YOU HAVE A NEW FOLLOWER (2020) – A NEW SHORT FILM PRODUCTION
While my most recent short film production Tolerance (2019) has yet to be released online, I am still hopeful of further short film screenings. It was recently screened at the Unrestricted View Festival 2019 in London and was also nominated for an award for set design and art direction.
Tolerance (2019) will be released online in the next few months. Details of the film can be found HERE.
Also, the trailer can be seen here:
Over the last year I have been working with the excellent Swedish actress Tilde Jensen on a new short film. It has been a fascinating process as I was ready to film in February 2019. But, after shooting a test video I decided the film wasn’t dramatic enough. So, I re-wrote the script to try and make it more cinematic. I finally settled on a script that was an improvement in our view and rather than just be voice-over based, it now has a lot more suspense, energy and mystery.
You Have a New Follower is a mystery thriller set over one fateful day. Astrid Nilsson is a freelance writer, pitching to clients around London. However, she is unaware she is being followed. Only when she is surprised by her follower do events take a twisted turn.
Inspired by filmmakers such as Hitchcock and DePalma, of all the scripts I have written I was say this is the most ambiguous and mysterious one. I have deliberately not filled in the narrative gaps, so I’m hoping that the audience will still feel the fear our main character does from her predicament. Thematically, the story is about the threat of being followed by the unknown and how one would handle such a situation.
Choice of shots, music, performance and editing style will be paramount. I am relying on the cinematic style to convey the emotion rather than explaining the story in the dialogue. I like to think that I have exhibited interesting style in the previous short films but I always closed any narrative or story gaps. In this film I take more of a creative risk.
We shot over two days during the recent May 2019 Bank Holiday. I assembled a small but fantastic crew. We were a truly international team with crew from: Greece, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and England. Low budget filmmaking can be incredibly difficult but very rewarding. As with my prior short films the whole crew worked together brilliantly and I was very happy with the shots we got.
In order to make any shoot work smoothly I had prepared a scene-by-scene breakdown and shot list. I had also done reconnaissance on the London locations at: King’s Cross, London South Bank and Leake Street Arches, Waterloo. The locations were important and integral to creating the city look I wanted for the film. I wanted the character to feel trapped by her surroundings but also use locations which looked impressive. Despite being moved on a couple of times by security staff I believe we achieved this, despite some compromises.
The internal locations were shot on the second day. Here is where the main drama of the story unfolds. We find the character of Astrid in a very stressed state and as she recounts her day to her boyfriend, David. Tilde Jensen and Mitchell Fisher gave great performances and I think our rehearsals prior to shooting really paid off.
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
You Have a New Follower is a very contained story full of enigma, but it hints at a larger scale universe. However, mostly it is an isolated character story about urban paranoia and the fear of being followed and watched. In the subtext it’s also about that existential anxiety we all feel in life and why we sometimes feel afraid and just don’t know why.
The film will now move into post-production and the editing, music and sound production will form a bond to make it another decent low-budget short film. Here’s hoping!
CAST AND CREDITS
Written, produced and directed by: Paul Laight
Cast: Tilde Jensen, Mitchell Fisher, Lue Henner
Sound: Marina Fusella
Cinematography: Petros Gioumpasis, Sakis Gioumpasis
Production Assistants: Lue Henner, Melissa Zajk
Running Time: TBC