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Revolver Films Unveils Emotive Short Film ‘Swimmer’



Directed by Duane Crichton, the film explores themes of grief and female friendship

Revolver Films Unveils Emotive Short Film ‘Swimmer’

Production company Revolver Films has unveiled their latest short film, ‘Swimmer’, with commercial and film director Duane Crichton. The 10 minute short film tells the story of a young swimmer, who is struggling to cope with the loss of her best friend and teammate. The film touches upon universal themes of friendship, societal expectations, loss and grief.

A collaboration between writer Kimberley Gillis and Revolver Films’ director Duane Crichton, the cinematic film explores the metaphysical idea that our true being is separate from our bodies. The film was based on the writer’s personal experiences of growing up in a small town and from there, the script was developed into an ode to female friendship and loss.

The film follows the life of teenager and talented swimmer Kai, who is feeling the pressures of navigating teenagedom without her best friend Ash, who recently passed away but is still very much alive in Kai’s mind. Self-destructive and angered by her pain, Kai is up against the pressures of regionals and competing for a swimming scholarship, but is encouraged by Ash to keep training and not let grief overcome her. It is only in the end scene when Kai wins her race and looks to celebrate with Ash, that she has the stark realisation that her best friend has left her subconscious, for good.

Keen to portray a highly naturalistic female friendship, Duane enhances the pair's closeness through honest and representational dialogue. Young actors Talia Jodouin (Kai) and Jamaica Fraser (Ash), whose natural chemistry is evident on screen, were encouraged to tap into their own personal experiences in order to find a parallel truth to the story of Kai and Ash. 

Framing was key in establishing the ‘otherworldly’ central hook of the short film, as well as visualising Kai’s loneliness without her best friend around. The director used a wider frame when shooting Kai and a tighter framing for Ash to clearly show that she only exists in Kai’s world. A pivotal moment of loss in the film, the only time audiences see Kai in Ash’s framing is the moment she realises that her friend is truly gone. 

Cutting between Kai and Ash, who perform in essentially the same spot throughout, director Duane, DP John Kerr and editor Ross Birchall worked closely to depict Ash inside Kai’s mind, whilst striking a visual balance of drama and naturalism. 

Largely inspired by the tone and execution of French historical romantic drama, ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ by Celine Sciamma as well as the visual duality of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’, ‘Swimmer' is a modern example of emotional short-form storytelling. 

The film will premiere at the Toronto Short Film Festival on the 15th December 2022 and will be screened at the New York Shorts festival in early 2023. 

Duane Crichton, director at Revolver Films, comments: “A teenage girl sinks under the weight of the loss of her best friend, even though that friend remains in her life in a very real way. This is the story of Swimmer, a rare combination of verité and magical, centring around a visual approach to the core relationship of the story that is wholly unique. It’s a film that drops the viewer in and lets them piece it all together at their own pace.

Duane adds, “The visual execution of Kai and Ash’s relationship was the central directing challenge. Their natural chemistry was so strong that I felt the need to see them on screen together. They couldn’t perform face-to-face like in every other dialogue scene, so, we had the actor that was off camera stand behind the one on camera when they performed their lines. It worked beautifully because it got rid of the eye lines that would have existed and created a genuine feeling of reacting to the ‘voice in your head.’”

Richard Cureton, executive producer and managing partner at Revolver Films, adds, “We feel it’s important to produce work in support of our directors that falls outside the norms of commercial and music content and expands the focus into longer format work. The passion Duane and Kimberley (who wrote the film) had for the film was evident from the early stages of the script’s development. The film has universal themes of grief. We felt it was honest and avoided some of the hyperbole you often see in these depictions.”


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Categories: Short Films and Music Videos, Short films

Revolver Films, Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:58:29 GMT