“I want to feel the tragedy of your love story,” says the director in Meg Payne’s Incarnation, a short film that takes a psychological look into acting, relationships and roles.
“The idea of taking a ‘romantic’ tragedy and twisting it on its head and involving new elements of what it means to be a tragedy was a huge thing for me and I wanted to explore the boundaries of it,” Meg tells D&CFilm.
“Renata, the main character, is a myriad of different qualities that can’t be overlooked. She’s an overworked actress with dwindling mental health that eventually snaps. Or is she just a psycho who is looking for an innocent person to take advantage of?” says Meg.
“And I wanted this feeling of ambiguity to continue to the relationship of Lorenzo and Renata. There’s clearly history between them but it’s never revealed if it’s just friendly or if there was a romantic element. And even in the present there’s clearly a romantic tension but is it just one sided? That’s for the audience to decide.”
With a love of film and stories, Meg considered turning her hand to writing, but it was combining story with images that excited her .
“I always wanted to create something moving yet beautiful and hopefully I can do that!” she says.
Inspired by the horror and thriller films, like Midsommar and Hereditary where something horrific becomes ‘so intelligently beautiful’, Ari Aster was a huge influence on Incarnation but also Criminal Minds. “I loved the episodes that were more horror based, not gruesomely but with twisted narratives. And of course Romeo and Juliet,” says Meg.
As with all filmmaker, there were technical and other issues.
“I ended up rewriting several scenes and adding another seven scenes for the reshoots. It was also the first time I’d ever edited anything, I soon picked it up and found a new love for it – the way my film came to life before my eyes was such a rare, beautiful thing that nothing will ever compare too.”
Incarnation was filmed in Exeter, at the university campus. The Music and Drama room was perfect for capturing the stage rehearsals and performances. “And then just my bedroom,” says Meg. “We didn’t have any funding for the project so we had to use things that were easy to access. It led to a few compromises but, I definitely think it helped me become a better filmmaker.”
Incarnation was a Lift-Off Film Festival Finalist and was also a nomination at NaSTA’s. Meg has also made White Lies with Avani Sahdev and a music video for Miranda Gent‘s new song More Than Bruises.
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