Freedom is my first ever short film which I wrote, directed, co-produced and edited myself. The reason I made this film is because my main ambition is to be a professional filmmaker and/or a significant position in the film industry. I love film and every aspects in creating a full length motion picture.

 

I have been trying to find ways to push myself to the limit on order to improve my skills and understanding in my field of interest. I started as a intern for a publication company as a Camera Operator and Video Editor for 3 months. After that I started to work as a Freelancer, providing video and photography service for business’ and organisations. This helped improved my skills as well as gave me the opportunity to collaborate with different creatives, learn to follow instructions, develop my customer service and communication and opportunity to showcase my ability and creativity.

 

Making this film was my next step and I needed to do this to see what role I’m best suited for. Although Freedom has been accepted by a few film festivals and still pending notifications from others, it has also received mix reviews from viewers. Here are a few examples I would like to share:

Nathan:
All mental health and particularly post traumatic stress disorder is a very difficult and under represented topic area to cover so definitely rate you for covering it. The production value of the piece, shot composition and framing were for the most part really good and in addition to some of the cuts made, made for a really polished cut.
There were however a few areas that i would say could be improved.
– There is not enough of a back story engaging the audience with the main protagonist early on, therefore throughout the piece we don’t care enough about what will happen to him and there is nothing driving the story forward. –> if for example you’d started the film with him running a PT session with either a female or a group of his friends where you see bits of his personality but ultimately he is not able to finish, it would build intrigue both for the plot, character and the audience.
–  There is way too much dialogue and many of the plot points (i.e. the main character was in a car accident and now suffers for PTSD etc.) are explained to the audience through a conversation with two central characters (girlfriend + best friend). We’re constantly told of stuff that has happened rather than showing and inferring bits of the back story subtly. For example, rather than using verbal dialogue to explain his mental state, it could be inferred by showing the girlfriend hesitating by the phone holding a business card for a psychologist or councillor that she is in contact with, when she realises he’s missing. It goes through to voicemail and that’s when she decides to call his friend. This visual says a lot more than a 2 minute verbal exchange.
– One of the only technical suggestions I have, is that the protagonist needed to be lit better. Although i understand you’re trying to build mystery/mystique for the character which reflects the torment he’s going through, he wasn’t lit well. It’s important to remember that skin colour is affected differently with the same lighting on camera, and especially as a black person it affects the intricacies of seeing the emotion in his performance.
Overall, the topic covered was interesting the script and plot could have been developed further to fully flesh out the themes of the piece and the overall message of what it was trying to convey. The quotes that bookended both the beginning and the end left me intrigued but confused as to the story and message you were trying to convey.

 

Heidi: ‘The story line was good and I was just getting into it. If 20mins was intended then I suggest that you make a full movie, not just 20 mins, as you definitely have the right storyline for it.’

Boom! Film Reviews: “Freedom” presents subpar production quality and an uninspired story despite some decent performances.

Michelle Davis: ‘For your first short film that was impressively intense, very gripping! You done your research well, with the symptoms of PTSD. It captured the moment of an episode, I personally would of liked to of seen more of the build up to that moment- i.e normal life where he felt he didn’t need to take the fluoxetine.’

For my first short film, I’m happy with the feedback because I feel I’m on the right track. If I compare this project to my previous work when I first started out, I feel the adaptation has improved tremendously., from my storytelling, directing, camera operating and editing. Most importantly, regardless of the mix reviews, film festivals have acknowledge my film to best film festival material and deserves to be showcased. This has encouraged me to continue pursuing my ambitions. I feel there is so much to learn and one film doesn’t define my ability. To make mistakes, conquer my fears and to take a chance.


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