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The Watcher, Her

Running Time:
8 min 27 s

About this film

Director's Statement:
An exploration of anxiety; of loneliness; a partially sociopathic lead. But how to demonstrate, visually, and explain those feelings of overwhelming anxiety. Alex, our protagonist, perceives his world as a seemingly mundane situation; a coffee in a coffee shop. His anxiety levels are split into two main visual representations, stemming from his subconscious: a Red Headed Woman and a Driver. This Red Headed Woman is a projection of Alex’s social desire and wants, a human that Alex would want to be noticed by, There are not necessarily sexual implications on display as Alex’s loneliness is what first needs attention, what he pines for, what he needs. Alex takes small looks, certain movements, precise sips from cups of coffee from the Red Headed Woman as details of his growing self-success, leading to a more confident persona. For all his hard work, pushing himself to his limits, it may well have been doomed from the start. As his self-confidence peaks, he flings himself into the air, showing himself to her, baring all, begging for her acknowledgement; offering himself up to his world (or, at least, the coffee shop). This is his ultimate fantasy, his crowning moment, to have the confidence to remonstrate with the society that scorned him. Only, its all too easily ruined as The Driver arrives. Back to noticing all the small nuances from both the Woman and the Driver, bit by bit, Alex sees a link between them, real or fantastical, as he begins to shrink back into his shell, all the hard work faltering and collapsing around him, as their relationship becomes more and more intimate. After the Driver has entered the shop, it all becomes too much, the polar opposite to his moment of glory. A final release of all the build up stress and anxiety leads Alex to either see true reality or his reality at it’s most calm and non-threatening. It’s the moment he gives up. Here he can make his final decision, to leave the coffee shop and change his life. There are Men with books in the coffee shop, all facing away from Alex, their backs turned to him, far from noticing Alex, an extension of how he feels the world views him. We stay close to Alex throughout, often seeing only his eyes or mouth, detailing each and every precise reaction and fear. Throughout the short, there is, deliberately, no clear sense of what is real and what Alex is lying to us about. The film is very much from his point of view and he is not a reliable narrator. The Red Headed Woman and the Driver’s actions and existence are Alex’s subconscious, battling against his primary cognition. They don’t exist, which leads to whether the other members of the coffee shop, and indeed the coffee shop itself, exist. But because it’s Alex’s film, his world, his narrative, whatever happens ‘’here’’ is real to him. I told the actors that if they took an axe to a limb, there would be blood and bones and it would hurt, because that’s what Alex has created, that’s what Alex has deemed to be real, pushing forward to become his primary cognitive experience. This film is personal. Not autobiographical, but close to how I have often felt. I might go as far to say it’s something almost everyone has felt, albeit I’m sure on various levels of one of those all too popular and topical spectrums. That sense of isolation, intwined with a yearning to reach out for more, but those popular buzzwords of anxiety, depression, social awkwardness holding you back, no matter what the situation.




Director of Photography


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