of horrific visuals with an alluring soundtrack to emanate an uneasy feel in his work.
I feel that youth is a fascinating topic to delve into as there’s so much that you can explore within the freedom of being someone so young, which has its benefits and its downsides. It’s also something which I can write about much easier as I can find inspiration fairly easily and will feel much more true to the real world rather than having me write about something which I haven’t come close to experiencing yet as an adult.
More to delve into
I currently don’t have any plans to expand the story further into a feature, although as I progress further into my filmmaking career and once I’ve gained more experience and confidence, I may consider reevaluating it as a feature. I do feel as if there is more to delve into when it comes to No Man’s Girl, but I simply don’t have the capacity to do a film that large just yet. Soon I will begin studying Film at Falmouth University for three years where I will hopefully have the opportunity to continue creating short films alongside some other fantastic like-minded people.
Ethan got to the final of our South West Filmathon Thing with his film Wear Are You?