Poetry combines with pictures in I Want This, a micro short Exeter Phoenix commission from poet and performer Micha Colombo.
Entering the visual language of film through the evocative language of poetry as a complete newbie filmmaker has been a big and rewarding learning curve.
“I did some poetry on commission last year for the Two Short Nights festival. Through that, I watched a lot of the short films and I was interested in the idea of subjectivity and objectivity, looking at someone’s experience or feeling someone’s experience,” she says.
“I wanted to make something where I could try as much as possible to make it a really felt experience rather than something where we’re distanced and looking at.”
Maternal mental health
The idea central to I Want This was one of loneliness and maternal mental health.
The team at the Exeter Phoenix helped Micha with what she needed to do to make a film. Coming from completely different art disciplines, “I was clueless,” she admits.
Micha gathered a team around her, to help with the DIY elements she could provide. “I wrote and produced and starred in it. And directed it,” she says. She drew on the skills of Alister Malcolm as DOP and Sinead O’Toole for editing.
“What’s very exciting for me is it’s an opportunity to explore a visual language and to move beyond words and sticking to script. It’s a chance to think more in terms of shapes and light and space. It’s not moving away from narrative, but it’s moving into a more visual landscape.”
Micha’s background in theatre was a basis for thinking in visuals.
The central character of I Want This is a woman and a mother. It’s essentially a film of two halves, Micha tells us. It explores the intensity of domestic life and what it is to have kids – the relentlessness of it. She finds herself outside in her garden at night. “It’s about that connection with nature that can be quite healing, and that can help us remember who we are,” she says.
“It’s a woman who’s been bombarded by life and is frozen in the middle of her own life. By taking a moment by herself in nature in the middle of the night, she reconnects with herself again, and finds a reintegration,” says Micha.
For a performer who is used to the immediacy of connecting with an audience, being part of the production of a film was different.
“I have acted in shorts and small bits and pieces of film. As an actor, you finish the shoot and it’s a wrap, and you have that high. At the end of the shoot, I felt totally drained and overwhelmed. I realized that was because I was in the middle of the process – it wasn’t an endpoint. I found that a bit unsettling.”
That buzz returned when Micha saw the first edit and could feel that the film existed in some form. And that buzz has been inspiring.
“My main intention was that I wanted to start writing for screens more – it’s always good to understand the medium from a hands-on perspective. It gives you insight. But actually, I’ve been bitten by the bug. And I do want to make more as a director. It’s triggered something.”
Micha Colombo | web
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