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  • Writer's pictureJean Hogg

Project Round-Up #3

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

A pair of Identical twins look into the mirror making eye contact with each other whilst in character for a Film shoot
Cara and Mia Dessaur

Instagram (Left) @Cara_dessaur_ (Right) @Mia_dessaur

Update on Late Splitters shoot - June 24th

This was our second meet up to workshop and develop the script of Late Splitters and this time I wanted to focus on exploring visual storytelling. Working again with Paul Thompson and Jonathan Rea we decided to use Prime (or fixed) lenses that do not let you zoom in or out. Prime lenses have wide or large apertures which give you more control over the light and therefore the depth of field when filming. I wanted to get into the psychological state of the lead character, Isobel, played by Cara Dessaur.

I wanted to explore visually the idea of togetherness or closeness between twins, when they are physically apart. How you can grieve for your twin when they are not close, either literally or emotionally. I wanted to visually represent that idea so we did some test shots where Isobel imagines her sister, Emily, is with her. At times taunting her and other times guiding her. As twins we learn so much by copying each other’s behaviours. We can define ourselves through our twin and so, when they are no longer there, it can leave us feeling less than complete. How do you be you when the person who had always defined you is no longer there?

We had a lot of fun experimenting with how to reveal this notion of togetherness. It was a joy, as always, working with Cara and Mia. They are always so directable, and good at repeating precise actions and re-takes. This was very much acting without words which I love when storytelling and Cara and Mia are able to capture this superbly due to the close bond they share.

Cara Dessaur looks into the mirror in character as Isabell
Cara Dessaur

Update on Identical documentary

Identical, my feature documentary about being an identical twin has been seven years in the making and I started interviewing twins, both fraternal and identical, in 2016. The twin relationship has always fascinated me, through my art and film practice I have always used that space as a place to both process how I feel and investigate a theme or subject. I wanted to know if other sets of twins had struggled with some of the things I have found difficult. Such as comparison, which is a big theme for me, also closeness, identicalness (if that’s even a word?!) and to examine some of the cliches and myths that surround twins, often amplified by the role the media takes in portraying twins.

Through making the documentary it has developed into a drama documentary, or creative documentary, in that it uses narrative elements to explore some of the situations twins find themselves in. Such as, what it feels when you are mistaken for your twin.

This month we made a casting call for 4 year old twins to shoot on 8mm and create some cine footage. We had an overwhelming response to the call with many older twins also getting in touch. It made me realise that I would like to capture some of these interviews, especially those twins living in my home town of Great Yarmouth.

I am now looking for a production company to come onboard to help me shoot the dramatic elements and shoot the last of the interviews.

Starting this film back in 2016, the film has moved from a personal project into a more professional film with ambitions to be seen as widely as possible. I want to show what it is really like to be a twin, that twins don’t and can’t get along all the time, and that is okay.

Twins representation in film and TV drama is pretty terrible with twins usually being used as a plot device, especially within the horror genre, and representing the idea of the freak or weirdness. There is a huge audience of twins who are tired of this representation. I am making this film firstly for a twin audience, as they understand what it is to live in this phenomenal way, and secondly for those interested in the reality of what it means to be a twin.

The film has changed as I have changed over the past seven years. I shot the first interviews on my Canon 60D doing the sound myself, and regretfully missed out on one lovely interview as the sound didn’t come out. I then shot on my Sony XDCAM EX with an additional sound recordist, and more recently I have worked with a separate camera operator shooting with the Black Magic and the Sony C100. I am also incorporating archive footage from the 2000s which was shot on my first mini DV camera. I like that the look and formats used for the film has changed over time.

New Campbell Cloud Films website & Advisory Board

We have a new website and hope to rebrand with our new advisory board some time soon in the future. Amelia Long, my assistant Support Aide and Aimee Hayward have updated the Campbell Cloud Films website beautifully.

Click the link and have a look around:

I set up Campbell Cloud Films CIC whilst studying at the School of Social Entrepreneurs, East, back in 2017. It has always been my intention to grow the organisation. We ran workshops through our project, Norwich Film Workshop, in 2018/19 teaming up with the Sir John Hurt Film Trust, based at Cinema City. When I applied to the School of Social Entrepreneurs I applied with a project called “Shared Experience” which became, after a rebranding exercise whilst teaching on the Media Learning Company at Norwich City College, “In Your Shoes”. My training as a freelance film and arts practitioner started back in 2006. I did a number of film projects funded by Norfolk Children’s Services around social issues such as the pressures of drinking on young people (Not that I Remember) and a film with recovering drug and alcohol users, which was distributed to schools and prisons across the Eastern region. The approach to producing these projects became the inspiration for In Your Shoes.

I have attended the Berlin Film Festival three times, twice as an independent filmmaker and once as a lecturer. What I love most about the film festival is the space they give to young people through their Generation Kplus and Generation 14 plus programming strands. Young people have access to European cinema and Berlin’s huge theatre auditoriums are full with young people. I have always wanted to make a film with young people based on their experiences and take it to Berlin with the young cast and crew.

I am meeting with the new advisory board applicants this week and I am thrilled to share my ideas and learn how we may work together.

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