Sanctuary was a commission from Emmanuel House, a support centre in Nottingham. They wanted to create a short film which explored the circumstances around homelessness by telling the story of one man’s experience, in his own words.
The production for this was expansive with a myriad of logistical challenges, against a limited budget and tight turnaround. The script called for 15 scenes in 9 different locations, with a cast a dozen strong working within a shooting period of just 4 days.
Fairly early on in the process we made the creative choice to lose all on-screen dialogue, retaining only the simple voiceover of the man’s story. This pared-down approach we thought would help the message to hit home with more impact. Shooting on the Arri Alexa Mini using predominantly natural lighting and vintage lenses really helped shape the visual language of the picture.
The sound was designed in a way which captures the struggle of the main character, whilst also offering a little bit of hope, which is ultimately what Emmanuel House are there to provide. The sound design was intended to reflect the headspace of the narrator, who is engulfed in childhood trauma, and the voiceover itself was delivered in a way to make it feel almost like an internal monologue, as if you - the audience - are trespassing directly into the thoughts of the narrator. Nailing the music was a challenge as well, with 10 different music tracks being trialled before we found one which hit the mark.