Hot on the heels of your short film Love/Fear (see Related Content) you talked to us about your initial ideas for your short film. How did the project then evolve into the film that is now known as The Division of Gravity?
Feels like ages ago now eh? I think it’s going on two years now actually. The idea came to me because I was shopping for trainers in London and I was in a store and saw a photo of a girl with her head out of the window of a car with the wind blowing in her hair. I immediately loved it and took an iPhone photo as reference for in the future. It stuck with me and I kept on looking at it then one day I was looking for a reference for a commercial treatment and came across a shot of a guy on the NYC subway with his head in his hands the day after 9-11.
I loved it also and saved it and at some point I put the two together as they were absolute opposites of each other. The photo of the girl screamed freedom to me, she was on an open road without a care in the world where as if you took away the 9-11 context of the guy on the subway then that shot screamed to me that this guy was going nowhere (around in circles underground) and had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I had been introduced to a poem called You Learn months before this. It all seemed to come together with the images and the poem and made me think of a story of two people who are separating from each other.
I originally wanted to have the poem narrated by both the guy and the girl and at some point the voice blends with each other and you don’t really hear the transition between the two. This didn’t end up in the final film but was one of the main starting points for the film’s creation.
The idea was that they start off in the film as one is happy and one is super sad and then by the end of the film they are at opposite places. She is sad and he is happier or recovering. That’s the main drive of the film now.
How autobiographical is the film?
It started off as just an idea but at the time that I really started to do research and start thinking about how I was going to make the film the same thing happened to me. I was in a relationship that fell apart for some of the reasons in the film. It then became extremely personal and is quite hard actually for me to watch these days although I am madly in love with someone really special now! All of my short film work is personal but this is definitely the most autobiographical out of them all.
You’ve used your editing skills again and there’s a credit to your brother. Do you have a loyal team you collaborate with such as with the musicians?
I love to edit and I still do as much as I can. Obviously this is harder on commercial shoots because at some point you have to separate yourself from what you want and what the actual objective of the commercial is.
I edited this on my laptop at home over the course of a week. It would have been really hard to actually give this to an editor because of the fact that it is such a personal project. My brother is credited in this film because of the support he gave me while I was going through the break up although I have worked with him in a collaborative role in the past as he is an illustrator but not this time.
I do have a team that I like to work with all the time on my shorts. I always work with Paul O’Callaghan as my Director of Photography and always work with Ben Lukas Boysen for all my music and sound design. We also worked with Lucio Armanti who is an awesome cello player. He also worked on my previous short Fear/Love.
What were the main challenges of the shoot?
The story needed to feel big and happen across a period of time. This was hard with no budget and a total of three shoot days so we had to be quite creative with the way we shot things and the way it was edited. Some of the shoot days were just myself and Paul the dop and a couple of people from the Stink office helping out! It was really low key and dirty but I love shooting like that sometimes.
What now for the film, will you be entering it into festivals?
We’ve been entering it into a lot of festivals but at this time we aren’t sure whether we are in or not. Fingers crossed!
Are you already planning your next film?
I’ve had an idea for a third short for quite some time now and am in the early planning stages of it. I hope to shoot it this summer though and I think I will just put it online rather than wait to see if it gets into festivals.
Short films for me are for two reasons; taking what I have learnt through commercial shoots and applying them to narratives and to get noticed for doing what I really love doing. Features are my main passion and end goal so I’m working towards getting to a point where my shorts are really strong so that I can really start thinking about doing a long form film. Hopefully that’s coming soon.
The Division of Gravity
Cast: Rebecca Calder + Max Wrottesley
Director: Rob Chiu.
Producer: Dan Turner.
Executive Producers: Daniel Bergmann + Robert Herman.
Written by Ben Fogg from a story by Rob Chiu. “After A While” by Veronica A. Shoffstall.
Creative Advisor: Stephen Whelan.
Script Development: Marina Brackenbury.
Director of Photography: Paul O’Callaghan.
Editor: Rob Chiu.
Music / Sound Design: Ben Lukas Boysen. Cello: Lucio Amanti. Drums / Percussion: Achim Farber.
Styling: Beth Deakin. Wardrobe supplied by John Varvatos + Preen.
Casting by Rose Wicksteed.
1st Assistant Director: Tristan McIlwham Hefele. Art Director: Guy Thompson. Asst. Art Dir: Oliver Hogan. Focus Puller: Julius Beltrame. Gaffer: Steve Reed. Best Boy: Rob Stewart. Electrician: Daniel Smith. Sound Recordist: Robin Gerrard. Boom Operator: Ben Hawkins. Hair & Make-up Design: Emma Dennis. Wardrobe Assistant: Celia Lusted. Production Assistant (UK): Freya Silk. Production Assistants (Paris): Annabelle Mella + Anna Chahuneau. Production Transport: Craig Kerrigan.
Post-Production Facilities: The Mill. Post Production Producers: Sophie Hogg + Semley Wilkinson. Colourist: Aubrey Woodiwiss. Smoke Artists: James Pratt + Georgie White. Final Cut Artist: Daniel Budin. Camera & Grip Equipment: Fava Rental Ltd. Lighting Equipment: Panalux.
Directed, written and edited by Rob Chiu.
Producer: Lincoln Waldron.
DoP: Paul O’Callaghan.
Graded by Jamie Wilkinson @ The Mill NYC.
Soundtrack: Ben Lukas Boysen + Lucio Amanti.
Casting: Susana Santos.
Starring Lani Jackson, Fraser Everitt & Anthony Edwards.
Executive Producers: Nick Rough & Kris Mikkelson.