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Barely a film

My name is Caden Elliott, I’m a local filmmaker. For the past few years I’ve been working in TV on shows such as Vera, Beowulf and An Hour to Catch a Killer with Trevor McDonald.

Finding myself in between jobs and homes, I was living in a caravan with my dog Oscar feeling sorry for the both of us. I knew the source of my self pity wasn’t my circumstances (I quite enjoyed my time in that caravan), but my creative inactivity. After months of trying to get different projects off the ground with my friend Kema Sikazwe (who starred in I, Daniel Blake), we decided to just make something - anything. So we pooled our resources and made ‘Sanctuary’, which was really only funded on a tank of petrol and determination.

I had this abstract idea of a man walking in the woods and digging his own grave, but this was winter and the ground was far too hard to get our little short filmed in a day. After a brief discussion we decided that the man should be digging up something small, a toy, that’s poignant right?

So it was a cold October morning at 5am when I said goodbye to Oscar, picked up Kema and travelled West. We got to the North Pennines with just enough time for a nap before sunrise. We began filming on a cold windy hill as soon as the light began to peer over the horizon, my frozen fingers gripped around an equally cold camera. We rushed about capturing as much as possible before the daylight took over, neither the sun nor the frantic digging was enough to warm up Kema by the end. I think we just managed to get enough footage for this micro budget short before frostbite settled in.

I edited in my cosy caravan with Oscar by my side - this was the best I had felt in a long time. Once I had a finished cut, I asked my good friend and composer Scott Ampleford to write some music for the film. We sat together in his studio and he basically performed some sort of wizardry with a thing called a synthesizer.

That was that, the film was released on YouTube and was also nominated for North East and Border Royal Television Society Award - which was nice.

It’s an abstract film at the end of the day, I know what mine and Kema’s interpretation of the film is but I like people to come up with their own interpretation, although some people think it’s ‘barely a film’ - which I find quite funny. A lot of work goes into something that is ‘barely a film’.



About the author

Caden Elliot

Caden is a local film maker and camera man and has worked extensively in the North East where he lives. He is also director of the hit Instagram and Facebook series Metroland.

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