Editor-in-Chief Chris Ahjem interviews aspiring director and Sussex student Harry Laws about his latest project.

Brighton is a cultural centre for some truly exciting creative up-and-comers, one of them is aspiring director Harry Laws (a third year English and Film Studies student at Sussex) who is currently working on the pre-production and casting of his upcoming short film, Sidon, Paved in Bronze. This film falls under the absurdist genre and will feature missing flatmates, alternate dimensions, shingle beaches and Mafeking Road.

If you’d like to register interest in being in the film follow this link to find more info on roles and auditioning. 

Even in a time of lockdown, I had the chance to chat to Harry Laws about his upcoming project, his independent film-making collective and more! 

Firstly, tell me a bit about what our readers could expect from your short film Sidon, Paved in Bronze and its dimension hopping story. 

Imagine a University sitcom where the characters go to hell. That’s the hook, but at heart, it’s really a drama of moments and details. It’ll appeal to anyone with a slightly broken sense of humour, but for the most part, you’ll be captivated by its general weirdness. Brandon and Vivian will be just as confused as you so there is some relief from the absurdity. We’re looking to shoot it a little like the Dollars trilogy.

What are the major influences behind the film?

Samuel Beckett, the film Withnail & I, Adult Swim’s YouTube shorts and Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared. A worrying amount was also inspired by stuff I’ve witnessed on nights out, but if you like anything by Adult Swim this will be right up your alley.

What’s the story behind the working title, Sidon, Paved in Bronze, and can we expect the title to change upon release? 

It’s a line from The Odyssey which I really liked, and I’ve recycled it somewhere in the screenplay. As a title, it’s a little clunky, so I imagine we’ll pick something shorter for release.

You’re currently looking for the roles of Klaus, Brandon, Vivian and Frances to be filled with Otto already having been cast as Sussex’s own Antonio Bud. What are you looking for in terms of these as yet uncast roles?

We’re looking for semi-experienced actors who can bring their own flavour to the characters. Each has a default emotional state, with Klaus being angry and somewhat deranged, Brandon being nervous and afraid, and Vivian, calm and calculated. Delivery is everything, and the more you can exaggerate these traits, the better.

Frances is a different story, appearing as the friend and love interest of Otto, and the only normal character. Their interaction is closer to the kind of thing you would find in a really cute coming of age film, and it’s arguably the high point of the story. We’re looking for someone who can bring charm to that role.

Sidon will be the first production under your new independent production company Hammer and Feather Productions. How did this production company come about? And what can we expect from it in the future? 

I thought of the name for Hammer and Feather when I was like 15, and I’ve wanted to make it ever since! The idea was to create a platform for future projects I’m involved with. Things have only come together for the film in Third Year, but I’ll be keeping in contact with everyone involved. Not all of us are based around London, but whenever we’re nearby for a shoot they’ll be able to get involved.

For the near future, I’ve got a handful of smaller projects in the works, including a handful of music videos, a documentary and a stop motion short. With any luck, you’ll hear more in the ensuing weeks.

You can follow Hammer & Feather Productions on Facebook for updates on future projects, or enquire about joining the team.

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