Our second feature of the month is …
a particularly powerful piece submitted by Robert Goulding called “Cherish”. The film was helped created with LanParte’s Shoulder Rig w/ A/B Hard Stops Follow Focus (DHR-01 & FF-02). The one minute film, “Cherish” was an obvious choice for the campaign as one watch through left us so moved. The message that Robert sends through the video reminds us all to take a look at our place in the world and to shed everything that unecessarily weighs us down.
Rightfully titled, “Cherish”, Robert places the viewer into the shoes of a World War II soldier who is near his end. The soldier ruminates about his life, his place in the grand scheme and a final judgement of whether or not he lived a life that he would be proud of. The whole project is extremely impressive as Robert notes that the video was planned in one day and shot the next. The shot used only the available light due to no access of suitable lighting on the day.
We interviewed Robert Goulding to get an in more depth on his work as a filmmaker but also the steps he took to put together the film.
Robert, can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience in filmmaking?
I am a freelance Director of Photography based in the South of the UK. My primary field comprises mostly within narrative filmmaking, however I work frequently within the music industry as well as corporate/advertising. I began my journey as a filmmaker during college and have since recently graduated from university with a degree in Film Theory & Production. Now having had over 5 years experience in the art of Cinematography, Camera Operating & Colour Grading, I have been fortunate enough to have worked on broadcasted projects via channel ITV. As well as this I have successfully worked with many established clients here in the UK, including Southampton Airport.
Cherish is a short 1 minute film. This short span of time seems to add more power in its poignancy. Can you tell us your decision in keeping the film so short?
It’s important to note the protagonist expresses emotions in their last moments of life; so giving the film duration only 1 minute was part of this decision. I believe this method helped to focus the audience’s attention directly to the message itself, rather than that of creating an elongated story arc. This was also the case for the Cinematography as well, the aim was to keep it as simplistic as possible to not distract from the narration.
“Life becomes a bittersweet thing when surrounded by the tools of destruction we created ourselves.”
Cherish is so powerful in its message of life and the fine balance between apathy and appreciation for it. What inspired you in creating this film?
I feel in our current society people get too caught up in minor insignificance in life, focusing on the negativities. In my opinion we should be grateful for what and who they have, not what we don’t. In a world fascinated with consumerism, it’s no surprise that we often forget that it’s the people around us that we should focus on to make us happy in life. Hence the title: Cherish. I felt surrounding this idea around the theme of war helped channel its impact.
Regarding the quote you mentioned, co-writer Daniel Hargadon gave his take on the message:
“’Life becomes bittersweet’ is a realisation, specifically for a soldier who like many have fallen victim to our own destructive behaviour as humans. It is in those last moments surrounded by destruction that we remember what was important to us in life and whether or not we spent enough of time to appreciate it.”
The location and the use of colors all seems to help wrap everything together to create one message. Can you talk a little about how you were able to coordinate and ensure everything was consistent?
The colour palette for this film was particularly important to me; ensuring the colours were believable for the time period I was setting out to re-create. To create this palette I used a combination of colour DI techniques, along with Film Convert. This software emulates a desired film stock along with a use of believable film grain structure; this got me a lot of the way. I also used a bleach bypass method, most common in contemporary war films and felt it was a look that really sold the grittiness and horror of war. To enhance this look even further I de-saturated the colours quite heavily. Being a next to no budget production, the location was in actual fact the nearest forest we could travel too! I felt it worked well considering the restraints.
You consistently deal with the power of emotions which is highlighted by “Cherish” but also your other film, “Rosie”. How do you consistently ensure that the execution of your films keep delivering such powerful messages?
Everyone will experience loss of a friend/loved one at some point in their life, therefore being such a relatable topic to many of us I feel it is a basis that makes for great stories. I believe that human relationships, or be it emotions in this case, are often the most powerful of messages.