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7th August 2013
Cruel intentions
Institute for Eyes creates an ominous spot that explores the horrors of cyber-bullying for UK employment charity Tomorrow's People

The film is compellingly tense due to the pacing, the framing and the sound track. Please tell us how you developed these – was everything storyboarded in detail or did a lot of the film evolve in your edit?

IFE: The piece wasn’t storyboarded but we knew how we would build the momentum within the edit. Working with David (Procter DOP) we discussed the atmosphere and the sense of invasion the protagonist feels.

We looked to create very simple compositions, almost photographic, like a flow of stills.

The soundtrack is an insight into the teenager’s flitting series of ideas, the sense of constantly shifting thoughts. But with the comments, the other girls hounding her online we captured with an ominous cloud of noise constantly building.

Did you create the narrative or was the script already written? What was the original brief?

IFE: There was a basic outline but no script. We sat down with the girls who gave us an insight into their own lives and stories they’ve heard through friends. Explaining how a lot of the bullying starts with these seemingly innocent, innocuous comments, luring the girls in. It’s very psychological, once the teenager starts replying then they quickly shift and start taunting them.

They were a bit reticent at first in revealing the insults, but once they knew we didn’t want to restrict them, the insults they provided were brutal but very powerful.

The original brief was to create a film which focused on cyber bullying among teenagers, this really appealed to us especially because it was so alien to our generation.

The colour grading contributes to the atmospheric tone of the film – what was behind your decision to use the soft haze?

IFE: David experimented with light, but in a really subtle way because of the nature of the shoot. Any visual manipulation had to fit into the mood of the film; tonally austere.

We looked to develop a really muted colour palette, which worked with the tone of the film, one of our key references for Edwin Metternich, colourist, was the work of the Dardenne Brothers. The man Edwin did a fine job.

The casting is spot on – the victim doesn’t look overtly obvious. How did you go about casting the girls?

IFE: They were a real group of friends, all non-professionals. Ceyda (lead role) had a really strong presence, she seemed quite shy but emotionally intelligent. Our crew were really great in creating the right atmosphere for all the cast. There was an interesting juxtaposition on set as she became more comfortable and confident on camera she became more assured at portraying a vulnerable character. 

Were there any major challenges in the production?

IFE: Getting the girls back to school before the end day, which didn’t happen.

Tomorrow's People, Bully
Director: Institute For Eyes
Production Company: Somesuch & Co
Director of Photography - David Procter
Art Direction - Marc Couzens
Sound Design & Score - Luke SeomoreColourist - Edwin Metternich at Framestore
Edit - Institute For Eyes
Lead Role: Ceyda Akkaya