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Directed by: Richard Prendergast
Country: United Kingdom
Synopsis: Our love affair with the automobile means that a car can feel like it is part of the family. Sometimes it's more than that.
A true story. Where did you find it?
I wanted to make a short film for some time. One afternoon, I was supposed to be working on a treatment for an ad that we were producing at SubMotion Productions, so like all creatives, I was procrastinating and clicking around on Facebook. Kevin and Sabrina's story had gone viral and one of my friends had shared it. The story was heartbreaking, yet somehow hopeful. Being a father of two daughters, it really struck a chord with me. As soon as I read it, the script really just fell into my head. It seemed like the perfect story to finally get a short film together.
Wonderful performances. How did you come across Jolie Lennon?
Jolie's performance was incredible. She really blew us all away on set. This was my first time directing actors on a scripted film so I was a little apprehensive about how it would unfold. But Jolie was prepared and professional. It made my job really enjoyable. Our executive producer and also actor, Benjamin Hartley, owns a casting agent called MFS casting. He replied to a casting call for actors in the very early stages of development and our relationship blossomed from there! His input has been integral throughout the film. His own performance, alongside, Gaynor Fraser and my own two young girls, Maisie and Evie, were everything I could have hoped for.
What was the biggest challenge in making this film?
Hmm, where to start? Sylvia didn't feel too ambitious when I started writing it. Actually, it seemed really simple, but that was because I was only thinking about the technical aspects rather than the heart of the film and the actors. Thankfully, after linking with Ben and finding Jolie, everything slotted into place and I relaxed a little bit! The shoot itself was the usual slog that you'd expect with a low budget short film: 16 hour days, freezing cold and some logistical nightmares. Luckily I had an amazing crew and cast who went above and beyond and enabled us to produce Sylvia.
When MANHATTAN SHORT first saw the film, we asked you to edit it down. What did you learn from that?
At first, when you receive feedback like this, it can feel quite personal, especially when you are so emotionally involved in all aspects of the film. But having watched Sylvia at several film festivals, amongst audiences, we too had started to feel that it could do with being cut down. In hindsight, this was the best advice we could have received! Myself and the editor, Jack, discussed in depth how we could do it, without losing integral scenes I had so carefully written in to the script. But finally we had an eureka moment and made a cut of 3.5 minutes.