Short film VILLAIN Medieval Revenge with Bella Ramsey and interview with director Sparky Tehnsuko

Our short film this week from the FilmQuest Film Festival and GeekTyrant come together is the medieval revenge film Rascalwhich comes from the writer and director Sparky Tehnsuko.

We share these short films with you to promote the films officially selected by FilmQuest directors and their work.

Today’s short film follows an orphaned girl who seeks revenge on the enormous creature that destroyed her home, but in its lair she discovers more than she bargained for.

The film stars The Last of Us actress Bella Ramsey and Isla Gie. We hope you enjoy it!

I also included a Q&A with the director Rascal.

Without spoilers, tell us what your film is about, its characters and its themes. Is this a proof of concept or a standalone story?

The film is about the cyclical nature of revenge and victimhood, depicted through the actions of a young medieval woman who tries to slay a dragon that destroyed her home and killed her mother. Her mission encounters difficulties when she encounters a small, scaly child living in the dragon’s lair. The short works as a standalone story, but is also effectively a prologue to a larger story featuring the characters I’m currently writing.

What was the inspiration for your film? How did the idea come to you?

It’s a loose retelling of a real-life incident within my family, wrapped in a fantastical metaphor because the aesthetic fits the emotions and interactions I was focusing the story on. It is inspired by many films that depict violent futility such as The Witch, You Were Never Really Here, and Come And See (among others).

Tell us about yourself. What is your background? How long have you been a director?

I’ve been writing trauma stories since before my teens and found that it finally worked in my favor when I came to study film at university and was often assigned to write screenplays for classmates. I graduated in 2010 and began balancing a life as a member of an industrial crew (usually an assistant director or production IT manager) and a part-time director; I started out making crappy movies on DSLRs with friends, and slowly moved on to working with professional casts and crews for about a decade. Outside of screenplays, I still write stories about trauma.

What inspires you to work in genre cinema and tell these types of stories?

The overarching plots of most genre cinema could be told like kitchen dramas with all the fantastical beings or events brought back to their real-life emotional inspirations, and the story would still fascinate but not give audiences the same escapism they might be looking for. . the screen.

What was your favorite part of the filmmaking process for this project?

Learning to do things I had never attempted before. This short film was my first real foray into casting (Bella Ramsey!), special effects (LOTS AND LOTS of fire!), visual effects (a dragon!), stunts (jumping and falling into flames!), prosthetics (humans with scales!) and scenography from scratch (huts and caves!). I loved every second I spent trying to figure it out and collaborating with other creatives to make it so.

What are you most proud of about this film?

There isn’t much about Villain that doesn’t fill me with pride, but I’m particularly proud that my producer and I used our time at home during the 2020 lockdown not to stagnate but to greatly advance our filmmaking. If it were not for the helpfulness, generosity and creative boredom of our friends in the industry during that specific time, this film could not exist.

What is a favorite story or moment from the making of the film that you would like to share?

The electrician, without warning, decided to pack up all his lights while the entire rest of the crew prepared to shoot the final scene of the film, leaving the shoot in absolute darkness. That scene is instead lit entirely by the fire of a single torch, conceived and created in a few minutes by our special effects team, and somehow it works even better.

What was the most challenging moment or experience you had while making your film?

The lights that disappear before our last scene are definitely up there! But otherwise, during editing, I realized that we had shot almost nothing in terms of B-roll, which made transitions and cuts often more difficult than they might have otherwise been. Our editor made some impressive choices to tell the story eloquently without losing anything from the storyboards.

If so, how did your film change or differ from the original concept during pre-production, production, and/or post-production? How has it changed the way you approach future projects?

A lot of things changed or evolved during development, especially our expectations of visual effects. The final film shows MUCH fewer shots of the dragon than we expected, simply because of the cost, so we had to be very precise in understanding what we could and couldn’t cut to make the story continue to work. Economical editing of the script and storyboards will happen much earlier in the process next time!

Who were some of your collaborators and actors in the film? How did you start working together?

My producer (Sej Davé) and I had worked in freelance crew roles within the film industry for many years, so a large number of our collaborators were people we had met working on big Hollywood films – and who simply were bored from a creative point of view. during the pandemic and willing to work for peers’ rates! My latest short film (They Call Me the Kid) was my first collaboration with cinematographer Andreas Neo, and we worked incredibly well together, so I was only too happy to invite him to the project. Our composer, the amazingly talented Jo Quail, is actually a musician who I’m just a personal fan of and who I contacted on Instagram when I realized she lived in London. I was so happy when she agreed to write the soundtrack for the film! Some other mentions: Catriona Dickie, our casting director, had worked with Sej on a Netflix show and handed our script to Bella Ramsey, who was eager to take on the role. The incredible Charmaine Fuller, another former colleague, organized our makeup teams; and James Yeoman, who we had only recently met, ingratiated us into the world of VFX with patience and grace. To name just a few.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a filmmaker and what would you like to say to new filmmakers?

Where possible, don’t do EVERYTHING. Focus your attention directly on the specific thing you’d like to do (e.g. directing, camera, production management) and you’ll do that thing MUCH better than if you were spread across a multitude of roles.

What are your plans for your career and what do you hope this film does for that? What kinds of stories would you like to tell moving forward?

I really hope that this film will be my last short film and pave the way for investors and producers to trust that I know how to make a film. I also hope that, in a few years, I will be able to pay my bills by writing and directing films, no longer having to rush actors to put on makeup or fix connections to remote servers so the accounting department can put food on my table. I’d like to continue telling amazing stories of damaged people coming to the realization to stop hurting the people they love. Like therapy, but with moving images!

What’s your next project and when can we expect to see it?

I’m immersed in writing my first feature film, which I hope to shoot in 2025 if all goes well. Either it will be a continuation of the story and world of Villain, or it will be a contemporary drama about a healthcare worker whose unidentified catatonic patient briefly becomes world-famous when he is revealed to be a virtuoso pianist.

Where can we find more of your work and where can interested people contact you?

My personal approach to pretty much everything is simply “tehnsuko” and I spend more time on Instagram and Letterboxd than anywhere else. Otherwise: www.cowboyfunfair.co.uk is my company website and you can see my work on youtube.com/cowboyfunfair and vimeo.com/cowboyfunfair

Bonus question no. 1: What is your favorite movie of all time?

That will change in five minutes, but right now it’s Children of Men’s turn.

Bonus question no. 2: What is the film that most inspired you to become a director and/or had the greatest influence on your work?

Requiem for a dream. There are so many technical innovations and impressive narrative forms packed into one film that demonstrate creative courage. The subject matter also left me staring silently at the credits, which later made me think “I want to be able to do this to people.”

by Joey Paur
Source: Geek Tyrant

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