The Midnight Pen-pal is a short film by London film-maker Emmaalouise Smith. Shot on a mix-medium film palette, including; super 8mm, 16mm and PX instant stills. The project is made up of an all-girl cast and crew, with Emmaalouise both starring and working multiple roles throughout production.
The narrative is based upon a poem written about living at ‘The factory’ in Leytonstone during the summer months of 2008, where observation, personal projection and feminine interaction are all key themes. Colour and mise-en-scene heavily motivate the piece, telling the story of a girl, and her dreams and desires through audio/visual experimentation and an overtly ambiguous time setting.
Emmaalouise Smith: I used the shoot as a kind of observational experiment amongst the people I was finding myself living around. And from writing, styling and directing the vision of the action I could let the situation and scene in question just play out… and SNAP and SHOOT whenever I saw the action I wanted to capture. I always had a very clear idea about what I needed to ‘find’ through my small script, storyboards and test-shots with the girls, and I soon found out that by simply making the scene look and feel right, the people involved would react in the way I wanted- not naturally- because cinema verite cannot exist when working with super8mm (the camera is too loud to be un-noticed!), but I found myself capturing the emotions and insecurities I aimed to uncover initially, by simply painting the picture I saw in my head.
I’m completely self-funded, and never let budgets rule over my films, there’s always a way to make something work; whether it means making my own ‘lenses’, hand-processing stock to make my own special ‘effects’ or simply using the help of those around me.
The Midnight Pen-pal can now be seen in full, at festivals and screenings in and around London toward the end of 2011, as well as plans to present as part of more exhibitive and installation environment with stills photography and sound-scape for the upcoming months. Previous notoriety has been given through screenings such as a Q&A showcase at the Rich Mix cinema, The Pictures , the 5th International Cambridge Super 8 Film Festival, and the 2011 East End Film Festival.
You can read the full article on the Gorilla Film Magazine website by clicking on this link.