Fictive Escapism

Martin Allison’s Gothic Boy screens at ASFF 2017 as part of the Experimental strand. A female art graduate avoids adult life through procrastination, until a cosmic force intervenes. Director, Martin Allison, discusses inspirations and the human condition which is present in filmmaking.

ASFF: Where do you get your inspiration?
MA: Everywhere. There isn’t one place in particular. I try and consume as much as I can of everything. Second-hand shops are a great source for stuff that you would have never come across otherwise. If you’re only watching what everyone else watches – how can you expect to make work that’s new and fresh?

ASFF:  When did you begin filmmaking, and what influenced you to start?
MA: Towards the end of high school. I’d done painting and some printmaking but in hindsight I was just going through the motions and not really doing either as a creative outlet. Around that time, I suddenly just “got” what they were talking about in English, and I guess that kind of analysis of texts made me realise how much I liked cinema, and that I got it, or it got me.

ASFF: How far do you think cinema attempts to communicate the human condition?
MA: I think it does, since it’s a fiction and therefore detached from reality it acts as a kind of escape and catharsis that allows for you to project your own feelings, worries, thoughts and dreams onto. Since cinema draws from so many other art forms, it has a lot of interesting devices and scope to resonate with viewers.

ASFF: How did you begin the process of making your film, where did the idea come from?
MA: Bouncing a lot of ideas around with the others involved really. Initially I read a lot of theory about Hamlet as he is the archetypal existential character, stuck between states – much like our main character. Films like Mauvais Sang by Leos Carax mixed in with some Kenneth Anger shorts kind of inspired a lot of the formal aspects – Carax’s film in particular was kind of this mesh of not quite genres drawing from a lot of different sources, but that allowed it to have some really unpredictable and moving moments.

ASFF: What is the narrative behind your short?
MA: It’s all about a recent graduate who has entered a limbo between being a student and becoming an adult (whatever that means.) Her slacking off stems from a confliction and dissonance of what she should be doing but isn’t sure she should – this is interrupted when lots of little weird things begin happening around the house, a cosmic force begins to intervene with her procrastination.

ASFF: How important do you find narrative?
MA: Human beings are narrative creatures, when we tell someone about our day, we actually tell them a little story. Narrative doesn’t always mean the plot points and story arcs you read about in scriptwriting manuals. Cinema is an art form, not an exact science. People forget how important mood and atmosphere are. It’s about how the story is told (especially in cinema) not just the story alone. It depends on what your definition for these terms are though, it’s usually quite variable what one person means when they say narrative.

ASFF runs 8-12 November. For more information or to book tickets:

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1. Teaser for Martin Allison’s Gothic Boy.