‘Still Friends’ is a short drama which follows Norah, a girl who is estranged from her mother and thus everyone around her. All her life she has confided in Isabel, the only friend she has ever had. However, she soon comes to realise that Isabel can’t always be capable of being the friend Norah wants her to be.
Before screening my film, I conducted a questionnaire for the audience to fill out so I could have a more general idea of what’s good and what’s not so good about my film.
Personally, I think there is so much more room for improvement for Still Friends, particularly with how the plot plays out. When I watch the film objectively, I feel like people would be confused with who the gardener actually is. I think with more dialogue from her character, I could have easily suggested exactly who she is and why she is there. A lot of people themselves were confused as to who the girl in the garden was. I also think a better casting decision would’ve made it easier for people to understand the character, as the actress seems too young to have that sort of profession. If her character was more clear to the audience the plot would’ve been a lot stronger as they would’ve understood perhaps Norah’s background with her mother and how this gardener/housekeeper has been the only real mother figure in her life.
I think the most positive aspect of my film is the way in which it is shot and the use of locations. These aspects have been a strong point of the film from the beginning. The most challenging aspect of this film was to film it in a way that reflected a certain style. Since the story is so symbolic, it was important that the shots were conducted in such a way to convey the symbolism effectively. During the filming process, I paid close attention to details so my own creative style came across. I was told in the focus group that the style of the film reminded them of Miranda July. Although this wasn’t my intention, Miranda July leans towards a particular auteur style which is what I was also doing.
Collectively, the audience agreed that parts of the edit were quite slow, particularly at the opening. Although I had tried to shorten it down previously, I felt it would take away from the feel of the film. My intention was for it to feel slow so the audience gets a clear sense of her loneliness from the onset of the film, but this didn’t really seem to get across to the audience. Perhaps by shortening down the opening, the plot will then feel more progressive as the audience will be introduced to Norah’s situation more quickly.
When we are first introduced to Isabel (the ornament), I purposefully concealed who she was when Norah was shouting her name. I wanted the audience to think she was talking to a person and then surprise them when they see she is talking to an ornament. I succeeded in doing this as the feedback suggested that the audience in the focus group weren’t aware or expecting her to be talking to an ornament.
Some technical aspects were addressed which I could improve such as the sound issues. I realised during the screening that I had lowered the sound a bit too much, as it was fairly quiet. Also the fading in and out of ambient sound didn’t really work as well as I had hoped as it sounded too unnatural and took away from the film, slightly.
If I was to make ‘Still Friends’ again, I would take more time to write a script that conveyed the relationship between Norah and the gardener. I would perhaps film another sequence as Norah leaves the house before she goes to the park and include another exchange (or lack of) between her and the gardener that gives a more clear idea of their relationship to each other. I would also reshoot the first scene where we see Norah first speak to Isabel. Rather than having it in the dining room, I would’ve filmed her in a more intimate setting with the ornament to reinforce how close Norah feels to Isabel.
Overall, I think my film is fairly effective in conveying the main theme behind it, which is loneliness. It’s a pretty relatable theme too so my audience could understand easily understand Norah’s experience. Personally, the strongest part of ‘Still Friends’ was the use of locations and shots to convey the characters and the mood of the piece, which I felt was the most challenging part of making this film.