Online Premiere of Daisy Dickinson’s With Teeth surrealist short, Blue But Pale Blue
WFTV is delighted to be hosting the online premiere of Blue But Pale Blue, a surrealist short film directed by Daisy Dickinson (pictured right) for With Teeth.
The film uses microscope footage and dreamlike imagery to take the audience on a journey through the deepest recesses of one man’s mind. Falling into a coma after being hit by the branch of a tree, he tries to grasp hold of his own consciousness and navigate his way back to reality.
Soundtracked by the haunting electronica of Grimm Grimm, the film is Daisy’s own visual response to her father’s traumatic brain injury. It aims to understand the process he went through while awakening from the coma.
WFTV caught up with Daisy to find out about how she made the film and where she gets her inspiration from. Read the Q+A below, but first…
Watch the film!
“When it came down to actually making the film, it became quite an emotional journey for me, particularly in the editing stages.”
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as a filmmaker?
I come from a background of music videos and live audio/visual performances and have only recently started working in the short film format. My first short film Man on the Hill, featured drummer of The Japanese noise band Boredoms playing drums on fire in the mountains and premiered at the BFI London Film Festival last year. Following that I made Soramimi which premiered at The London Short Film Festival and is set for its Scottish debut at Edinburgh Short Film Festival this July. Blue but Pale Blue is my latest short film.
Q. Blue But Pale Blue was inspired by a real life traumatic event within your own family. How did you go about conceptualising a film from the experience?
It was actually harder than I thought to make a film about what happened to my dad. In the beginning it seemed like the most natural thing to do as I have always believed in art as a tool to process things that happen to us in our lives. But when it came down to actually making the film, it became quite an emotional journey for me, particularly in the editing stages.
We shot the film near to where the accident had happened and I wanted to use the same saw that he was using when cutting off the branch. For the coma sequence, I used abstract imagery and worked closely with a sound-artist to try and convey a particular feeling, which is hard for me to describe in words but hopefully you can feel it when you watch the film. The final scene is a symbol of rebirth and is representing new life after awakening from a brain injury.
“It’s not as straightforward as just putting anything onto the slide and it instantly looking good, its often the strangest combinations of materials that eventually achieve some visually interesting imagery.”
Q. Where did you get the idea to work with microscope footage and how much did you have to manipulate it in post to achieve the effect you were after?
I’ve been using a microscope for the past year or so to create a lot of the visuals for my live performances. I didn’t have to use any post-production to manipulate the microscope footage, but I did have to spend a lot of time with it before seeing some magic. It’s not as straightforward as just putting anything onto the slide and it instantly looking good, its often the strangest combinations of materials that eventually achieve some visually interesting imagery.
Q. How did you work with Grimm Grimm to create the soundtrack, which is so integral to the surreal atmosphere of the film?
The soundtrack was very important for this film and I felt that Grimm Grimm’s music had the right amount of sensitivity to capture the particular mood I was after. I wrote the script initially and we then sat down with Phil, the actor, to record some voice takes. Koichi then used a cassette tape to collect other friend’s voices, including mine, and put them together with synthesiser sounds to create a sound collage. Once the music had come together in a rough form, it was a lot easier for me to edit the film as I’m so used to editing with a piece of music as my guide.
Q. There’s an underwater sequence in the film – which includes a piano! Had you ever shot underwater before? And how did you go about doing it for this film?
I’ve shot one underwater film in the past so was familiar with the difficulties that it involved. For the piano scene, we had to take out all the metal from inside so that it would be light enough to lift in and out of the pool but when we put the piano in the water it floated, which was a bit of a nightmare and so we ended up having to put weights inside so it would sink. We shot the film in March so it was really cold and the whole shoot was pretty mentally and physically exhausting but Phil was amazing and he really pushed himself to the limit to get the shots we needed.
“I really like the films of Richard Kern and John Waters but they haven’t really influenced my work as such, although they have probably altered my perspective on things.”
Q. Where do you find inspiration for your work? Are there particular filmmakers who you admire?
I really like the films of Richard Kern and John Waters but they haven’t really influenced my work as such, although they have probably altered my perspective on things. I find inspiration for my work in things that happen to me in everyday life, in dreams that I have, people that I meet, books and music. I’ve just been massively inspired by a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and its message will be the underlying premise for my next film.
Q. What are you working on at the moment and when can we see it?
I’m off to Barcelona next weekend to shoot with an improvised dancer who is coming over from Japan. We are hiking 40km through the pyrenees mountains in search of a particular waterfall for the final scene of the film. It will be shot on Super8 and will premiere later this year. The trailer and screening information will be available on my website: www.daisydickinson.co.uk
Blue But Pale Blue was made possible by With Teeth, a grant scheme conceived by the London Short Film Festival and supported by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding.
With Teeth supports independent filmmaking that just won’t conform. The fund awards grants of £2,000 to three moving image artists, helping to bridge the gap between mainstream and experimental viewing sensibilities, as well as nurturing artists with the support to take creative risks.