Alice has an unwelcome encounter with someone at a party. As she tells her side of the story, she feels like she is on trial for something that isn’t her fault, much like the ‘witches’ during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
For me the purpose of film is to understand other people better – empathise with characters in situations that we wouldn’t usually find ourselves in. In order to do this, a film must be understandable and accessible.
Alice, a bright sixteen-year-old girl and her friends attend a party. There, Alice encounters Thomas, who sexually assaults her. The next morning as Alice tries to come to terms with what happened, she decides that the best thing she can do is tell her story. Alice goes to the guidance councillor at her school who grills her with questions – she feels like she is being put on trial for something that isn’t her fault, much like the ‘witches’ during the Salem Witch Trials. No comfort is offered to Alice in her time of need.
Behind The Scenes
This short film was inspired by current events during 2017-2018, like the MeToo Movement and other cases closer to home.
The casting process for this short film began with casting calls online, and from audition tapes I met with actors to discuss the film in more depth. A lot of extras featured in this short film too. Everyone in the crew shared calls for extras on their social medias and then the extras were given shoot days and locations. The costume used by Alice in the Salem Witch Trial scene was made by my mother.
Production on the short film ran from late 2018 through to early 2019. At its largest the cast and crew numbered 23 on one shoot day, and the shooting of the forest scene caused a stir in the local community, as reported by Dublin Live.
Shooting took place in various locations across County Kildare ranging from the Curragh to St Catherines Park. The ambitious number of locations sometimes proved difficult for the crew, especially when it rained in the outdoor locations. This was the longest shoot I have ever directed, and sometimes I felt under pressure to take on more roles than one trying to organise cast and crew alike to show up to shoot days that were weeks apart. I feel like I succeeded in keeping the morale high on set, encouraging the unpaid extras to return for more!
During the editing process the short film went through a lot of changes. In the original script there was an additional scene that took place in a Court House where Alice would be ‘put on trial’ for her actions. Unfortunately the location chosen was not appropriate which complicated the narrative of the short film, and it presented an editing challenge to remove it while maintaining the narrative. In this final version, the dialogue from the deleted scene is kept as a voiceover.
What I learned
At first I was disappointed that the short would not be exactly how I envisioned, as I had never encountered this problem before. I tried to make the final short as understandable as possible, rather than artistically ambiguous. I think this was a necessary decision due to the subject matter.
If I were to change anything about this short film, I would have developed the character of Alice more thoroughly during scriptwriting. Although the message is clear in such a short amount of time I think it could have been a little more impactful had I spent more time in the development stage.
There are a lot more things I learned in the process of making this film, you can find them in my critical analysis.