Esther, a religious fashion student, struggles to adjust to her new flat mates due to her sensory and boundary issues. She decides to take revenge in an unconventional way.
“Food transcends words… boundaries. I’ve never been the best with either – food OR words.” – Esther
I wrote this film in my first year at film school. I was exploring my own relationship with food as a child, and the peculiar new dynamics that come with living with strangers in student halls. I pitched the film to my year group and we spent the last few months of first year making it – it was all filmed in my own flat.
Behind The Scenes
As a child I had a hard time eating food. The textures and sensations of many foods would disturb me, and this feeling would be heightened by other people eating around me. I wanted to make the audience feel that sickening feeling – to gag. I was inspired by the scene in Spirited Away where Chihiro’s parents turn into pigs, this scene scared me a lot as a child. Many of the first concepts of this film include people with pig heads.
The film also has a few catholic elements to it. Why? Why not. I was raised catholic. It is a funny aspect of Esther’s character, that results in a joke at the end. I don’t think this film mocks religion, it just pokes fun at the idea of associating everything with religion. I suppose in a roundabout way, I am making fun of myself.
There was a strict no-intimacy policy while we were making this film. We could not have any characters kiss (or more), which was a bit of an irritating rule when one the main themes of the film is boundaries. I decided we would have a raucous sex scene as the climax to make fun of this rule. Technically, nobody was intimate with each other, but an audience knows what they are hearing! Sound is endlessly important!
Learning Boundaries of My Own
Funnily enough, through making this film about boundaries, I discovered my own as a director. This was the first film I’ve made in film school, and it was the first time I was working with a crew who were really knowledgeable and willing to push things. It was a refreshing experience, but I did over-work myself at many points of the process. I had absolutely no sense of boundaries – we filmed the film in my own bedroom, so I essentially slept on set, and had no time away from the shoot.
I now understand that a good director is someone who can step away from what they are doing. Keeping the personal and the professional as balanced as possible.