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25th September 2018
A trick to everything
Title of film: Sophie Hunger, Tricks
Director: Matilda Finn
Production Company: Friend
Matilda Finn brings her distinctive filmic language to interweave an electrifying car race through the woods with surreal dreamscapes of grief for Sophie Hunger’s track, Tricks. We talk with the young director about her portrayal of the Seven Ages of women

Did the narrative come to you easily when you heard the lyrics?

This was actually the second concept that I made for this track, although it came from what I thought was an obvious choice of imagery (the motion of a car/vehicle).

I won’t go into the first idea, because I do want to make it one day, haha. So no actually it was quite a hard one for me to finally visualise.

What was behind your decision to feature only women?

I didn’t originally write it as all women, I actually wrote it as all men, which is funny. I wrote it all men for a reason, which I hate to divulge really because it is a bit of an over share, but I usually write in opposites: so if the character is really about a guy I will write it about a woman, and visa versa.

I don’t do this forcefully or ‘on purpose’ really in a super conscious way. It might be me hiding a bit probably, because sometimes it is about something very real. I’m also a strong believer in men and women’s differences, both for the positive and negative, but we actually have a universal understanding about most things and feelings, so it doesn’t matter who plays it sometimes.

So that being said, Sophie asked why it couldn’t be all women instead. So we did. The whole point of the narrative is that it’s about one person, so I’m happy we did do women in the end. It makes sense as Sophie is a female artist.

The visuals and lyrics are completely fused, they do not miss a beat together, was that a complicated process?

That stuff is super automatic in my head I just think I’m quick wired to words and images, I never think about how I must match lyrics to images.

Usually it’s the production or tone of the track that I will be inspired by more than lyrics.

What is the relationship between the older woman and younger women?

It’s about the ‘Seven Ages’, so the dead woman is the final stage. All the other stages are now mourning her. It’s more complicated than this but that’s as simple as I can explain that relationship.

Tricks is beautifully filmed and paced – please tell us about the pre-production process, were there many compromises?

Thank you so much, well once again Ben Fordesman DP’d this. I just bow down to that wonderful human and feel so fortunate to get to work with him, it’s a fucking dream quite honestly.

And yes and no on compromises – we had a lot more planned, but it’s another one day shoot, so that’s how it is.

The day before the shoot we discuss schedule with the 1st, and he explains how the shot list was then currently at 24 hours. I was so cocky, 18 hours is much longer than I’d get in the UK for a day, I basically thought we could shoot a feature film. So a lot of stuff was slashed, but we did achieve a lot in a day.

Also, I originally did not write in a real crash, as a real crash is very expensive and as per usual there was no money – so the original plan was to go real artsy with it, in a mixture of what is there now with the abstract stuff.

But the first call we have with Dasha (Kiev producer) she is like: “So guys, we are going to do the car crash”. So, we did the car crash. This is what she is like, very matter of fact – wants to create the best work. I love her.

Honestly I don’t think I could have made this anywhere else, they would just laugh at me.

Was the shoot straight forward and where was it? In fact the whole production looks huge – what were the main challenges and how did you resolve them?

I think I mostly go into this in the last question. But yes the production was huge, absolutely insane. I can’t explain enough how incredible the service company is and was.

I think like most shoots like this, where you are trying to over achieve, you just get thrifty – ok, it’s more like panic and desperation at the time, but we will go with ‘thrifty’.

So for example, we had plot points of where we would shoot in this HUGE beautiful wood location, which basically went out the window, and we ended up using like 3/6 plot points and just condensed that way. And of course the standard: get one take and move on, works for most occasions.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d just like to solidify my love for 23/32 and show my absolute thanks and love to them all. I felt this genuine feeling of luck (not sure if that’s the right word) to be there in that moment working with those guys, and we have recently made another project too, and it was the same – absolute next level effort. It would have been absolutely impossible without them.

And then my edit assistant Sebastian Hinds needs a huge shout out as he puts up with me in the edit. He is my brother in arms, and I owe him considerably. And same goes to Luke Tierney and Gloria Bowman who it wouldn’t have been possible without of course.

Credits

Directed by Matilda Finn
DOP – Ben Fordesman
Exec Producer – Luke Tierney
Production company: FRIEND
Service company: 23/32 Films
Producer Dasha Deriagina
Producer – Gloria Bowman
Colourist: Simone Grattarola @ Time Based Arts
1AD Vadim Yuzba
2AD Alexis Savelov
Stunt driver Vitaliy Gerashenko
Art. director – Daniel Dubrovsky
Casting director – Karin Melnychenko / Papacasting Studio
Location manager – Vikto Shava
Stylist – Juli Levitskaya
HMU – Natalia Dankovska
Gaffer – Max Ruban
1AC – Eugene Bubley
PM – Denis Kumeiko
Grip crew Kiev-Grip- UA – Max Varava
Video assistant Max Suhow
Rental company Patriot
Editor: Matilda Finn
Assistant editor: Sebastian Hinds
Sound design: Rob Ashton
Twins: Dasha & Alina Palahniuk
Special thank you to Ian Pons Jewell & Sebastian Hinds