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Interview with DepicT! filmmaker Michelle Arbon

Still from Michelle Arbon's short film

With Remembrance Day on Sunday 13 November Michelle Arbon’s moving short about a young solider is timely, poignant and thought-provoking. Read below for an insight into the director’s choice of topic and what inspired her to make this film.

Firstly, can you briefly explain what your film is about?

Above as Below is a short animation about Fredrick, a young soldier and his first experience of war. With his head full of tales of heroism and valour, he is unprepared for what he finds.

What made you choose this particular theme?

I wanted to show that the romanticism of war does not necessarily always reflect the reality. Automatically a soldier is expected to be brave, bold, heroic but, many of those men and women that went to war, were completely unprepared for what they would face. People were ashamed of those soldiers who injured or killed themselves deliberately to escape the war. I wanted to show Fredrick’s reaction to the situation and how it lead him to make the decision that it he did and that perhaps this was an understandable reaction to the horrors that he faced.

How do you hope your film will resonate with your audience?

My hopes are that people would be able to put themselves into his situation and perhaps understand the horrors that he was going through and why he chose the path that he did.

Can you give us some information about your background – what made you choose to get into film?

I currently work as a Camera Assistant within the Television and Film industry, working on a variety of Films, TV commercials and TV dramas. I have always had an interest in creative writing and in 2007 I completed a Master Degree in Screenwriting at the Northern Film School. Since completing this degree, I have split my time between Camera Assisting and pursuing my passion for Writing and Directing.

Are there any cinematic works that have inspired you or influenced you in some way?

I have an eclectic taste when it comes to cinema and enjoy taking inspiration from a variety of genres. For ‘Above as Below’ I took inspiration from a selection of WWII films and poetry of that era. The style of this piece was inspired by the opening sequence of L’ Armata Brancaleone, the 1966 film directed by Mario Monicelli. I felt that a cut out style animation would be an engaging way to portray a story set within WWII without being too graphic.

What have you been up to since filming?

I have continued to work as a Camera Assistant since completing this Short Animation. As well as this work, I have secured funding to write and direct two live action short films, one of which has now been completed and the other is currently in pre-production.

Posted on 11 Nov 2011 at 9:32 am.

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