Part 3 of our continuing look at the new HDSLR movie “Dimensions” – today we have a look at what the director Sloane U'Ren has to say about putting the movie together, selling their house, and directing.
life is short (by Sloane)
My husband Antony and I have often talked of making our own film. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to enjoy working on so many other people’s movies, but still, over late night glasses of red wine, the conversation turned to ‘our’ films. Finally, we decided it was time to take the plunge.
Making a film is an expensive undertaking and our only real option was to sell our home to help fund it. It all seems a little crazy until you remember – life is short. Thanks to the enormous support of our family and friends, our colleagues and a few other investors, we are on the way.
Period films have a unique set of challenges — locations, costumes, make-up, props, etc., all have to be ‘correct’ for the time and mood of the piece. As you can imagine, a period film on a micro-budget magnifies all of those issues. Luckily, for Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads, I was surrounded by a great team of people who made magic happen with incredibly limited resources. We do also have a ‘get out of jail free’ card with the film – something in the story that allows us a little leeway with period elements. I’m not going to tell you what that is, though — you have to see the film to find out for yourselves!
I hope you enjoy this introduction to Dimensions, with particular emphasis on the technical challenges and equipment used.
BTS with Sloane
meet the director
British-American first-time director Sloane U’Ren has worked as an Art Director and Set Designer on projects including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Being John Malkovich, Batman Begins, The Good Shepherd, Ali and Six Feet Under, to mention but a few. She first started in the film and television industry, aged just four-years-old, as an actress, and has extensive experience both in front of and behind the camera. Sloane has been nominated for several prestigious awards.
After many years in the film and television industry, both in the U.K. and the U.S., it’s long been an ambition of mine to direct. Of course, everyone wants to direct, so I had two options…wait for an opportunity to land on the door mat (not likely!) or make it happen.
Ant and I spent a long time discussing the implications of selling our home and putting well over a year of our lives into the film. We soon came to the realisation that we could either go on talking about it or we could take a leap of faith – so leap we did.
I’ve always been a fan of science fiction, but didn’t want to make a purely ‘concept’ based film – I was much more interested in telling a story about people who happen to be in a world that we term
‘sci-fi’. Of course, what is sci-fi today becomes reality tomorrow, and it is that quest for knowledge and the price you must pay that is at the heart of the film. I like to say that Dimensions isn’t about time travel per se, it is about the desire to time travel. What fascinated me about Ant’s script were the relationships between the characters and what they were going through.
For me personally, the best films are those in which you care about the characters and my goal with Dimensions was to get the audience to invest emotionally. Thanks to an absolutely amazing cast and crew, I think we got there!
“We knew that we had to get the cast absolutely right and we were fortunate enough to have Alice Searby, a fantastic Casting Director, on board. The story itself has in-built challenges from a casting point of view, so the process did take quite a while – right up and into when we started shooting. Fortunately, the U.K. has some of the world’s finest actors, many of whom have a theatre background and hence are ‘quick studies’. Having a tiny budget to make the film, we were reliant on the script to attract the kind of quality actors we required. I feel very lucky that we had a cast comprising of both British stalwarts and ‘hot’ newcomers, all of whom were absolutely wonderful in the film.”
Sloane U’Ren Director/Producer/Production Designer
British-American Sloane U’Ren’s film career started at age four as a child actress in Los Angeles. As she reached her teens, she realised that she was more interested in the visual side of filmmaking then appearing on camera. Sloane decided to study Art History at the University of California, Berkeley before resuming her career in film Art Departments. Upon graduation, she worked for Disney, The Jim Henson Company (The Muppet Show creators), and has at one time or another worked at every major film studio in the U.S. and U.K.
Sloane has worked as an Art Director and Set Designer on projects including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Being John Malkovich, Batman Begins, The Good Shepherd, Ali and Six Feet Under, to mention but a few. She has extensive knowledge of designing and creating film sets from start to finish and has been nominated for several prestigious awards.
Sloane’s full CV can be viewed at www.sloaneuren.com
Tomorrow: Simon Dennis – the DOP
All Dimensions posts:
- “Dimensions: a line, a loop, a tangle of threads” and an HDSLR feature film
- “Dimensions” – Ant Neely on writing
- “Dimensions” – Sloane U’ren on directing
- “Dimensions” – Simon Dennis – the Director of Photography and Color Grading
- “Dimensions” the final section on audio with Carl Homer
One more thing…
here's a quick screengrab of a news report on the filming:
(cover photo credit: snap from the trailer)