A few days ago I awoken from my late summer afternoon slumber when 5D was messaged asking if it would be possible to email us a press release for White Lily, a British made, Kickstarter funded Sci-Fi short film that has been selected to play at HollyShorts – an Oscar qualifying film festival that Indiewire recently called, “LA’s biggest short film festival.” The message went on to say that White Lily will be playing at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on August 13th, so they thought 5D might be interested in featuring something about the film, which was also selected for the Sci-Fi London Festival this year. Tristan (Director) and Sophia (Producer) are flying to LA for the festival on August 9th – 16th, and are available for interview if we’d be interested in running a story about the film, just let them know.
I must admit that for a brief moment in my sleepy haze I initially mis-read the message and thought I had been personally invited to the said flight to the festival in L.A, but of course, I was once again quite catastrophically mistaken about such matters and so quickly cancelled my plans to pack my favourite bermuda shorts and my classy “i’m not a gynaecologist but I’ll have a look” t-shirt. Instead I decided to wipe away my tears and find out more about White Lily.
According to the press release I was subsequently sent, Tristan Ofield’s science-fiction short film White Lily has been officially selected to screen at the prestigious HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles in August. The Festival is an organization devoted to showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe, advancing the careers of filmmakers through screenings, networking events, and various panel and forums. The festival showcases the top short films produced in 40-minutes or less. Categories include: Short Animation, Short Live Action, Short Documentary, Music Video, Webisode, Commercials, Youth Film and Digital Microbudget. The annual event is now in its 13th year and was named by Indiewire as “LA’s biggest short film festival.” It is held at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre and is part of the Official Academy Awards® Qualifying Festival.
Following its award success at the 2016 Summer Focus International Film Festival, in which it won five awards, including Best Short Film, and official selection at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival, it caps off what has been an impressive year for the Kickstarter-funded short film.
The press release goes on to say the following;
“The film explores the tense relationship between a spaceship captain and his co-pilot as they investigate a comet, when a technical fault cuts to the core of their relationship problem. Award-winning Director Tristan Ofield said, “To have White Lily screen at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the same venue where Star Wars premiered in 1977, is an indescribable feeling, and tops off what has been a phenomenal twelve months for us. Science fiction is still seen as a niche genre, so to get selected for such a high profile festival is something we’re extremely proud of.”
White Lily’s festival run began at Mayhem Film Festival in October 2016, in its hometown of Nottingham, after which it achieved success at the 2016 Summer Focus International Film Festival. Nominated for ten awards in total, the Science Fiction short was also successful in the Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound Design and Best Visual Effects categories. Producer Sophia Ramcharan said, “Sci-Fi is a genre that I have grown up with, especially Star Wars and ET, for that reason George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy are a real inspiration to me. I have produced short films of all kinds of genres from comedy to crime thriller, but for me White Lily stands out because of the ambition that we had for the film. Tristan’s attention to detail is incredible, and I believe that he’s sensitively explored the concept of love within a very technically challenging production. “
White Lily was filmed in Nottingham, UK in 2014 for a budget of £4,000, and a dedicated team worked on the special effects for over two years, work that has been rewarded with both Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Design awards in previous festivals. Previous years have drawn over 15,000 people to the HollyShorts Film Festival, and at last year’s event over $80,000 of prize money was awarded across the nine-day event. The 2017 HollyShorts Film Festival will run from 10th August until 19th August 2017.”
So that’s all well and good I hear you saying, but what about the film itself?…… well between you and me it’s pretty much a complete delight.
I don’t want to go into too much detail for the sake of spoilers, but what I can say is that White Lily is a rather beautiful example of intelligent science fiction filmmaking. The ‘white Lily’ itself is acts as charming metaphor for the themes of life/death, loneliness, memory, love and just what it means to be human. I must admit that it has been some time since such a thoughtful and philosophical piece of film has resonated as much with me, and considering that it has a running time of just over 11 minutes (including credits), this is no mean feat.
However don’t be put off by the concepts of ‘philosophy and intelligent sci-fi’, because the issues it explores are done so in such a considered and implicit way it doesn’t come across as an overblown or artistically pretentious piece of work as occasionally with such efforts as this can do. Instead we have a well-acted and visually stunning short film with the two leads, David McCaffrey and Siddhii Lagrutta putting in nicely nuanced performances.
David recently won the Best Actor award from The Focus International Film Festival for his work in this film and Siddhi also won Best Supporting Actress at Focus International Film Festival for her performance in White Lily, not only that she is something of a multi-linguist and singer. On a completely unrelated note she is completely and utterly drop-dead gorgeous and hopefully at some time I will get the chance to interview the lady herself – but of course that has nothing to do with my opinion of the film. Would I be that shallow?……….The people who know me keep quiet!
As I mentioned before this short film looks wonderful with some excellent visual effects and a expertly designed ship interior which nicely adds to the overall theme of the relationship between technology and human beings. On a serious note, White Lily is a genuine delight.
You can find out more about White Lily on the film’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/whitelilyfilm/
You can see the White Lily trailer here at: https://vimeo.com/201273701
White Lily will be screening at 7.30pm on Sunday 13th August 2017 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles as part of the HollyShorts Film Festival.