Anyone who’s ever watched the credits at the end of a film knows what a collaborative effort it is to get from a script to a screen, and how many people are involved. But when a pandemic locks you into your home, how do you go about it using available technology?
We’ve all become accustomed to Zoom meetings during the pandemic, but co-producers Adam Brennan and Colin Fleming decided they would use the platform to direct their short film “Devolved”. The film is a co-production between Monaghan-based FKU Productions and City Morgue Films.
Shot over seven days in isolation in Monaghan, with Colin dialling in from Dublin via Zoom to direct, the film has a production story almost as surreal as the script. It owes its existence to the limited amount of film-making equipment Adam had to hand, a leap of faith in working together between a writer and director who have still never actually met, and the infinite patience of Adam’s family, who had to put up with their lockdown refuge being turned into a film set for days on end.
‘Devolved’ introduces us to Adam, a fastidious and work-proud customer care representative for a healthcare company. Adam is a man who defines himself by his work, and the difference he makes in his customers’ lives, to the point where his entire routine revolves around how best to help them when they need. So what happens when a pandemic rolls around and strips him of his sole raison d’etre?
Once the lockdown was announced on March 12th, Adam Brennan knew that this was the chance he had been waiting for to make his first short film in time for his 40th birthday. ‘Devolved’ is the end result. Writer and producer of the short, Brennan said:
“I knew I wanted to make a film in 2020, but Covid19 threw a spanner in the works. I’ve always tried to do my best with what’s to hand, so I just asked around to see if anyone else wanted to get involved, and thankfully Colin answered the call. The virus had the power to prevent us leaving our homes, but not to prevent us creating something we’re both very proud of.”
Director/producer Colin Fleming is best known for Sons and Broken Noses (2019). He is also the owner of City Morgue Films, a Dublin-based media production agency that specializes in all things alternative.
Colin was intrigued by the challenges inherent in making a piece of this calibre – both narrative-driven and beautifully shot – during lockdown, but openly acknowledges that working via Zoom and Whatsapp was certainly a different challenge to his normal ‘hands-on’ style on set.
Describing the project, Fleming had this to say:
“Honestly, when I first told friends I was considering this project, with someone I’d never met and whose work I wasn’t that familiar with, they all thought I had lost it. Some even reckoned it could spell trouble for my career. But, to be fair, I couldn’t be happier with how it’s all come together, and quite a few of them have even withdrawn those comments since they’ve seen the film.
It was certainly a whole new experience in trying to juggle and call shots between Zoom and Whatsapp, but that’s what I love about the chaos that is film-making – problems get presented, and you just have to solve them”