Intriguing story…. what first attracted you to the narrative?
I remember thinking that the imagery of two people in balaclavas breaking into somebody’s home and having sex instead of stealing stuff was pretty striking – it was actually an idea for a music video initially. But by thinking more about the couple doing these break-ins I figured their behavior could serve as a vehicle to tell a more layered story about the breakdown of a relationship, the break-ins themselves being a last-ditched attempt to ignite excitement and life into something that is dying. This created the basis of the film, using a simple metaphor to try and portray the complexities of a real relationship quietly in freefall.
We have always been drawn to making films about relationships in turmoil, whether between family, friends or partners. The idea that relationships can sometimes become less communicative as they become older, breeding underlying issues that both parties feel unable to voice and in turn leading to a lot of emotional repression, even though you both know each other so well. Developing the music video idea into something deeper was really exciting, the juxtaposition between the high concept nature of the break-ins and the subtle tensions of a longstanding human relationship was interesting.
Who wrote it and do you think it could possibly be based on autobiographical experiences?
Ha – I wrote it with our friend and collaborator Sami El-Hadi, and it’s personal in that it’s based around our fears of finding ourselves in a situation like Dan and Anna’s. Feeling old prematurely and settling down instead of being excited by the life you’ve built for yourself. Dan and Anna’s youth is coming to an end, and after fantasizing about what a life together might look like they are now forced to face the disappointing reality. How do you go about telling the love of your life that this isn’t quite what you had in mind?
We were keen for all of the film’s characters to represent and satirise elements of our own lives and our peers – the stunted development, pretending to be an adult without being able to let go of the excitement and spontaneity of our youth. To us what makes it feel specific to our generation is that we seem to live and behave like adolescents well into our twenties – our generation isn’t really excited about the future so we don’t want to grow up. There’s this contradictory state of being where on the one hand you want to be seen as a grown up by others while internally you are terrified of everything that actually entails. That’s a lot to pack into 15 minutes, so we only really had space to touch on these wider themes lightly. But hopefully they still come across.
The framing and lighting contributes to the intimate feel of the film – were you both in unison about the treatment and the style it was filmed in?
We wanted the film to consist of a series of moments, snapshots that documented a very realistic and un-melodramatic slide towards breaking point for our couple. It was really important for both of us to create a sense that we were there in the home with our characters, privy to very private and intimate moments. And that dictated the style and look of the film.
This film explores the intense final days of a serious, long-term relationship; a pressure cooker environment filled with anxiety, claustrophobia, panic and desperation. We shot it in a way to emphasise this. Staying close on our characters was a way of translating that claustrophobia to the audience. With our DOP Jack Wilkinson we were also keen to convey a visual difference between their home life and the break-ins, the camera work in the latter becoming more fluid and free-flowing to contrast with the stagnation of their relationship at home.
What were the main challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?
As always the lack of money was the main challenge. Not having the perfect locations and having to shoot around them in order to make the story work was difficult at times, particularly with the final break-in scene in the office. However our cast and crew were incredible and we were in awe of their creativity and dedication to the project. Special shout outs must go to Jack (DOP) and Emma (Production Designer) who managed to transform some of the least shoot friendly locations into something that looked really beautiful on film.
Yeah, same issues as always with low-budget projects – you never have enough time to do shit. We worked round that by shooting very little coverage, meaning that we had to make some editing decisions before we started filming. We also shot very few takes – you need great actors to do that so we were lucky to have Martin and Antonia. We only had one day of workshopping with our actors but it was invaluable. That day allowed us to share our ideas and establish a collaborative relationship with them that really benefitted the film.
Are you working together as a directing duo outside of making short films?
Directing content and commercials is how we make our living. However we have multiple drama projects in development for film and TV which we are very excited about pursuing next.
Are you signed?
Yeah we are represented by Ollie Azis at Independent Talent for drama and Agile Films for commercials.